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Ask A Dog Trainer: How Do I Encourage My Dog To Like My New Significant Other?

| Published on September 6, 2016

You’ve finally found your Mr. or Mrs. Right. You’ve been on several dates and you are already thinking it might be love. There’s just one thing left to do. Bring them home to meet… your dog.

But what happens if your dog doesn’t like your new partner? Is there a way to make sure that this doesn’t happen? The following are some tips and tricks to help that first meeting go smoothly so your love can continue to grow.


Before They Meet

Here are things to do before you have your significant other meet your dog:

-Take something of theirs, like a worn sweatshirt, back to your place and leave it for your dog to smell. This will get your dog used to their smell, so that when they first meet, that person will smell familiar to your dog. This can help them warm up quicker.

-If possible, have someone take your dog on an outing while you have your significant other over to your house. This way, they can leave their scent around the house for your dog to smell when she gets home, just another way to familiarize her with your new partner before they even meet.


Image Source: Taro the Shiba Inu via Flickr
Image Source: Taro the Shiba Inu via Flickr


-Talk to your significant other about your dog. Tell them your dog’s likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to how people interact with them! Important things are: where your dog likes and does not like to be touched, cues she knows, and how to approach her appropriately. Some dogs don’t mind a stranger coming up to them, others want to approach in their own time. This will set your partner up for success at the first meeting.



The First Meeting

Ready for that big meeting? Here are somethings to help it go well:

-For some dogs, meeting a stranger is easier when they’re away from home. In that case, arrange the first meeting somewhere neutral like an off-leash dog park. Above all, it should be a place your dog feels comfortable and can choose whether or not to interact with the new person. If the location stresses your dog out, it will just cause more strain on the first meeting and it won’t go well.

-Take a walk. Taking a walk, hike, or playing Frisbee at the park can take the pressure off. If your dog is doing something she enjoys, she will be more receptive to a new person who is engaging in the activity with her.


-Let your dog set the pace for interaction. Your dog’s body language will let you know how he is feeling. Make sure you and your partner do not push him into anything he’s not ready for; that’s how bites happen.

-Have treats and toys handy. Wait and have your significant other feed them their meal from their hand (as long as they are not a food guarder!) or have extra-special treats ready for them to give your pooch. If your dog loves to play, bring out some new toys for your significant other to give your dog. Play and food can help even a shy dog make friends.


-Don’t push it. Above all, don’t force your dog. If he’s shy and just wants to watch your significant other from across the room or the dog park, that’s okay. Try again another day. Forcing it will surely leave a bad impression on your dog.

Follow these tips and your first greeting should go smoothly and set the stage for a loving relationship between the three of you.

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