Think romance has gone to the dogs? You might be right. According to the ASPCA, an estimated 70-80 million dogs are owned in the United States alone. Don’t be surprised then if you run into a dog lover during your search for a partner.
In the same way you hope to partner with a man or woman whose parenting styles align with your own, the same can be said about the relationship they have with their dog. So, before you adorn that dog bone with a big red bow, take a few minutes to prepare yourself for the lifestyle that goes along with dating a dog lover.
Dogs are part of the family
There is no denying this, and if you’re dating a dog lover, there is certainly no arguing it. Dogs sometimes get better treatment than the people living under the same roof. It’s important for you to learn to respect and admire a dog owner’s commitment to treating their dog as more than just a pet, but a member of their family. The sooner you accept this, the better chance you have of leading a happy love life, with your partner and their canine companion.
Dog lovers treat their dogs like children
What do people who love their dogs do? They do exactly what a person does with their child. They throw them birthday parties. They dress them up on Halloween. A survey taken in September of 2013, showed that of the 1,407 dog owners who responded, 86 % reported they used a picture of their pet as their screensaver. You may even find yourself explaining to a few people that the “baby waiting at home” is just a dog.
You’ll never be greeted first
Unless you’re willing to sprint to the door, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, jumping up and down and running circles around their legs, you will never be greeted first. Their dog will always receive dibs on the “Honey, I’m home” kisses. Don’t let this hurt your feelings.
You’re a third wheel
Dogs demand an unwavering amount of love and affection. Not only will you be asked to supply some of it, but also you’ll also never be entirely sure who is loved more, you or the dog. Frankly, you probably don’t want to find out. One-on-one cuddling will be non-existent. Not only will you be sharing your bed with the dog, but you’ll also realize that it is completely acceptable for their canine companion to carve a spot out on the couch during movie night, directly between the two of you.
Invest in a lint roller
Or two. Or ten. If you were wondering who coined the term “fur coat,” it was dog owners. Most dog breeds shed, so get used to finding hairs in your favorite sweater from two winters ago. While you’re at it, say goodbye to your beloved white clothing, unless your lover has a white dog. In that case, consider parting ways with that charcoal duvet cover.
Patience is key
Whether it’s a newborn puppy or a full grown dog, they’re probably chewing on something that they shouldn’t be. Chances are, you would’ve lost that old sock anyway. In other cases, you may come across an old squeaky chew toy hidden in your couch cushion, or trip over a half eaten rawhide. No one is blind to “doggy breath” or the odor that consumes the house when his or her fur child is wet.
Try to stay as calm as possible during these instances. Take a few minutes to read about your lover’s breed and it’s nature. Learning to care for an animal is a process that requires both patience and commitment, both of which take time.
Don’t try to fake it
"Pretending – or outright lying – is not the way to begin a relationship, even if you think it’s a little white lie to say you love dogs," says It’s Just Lunch spokesperson Irene LaCota. “It will come out eventually, so own up to it from the beginning. It’s unlikely to be a deal breaker unless you treat the dog poorly or start demanding they give the dog up.”
If you find that you are both avid dog lovers, perfect! You may have just found your soulmate. However, if you can’t seem to understand the reasoning behind your lover’s strong appreciation of his or her furry companion, don’t try to fake it.
At this point it’s important to determine if compromises need to be made, as well as if you can see yourself in this relationship long term, with the idea that it’s a package deal – you, him or her, and the dog.
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