August 10, 2013

Competing with boyfriend's dog

Dear Dog Lady,

I am in a new relationship with a man I adore. The only problem is his dog, Chopper, who’s “in control.” The dog barks constantly, jumps in people’s laps (not a lap-size dog) and sleeps smack in the middle of us in the bed. We can’t even be affectionate because of the dog “blocking” us. I don’t mind the dog being in the bed, but I think he needs to be at the end of the bed. I just can’t handle a dog conditioned to do what he pleases. How do I handle this situation? —Claire

A: Your chap has all the control with Chopper. You should understand the relationship between him and his pet is strong and enduring. This should give you hope and pause for paws because any guy who loves a dog is a guy with a lot of love to give — but also a man who may be using the dog as an excuse to prevent a woman from entry in to his home and heart.

Whatever you do or say, please maintain your sense of humor and composure. You should not be so attached to the outcome (a Chopper-less bed) that you forget you’re still in a new and fragile relationship and can still walk away.

You might begin the conversation simply by suggesting your guy train Chopper to sleep at the foot of the bed. This seems reasonable enough. See how the man you adore responds to this modest proposal. If he reacts negatively or defensively, you have insight into his character and his ability forge a relationship with you. If he’s open to your suggestion, the departure point may lead to a general conversation about the dog’s behavior.

Dear Dog Lady,

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