You're tired after a long day's work and all you want to do is pass out on the couch…
You approach your door and place the key in the lock.
When you turn it softly and place your hand on the doorknob you hear excited movements and cries.
You open the door and your whole body is enveloped by a big (or little) furry creature.
You fall on your knees and you feel like you've gone for a swim with all the French kisses you receive.
But you get a free dry-off with a wagging tail whacking each cheek.
While your cute Fido makes for the ultimate welcome-home-committee, we'd say it's even better when those French kisses are coming from your significant other.
But sharing is caring and the best kisses are from your pooch and puffin.
This article sets out the ins and outs of everything you need to know about dog lovers dating.
All you need to know about dog lovers dating
From the life of singlehood to that of "couplehood," your dog plays a significant role in finding the perfect match.
As the saying goes: "Dogs are man's best friend," and they have your back no matter what; even if they have to share you with someone else!
Best Dogs for Singles
Dogs for singles
Let's put it this way:
There is no shortage of breeds when you want to pick out your Fido.
But choosing your best pal to be by your side isn't a simple feat, and you need to take a few things into consideration.
What things, you may ask...
- Where you live; you may need to choose a breed suited as the best apartment dogs.
- How active you are - do you want to go running with your dog every day or lounge around on the couch?
- What kind of dogs you like, and if the appearance of the dog is important to you.
- What the main purpose of the dog is: security, companionship, or to score a date (chick-magnet).
Just like you would reflect and weigh up the options before you get into a serious relationship, so too is the case when you want to choose the right dog.
It is important to note that it is not good to generalize when it comes to breeds. It is about picking the right dog that suits the owner's personality, as well as the needs of both the owner and pooch. The temperament of a breed isn't set in stone and a 100% guarantee; it is best to figure out each dog individually. In saying that, certain characteristics of breeds can be traced in individual dogs of that type.
Best breeds for single people
Your keyword here is RESEARCH. Read, ask professionals, consult the 100,000 members of Reddit's /r/dogs (a tight-knit community who also helped us in writing this article), and go with your gut!
What works for one person, might be a no-no for someone else.
It is also essential to consider where to get the dog from. Rescue shelters and adoptions centers are preferable as this often means saving a dog's life.
However, some people prefer puppies or purebreds and these are easier to get from a breeder.
Breeders can be a risky business. You HAVE TO make sure that you get your dog from a reputable breeder to avoid any legal and moral issues, as well as medical issues with the dog.
Here is how to look for reputable breeders:
- First start by looking in rescue groups or shelters. 1 in every 4 rescue shelter dogs in the United States are purebred. Mixed breeds also make for fantastic pets. The most important thing is to give these dogs a home - most of them are abandoned because their previous owners could no longer afford them or take care of them; or lifestyle changes, new baby, allergies, divorce; whereas some dogs were homeless to start off with.
- You need to avoid buying puppies from general pet stores or websites. The reason is that most of these poor puppies come from puppy mills, otherwise known as mass breeding facilities. These dogs also deserve homes; however, if people don't supoort puppy mills, these schemes and methods will dwindle in number. Puppy mills result in dogs with health and temperament issues because the wrong dogs are bred; these issues may only show up later in the dog's life. It is devastating for an owner, not to mention expensive, when a dog develops genetic health issues or socialization problems as a result of poor breeding practices. PupQuest is a website run by licensed vetrenarians and talks about the health problems to expect from puppy mill dogs.
- A responsible breeder will have their dogs' best interests at heart, and so they will not sell their puppies to the first person who offers them money. Read this checklist of how to find a reputable dog breeder in order to know what to consider and look for when you visit a breeder. You need to ask yourselves these questions and put them forward to the breeder. The breeder should meet most of the criteria on this list to be considered a responsible one. A good and trustworthy breeder will want to meet with the potential owners to interview them in order to ensure a good match, and this is why they won't sell them to pet shops. The goal is to provide the dog with a lifelong, warm home.
- Vets know best, so why not get a referral from them about good breeders who practice responsible breeding methods?
- You need to go the place where the puppy was born and raised by visiting the breeder's facilities before you purchase the puppy.
Choose a trustworthy breeder for a happy dog and owner
So, which dogs suit single men and women? What characteristics of the human and dog will determine the perfect match?
This article does not suggest that a person should buy a dog for the sole purpose of finding a partner or significant other; however, our trusted fur friends can play a significant role in all the steps of a quest for love.
The first step involves the dogs which are most preferable for the lifestyle of single people looking to go into serious relationships. This means that eventually other people and dogs will be in the picture as well.
Dogs, relationships & significant others
However, as mentioned above, it is more about the dog than the breed, so the most important factor to take into consideration is your own lifestyle, wants and needs, as well as preferences when you pick a dog.
You cannot choose a dog based on only one preference or lifestyle habit. Some dog breeds are more aggressive or difficult to handle and train, so it also depends on how experienced you are with dogs, how much time you have to train the dog, if you can give him/her attention by grooming and playing with the pooch, and so on.
There are lots of misconceptions and sterotypes out there that men prefer bigger, more aggressive, and strong dogs, while women opt for a little furry friend that needs pampering and grooming 24/7, and dogs that can fit in her purse to be dressed up in pink outfits and ribbons.
Well, the bad news is that Match.com found that 28% of single men aren't crazy about a woman with a purse-sized dog; well, the other 72% clearly do!
The good news is that we are looking at things from a sighlty different perspective. This perspective is about individual needs and lifestyle more than stereotypes.
These are just suggestions of certain breeds for a particular type of person currently living the life of singlehood and looking to partner up with a fellow human:
The Active & Outdoor Person:
If you enjoy being outdoors most of the time, and you enjoy running, boating, hiking, and sports, it is always nice to have a fluffy companion with you if friends and loved ones aren't available. Certain dogs will love to join you on your active pursuits when outdoors, while others are just not your go-to active buddies.
Every dog is different, but there are some breeds and mixed breeds that are more likely to join in the outdoor fun and be able to keep up than others. Most dogs love and need to go for walks but when it comes to long-distance walks, Border Collies, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers are fast. They also need to be trained from a very young age so they keep healthy, are obedient, and can channel their energy correctly.
Border Collie Dog Breed
Doberman Pinscher Dog Breed
Rottweiler Dog Breed
If you love to go running, long-legged dogs will be able to keep up with your pace, such as: Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Salukis, and Vizslas.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed
Saluki Dog Breed
Vizsla Dog Breed
For those who enjoy cycling or rollerblading, you need a dog that can keep up with an even faster pace than running; this also requires long legs and a ton of energy. Dalmatians and Weimaraners make for great companions for these activities.
Dalmatian Dog Breed
Weimaraner Dog Breed
Hiking and camping are great outdoor activities, but you need a dog that will be able to withstand harsher weather conditions and being outside overnight. These trips call for stronger breeds who are adventurous and happy to roam around but return when called for.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, Australian Cattle Dog, and Australian Shepherds will make good camping partners. These dogs are smart, easier to train, and can be active for a greater portion of the day.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breed
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Shepherd Dog Breed
If you spend a lot of your time in the water and you love to fish and boat, then get yourself a dog that loves the water. Dogs that are natural swimmers are best; however, you need to watch your dog in the water at all times and take a dog-size life vest with you. Labrador Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, and the Standard Poodle are good options.
Labs are the number one choice seeing that it is the favorite dog breed in the US, which was originally developed to help fishermen. They are easy to train....well ummmm....
Labradors are easy to train
Jokes aside, Portuguese water dogs were also created to help fishermen with their webbed feet, while poodles were orgininally bred as hunting dogs for retrieving game from the water. They excel at obedience training and need regular exericse.
Portuguese Water Dog
Standard Poodle Dog Breed
Winter sports are always fun but they require humans and dogs who can brave the cold. Most short-haired dogs will be sensitive to the cold, so if you love to spend all your time in the snow, choose a pooch with longer hair who enjoys lower temperatures.
Breeds that cope in colder climates are the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan Malamute. The Alaskan Malamute is not a good choice for a first-time owner becasue they are stubborn, large, and intelligent. Siberian Huskies are known to escape enclosures; therefore you need to keep them active all the time to avoid this from happening, and you cannot leave them unsupervised. Samoyed are also known to be stubborn but also friendly.
Siberian Husky Dog Breed
Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed
Samoyed Dog Breed
The Couch Surfing Person:
Sometimes our first instinct is to pick a dog that looks cuddly and cute. If this is what you want, that's okay, but you have to be aware of the dog's temperemant and the fact that some breeds are just not built for intensive outdoor activity and exercise. These breeds are not cut out for extreme temperatures or intense physical activity. Dogs do need exercise on a daily basis, but for some, a walk in the park or around the block in the evening will do just fine. If you are into staying at home most of the time, or don't plan on taking your dog on those camping trips, these breeds are a better choice. The bulldog is gentle and lazy by nature. Its head and snout makes it difficult for the breed to breathe, so extreme cold or hot weather aren't ideal.
Pugs and Sharpeis, both Chinese dogs, are absolutely cuddly and adorable, but they also have breathing problems because of their snouts, and hence extreme weather conditions aren't ideal for them either. They need exercise but would prefer a nap and snack. Sharpeis can be very high maintenance with several medical needs when it comes to skin, eyes, and ears, but they definitely make for one of the cutest looking dogs with all those folds and wrinkles.
Pug Dog Breed
Sharpei Dog Breed
The Great Dane is a large breed, known as the big friendly giant. Despite its size, this breed does not need too much exercise. If feed well and kept relatively active, this dog is a great house dog with its gentle nature.
Great Dane Dog Breed
Without getting into detail about each specific breed, some other lower energy dogs are the Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Maltese, Basset Hound, Borzoi, Cesky Terrier, Japanese Chin, Chow Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Sussex Spaniel, and Irish Wolfhound. The list can go on, and remember that individual dogs can be the exception to the rule - some of these dogs can be very demanding when it comes to needing exercise.
For those who want to know which dogs are more high energy types, each one varying on the scale of active, then it would be better to consider a Goldren Retriever, Blue Heeler, Airedale Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Jack Russel Terrier, Irish Setter, Fox Terrier, Beagle, and Dachsund.
Again, these lists are more on the limited side. It is always best to consult with a vet or dog professional to see which dog will suit your needs.
There important things to note if your Fido is to accompany you when you are looking for "the one"; they are:
- The dog must be approachable and friendly most of the time.
- The dog must look good, if not cute and cuddly, at least at a good weight and well-groomed - a brushed coat will suffice.
- Your pooch must enjoy being in some social areas, like parks and cafes.
- He/she needs to get on with other dogs for the most part.
At the end of the day, the goal is to keep your best friend as a lifelong partner in spite of partners, lovers, kids, other pets, and life in general.
A dog is a lifelong friend
Top Dog Breeds for Babies & Families
Well, what happens if the two of you really hit it off; better yet if the four of you are inseparable (you, your lover, and two furry friends)?!
Surely you want the dog to stick around?
But are all breeds good for children and families?
Will your furry wingman or sidekick of your single days suit your future needs?!
Best dog breeds for babies
The good news is that there is no distinct breed that is better for all families. It depends on a lot of factors to determine which breed to choose to raise with a family.
- Lifestyle: most dogs prefer physical activity in a park or garden so you need to be able to cater for them. Dalmatians, for example, are very active and great for active families as they lots of exercise a day. Make sure each member is up for taking the dog along for walks and activities otherwise this breed isn't an ideal choice.
- Affordability: the maintenance of a dog actually costs more than the initial purchase price (unless you adopted). Your monthly budget needs to include the dog in it. Larger breeds are more expensive because they need more food and higher dosages of medicaction if need be. You have to calculate a budget that includes healthcare, food, grooming, and other unexpected things. Sometimes a smaller dog can land up being more expensive to maintain than a larger dog; it all depends on the dog, its breed, its background if you adopted it, and genetic makeup.
- Living Situation: the kind of house you reside in has a big influence on the type of breed you choose. Labradors, German Shepherds, and St. Bernads needs more space for exercise and play. Bigger dogs need to live in pet-friendly communities and areas with lots of open spaces and park. Smaller breeds are suitable to apartments because they can tolerate less space, such as beagles, bulldogs, pugs, Welsh Corgis and more. The truth is that a Great Dane can manage in a small apartment; it also depends if you can take your dog outside the house a few times a day. Climate also plays a part in that some dogs can't handle certain types fo weather. Bulldogs and pugs have respiratory problems and hot weather isn't ideal for them. Another thing to consider is allergies - Maltese poodles, Shi Tzus, and Portuguese Waterdogs are better for people who suffer from allergies. Every dog is different, meaning that some smaller dogs will actually need more space than a bigger breed.
- Grooming & Care: some dogs needs more care and grooming than others. Dogs that have curly and long coats need to be groomed a few times a week, and your kids might not be able to perform these tasks on a daily basis. It is better to stick to dogs with short hair for smaller kids. Puppies and older dogs need extra care; small kids might not be the ideal candidates for that.
- Temperament: if you are looking for consistency, purebreds usually exhibit the same personalities as other dogs in the breed. Mixed breeds can display multiple traits from any side. The main thing to consider is that the dog has the same personality as the family - if the family is active, the dog should also enjoy exercise and the outdoors. Outgoing kids will prefer friendly dogs. For a good match, the entire family should meet the dog before they bring one home to make sure everyone is compatible with the pooch. If the kids are older, they should have a say in which furry friend the family picks because they need to be part of the grooming and maintenance duties.
The best is when a dog and baby grow up together - this is the meaning of true friendship. See the section on how to introduce your dog to your baby to avoid any tragedies or issues. It may be better to already have the dog before the babby arrives, or to get a puppy when the baby is slightly older as it is hard work taking care of a baby and puppy!
Wingman or Noble Steed - How to Meet Someone with Your Dog
We've all heard it before: dogs are not only loving furry companions, they double up as wingmen/women, chick magnets, and dude magnets, by drawing attention to you.
This doesn't mean for one moment that you should get a dog to score a date; however, it does mean that having a dog makes it easier to find your soulmate.
Dogs can detect bombs, so surely that can sniff out bombshells?!
Dogs can locate lost people, so why not give them a shot at sniffing out your love?!
According to a survey done by a project called Dognition, 82% of the participants said they feel more confident to speak to or approach an attractive person who has a dog with them.
Maybe that's why dog walkers tend to get a lot of attention.
Jennifer Lopez as a dog walker in Monster-in-Law
If you are skeptical of this statement, chew on this!
An experiment was conducted at a Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita, California to test for psychological reactions when humans and dogs approach one another for the first time.
Heart rate monitors were attached on dogs and humans to measure their reactions. It comes at no surprise that the dogs reacted faster than the humans, even from further distances when they saw other dogs and people.
The conclusion was that a person takes much longer to feel chemistry with other people because humans don't always act on their instincts; they rely on emotions and intellect to discern situations, and these can sometimes fail them.
A lot of universities have done tests about dogs and humans in social conditions, and there are lots of results pointing to the fact that dogs are the best conversation-starters.
There is no way you can go to a park with a cute Lab and not be approached by all kinds of people inquiring after and commenting on the dog's age, breed, personality, and appearance!
These experiments prove that people find others more attractive if they are accompanied by dogs. People are also perceived to be more outgoing, athletic, friendly, and accessible when they have a friend on four legs by their side.
The odds are also in your favor if you have a dog because he/she needs to be taken for walks, and most of the time this will happen outside of the house in parks, sidewalks, and street corner cafés.
Even your profile pictures on online dating sites are a good way to showcase your pooch; you will most probably get more clicks, views, and conversation starters with that gorgeous picture of the two of you on a remote cliff. Believe it or not, women are less likely to date men who indicate that they don't like pets.
It's just me and my pooch on a date!
A few tips & tricks to meet people with a dog by your side
- Get the correct breed: there are always specific breeds that get more attention from strangers (kids, single men/women, elderly people). We have already mentioned how a Labrador puppy has you sorted as a crowd-pleaser. If men want to attract women, breeds like French Bulldogs, Siberian Huskies, and Beagles are go-to options; for the reverse, women can get German Shepherds or Chihuahuas. There is no fixed rule - you just need a cute, well-behaved Fido by your side. Labradors and Golden Retrievers are known to attract anyone and everyone - it must be those soft brown eyes! Your taste in a breed and your dog's behavior also have a lot to say about who you are as a person.
- Take your pooch to the park: it is no secret that puppies make women swoon and men show their sensitive side. AKC Survey states that 58% of men found puppies to be chick magnets, and women follow suit with 46% saying they would approach anyone with a little doglet. Dog parks are an ideal place to meet people as your dog will more likely interact or play with other dogs, opening up opportunities for you to speak to their owners who are similar to you in that, for starters, they are also dog lovers. Dogs bypass that initial awkward stage of first encounters, so let your dog off the leash and see who he/she sniffs out first - if the dogs get along, their owners might also. Dogs have good intuition and if you are on the fence about talking to someone, or meeting for a second or third time, your dog is the one to consult!
- Get online: As we said before, putting your dog in your profile pictures can work wonders.Women have been said to swipe right (that's a Yes) for men with dogs. It is essential to list your love of dogs on your social media pages and online dating profiles because pets are usually a deal-maker or breaker when it comes to dating and compatibility. If you really want to enhance your dog lovers dating search, it is best to sign up for apps and dog dating sites that promote dogs and dating. Twindog (Tinder for dogs), MustLovePets, YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, and DateMyPet.com, are a few examples of online dating enmeshed with dog lovers dating. By this we mean that dog lovers who are in search for other dog lovers as companions and lovers, sign up to and use these sites and apps to break the ice and set up meeting points for dates. The dates usually include both the dogs once some dog socialization takes place between them. The dating site Plentyoffish.com conducted a survey and found that there is a 45% likelihood that a dog owner will land up in a serious, long-term relationship with someone who is also a dog lover.
Some common questions to expect about your dog when people approach you
Let's just put it this way: when you have a pooch by your side, potential dates' pick up lines will be slightly different from the typical "Do you know CPR? Because you took my breath away!"
The following questions don't come across as too forward or a turn-off for an initial acquaintance between two people; however, they do work like a charm as conversation-starters:
1. Your dog is absolutely adorable; how old is he/she?
2. What type of breed is your dog?
3. I see our dogs are getting on well - how about another doggie play date?
For an initial meeting avoid the pushy, clingy question: "Can I take your dog for a walk sometime?" at all costs!
Only dog walkers can be so forward and get away with it!
So we have clarified and set out how your beloved pooch can assist you in finding a soulmate - isn't that what best friends do?
Well now we move onto the best places to go in order to use your dog as a wingman/woman to attract dudes and dudettes.
Where to Meet Singles with Dogs
There are always specific places that are ideal to meet people interested in dog lovers dating.
The dog beach is a great place to meet singles with dogs!
People who visit these places are usually dog lovers, who are interested in including their dogs in the process of finding love and forming serious, long-term relationships.
What is awesome about these spots is that the people who visit them all have dogs for the most part, so the question of pets and compromise isn't something to fear in the relationship.
We won't hold you in suspense, here are some of the best places in your quest for dog lovers and dating:
- Dog parks: they are the best place to chance that first encounter between your future partner and his/her furry partner. Both you and your dogs can meet and break the ice.
- Explore the city streets: most cities have tons of dog-friendly zones in which you can draw attention.
- Coffee shops and restaurants that cater to dogs: these places have outside patios with dog bowls; some even offer something on the menu for your pooch.
- Dog beaches: Dog walkers usually go to the beach or park and whether they like it or not, they will be approached by lots of people asking for their dogs to be walked too (maybe just an excuse to see the dog walkers again).
- Dog activity groups: dog training classes, fly-ball clubs, and agility classes offer great opportunities to meet other dog owners.
- Rescue dog shelters: if you visit a shelter, people will get the impression that you're kind and empathetic - great qualities for a relationship. Animal lovers feel comfortable with people with the same interests as they feel animal-lovers can be trusted. There are lots of American shelters, like: Dogs Trust, or even Cinnamon Trust where you join the cause to help old or disabled people with their pets. This Trust operates a national network of volunteers. It's best to check your local charities in your area to get involved in.
- Trip to the vet: the vet is not generally a place you want your pooch to frequent, but there are lots of pet owners coming in and out and your fateful encounter with love could be here.
- Dog groomers: not your dogs favorite place, this could be yours. Dog owners can have a chat while their pooches get nice and pampered.
- Dog-friendly activities & holiday getaway locations: these places provide facilities and host activities geared towards both you and your dog. They provide a platform from which to launch new friendships with other holiday makers who return year after year.
- Pets as Therapy (PAT) Programs: this compassionate initiative ensures that dogs are taken to visit sick and elderly people in hospitals, care home, and hospices in order to cheer them up.
- Online sites: there are plenty of online dating sites, dog lovers dating sites in particular, that engineer dates and meeting places. A site like meetup.com is a great place to set up meetings with dogs of the same size and breed.
Try an Online Dating Site
Introducing your Dog to Your Partner
Things are moving forward between you and your significant other and it's time to break the news to your best friend before anyone else!
By best friend we mean your dog! Yes, not your mom or lifelong buddy/girlfriend.
Introducing your dog and partner - love at first site!
The truth is, if both of you have dogs, you've probably already gone through the motions of pet and partner socialization, as well as dog socialization between the dogs.
This section is helpful for those who find their dogs have them tight around the leash and not the other way around.
Some dogs can get really emotional and act out towards your partner from jealousy or possessiveness.
Sometimes it is just a disruption of the dog's routine that gets them a little out of balance. If your lover starts to hang around more or moves in, this has just as much as an impact on your dog's life as your own.
But don't despair! Your dog and lover might turn out to be the bestest of friends that you might start to feel left out. Dogs just need to realize that people can share their love with them and other humans simultaneously.
Here are some steps to take to ease the introduction and get both your partner and pooch to approve of one another:
If your partner is a dog lover, things will be much easier; if your lover isn't a dog person, we set out helpful suggestions in the compromise section below.
- The first thing is to keep your dog's routine as it. This means you need to guide your partner along about the commands the dog is used to, as well as his/her behavior, lifestyle, and personality. Your dog should feel secure on its own territory and get enough attention from you. You need to maintain that one-on-one time with your Fido so there are no feelings of neglect.
- Allocate some "alone-time" for a play date between your partner and dog when both seem ready. Your partner can feed your dog or take him/her for a walk in the park. These play dates will solidify their bond and soften any feelings of jealousy. The key to this all is patience. Once your significant other and dog have become closer, you can join in the bonding time as well. It is important to keep the dog's routine as natural as possible. Your dog will eventually see your partner as an extension of yourself and part of the pack.
- Before they even meet, bring your dog a piece of clothing of your partner to let your dog sniff out the smell. Reward the dog with a treat, dinner, game, or walk every time he/she smells the item. You can also say your partner's name before you show the item, then reward the dog, and repeat the process several times. The goal is for your dog to associate your partner with the good things in life.
- It is best to introduce your dog and partner to one another in a neutral territory. Your partner must be equipped with treats and toys, so that the dog can eventually take these items from your partner's hands. Nothing should be forced; the atmosphere should be comfortable and calm. When your dog is ready to approach your partner it'll happen. Dogs read body language instantaneously, so it may be better for partner to stand sideways to the dog and avoid direct eye contact at first. Jerky movements are interpreted as fear and this makes all the parties tense.
- After the ice is broken, you should take your dog to the beach or park. Every time the dog looks up, your partner must offer reward treats until he/she can pet the dog. There should be an alternation between treats and petting, while you stand nearby to supervise the interaction.
- Once the dog and partner get on like a house on fire, go back to your house or ride back in the same car.
- When you get to the house, feed your dog a meal. The three of you should then go for a walk until you can leave them alone together. Simply put, your dog must associate your lover with fun activities - not rough play or chase.
- If your pooch gets ratty and starts to bark or show aggression, tire him/her out with commands. Praise the dog for listening and being quiet. The last step is for your partner to give the dog a long-lasting chew toy in the house or to play a game of fetch.
- The first few visits should be conducted as set out above; it is vital to meet on neutral ground in the beginning. You should call out your lover's name and reward the dog with walks and treats.
- It is then time to take your dog to your partner's house. Create a spot with all his toys so he/she feels a part of the transition. Whether you spend more time together or move in to either house, the dog must feel like an integral part of the process with a stable routine.
If the dog continues to show aggression and bark, we suggest you contact a professional trainer or vet to get to the bottom of the dog's frustration.
Wow! Dogs can be as much work as babies! When there is double-trouble we also have you covered in the baby and dog introduction section, but before then, let's talk about when dog meets dog.
Dog Socialization: When Dog Meets Dog
Not all dogs fall instantly in love like Pongo and Perdita:
Love at first site - Pongo and Perdita!
Let's just say that Anita and Roger were lucky!
Some dogs need a whole lot of socialization skills before they can match the compatibility of you and your lover.
There are a various rules, ideas, and tactics you can take on to ensure that your dogs get used to the idea of having one another around on a regular basis.
The goal is this:
Dog socialization - When dog meets dog!
Let's see how!
To start, dogs respond to meetings with other dogs based on the his/her:
- Behavior & body language
- Previous socialization skills
- If he/she shares a home with other dogs
- If the dog needs a leash or not
- If he/she is neutered or spayed
If both your dogs are used to having other dogs and animals around, the meeting is more likely to go off without a hitch; however, some dogs are not used to other dogs, or they only get on with the ones that live with them. Just because your dog knows other dogs, it doesn't mean he/she will get along with every single dog he/she meets.
The NUMBER 1 rule is to introduce two dogs on neutral territory.
What does this mean?
A dog's territory includes your home and extended surroundings, where the dog urinates, a favorite park, and your car.
Neutral ground is a place neither dog will act territorial, and where the dogs are used to meeting other dogs. If you aren't convinced the park will be the best place, you can meet at pet supply stores like Petco or PetSmart. We also suggest you have a trainer around if possible. If your dog is very problematic, you definitely need a certified trainer or dog whisperer to come to the rescue.
Come prepared with a:
- Bag of high value treats or small pieces of food
- Calm mood
These stages will work like magic:
- Before the meeting, both dogs need to be on a leash but with a calm handler. The leash must be loose so as to not express any fear, anxiety, or tension.. Both owners must walk at a safe distance apart with the dogs at their sides, and then they should cross paths and walk in single file as this invokes the way dogs act on hunting expeditions - when a dog is most social. Initially, the dogs will just sniff out each other's paths. Reward the dogs with treats when they behave well, like if they look in each other's direction and don't overreact. With a soothing tone, give them a treat. If one of the dogs barks, lunges, or snaps at the other dog, consider playing the "Look at That" game. This game helps the dog to feel happy and calm before they proceed to the next stage of the first meeting. Sometimes barks can just indicate eagerness and happiness instead of a warning of challenge.
- Look out for positive body language as a signal to move on to the next level. This includes a wagging tail, a relaxed mouth with the lips slightly opened in a smile, and a tongue lolling to the side of the mouth.It is normal for dogs to use their senses to learn about each other, and therefore licking, body rubbing, pawing, and anogenital sniffing are good.
- Then it's time for the three second rule: the dogs can only meet for 3 seconds. This is the time to watch body language very closely. You need to know, or have someone around that knows, the difference between dogs getting to know one another with some noise or posturing, and plain aggression. If one of the dogs comes across as standoffish, distract his/her attention to something else. Let the dogs alternate at walking behind the other one; once they feel comfortable, they can walk side by side.
- If there are no sign of hostility, the dogs can interact under close supervision. Take them to an enclosed area and drop the leashes - you don't need a game of leash twister - step back, and give them the space to play. There musn't be too much human interference as this makes dogs tense. Verbal interference is always better than physical intervention. Use soothing tones and monitor the behavior. If one of the dogs gets overbearing and the other dog does nothing about it, tell the dog to stop it. On the same token, encourage good behavior.
- If the dogs seem fine, drive them home in separate vehicles or in separate crates in the same car.
- When you arrive at the house, let the owner and then the dog who lives there walk in first. The owner and dog must invite the partner and dog in so that the first dog feels he is inviting the second dog into his territory willingly. Move toys, food bowls, and bones out of sight as they cause fights. Separate the dogs with a tall baby gate to see how they interact between the barrier. You can only give them treats together when they become good friends and will chomp away together.
Use the same procedure if the one dog is a puppy. If the pupdog is under 6 months old, both dogs will need a lots of breaks because adult dogs can lose patience with the energetic disposition of a puppy. Never leave a puppy alone with a dog who doesn't like the puppy.
If you are unsure of yourself in any way, it is best to consult an expert; bear in mind that the dogs, and not the owners, need to take the lead.
To create a calm atmosphere, use lavender oil on a piece of cloth or blanket as it diffuses the tension for an anxious human or pet.
Crash course on some dog body language
These are physical body movements to look out for when your dogs interact:
Is your dog scared? Dog meeting & body language
- Stiffening of the body & staring: when dogs stiffen, stare into one another's eyes, and their hair stands up with teeth bared, there is trouble. If they start to fight, the next time your introduce them you'll need a certified animal behaviorist. Some dogs do not know how to get one with other dogs and make for better single pets; the most they can be taught to do is to ignore other dogs in public places.
Teeth bared - Dog meeting & body language
- Nose-to-nose greetings: these should be avoided as they are stressful for dogs. These greetings encourage eye contact which isn't a good idea; the dogs can bite because of defensiveness or fear. Dogs need to have brief eye contact so they don't feel challenged. It is best to give verbal feedback if the dogs act out, or if that doesn't work, to separate them by the leash for in order to relax before trying again.
Nose-to-nose greeting - Dog meeting & body language
- Rushing at each other: if both of them run towards one another without raised hair at the base of the tail and shoulders, and in engage in play, you should stay alert. This type of play can escalate if they do not calm down. The tails should be low and wag softly, with butt wiggles. But wiggles means they are happy!
Rushing at each other - Dog meeting & body language
- Shows irritation: when one dog constantly annoys the other one and does not heed to the other dog's warnings (hair standing up, stiff posture. lip curls, ears pulled back, air snaps and growls, raised hackles, mounting aggressively), or the dog requests to take a break and the other dog doesn't listen, this can lead to bullying and fighting. Let the dogs correct one another - it is part of the play, but if the dog doesn't listen, you need to intervene verbally.
Shows irritation - Dog meeting & body language
- Pawing & play-bowing: this kind of interaction involves outstretched legs in front of them. It means they want to play, and so it is a great sign.
Pawing & play bowing - Dog meeting & body language
Play bowing - Dog meeting & body language
- Chase, wrestling, tug over a stick: these are all good signs of play if there is a wiggly, loose movement. Both dogs should take turns at chasing and being on top. The bigger dog will usually lie on its back so it's fair play for the smaller one. If one dog tucks the tail in and avoids the other dog, he/she isn't enjoying the interaction. The play has gone fowl if both lock into positions and play growls grow deeper.
Tug over stick - Dog meeting & body language
Dogs wrestling - Dog meeting & body language
- Dog fights: fights can occur for several reasons and there are many ways to diffuse them. The best way is to focus on the dog with the higher intensity and use touch to redirect them (this forces them to release a bite). After that you need to pull the dogs up and not back. Do not yell or talk excitedly if you want to break up a fight; you can use a loud grunt or shout in a calm tone. Dogs forget quickly, so it's best you do too! The dogs get to decide who will be at the top of the food chain (we mean dominance here) - this is based on who came first, or who the oldest is; however, mother nature works in mysterious ways. A Chihuahua can think it's 10 times larger than a Great Dane.
Dog fight - Dog meeting & body language
Introducing Your Dog to Your Baby
Most parents wonder how they can prepare their pet for their new baby?
This is a valid question if you want to keep your precious pooch (baby number 1) around.
The truth is that your baby will become your first priority, but in saying that, your dog still remains an integral part of your life whom your baby can also love.
Your dog will already sense that you're pregnant, but this doesn't mean the dog will understand what this all means for his/her life and routine.
The key is to get rid of unwanted behaviors and habits before the baby is born!
Your dog mirrors your emotions, and hence it is vital for you to remain calm despite it being an emotional time.
There are several ways you can prepare yourself and your pooch for the arrival of the new addition while he/she is baking in the oven.
These ideas have been established by animal behaviorists and certified dog psychologists in relation to babies.
The same applies to women who adopt a baby or use a surrogate mother; there is still excitement in the house as well as changes around the home which your dog can pick up on.
Preparations before the bambino is born
Dog and baby toys must be kept separate - Tips for dog and baby introductions
- Expose your dog to babies and children with supervision. Kids do unpredictable things and it is good to see how your dog reacts.
- Take your dog to obedience classes if you haven't yet.
- Keep the dog's schedule normal with slight variations so the dog can get used to changes. If you want to keep your pooch's schedule intact, invest in a baby carrier or a jogging stroller. Take the dog for a walk with the stroller so the dog will learn how to walk behind the stroller. Teach the dog that when you say "back" and hold your hands and shuffle towards him/her, it means he must stay away from the stroller. Eventually you won't have to say it - you can just lift your hands and back up. It is also good to go to the park where other babies and strollers will be to see how your dog behaves; your dog should also learn what it looks like when a baby is strapped to your front.
- Play baby sounds and put the recording as loud as possible so the dog can hear it while you go on about your normal routine. This helps the dog to get accustomed to a baby's cry and sounds so that you can see how the dog reacts and what behavior it elicits.
- This may seem a bit crazy. When you're 6 months pregnant get a baby doll and treat it as your infant. Carry it around, tote it in the stroller and baby carrier, and coo to it.
- Introduce your dog to baby things, such as: a crib, swing, toys. Let your pooch sniff baby lotion and powder.
- Stock up on toys for the dog so he/she doesn't steal the baby's. Make sure he learns which toys belong to him and which don't.
- Place the dog's food bowl on the counter when he/she isn't eating. The dog bowl is dangerous for your baby because he/she can take the dog food and put it in his mouth. Dogs get territorial with food. It is good to teach the dog to let anyone approach him when he/she eats. This can also be performed with treats and toys.
- Accustom your dog to a car barrier, crate, or seat belt because dogs can scratch by mistake in the car.
- Buy the dog a comfortable dog bed if you don't want him/her on the bed anymore.
- Teach your pooch not to bark at every tiny thing with the reward system; reward the dog every time it is well-behaved.
- Tug and pull a little bit at your dog to get him/her used to it. Children are bound to tug and pull. Reward your dog each time you tug at its tail or body so that the dog will tolerate uncomfortable interactions.
- Get your dog used to a crawling baby by crawling towards him/her. Carry this on when the baby is born by placing the baby on your back while your partner holds the baby up. Reward the dog with treats.
- Teach the "Go Away" method. This method is designed to show the dog that he/she doesn't have to resort to aggression if he/she feels nervous or trapped. Use treats to show the dog the safe zone areas in which he/she can jump on and sit on so the baby can't reach the dog. Teach the dog how to go to these safe zone areas. Also teach the dog that it's okay if he/she jumps back on the chairs to get away from the baby.
- The nursery should be off-limits to the dog with an invisible barrier. The dog needs to learn that it cannot cross the barrier without permission. Soon enough you can let the dog into the room with your supervision, but you must decide when the dog must exit the room. Repeat this activity a few times before the baby arrives as it teaches the dog that the room belongs to the baby.
Introduction once the baby is born
Congratulations! Your baby has arrived.
These are steps you can take to control the introduction between your dog and baby.
If you have a few pets, make sure each one is on a leash when you introduce them to the baby.
- When the baby is still at the hospital bring home something with the baby's scent for the dog to smell. You should set clear boundaries about allowing the dog to sniff the item. First let the dog smell it from a distance while holding it up. You want the dog to understand that the item is yours and you are giving him/her permission to smell it. You need to teach the dog to respect the baby.
- If you don't have someone to take care of the dog while mom and baby are in hospital, ask your close friends and family to stand in for you. You can also send the dog to a doggie daycare which has two attendants per 10 dogs.
- Control the introduction when you bring the baby home. Start by taking your dog on his/her usual walk to drain the energy. Make sure the dog is submissive before you get home as it will smell the baby immediately, but you have introduced the smell before so the dog shouldn't get too excited. The mother should walk in before the baby and give lots of attention to the dog. The person holding the baby must remain calm. The dog should be allowed to sniff the baby but from a distance without bringing the baby too close. Eventually the dog can come closer. These steps are to teach the dog that the baby is also part of the family now.
- Establish a spot in the nursery that the dog can sit in quietly. Put treats there now and then so the dog will love the spot. When the mother nurses the baby, the dog must get a few treats and go to that spot. Dogs understand that nursing is intimate; if they learn to be calm and get rewarded, they will associate nursing will positive feelings.
Precautions to take once the baby is born
- Keep things as normal as possible for the dog in order to prevent anxiety and depression. Give the dog a lot of attention and tender loving care so that behavioral issues don't manifest.If you retain the dog's routine, the dog will remain feeling relaxed and secure.
- If the dog misbehaves, don't scold him - rather redirect his/her attention to something else.
- Once the baby starts to explore, you need to supervise the interactions between baby and dog. Prevent your baby from tugging at the dog. Both parties need to learn mutual respect. Even a peaceful dog can be provoked when there are no boundaries and supervision.
- To discourage the dog from jumping on the changing table or crib, place double-sided tape to the items.
- Reward the dog for calm and submissive behavior as over-excitedness can hurt the baby. Don't indulge in a dog that exhibits hyperactive behavior.
The most important point to take with you is that your baby's safety comes first. If you are apprehensive about your dog's behavior, rather find it a very warm, loving home if he/she can't accept the baby.
Before that you can seek professional advice and assistance from a certified dog behaviorist to deal with the separation anxiety, fear, and aggression.
Dates & Activities with Your Dog
Who said double-dating isn't fun?!
But fun takes on a new meaning when some furry friends are doubling up on the coffee date.
Yes, you heard right - dogs can drink coffee!!
Here are some great ideas for dates and activities with your dog through which you can get to you know one another really well, for your dog to get acquainted with your date, and if you both have dogs, for the dogs to become better friends.
Your dogs will become best friends
We mentioned coffee date, but we assure you that this fantastic list we put together takes dog lovers dating to another level of creativity!
Make sure to keep your pooch hydrated because most of these activities and outings take place outside. Bring a leash, a plastic bag to clean up their waste when nature calls, and water and a towel to clean them before they hop back into your vehicle.
Note: It is essential to be aware of your dog's personality in public settings in terms of its capabilities, drawbacks, and needs. It is also important to research and suss out the place before for any hazards.
Where to go on dates with your partner and pooch?
- Go for a romantic picnic in your favorite nature reserve and take along some dog biscuits, treats and water.
- How about some doga? This is an exciting spin on yoga.
- Use your dog as a mascot at a baseball game. It is popular in the U.S. to take dogs along to baseball games on particular days, like Washington's National "Pups in the Park."
- Take a breather for your day's coffee fix after your morning walk. Starbucks offers a Puppuccino while you sip on your freezo.
- If ice-cream is your thing, go to Shake Shack. Lots of ice-cream parlors offer doggy snacks - just ask for a doggie cone; frozen yogurt brands serve fro-yos for dogs, and there are dog bakeries for those they don't handle dairy so well.
- Watch an outdoor movie cuddled up with blankets and fur!
- Watch the sunset at your favorite spot.
- Visit the local farmers' markets on the weekend. Most of them are dog-friendly and out in the open. Who knows, maybe your dog will score some free graze from the meat stand.
- Take a fishing trip; this is especially for retriever dogs who are fond of fishing themselves.
- Paddle board - for dogs who love the water, this is a great activity and workout.
- Live on the wild side and take a bike trip: secure your pooch in a carrier or on your bike to avoid running over its tootsies (paws).
- Laze around on the dog beach; a secluded one is even more romantic.
- Go for the classic date: a dog park; you can't go wrong with that!
- Dine at restaurants that place water bowls on the patio - this is better during the day with good weather.
- Rough it out on a weekend camping trip.
- Get creative on a photo safari: shoot some unforgettable pics with the dogs - it's a great way to capture memories.
- Put your pooch's skills to the test and enjoy a dog show or competition.
- Explore some pet stores - they are dog-friendly zones in which you can check out some cool dog products.
- Indulge yourselves in a pamper session of a little-paw-mani-pedi treatment.
- Explore the city.
- Refine your navigation skills with some geocaching.
- Go canoeing with your pooch.
- Give back to others with a pet charity race or walk.
- Trek around in the beauty that surrounds you on a hiking trip. Go to nature reserves, county parks, lakes and streams, and local trails. Most of these place are off-leash zones.
- Dock diving & swimming are always fun on a hot day in the ocean or river. Put some booties on their claws so they don't scratch you, and bring a tennis ball.
- Rollerblade for old times' sake.
- Dance and chill at an outdoor concert in a dog-friendly area.
- Winter doesn't mean you can't have fun; go skiing, sledding, snowshoeing or skijoring - let your dog pull you along on the skis.
- Play some frisbee golf.
- Visit a local dog shelter to donate some food, play with the dogs, and bath and feed them (this may just be fun for you and your partner without your poochies).
- Plan a get-together with your friends and dogs for a play-date.
- You can't go wrong with a barbecue.
- Sign up for a dog clinic: these offer dog grooming tips and dog fitness classes. Check your local animal shelter or specialty dog store for information on these clinics.
- Attend a dog agility course: this will hone in your dog's energy while you get some exercise done.
- Watch some Netflix at home snuggled up with your pooches by your side.
Activities for dogs and date ideas
Some of these ideas may sound wacko, but rest assured that taking your dog on a date is a great team building experience.
You can keep things simple if dock diving or skijoring aren't your thing.
Lazing around at home with your significant other and doglets is always a treat.
Find a Date
Compromising - Me or the Pooch?
Whether you have decided to take the relationship to the next level and move in together, or you are still comfortable in your own space but have sleepovers here and there, this information is relevant to you.
Up until now you haven't really gotten involved in how your significant other does the laundry and cooks, let alone disciplines the furry companion...
You are about to share one another's private living space, and all sorts of nagging habits may pop up: does he leave the toilet seat up, does she leave her make-up scattered all around the house, or is the toothpaste tube not closed to the end.
Sounds quite ridiculous, but you only notice these things when someone calls you out on them.
The same can apply to pet friends and what privileges we indulge them with, especially if they live indoors.
Dogs, dating & compromise - dog on the bed or not?!
It may be easier if both partner have dogs, but even so, everyone has different rules and expectations
Did you know that a survey was done which states that 14% of pet owners choose their pooch over their partner?
How about a study, conducted by esure.com, which found that a dog can cause up to 2000 arguments in its lifetime (poor thing: with only, sadly, a lifespan of 8-16 years on average)??
We definitely don't want this to be the case for our readers.
Picture this: a loving family lounging around by the fireplace with a shiny, Labrador cozying up on the carpet with the kids.
It may sound cliché, or you may think we're jumping the gun with mentions of family and kids, but this is our ultimate goal and we promise to deliver on helpful information to make every transition, for both humans and dogs, much easier.
Steps & Setting Some Ground Rules
- Set a code of rules:
You and your partner should have a sit-down and mention the routine and all the rules your dog is accustomed to; this ensures you are both on the same page.
If your dog usually sleeps on your bed, and your partner isn't comfortable with that, it is a very reasonable expectation to take into consideration.
Maybe opt for placing the dog in a basket near your side of the bed to compromise for all parties. A "take it or leave it" approach will not last in a relationship.
Human relationships are what need to ultimately work, so it is essential to discuss all issues as early as possible. Both partners need to come to the table.
If one person doesn't like the dog on the bed and couches, but the dog has been allowed to climb on both, this partner needs to understand that the dog won't change its behavior overnight.
The uncomfortable party can agree on letting the dog on the couches and not the bed. What about medical care for dogs - who foots the bill, or do you go Dutch on the pet insurance?
- Following through with rules:
It is all good and well to set up an ideal set of rules; however, you need to make them fair so that you and your pup can stick to them!
Dogs need routine, so it's a bad idea to be break the rules when your partner isn't around to see it.
If you confuse the dog by changing up the rules or letting things slide, the dog will act out.
All parties need to be treated fairly so there are no hard feelings and to avoid the green-eyed monster lurking about; this is why compromise and consistency go hand-in-hand if you want your bae and fur babe to both stick around.
What happens if my significant partner isn't a dog person?
It may be almost impossible to comes to terms with the fact that your lover doesn't see that beautiful face and cute personality behind that panting tongue and all that hair!
Yep, believe it or not, sometimes the love we possess for our pooches is akin to what they call "only a mother can love that face."
Jokes aside, some people just aren't fans of dogs and won't connect with them on the same level as you do.
Here are some ways to combat this issue if your partner agrees to let the dog stay because they know how much you adore your "child" or companion:
- Be empathetic towards your partner's needs and concerns.
- Try narrow down the issues so that there is a specific solution.
- Take responsibility for outcomes and solutions, and always be respectful.
- Uh oh! Your dog chewed up your partner's beloved sweater. Make sure you replace it.
- Practice good communication with one another; talk about values regarding dogs for the get-go!
- Consult an expert if the dog needs training with habits that make your partner feel uncomfortable. A vet can pinpoint underlying health issues that might contribute to this behavior.
- Always be honest and sincere about your frustrations and feelings. When you want to make a statement, use "I" as in, "This is how I feel about the dog," instead of placing the blame on other people.
- Respect your partner's differences: if you bring pets into the relationship, you can't expect your significant other to perform more pet duties than he/she should if he/she doesn't like dogs.
Maybe with time your partner will warm up to your pooch, and they might even become best friends, but until then, cool off on the demands. At least in the beginning, try perform all the dog duties yourself.
What if my partner is allergic to dogs?
This isn't an easy one because you can't brush the allergies under the carpet!
If you want to prevent your partner from having a full-on asthma attack, these are some precautions to take to diffuse the allergic reactions:
- Make the closest and bedrooms dog-free zones.
- Remove or limit furniture upholstered with fabric.
- Replace the carpet with a hard surface; it's easier to clean.
- Groom your dog on a weekly basis: bath and brush the cutie, especially if he/she has a thick coat.
- Use tightly-woven textiles and materials for all the bedding, this includes pillow covers and mattresses.
- Wash the bedding and curtains on a regular basis with hot temperatures. This may require two rinses and a steam.
Remember: you can't make your lover fall in love with your dog!
With time and some patience, things will improve. The most important thing is to take all parties' needs into consideration.
Compromise isn't easy, but it's the key to success!
It's All Up to You Now
You've now got the memo on all things dog lovers dating!
Spreading the love is always fun, and as the saying goes, "the more the merrier"!
What we mean is that receiving love from both a significant other and a dog is the ultimate feeling of happiness!
So, use this comprehensive guide on dogs and dating; you can't go wrong!
Now give us a big smile!
Smile wide and say cheese!
That's a wrap!
Once you've adopted a puppy all that's left for you to do is to find a date, and for this we recommend eHarmony. Sign up today!