Fear aggressive dog causing relationship issues, or is it me?
November 16, 2017 1:45 PM   Subscribe

My bf of a year and a half have had ongoing issues over his dog's aggressive behavior, including snapping at my face and lunging and growling at several people. Multiple requests to get her trained have gone nowhere. BF also shuts down and withdraws any time this comes up, to the point I feel like I have to prepare for a breakup every time I initiate the discussion. No one else seems to have an issue with the dog, so maybe I really am the one in the wrong?

Bf and I have been dating for a year and a half. Bf and his roommate have been best friends and roommates for over 10 years. Bf's roommate A bought a 4 month old pitbull puppy from a shelter on a whim 6 years ago. Bf considers her to be his dog too. She was abused by her first owner and has some fear aggression issues. She's snapped at my face and growled at me, she lunged at their other roommate D's girlfriend and tore her clothes, and she lunges and barks at people, dogs, and bikes on walks. She's under-socialized, untrained, and under-exercised, maybe gets walked once a week. I grew up with dogs literally my whole childhood, but I'm scared of this one.

In the beginning of the relationship bf wanted her to sleep in his full-sized bed with us a few times when roommate A was gone. Then about a year ago she snapped at my face. That night, I asked bf if she could sleep with their other roommate Z. Bf said, "okay but she's not going to like it." Dog sleeps in one of their beds every night. She doesn't have a dog bed or crate. Anyway, Dog went to Z's room but started barking to be let into bf's room around 6am. Z kicked her out and bf brought her into the bed with us without asking me. I got upset and left in a huff to go home and sleep in my own bed. Bf was hurt by me leaving. This was our first fight. I called him later to explain why I was upset and that I was scared of the dog. I said I wouldn't spend the night anymore if he wanted the dog to sleep in the bed with us. He was angry that I gave an ultimatum about not spending the night and felt deceived that I'd seemed okay around her before and was now saying I was scared. We seemed to reach an understanding that she wouldn't sleep in the bed when I'm staying over anymore, but later that night he didn't say "I love you" when we signed off for the night. We normally say it every night. I called him out on it and ended up apologizing for leaving that morning instead of asking him to kick the dog out of bed. Eventually he acknowledged that it was shitty to withhold his "I love you" and apologized. He said they would look into training for the dog.

This hasn't happened. The lack of training has come up 3 more times since our first fight. He keeps saying he'll talk to roommate A about it, and he does, but then nothing happens. This issue just came up again when he told someone he'd get another pitbull if he were to get another dog. I am very opposed to this, especially if we started living together because I have two cats. I realize pitbulls can be very sweet, but I think they're also very stubborn and wilfull, and if they're rescues they can come with a lot of behavioral issues. That's true of any rescue, but I think pits are more likely to have been abused as fighting dogs or otherwise mistreated or untrained by gross people who like the status and image of having an aggressive dog. I think rescue dogs require an experienced, committed, responsible dog owner, and I have not seen bf demonstrate that kind of behavior. I've repeatedly encouraged them just to walk her once a day even, but bf says he's frequently too tired when he gets home from work. I told bf my concerns about this yesterday, and now we're in another fight. He's taking some space right now, I don't know for how long.

I feel like I have to psyche myself up for a breakup every time we talk about this because he feels defensive and shuts down or withdraws. I'm wearing out on feeling like the bad guy for wanting him to do something about their failure to train this dog that's been aggressive to me. His withdrawal also leaves me feeling incredibly anxious and insecure about our ability to address conflict together. He is a wonderful boyfriend in many other ways, but this has been an ongoing source of conflict for a year now. The other girl whose clothes were torn is fine with Dog, so I am the only one expressing an issue with Dog's behavior. At this point I can't tell whether I'm in the wrong and overreacting since no one else is complaining, and maybe bf is right to withdraw. One of my friends also thinks I'm overreacting. I also understand that Dog's training is really roommate A's job, but bf keeps saying he sees her as his dog too. I would really appreciate some input on whether I'm being a jerk or not and advice on what to do next.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (47 answers total)
Your boyfriend is prioritizing the dog over you. I suggest you leave. This is in no way your fault, and your boyfriend is the one in the wrong, 100%. This doesn't seem like a situation you can win, and frankly, this is unlikely to be the last time your boyfriend treats you this badly. DTMFA.
posted by Slinga at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2017 [91 favorites]

Two issues here IMO:
One of the big relationship gifts is to feel that your partner has your back for nurture and safety.

I hope that someone takes this dog for training and socializing for the dog's sake and everyone who will come into contact with the dog.

Until that happens, it's probably not safe for you to be around the dog.
posted by lois1950 at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

She's under-socialized, untrained, and under-exercised, maybe gets walked once a week.

First of all, where does this dog toilet if she is not being walked? what the fuck.

This dog needs to be rehomed with responsible owners, but your desire not to be physically attacked by an unsafely homed animal is totally fucking normal and valid and you are not being a jerk. Literally everyone else in this situation (aside from the dog) is a jerk.

I've repeatedly encouraged them just to walk her once a day even, but bf says he's frequently too tired when he gets home from work.

posted by poffin boffin at 1:54 PM on November 16, 2017 [146 favorites]

I would not be ok with a dog who repeatedly snapped at me, and I really like dogs. So I don't think you're being unreasonable.

However, at this point, it is pretty clear your boyfriend does not agree with me and has no plans to address this issue.

That would be a deal breaker for me. Don't think of it as him choosing the dog over you - you are choosing reasonableness over your boyfriend's nonsense.
posted by the primroses were over at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2017 [30 favorites]

He was angry that I gave an ultimatum about not spending the night and felt deceived that I'd seemed okay around her before and was now saying I was scared.

Felt deceived? Are you kidding me? That's some man-baby bullshit right there, sorry.

So, you are trying to dog-parent this dog through your boyfriend. That is not working. You think he should train the dog, walk the dog, put the dog in certain places, crate the dog. It's not even his dog!

At this point I can't tell whether I'm in the wrong and overreacting since no one else is complaining, and maybe bf is right to withdraw.

I mean, where does this even lead? You can try one more time with your guy but then I think you have to accept that your feelings are not as important to your boyfriend as his ability to keep doing and acting the way that he wants. He is withdrawing because he wants you to change your mind and shut up about the dog already and let him do what he wants which is to take no real responsibility for the dog and certainly not to be told how to act or what to do.

It's you or the dog. I don't recommend issuing an ultimatum here because I think you'll be disappointed at how he acts. You are asking him to take full responsibility for a dog that he is not the owner of. But, at the minimum you are asking to not be bothered with the dog when you stay over. I think that last part is reasonable. But if you talk it out with him, I think the first part is you owning that you are afraid of the dog and that you don't want to be forced to sleep with or cuddle the dog. That dog is being territorial and it bothers me that the housemates don't seem to mind if their dog is anti-social with their guests. (Is it dudes letting the dog go after their female guests? Not cool. Not manly. Not responsible.) Secondly, you could ask about his feelings over this conflict since you seem worried about how he handles conflict. I suspect he is more bothered that he might have to do something you have asked of him. Lots of guys have irrational feelings about women asking them to do stuff they don't want to be arsed to do. They dig in more. Is he digging in more because you're asking or is there something else going on that he is having trouble talking about?

And if he just thinks you need to get over yourself, you'd be right to not go around there anymore. Don't sleep with a guy who doesn't take your safety or your feelings of safety seriously.
posted by amanda at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2017 [20 favorites]

This dog is still being abused. Dogs needs stimulation and exercise, in varying amounts, but walked once a week is vastly too little. Dogs also need socialization and training for their safety, other dogs' safety, and peoples' safety.

Your personal fear is valid, and it's a valid reason to leave. Untrained dogs can be honest to god dangerous. Honestly, your bf's moral carriage would drive me away as well - he is being cruel to this animal, in addition to being wildly selfish about your safety and feelings. I would break up, and I would absolutely not break up at his house.
posted by The Gaffer at 2:00 PM on November 16, 2017 [80 favorites]

I have a dog. If he ever snapped at a person, I would take action. I would try to correct the behavior myself (I'm a decent trainer), but if I could not, I would get a trainer. It does not appear that your boyfriend has done anything to resolve this, which means that he's either a shitty dog owner or a shitty boyfriend, or both. Your fear is valid, and as his girlfriend, that should be important to your boyfriend. The fact that it is not is important information for you to consider -- what do you want to do about it? Personally, I would break up with someone who would not engage me around this kind of problem.

As for training the dog -- my first step would have been to make you into a human treat dispenser -- when you enter the house, you start giving the dog treats, and every time the dog does what you want (for example, lays down and stops looking at you) you give it another treat. You can't ever give the dog a treat just for begging -- you can only give it treats when it completely ignores you. The idea is for the dog to associate you with the most wonderful thing in the world -- lots of food! And for him to only get that when he completely ignores you. With this method I trained my dog to beg by laying down in a particular spot, because I don't like it when dogs come up to you and bug you for food.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:00 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and to be clear -- I'm not saying that you should become a human treat dispenser on your own. That would only work if the dog's owners were on board with the training. I was just sharing what I would have done.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2017

I personally wouldn't date anyone who treats their pet this carelessly.
posted by cakelite at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2017 [86 favorites]

His withdrawal also leaves me feeling incredibly anxious and insecure about our ability to address conflict together

To me that seems like the most important statement in your question. The dog's a bit of a red herring, in a way --- whether it was the dog or it was something else entirely, you're getting a taste of how he handles things when you two have a substantial disagreement, one where his loyalties are divided or he outright thinks you're in the wrong: He withdraws and ignores the issue in the hope that you'll forget about it and is resentful when you bring it up.

To be blunt, then: what do you think the odds are, if you continue to be with this person, that you're never going to disagree about meaningful shit? Jobs, families, money, kids --- can you accept this pattern of behaviour when it's one of those issues?

If it were me, I'd consider tabling the dog issue itself and addressing this outright. At the end of the day, it's the roommate' dog, he's not the ultimate decision maker there. To me it seems like where you really need to see change is in this pattern of behaviour, regardless of what happens with the dog. Because it's going to crop up again and again.
posted by Diablevert at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2017 [25 favorites]

Setting aside your boyfriend's priorities (although it's a big deal), his behavior towards this dog is unacceptable.

Not exercising a pit bull is cruel. Not providing the dog with training to decrease the possibility that it'll have to be put down is cruel. Not socializing a dog - an abused dog! - is cruel.

I don't know, I just really couldn't be with someone who demonstrated this cruelty and lack of care towards an animal.
posted by lalex at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2017 [17 favorites]

I'm so sorry, but this absolutely needs to be where you break it off with this guy permanently and never look back.

Here's why:

He is showing zero human decency and responsibility towards himself, you, and the dog. You must break up with someone who would get so stubborn about something so obvious because it directly proves he will be a bad partner when even more serious and obvious issues come up.

The dog snapped at your face and is generally aggressive. Someone someday is going to get hurt. Break up with this guy so that it's not you.
posted by jbenben at 2:18 PM on November 16, 2017 [15 favorites]

You are the only sane one in the house.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:22 PM on November 16, 2017 [20 favorites]

I agree with the Mefites above that your boyfriend is being cruel to the dog in that the dog is not properly cared for or trained, which is bad in any case, but especially so with an animal that has a history of trauma.

He's also not being a good boyfriend to you. You may insist that he's good in many other ways, but if your safety and comfort as well as that of a totally dependent animal aren't reaching the threshold of things he can demonstrate caring about, I'd argue he's not being a good boyfriend at all.

Stop preparing to break up and do yourself of actually breaking up and finding a boyfriend whose actions prove he's a good person and a good boyfriend.
posted by quince at 2:25 PM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

One of my friends also thinks I'm overreacting. I also understand that Dog's training is really roommate A's job, but bf keeps saying he sees her as his dog too. I would really appreciate some input on whether I'm being a jerk or not and advice on what to do next.

If anything, you're underreacting. This dog gets walked once a WEEK? This is not a formerly abused dog; this is a currently abused dog.

Your boyfriend and his roommate's standards for what constitutes an acceptable way to treat other living beings (the dog; you) are woefully inadequate. Even if the dog were the sweetest most well behaved dog in the world, the fact that its two owners can't be bothered to care for it properly would disqualify either of them, in my eyes, from being friend or boyfriend material.

Even if they get a dog trainer, dog trainers don't train dogs, they train the dogs' owners. Your boyfriend does not seem like he would be receptive to even the most elementary dog training advice (starting with, walk your damn dog every day).
posted by Aubergine at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2017 [12 favorites]

Don't wait until you've lost half your face in a dog attack to move on from this jerky dude. And please, please don't put your sweet kitties at risk.

Lately there seems to be such a backlash against the perception that pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other dogs, that people are refusing to recognize when a particular pit bull IS aggressive and/or so poorly trained as to be a potential danger. It's like a knee-jerk reaction for some people (egged on no doubt by FB memes of adorable pitties cuddling kittens and babies, presented as "proof" they must all be awesome dogs and not dangerous.) Your friends who believe you are over-reacting to a dog aggressively snapping at your face may be under this particular spell, and not reliable to check your gut feelings against.

Your boyfriend is showing you who he is. Irresponsible, lazy, stubborn and more attached to his opinions than concerned for your feelings. Untrained, aggressive dogs are dangerous but your boyfriend wants to do what he wants and not have his big opinions questioned or put in one iota of effort to rectify a situation that is making you understandably afraid. DTMFA.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:35 PM on November 16, 2017 [21 favorites]

I had a different issue with a partner and a dog and I ended up having to break up with him because of the horrible way he was treating his sweet animal. The way the people treat their pets says volumes about them, and your boyfriend is abusing this dog. I'm really sorry for you and for the dog, and the best thing you can do is walk away and never look back.
posted by sockermom at 2:36 PM on November 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

JFC. Dump this guy. Get a time machine, and go back and dump him the day the dog snapped at your face and he brought her back into your bed (!!). Dump him again when he delivered that pathetic "deceived" line (vomit.) No time machine? Dump him today. Ugh!
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:37 PM on November 16, 2017 [19 favorites]

Do you need just one more additional person to point out that you need to dump this guy? Because if so I am here for you. If you need my reasons for saying so, please see: every comment above.
posted by komara at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Whoa, dude. Read my first ask.me. It's, like, EXACTLY THE SAME minus the roommate component. Never have I felt more certain in my qualifications to answer an Ask.

This relationship is not worth anymore of your time, energy, or emotional labor. It does not get better. Disentangle yourself and walk away. The dog is a red herring; rather, it is showing you things about this person and their relationship to responsibility and ability to care for your needs. Whatever his emotional attachment is to the dog, it is more important to him than your safety and well-being.

I feel like I am writing a letter to my 24 year old self, so I'm going to say to you what I wish I could have discerned for myself at the time: You will be reminded every day how little you actually mean to this person who is supposed to think about your needs as equal to his own. He will tell you it's not true, but deeds demonstrate more than words and empty promises. Eventually you will realize that you are worth more than this, despite the occasional happy times. If there are children and/or large assets involved, your decision to leave will be made more difficult, but you will make it nonetheless. He will never believe that anything is wrong with him or do the important work of growing up that would enable him to make the adult decisions required here.

I'm very sorry, this sounds harsh AF and I had the same reactions to the answers on my own ask 8 years ago. But everyone was right and I was too scared and felt too unworthy to be honest with myself.

If you want to learn more about your future, I'm happy to discuss further.
posted by emkelley at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2017 [50 favorites]

Dump him. A dude who only walks a dog once a week (WTF) is not going to put any effort into your relationship, either, when things get difficult. I can't think of many brighter red flags than "doesn't care about the well being of an animal that is entirely dependent on him".
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:50 PM on November 16, 2017 [18 favorites]

I also have a fear-aggressive dog who has been the source of relationship issues. And that's been true even though we do have a trainer (who has also been incredibly helpful on the relationship side, even though she may not know it) and lots of other help and we both work constantly on working with and through his special needs. It is hard to explain to other people how emotionally taxing it can be to live with a dog like that - you're always trying to figure out the right thing to do, you're always on guard for triggers, and there is no clear or easy path to take a lot of the time. I can't imagine how lonely and difficult it would be to have those stressors and not even have the support of a Team Us approach. It's completely valid if this is a dealbreaker for you - it would be for me.

If you want to talk training, you're welcome to memail me. I'm no expert but I have spent a lot of time with great, modern, effective trainers and reading books and whatever else and I'm happy to make recommendations about where to start. If you want to do things on your own, you absolutely can.
posted by mosst at 2:55 PM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Then about a year ago she snapped at my face.

If you decide to stay with him please see a lawyer about getting a contract that stipulates that he will pay all of your medical expenses, lost wages, therapy bills for PTSD and some other amount for emotional distress, should this dog actually bite you. An aggressive, abused dog is a time bomb.

But really, break up.
posted by AFABulous at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

It wouldn't matter if this dog were a spaniel or a pitt or a lab - your boyfriend is ok with abusing a dog out of "love." Do not make a home with this man.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't usually comment on relationship issues as there is often some uncertainty or ambiguity.

But this one is the most clear-cut case of end the relationship immediately - and not via a visit when the dog is there - for your own physical safety I've seen. Quit before someone - quite possibly you - receives life changing injuries.
posted by Wordshore at 3:34 PM on November 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

All these "am I being unreasonable" relationship questions frame things in not the most helpful way. Because the answer is necessarily dependent on who you ask, what you're really asking is "am I being unreasonable to the group I choose to survey".

A more useful way to think about this is that all relationships are negotiated, and if you can't come to an agreement, there's no relationship. So what's actually happening here is, you're asking for things that are important to you, but you're not getting them... and for the past year you've agreed to this.

You didn't demand concessions, you asked for compromises. You wanted to make it work, and your tactic was conciliatory rather than adversarial. You didn't tell your boyfriend to move out and abandon the dog--you asked him not to allow it in your bed when you are around.

Your boyfriend's negotiating tactic is avoidance. Like I said, it's worked. What you're feeling now is the realization that this issue is more important to you than you've allowed yourself to believe.

I believe what people are talking about when they talk about compatibility is the way they negotiate. I think it's a lot easier to be happy with someone who speaks the same language you do. This is a bigger issue than the dog.

Orthogonal to this is how those two idiots are actually treating the dog, which yeah is pretty much abuse in my book. Two people in the house and they can only manage to walk the dog once a week? They're children.
posted by danny the boy at 3:42 PM on November 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

Through absolutely no fault of its own, or fault of yours, this dog is not safe for you to be around. Your boyfriend's room mate is an idiot, first of all, for gifting somebody else a dog (on a "whim", no less), and your boyfriend is obviously not fit to handle being a responsible pet owner. On that basis alone, I can only a) wish and hope for the very best for the dog, and b) hope for the best for you as you DTMFA.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:47 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

That poor dog should be re-homed and you have this internet strangers permission to dump him (maybe into the sea). I'm horrified and I'm glad no one has been seriously hurt yet. Get out before someone does.
posted by queen_mob at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Dump him. A dude who only walks a dog once a week (WTF) is not going to put any effort into your relationship, either, when things get difficult. I can't think of many brighter red flags than "doesn't care about the well being of an animal that is entirely dependent on him".

+1. Someone who can't exert himself on behalf of a living creature who depends on him is a bad bet for the "for worse, in sickness, for poorer" parts of marriage. Is he going to plead "too tired" to take you to the doctor if you get really sick? "Too tired" to change a wailing baby's diaper? "Too tired" to pay attention to his child when he gets home from work?

Plus, he's stonewalling you when you try to talk to him about it, which is one of the four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse according to John Gottman. You can't collaborate or problem-solve with a stonewaller as a partner.

Throw this fish back into the sea, there are plenty of others.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2017 [7 favorites]

I would prioritise your personal safety over pretty much everything else - the dog has made it clear that you (and others, including probably its 'owners') are at risk of harm, possibly serious harm. BF seems to love dog more than you. On both counts, your next step doesn't much consideration at all.
posted by GeeEmm at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

He is deliberately abusing you via a dog. This is straight out of Game of Thrones. I am worried for your safety and I hope you will find a way to leave.
posted by ftm at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

Leave the boyfriend. Take the dog with you and get it trained. Yes, I'm advocating dognapping. I'm also looking over at my formerly abused and fearful pitbull who is now a total goofball snuggle monster.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:59 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

That sounds like one lazy-ass dog owner to me. Or not dog owner, but whomever the dog belongs too - that part isn't clear. Who would keep the dog if the boyfriend or the roommate moved out?

Either way, I repeat, lazy, abusive to the animal, totally setting the dog up to be put down if she ever has to go back to a shelter, because most of them screen snappers like this right out. Just imagine if the dog did that to a kid.

Which tells me that if he can't be bothered to take proper care of a dog, he certainly won't be bothered to treat you with respect. Especially if you allow him to treat you badly. That only reinforces jerk behavior.

okay but she's not going to like it.

Oh really? Sounds like it's about him liking the dog in the bed, not about whether the dog actually likes it or not. He certainly doesn't seem to care for the dog's feelings or health any other time.

Lazy, lazy, lazy. On all fronts. You are not safe around him or this animal. Please try and find a way to break up with this guy. And yes, if you can and want, take the dog.
posted by Crystal Fox at 5:10 PM on November 16, 2017

I have significant facial scars from a dog tearing at my face. I complained about the dog, said I was scared, got pooh-poohed because everyone else was fine, and yet without any provocation that dog gave me a face full of stitches one day. It sliced my nose n lips n under eye open in seconds.

You have a situation of a dog showing jealousy, territorial behaviour. I think you did the right thing. And you should be believed - especially because the anxiety around the dog is likely to set off the dog too. A really bad situation.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2017 [23 favorites]

Don't take the dog, it's not your problem, it's theirs. While the 'owners' may secretly (or not) like to see the back of it, they may also use its departure to cause trouble for you.
posted by GeeEmm at 6:02 PM on November 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do you have hopes for a log term relationship with this man? Because his behavior is irresponsible. He wants to claim some ownership of a dog, but puts in only the barest minimum. I'm guessing the dog is let out into a filthy yard. He's "too tired" to properly care for this animal. The dog has behaved aggressively to you, and there has been no adequate response. I don't see a successful relationship with someone like this. On a plain safety issue, I would not agree to spend time with a dog that showed aggression and is not being trained. Pit bulls are more likely to attack, but if they do, they are likely to cause damage. What a crummy situation for you and the dog. The BF and his pal are behaving appallingly.
posted by theora55 at 7:44 PM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love dogs, and rescued dogs, and pitties in particular, but you have every right to demand to feel safe when spending time with your boyfriend, and it is not unreasonable not to feel safe around an animal that has snapped at you. Especially if the aggression is not being addressed. Taking on a traumatized dog is a noble task, but it demands a very serious commitment to keeping everyone around you safe. Your boyfriend is being dangerously immature as well as thoughtless.
posted by praemunire at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

This situation is not safe. You need to break up with this abusive man-baby. I feel so badly for the dog, but you should not take it with you as it will cause all dorts of complications. You should end this relationship immediately, and never look back. Bad things are on the horizon for that household.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:51 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

No dude. No. Why? Because a pet is good training for a baby. Or even a wife in this case. Imagine for a second that you’re this guy’s pet. Are you happy with this owner? Could you be happy, if you imagined being raised by this person? Okay then. It doesn’t matter if you want kids by the way. In my opinion this is an excellent litmus test.
posted by karmachameleon at 10:29 PM on November 16, 2017

Your boyfriend appears to be prioritising his relationship with his roommate over his relationship with you - in that, the dog belongs to the roommate and he seems reluctant to bring up the need for training with her for fear of rocking the boat. Despite the fact that the dog is a danger to society and sounds like it leads a very unhappy life, with no exercise and no stimulation. Your boyfriend doesn't care about your welfare or the dog's welfare, despite claiming that he considers it to be his dog too.

Add my voice to the chorus of 'someone who treats an animal's welfare in such a cavalier way is not good relationship-material'.

I feel bad for you. What an awful situation. Absolutely awful for the dog too. Just a shambles all around.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:32 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

A dog, an animal with large teeth capable of crunching bones, snapped at your face, and your boyfriend did not remove the dog from your vicinity, got very worried about you or made sure it never happened again, but instead got huffy because you refused to sleep next to the dog?

This is not your boyfriend. This is a person who is using you for (I'm guessing) sex, comfort, emotional release, and various other things.

Dump him already. You're not an object to be used. This relationship is not worth salvaging.

PS. You can always notify animal control on your way out if you want to do something for the dog. But it's no responsibility of yours. Your health (and face not full of stitches), on the other hand, is.
posted by gakiko at 6:08 AM on November 17, 2017 [10 favorites]

Leave. The dog doesn't sound safe, and the boyfriend (due to his lack of recognition that the dog isn't safe) doesn't sound safe either.
posted by LizardBreath at 8:55 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Dtmfa and block him. Get him out of your life. This situation isn’t going to get any better. Your BF has made that very clear.
posted by SillyShepherd at 9:00 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think you need to leave this relationship and then try and understand why you were with someone who was a) ok with being "too tired" to follow through with a commitment to care for a commitment they made to a living creature b) ok with putting their significant other in physical danger from a living creature they could not control and could not be bothered to learn how to control.
posted by OsoMeaty at 9:10 AM on November 17, 2017 [10 favorites]

This dog doesn't have a 'master' and it has decided he's probably your boyfriend. He's jealous of you as an intruder. Unless your bf trains the dog and shows territorial control (eg, zero on bed sleeping, a designated bed and calm, firm instructions to show which animal is the one in charge) this dog with no other stimulation is going to become even more neurotic and more territorial. It's an anxious animal and it's jealous. This is what happened with the dog that attacked me.

When you are having a blocking, tantrumic response from your bf on this topic, I hope you feel the validation of your rightful self protective responses from the answers here. It is absolutelynormal to be afraid of essentially a wild untrained animal lunging at your face.

And fwiw, it's ok to say you don't want a dog in your bed for any damn reason. I love the hell out of dogs. My two are snoring on my bed right now. But when I have my boyfriend here they do not sleep with us. They can cuddle for a bit. Then I, their boss, tell them to go to bed and they trot down to their own sleeping mats. I decide, not the dog. When I stayed with my bf and his dog, I didn't want the dog even in the room. I can't sleep with his dog licking n grooming himself all night. And because my bf is the (very affectionate) trainer and boss of his dog, he also just says 'night Pete' and off he goes. Human beds are luxuries and dogs get invited there at their boss' discretion!
posted by honey-barbara at 9:17 PM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I asked my partner who had never had dogs to co-own a pair of old Chihuahuas with me. . . he was doubtful, but became the most attentive, care-taking dog-owner imaginable. Those old Chihuahuas required four walks a day! When the old Chihuahuas died and I heard of an abused pup who needed a home, Partner was a little reluctant, but agreed to foster. Next thing you know, Partner is doing those four walks a day again. Happily. Even when he's tired.

That's a good man.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:24 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

You're not a jerk.

I have a whole story about how I became a "dog" person because of my relationship with my soon-to-be-husband, but I think the most relevant part is that my fiance is a good dog owner, but he's also a good partner. He listens to me, respects me, and considers what I have to say even though our dog is actually my first dog and I had little first hand experience with any of this stuff. Yes, our dog is spoiled as hell and it annoys me sometimes , but our dog isn't aggressive and has never made me feel like she was a threat to my safety or my relationship. (Pillows are a whole different story.) Also, she's "our" dog. Just like my cat became "our" cat.

Sorry to add to the pile-on, but the fact that your boyfriend is dismissive, cold, needs "space" and all of this stuff over this dog -- and yet has done nothing to change the problematic behaviors -- is troubling. I get that the dog isn't really just his, but I don't think it matters if you're overreacting to the dog/what the dog has done and it doesn't matter if everyone else is "fine" with how things are. What matters is that this poor dog sounds like it's being neglected, and so are you.
posted by sm1tten at 6:09 PM on November 18, 2017

« Older Alice in Stickerland   |   What should I do for my Fortieth Year? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.