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So, what can your boyfriend do to foster a good relationship with your dog? It will depend largely on your dog’s personality. Some canines need to take it slow when they are getting to know a new person. If your dog has a more reserved personality, your boyfriend may want to play hard to get. Suggest that he ignore your dog when he’s at your apartment or house; this lets your dog approach at his own pace. Encourage your boyfriend to sit with his body turned slightly away from (rather than facing) your dog. Avoiding direct eye contact with your dog can also help relieve some of the pressure your dog may feel when your boyfriend is around.
A shy dog may do better if he can make the first approach. Ask your boyfriend to avoid reaching out or leaning over your dog; instead, he should let your dog initiate any interaction. You might need to help your boyfriend read your dog’s social cues: A sniff of a leg, for instance, isn’t necessarily an invite for petting — it may simply be your dog’s way of trying to figure out who this new person is. When your dog is interested in connecting, he will most likely exhibit loose and relaxed body language, accompanied by signs that he is seeking social interaction, like standing or sitting in close proximity to your boyfriend, or leaning on or rubbing against him.
If your dog is standoffish but not necessarily shy, your boyfriend should approach him gradually. Focusing on a mutually enjoyable activity can be a way for them to get to know each other without putting too much pressure on either of them. Arrange for your boyfriend and your dog to do something your dog really enjoys. For some dogs, a game of fetch is a good way to make friends. Other canines enjoy showing off their favorite tricks in return for treats (have your boyfriend do the treating). A walk or a trip to the dog park — with you, of course — can also be a wonderful way for your boyfriend and your dog to get to know each other.
Other dogs are more gregarious and friendly. These pooches may warm up right away — in some cases, a little too fast. Warn your boyfriend in advance if your dog is the type who has never met a stranger he didn’t love. Making friends with an outgoing canine is less of an issue, but it’s still going to be important for your boyfriend to solidify his connection with your dog, as they likely will be spending a lot of time together in the future. Reward-based training can be an excellent way for your boyfriend to bond with your dog, while also establishing some boundaries.
Once your dog and your boyfriend start to form a relationship, encourage your boyfriend to interact with your dog on his own. Playtime, walks and cuddle time — with and without you around — can all be ways for your boyfriend to get closer to your dog.
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