During your lifetime, you’ll have two puppy loves. One being your significant other, and the other being … your puppy (or kitten)! But if all goes well, it’ll come to a point when your two loves will eventually have to meet. After all, it is extremely important that your family approves of your boyfriend or girlfriend! That’s your beloved pooch and kitty’s approval included!
Your pet may be well socialized and naturally friendly towards new people, but that can change when their owner suddenly starts giving more attention to someone they aren’t familiar with, especially if that someone comes into you and your companion’s personal home. Dogs and cats get jealous and territorial easily, so the best way to ensure they won’t end up hating the one you love is by giving them a proper introduction to one another.
Give your significant other a leg up by facilitating a first impression your pet will just have to love.
Talk to your partner.
Communication is key, which means your partner should be aware of all the important relationships you hold in your life. Before inviting them into your home, or life for that matter, make clear that you have a pet. Don’t shy away from letting them know the current type of relationship you have with your pet, either. This means disclosing that they’re your favorite cuddle buddy, that you’re happy letting them onto your couch, or even the little quirks or allergies they should be aware of. Do they hide in the presence of new people? Do they have a loud, scary bark? Do they not like being pet in a certain spot? Let your honey know the answers to these questions, or else they might have to find out the hard way.
Appeal to your pet’s scent.
Your dog and cat’s senses are so much more heightened than a person’s that even just a new smell in the house can be a sudden and stressful change for them. One of the quickest ways to “introduce” them to your boyfriend or girlfriend before actually introducing them is by getting them familiar with their scent. Try grabbing one of your partner’s shirts and letting your pet get a whiff of it; immediately reward them with some pets or treats afterwards. Another way to go about it is by rubbing off a bit of your scent onto your partner. At this point, your dog or cat is already accustomed to your scent and has come to love it. By putting your significant other in one of your worn shirts, having them use your lotion, or even a bit of your perfume, you will increase your pet’s chances of feeling comfortable around the familiar smell.
Introduce changes sooner than later.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend will be spending quite a bit of time with you, or perhaps even moving in, there are bound to be some changes in your daily life. Prep your pet for any upcoming changes in routine. For example, you might absolutely love having your canine or feline roam about any and all parts of the house. Maybe they crawl into your bed at night, have a special spot on the sofa, or accompany you on all of your outings. Your significant other might not be as eager to do the same. They may prefer to have boundaries, such as not wanting your pet in the bed or near their personal belongings. Discuss how the two of you will compromise. Then implement those changes early on so that your furry friend will have sufficient time to adjust and won’t become overwhelmed all at once.
Spend time together.
Now that they’ve started off on the right foot (or paw), provide opportunities for your pet and significant other to continue to get to know one another. Go out on fun bonding trips together, such as walks, beach trips, hikes, swims, etc. Any form of playtime will do! Continuous pleasant experiences with all of you together will help your pet and partner to build trust and a healthy attachment for one another. Of course, don’t forget to spend some alone time with your little friend, too! It’s important to maintain the closeness you had before introducing your significant other, and your pet deserves their own attention.
Give your pet their own space.
While your pet is sure to love spending time together, provide them with their own space. They’ll need a designated area, such as a bed, crate, or pen, that is all their own. This will be the place they can retreat to for some peace and quiet, alone time, and sleep. It’s especially important to have this type of spot in the event that your pet becomes suddenly overwhelmed by the changes in your lives.
Be patient and be positive!
It’s a very exciting time to have your two loves meet, but patience is always key! Take the time to let you, your partner, and your pet enjoy the process of spending time with one another and building a healthy, positive dynamic.