Love Me, Love My Dog: 6 Rules for Dating a Devoted Dog Person

Couple walking dog
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Remember: Your significant other's dog isn't just a dog, he's family.

Dating can be hard; there are so many pieces to finding that right person, the one you are truly compatible with. Pet ownership can add an extra layer of complexity — what if the right girl or guy is a committed dog person and you are… not? Can love still bloom?

I’m here to tell you that it is entirely possible for a dog person to fall in love with someone less canine crazy. It happened to me when I met my husband, Ben.

When I was dating, my biggest concern was finding a partner who was compatible not only with me, but with my daughter and my dogs — a tall order to fill. My Pugs were an especially important part of the dating process, because the way my dates acted around my dogs helped me gauge their character, especially in terms of important traits like empathy, kindness and capacity for love. When I met Ben, I knew I'd found a keeper.

There’s nothing more attractive to a dog lover than witnessing the blossoming relationship between a significant other and a canine. When Ben and I started dating, he liked dogs, but he wasn’t as crazy about them as I am. But, when he planned a surprise party to celebrate my Pug’s birthday — something he would never have done before he met me — I was absolutely smitten and fell even more deeply in love with him. His kindness to my dogs was a sure sign of his feelings for me.

Have you found yourself falling for a dog person? Well, there are a few things you should know up front. Here are my personal do’s and don’ts for dating a devoted dog lover.

The Secret to Winning a Dog Lover’s Heart

Recognize that the dog is family. Never say, “It’s just a dog.” First of all, the dog has a name. Secondly, your love interest sees the dog as a he or she, not an it! Most importantly, the dog isn’t just a dog, he’s more likely to be a furry child or a fuzzy sibling or the best friend your date has ever had. For this reason, don't assume that it's OK to refer to the dog as property or the person as merely a dog owner. My parents refer to my Pugs as their “granddogs,” and I’m an auntie to their new puppy, QT. It may seem crazy, but I don't care — I love those dogs like family.

Don’t diss your date’s other doggie loves. My love for dogs doesn't stop with the Becker family dogs, and it's likely that your dog-loving date doesn’t just adore his or her canine — for deeply devoted dog people, all canines are fair game. Ben’s family’s dogs have learned to expect my gifts of good tidings (i.e., dog treats and toys) whenever we visit. This devotion to dogs can go beyond family to include any dog in need of rescue or help. I’m the first one to donate my time and money to dogs in need, and I’m not alone in this. When you date a dog person, be prepared to share your partner with the pooches.

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