It’s your biggest fear. Your dog — whom you love — can’t stand your partner — whom you also love.
But don’t give up hope! It doesn’t have to be a lose-lose situation. The Dodo spoke with Dr. Andrea Y. Tu, medical director at Behavior Vets in New York City, to help you turn your two best friends into each other’s BFFs.
Is my dog possessive — or just afraid of my partner?
Some pups are just super possessive of their favorite human — so it’s easy to worry that your pup will never, ever, ever like your significant other, no matter who they are.
If that is the case, see your vet because there are steps you can take to manage your dog’s territorial tendencies. But there are plenty of other reasons why your dog might not love being around your partner.
“That [possessive behavior] may or may not be related to true possessive aggression,” Dr. Tu told The Dodo. “Some of that could just simply be that this is a new person. This is a stranger.”
This is definitely where talking to your vet comes in handy. They’ll be able to help you figure out if your dog actually is possessive of you, or if he’s just afraid of your S.O.
What to do if your dog is showing signs of aggression?
Growling is never good. So if you find your dog being aggressive toward your partner, you should definitely get a behaviorist involved.
“If the dog is really going into the realm of abnormal, talk to your behavior service because they can help provide more detailed services,” Dr. Tu said.
It could be that he needs training, at-home management or even medication.
How to help your dog and your partner get along
If your pup is cleared by a vet, and it looks like your dog just isn’t vibing with your partner, Dr. Tu said the best way to get him to come around is to help him create positive associations with your significant other.
For example, if you’re the only person who feeds your dog, consider having your partner feed your pup from now on.Your dog will warm up to your boyfriend or girlfriend once they see them as a source of food.
You could also have your partner provide your pup with other fun things they like, like walks, treats and toys.
Dr. Tu said you can even get a special high-value toy for your dog — but the catch is that your partner is the only one who ever gives him that toy.
“At some point,” she said, “the dog is going to associate the significant other with great things.”
Who says happy endings are just for fairy tales?
Read more: thedodo.com