In Love But Cautious

Friday, January 30, 2009

Question

I am getting serious about this guy I am dating. I'm sure you know how hard it is for two men to form a serious relationship. So I am not about to throw away somebody who has this much potential. He's not my problem. It's his dog. He's totally spoiled his pet, and allowed the animal to sleep in his bed. Whenever we want to have sex, the dog gets in the way, demanding attention, or barks at me. My boyfriend thinks it's cute when the dog "protects" him from me, but I think it's annoying as hell. When we put the dog outside of the bedroom and close the door, it whines and scratches and ruins the mood. I could just entertain him at my house, I suppose, but he always has to leave to walk the dog, so we never get to spend the whole night together. I'd like to discuss living together someday, but not as long as that would mean a permanent, celibate, three-way sleeping situation. What are my options here?

Answer

If you were consulting me via a psychic hotline, I would advise you to run like hell. I'd flip over a couple of Tarot cards or swish my tea leaves around and promise you that somebody tall, dark, and handsome is going to come into your life in the next six months—someone without a dog.

When you get involved with somebody who has a pet, you are actually forming a relationship with two living beings. It is a sort of a triangle. So if you dislike the species of companion animal, the way that they were raised, or the way that the animal relates to you, don't dream about living together. You'll be miserable. You sound like somebody who would rather not have the mess and bother of taking care of an animal. If that's true, just enjoy this guy's company on a casual basis.

Some people just aren't cut out to share their lives with a pet. There's nothing wrong with that. If you are one of those people, why take on a dog that you consider spoiled as well as the guy who spoiled him in the first place? You'll never be happy sharing your home with these two.

Just for free, I'll toss in the additional information that I think you're right about the dog being spoiled. Unless you never want to have a sex life, your dog should not sleep in your bed. I firmly believe that dogs are happier when they are crate-trained, so that they have their own kennel to sleep in at night. People who anthropomorphize dogs believe this is somehow cruel, like putting them in jail, but it's not. It's just giving them the kind of den that they'd make for themselves if they were wild.

I recommend The Monks of New Skete's book How to be Your Dog's Best Friend. They also have a great book on how to train a puppy. These volumes were put together by a religious order that breeds and trains German shepherds to financially support themselves. Their understanding of canine psychology is flawless. And they certainly understand that the only way for humans and dogs to live happily together is for humans to be in the alpha position. This is better for both parties to the relationship.

While it is possible to train an adult dog to enjoy having its own crate or kennel, your boyfriend doesn't sound like the kind of person who would want to do this or have the discipline for it. But I could be wrong. My judgment is based on a short e-mail from you. So if you'd like to buy one of these books and see if he'll go for it, maybe you can save the relationship. Just make sure he isn't attempting this begrudgingly. If he resents you for "making" him do this, it will just sabotage the relationship in a whole different way.

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