And Your Little Dog, Too: The 4-Way

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The woman I’m dating has a dachshund that she loves. He’s so small that she can take him with her wherever she goes—and she does. My problem is that the dog hates me. I’ve tried to pet him and be nice to him, but he always growls and nips at me. I feel like every minute we spend together is about the dog—how I can pet him differently so he won’t feel threatened, or what treats can I bring him to make him like me? I would love to have some non-dog time with her every once in a while and I’ve told her as much, but she just says I’m jealous of the dog. I like her, but I’m not sure if we can take it to the next level if every interaction we have involves her dog. If you have thoughts on how to create some sort of balance, I’m all ears.—KS, San Francisco, California 

The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
Have I recommended here before that people not date Paris Hilton? If not, I’m recommending that now. (Disclaimer: I’m not sure the dog Paris has is actually a dachshund and I don’t care enough to look it up.)

I have little patience for pet owners who expect everyone else to love their pets as much as they do. That’s great if you enjoy and love your pet, but others don’t have to. Get over yourselves and your pets. 

Pet owners should also understand their pets are not people and they don’t have to bring their animals to restaurants and salons and shopping malls … and on dates. Leave them at home or stay there yourself if you just can’t bear to leave them. 

That you’re even considering going to the next level with someone who accuses you of being jealous of her nippy, yippy dog and won’t consider your request for non-dog time as reasonable is a red flag that you’re a bit too needy. 

She’s treating you like a dog treats a fire hydrant, only the fire hydrant has to stand there and take it. You don’t. Move on KS, you’re barking up the wrong tree. 

The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Tell me, does this woman have a calendar of her dog posed in scenes from old-timey movies? Has she obsessively hunted for a toy bee for her dog, only to become irate when all she can find is a bear in a bee costume? Did you guys meet at Starbucks and do you regularly read J Crew catalogs for fun? Because this story sounds a little familiar … 

I mean no offense to any parents or their humans when I say that dating someone who has a dog she’s overly attached to is a little like dating someone with kids. Parents typically don’t introduce the kids and the partner until at least a few dates in. Once the kids and the partner meet, even then it generally takes a while before everyone hangs out together on a regular basis. And once you’re dating exclusively, it’s a good idea for the adults to do their own thing regularly without the kids. 

I think these same rules should apply to dogs—and snakes, cats, birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, bees, and any other pet that people want to wag along with them on their dates. I love dogs myself, but the fact that this woman needs to take her dog with her every freakin’ place she goes is more than a little disturbing. If she’s bossy when it comes to how you pet and feed her dog, imagine how your life will play out if you stay with her long term. I think you have a pretty good preview of where you’ll rank. (Hint: it’s somewhere between the dog and the meter reader.) 

I think you’ve already solved your own problem but don’t realize it. If you’re not sure you can take it to the next level unless you get some non-dog time, I’d tell her that. (The girl, not the dog.) Then you’ll have done all you can and the ball will be in her court to fetch.

The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
The dog comes with her everywhere? Really? Wow. Are you okay being in a relationship where you’re second to a dog? That’s a big issue. From what you shared with us, it doesn’t sound like you are okay. However, if you truly are, then we can move on to getting the dog to like you.

I’ve checked with my dog-loving people friends and they say you need to give the dog some space. Literally, don’t get in its space. Stand a bit away with a treat or toy that the dog likes and wait for it to come to you. Do this for quite a while until the dog comes to you voluntarily. Then you can move onto getting to know each other.

Hmm, I like this advice so much, I may use it next time my girlfriend is upset. I’ll just give her some space and bring her treats. Let me know if it works for you, KS. But first you have to consider if you’re willing to go to such great lengths to win the heart of a dog. Even if you do, this still doesn’t guarantee that the dog won’t accompany you and your girlfriend wherever you go. Is this doggy love really worth it?

The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
An angry dachshund is nothing to take lightly! My niece has one and that little dude has bitten everyone in the family at one point or another. So for all of you out there who were thinking that this little dog doesn’t pose much of a threat, remember that the teeth on a yippy dog are just as sharp as those on a Rottweiler.

As for petting him, I think you and your lady friend should try petting him together. Use her hand to pet him and then put your hand on top of hers while she’s petting him. That way, he’ll get used to the closeness. Right now he’s not threatened by you; he’s threatened by you coming between him and someone he’s constantly around.

As much as your girlfriend loves hanging with her hound, she needs to leave him at home once in a while. If she doesn’t, he’ll always have separation anxiety when you walk out the door. I believe dogs need their space just as much as we do. They’re naturally pack animals, but they also have the right to explore their surroundings and lick themselves at will with no one watching. Remind your girlfriend of that.

As it stands now, you’re in a three-way relationship. Tell your girlfriend that as much as you love her little friend—and make very sure she knows you really do love her little friend—you need some one on one time with her. She should be flattered, not offended.

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