Forget meeting the parents—introducing your dog to a new significant other can put everyone on edge. It’s never great for a blossoming romance if the two loves of your life don’t get along, but we have some advice for introducing pets to significant others.
Be Honest About Your Pets
Casually forgetting to mention your roommate is a BullMastiff until you and your new boo are pulling up to your house isn’t cool. Get that important info out early! If you use dating apps, include a picture of you and your pet somewhere in your profile (for most people, being a pet parent gets bonus points).
Conversely, new flames need to be upfront about allergies or fears around dogs. Get this discussion out of the way ASAP because these kinds of deal-breakers can waste everyone’s time if not addressed at the start.
Prep Your Place
If you’ve made a love connection (yay!), that person will eventually be in your home with your dog. Take a minute to consider their personalities. Does your dog chew shoes? Does your partner have a loud voice that could scare a dog? Can your partner handle the fact that your dog thinks they deserve a little treat every time they eat?
Make sure your pet has a space he can sneak away to if the new energy entering your home freaks him out (a kennel with toys that your pup finds comfortable is a great option). And try to have some practice sessions before you sweetie comes over so your dog won’t associate being locked in the kennel with these visits. Training your dog to positively associate Also, prep your date if, for instance, loud noises or big gestures startle your pets so it can be avoided.
The First Meeting
If you can, consider going on a walk the first time your significant other meets Fido (it’s a neutral location and your pup will be distracted by the activity). When the time does come for a home visit, ask your partner to give your pet plenty of space when they first meet. Make sure your date checks in with you before reaching for or petting your dog. Watch your fur baby’s body language closely and take a step back if your dog isn’t OK with it.
This is your dog’s territory and any signs of uncertainty should be met with lots of space. Letting Fido choose when he’s ready to make contact is the way to go. You can’t force chemistry and everyone needs to sniff each other out before true bonding can occur. Keep the first intro short (and, hopefully, sweet), don’t overwhelm your pet and never forget that developing a relationship takes time, especially with animals. Just like bringing a date flowers, bringing a dog treats are can definitely help your date make a good impression.
Go Slow if Your Pet Needs It
Let’s say it’s a worst-case scenario and your dog is Not Having It. Keep in mind that you are your dog’s primary source for love, food, and protection. Any new person on the scene can be seen as a possible disruption to this delicate balance. The key is to carve out time, just for your dog. Dogs bond and humans form close bonds through food and including your partner in training sessions or treat time can help build their relationship. You can also include your partner in activities like walking or cuddling, which helps your pet make positive associations instead of seeing a threat.
Since smell is such a strong sense for dogs, you can try teaching your pet to recognize bae’s scent and link it to you (borrow a t-shirt or towel). This entire process might take anywhere from several days to a few weeks (depending on how wary your pet is of your partner), but don’t rush it—your patience will pay off, big time.
Prep Your Sweetie’s Home for Your Pet
When it’s time to introduce your pet to your partner’s home, make sure they’ve done a thorough sweep of the place and moved anything that could cause harm, irritation or stress to your pet. Until you live with a dog, it can be hard to know what items are potential hazards. Ask your significant other to move any poisonous plants, medications, breakables, or fancy shoes they don’t want to be eaten, out of reach.
Follow these guidelines and your two faves will be getting along in no time.