My girlfriend's new dog is threatening our relationship
December 14, 2007 9:54 PM   Subscribe

I hate my girlfriends little dog. I told her not to get it from the beginning. It's going to break us up.

We've been together for 9 months. She got the dog 2 months ago. I told her she shouldn't get it. And not only because I didn't want to deal with the dog.

We're both in school full time, we both work full time. This alone leaves little time for each other.

She is younger (18 and a 1/2) I am 23 and a 1/2. There are issues with her time being torn between me and the dog. She constantly gives it attention. She constantly needs to go home and check on it, or bring it with us everywhere (thereby limiting what we can do) and no longer sleeps at my house. She's unwilling to leave it alone for a night, and I am no longer willing to let it stay at my house (it smells, uses the rug as its bathroom, whimpers and barks for attention, it's generally trained badly.) I used to stay at her house a LOT (5 -7 nights week) but tired of her dog and her roommate's dog barking, filthiness, etc.

Honestly, I feel neglected. I no longer receive the attention and love that I previously did. I blame it squarely on the dog. It is the only change in our lives.

What else do you need to know? I want to stay with her and be happy, but I feel that a dog is being put before my needs. I am probably being inflexible with my time and emotions, but I don't feel like I should have to be.

Am I being stupid? I don't doubt it. Help me think this one through..
posted by gradient to Human Relations (47 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What are you looking for here? You told her not to get the dog, she got the dog. Now, she's choosing the dog over you. I don't think you need us to paint you a picture here.

No reason to be nasty about it, but I think it's time for you to make your exit. She's made a commitment to the dog.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2007

She's young. Explain what you want from her and find out if she's willing to compromise. If not, move on.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:06 PM on December 14, 2007

Yeah, nine months isn't a very long time. Cut your losses. Chalk it up to time served. There are plenty of nice girls out there that don't have little dogs. Date one of them instead.

Alternately, go back to spending time at her house instead of the other way around. It may help you to make a decision, one way or the other, because by sticking yourself directly in the situation you'll get a better idea of how much you're willing to put up with in order to be with your girlfriend. If the barking and filth at her place is bad enough that you can't put up with it even to be with her, it's probably time to move on. If, on the other hand, you think to yourself, "Man, this is one gross and irritating house, but I'm so happy to be with my girlfriend it doesn't bother me at all," you probably have a better chance of things working out in the long run (in the short run, I'm sorry to say, it sounds like it's going to be unpleasant no matter how things turn out).
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2007

It's going to break us up.

Yes, it is. Beat it to the punch.
posted by nat at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2007

If you feel replaced by a dog, I think it is time for a good discussion.

I blame it squarely on the dog. It is the only change in our lives.

you might want to confirm that with her.

Talking is magic.
posted by ddaavviidd at 10:14 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Take a dog training class together. The dog would hopefully become better behaved and a stricter school might give her some perspective about dogs. But I don't know...I took a class from a "dogs are not people" school and no one had a little dog.

People who like little dogs generally want to treat them like babies. Because of that, any anger you direct towards it is going to sound like "you hate my baby."

You can tell a lot about a person from the way they treat their dog. Maybe this shows a fatal incompatibility between you and her?
posted by melissam at 10:14 PM on December 14, 2007

She constantly needs to go home and check on it...and no longer sleeps at my house. She's unwilling to leave it alone for a night...

Well, of course. Any dog, big or small, is like a baby in that regard- you can't leave it to fend for itself for long periods of time, and certainly not overnight. Would you rather your girlfriend neglect her dog? If I were you, I would encourage her to train the dog out of its bad habits- my little dog doesn't bark when I don't want her to, because I have an air blaster I spray in her face when she does. You don't necessarily have to do a full-on doggie training school (which might be too much for a little dog to handle, particularly if the class is made up of bigger dogs) to make positive changes with a small dog.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:22 PM on December 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

Blaming the dog and hating the dog is an unfair redirection. The dog has done nothing wrong and is in no way to blame or deserving of hate. The dog has no say in the matter. It's the dog's owner, not the dog, who is making the decisions you object to.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:52 PM on December 14, 2007 [11 favorites]

For someone who's pushing 24, you sure sound quite clingy, immature, and impatient when you speak of a dog stealing your share of affection and jeopardizing your "needs." Either learn to deal with the dog, or get out of there. By the way, your girlfriend is spoiling the dog, and if you are unwilling to make an honest commitment to participate in its education, to provide a positive influence as an older, more mature trainer (which, incidentally, requires you to love this dog), then it will continue misbehaving and pissing in your shoes.

Of course, I am betting that the dog is the biggest problem at all, but merely an excuse not to address other issues you might be having in this relationship. What do you think will happen if you were to get married, breed, and then see your now-wife shift most of her love and affection to the child? Either she's deliberately neglecting you because she is not satisfied with the relationship, or you need to man up and realize that, like the dog, you probably will not get to monopolize someone's attention all your life.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:56 PM on December 14, 2007 [26 favorites]

Er, is *not* the biggest problem at all...
posted by Krrrlson at 10:57 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Your girlfriend sounds like a responsible pet owner. You are both very young. I think you'd be better off with a different girlfriend.

A pet is for life, so there's no going back now - she already has a dog. You can like it (and there are some great dog-training suggestions above) or leave, 'cos the dog isn't going anywhere.

Sorry to be so blunt, but there you have it.
posted by different at 10:59 PM on December 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

If you're that jealous over the amount of attention a dog requires, I hate to see what happens if you have children some day. "She neglects me. Every time the baby cries, she picks it up. It poops and smells. I used to spend the night there, but I can't stand the baby's constant crying."
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:24 PM on December 14, 2007 [6 favorites]

She's taking care of the dog properly. The only thing seems to be that it needs a bit more training at this point. You need to be patient and understanding, and maybe even assist with the training. Or you need to find another girlfriend. This one does seem to be trying at least to share her time with you both while not neglecting either of you.

One question though - have you talked about this? Told her how you feel? And I don't mean in an accusatory "I told you not to get the dog and now I'm this and it's affecting ME like that", etc. Talk about "us". Tell her what you told us, only don't be so accusatory. First of all, she's not a child, you can't order her around ("I told her she shouldn't get it.").

If you can't communicate with your partner, that's not a good sign anyway.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:30 PM on December 14, 2007

Dogs take a lot of work. The amount of attention she's giving it seems normal: remember they can't feed themselves, they need to be walked, and they also need loads of human interaction. Dogs aren't cats, after all. If I lived alone I'd have to come home and care for my dogs before going out and doing anything -- or bring them along if I could -- or make plans for someone else to care for them if I planned to be out overnight.

The dog's lack of training, I agree, is a problem. Toy dogs can and SHOULD be trained too. People tend to let little dogs get away with things that would have big dogs killed, and that sort of behavior is bad for ANY dog. ("She growls at everyone like that, just ignore it." How this is okay when it's a Pomeranian but not when it's a Mastiff is beyond me. Dogs are dogs.) Hell, I had a Chihuahua-Dachshund mix who could heel and sit and come when called. People were astonished. They're small dogs, not learning-disabled dogs.

The part that really worries me, though, is your reaction to it. You're quite right to be annoyed about it relieving itself all over your floor and your shoes. The constant barking, yeah, that'd get to me. Those are all valid complaints. But the dog is eating up her time and affection? Deal. These things come with owning a dog. It'd be a much worse reflection on her if she got a dog and treated it like a goldfish.
posted by cmyk at 12:09 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I kinda disagree with the theme so far- I don't get the sense that Gradient is blaming the dog qua dog, but rather the dog as an introduced theme in the relationship that has changed things in ways he doesn't particularly care of. Besides, who says he wants kids now? Or even wants them at all? Or dislikes other animals?

The reality is that she told you she was thinking about getting a dog, you recommended against getting it and she went ahead and got it anyway. Is it the dog, or is there anything in this about the fact that you told her you're not feeling listened to/your opinion valued?

You're young, sure, but that doesn't really matter. If you really care about this girl and want to stay together, you have to accept the dog. She likes it a lot and appears to be a responsible pet owner, albeit one who might be somewhat inexperienced. What about buying her obedience training classes for Christmas that the two of you might attend together? Triple-whammy: you get points for acting like the dog is a permanent fixture, dog learns not to piddle on the rug, and you get to spend time with girlfriend. Who knows, you might develop some affection for the pooch.

OTOH, maybe this really aggravates you. Maybe you don't want a pet (even by proxy), maybe you don't even want kids. That's totally fine. But it means that you probably need to find a new relationship partner, and possibly practice being more communicative about what you like in a relationship early on to make sure people who want dogs may not go out with you more than a handful of times. Be open and honest with her ASAP, see how she responds, and consider the possibility of ending the relationship.
posted by arnicae at 12:10 AM on December 15, 2007

I sympathise with the OP. He and his girlfriend have limited time together as it is, and she chose to btw this dog. Either she is mentally challenged, i e she can't count the minutes in the day, or else the dog is more important to her than her boyfriend. That's not nice to hear, but there you go. To compare it to a baby is in my opinion silly, to put it mildly. In general, women don't realise the harm they do their relationships and prospects with little dogs. Of course, you are young and she very young, and she's entitled to her choices. She may grow out of her dog-crush, but whether you want to wait for that is another matter.
posted by londongeezer at 12:32 AM on December 15, 2007

btw = buy
posted by londongeezer at 12:34 AM on December 15, 2007

Previously (from a couple days back), over on the Blue. You can try to communicate your feelings, gradient, but I suspect she already heard you, but wanted a dog, and figured she'd play you, by getting you to like the dog, as a condition of continuing to be with her. In her mind, it's better to ask forgiveness, even continually, on a specific instance, for something she really wants, than to observe prior general objections, etc.

There is no way you win on this. You can't object loudly, vociferously, and regularly enough to get her to ditch the dog, without incurring enough damage to the relationship to make it a sketchy proposition. Even if you could, she'll resent "knuckling under." If she keeps the dog, you've knuckled under, reinforced her belief that you can be played, and are living with a yappy little almost-a-dog.

Say good-bye civilly, and get on with life. In practical terms, from what you've written about spending time at one another's places, this relationship is already cold ash, not even glowing embers.
posted by paulsc at 1:45 AM on December 15, 2007

[a few comments removed - the question is not about the suitability of the age disparity in the relationship not whether the OP is a jerk or not. "I hope she dumps your ass" is totally beyond the pale.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:45 AM on December 15, 2007

gradient, don't channel your relationship angst on the dog. The dog really has nothing to do with it. It never had a choice. The issue is with the girlfriend.
posted by survivorman at 3:14 AM on December 15, 2007

People have all sorts of dealbreakers in relationships. For some people, having a partner who's shorter than they are is a dealbreaker. For others, an annoying laugh is a dealbreaker. Maybe dog ownership is a dealbreaker for you. If you really think so, break off the relationship maturely ("We're just incompatible") rather than by blaming her ("I told you not to get the dog, now you got the dog and ruined everything!").

However, one thing...if you're looking for a relationship where your girlfriend will always put you first, follow all your wishes, and never require you to be flexible with your time or emotions...well, good luck with that. No healthy person with a life of her own will cater to you that completely. Maybe you'll be able to find someone with compatible interests and a compatible schedule so spending time together won't be an issue, but I doubt you'll find someone who's always willing to drop everything to make sure your needs are met. Maybe think about that a little before you decide your current relationship is so dysfunctional. Maybe spending more time doing dog-friendly activities (dog training courses, time in the park, hikes, walks, etc) would satisfy your needs as well as hers.
posted by christinetheslp at 3:42 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, one anecdote...when I was dating my husband, he disliked cats. I already owned two. But since I was important to him and the cats were important to me, he really made an effort to get to know them and interact with them. He even gave them little toys for Christmas. Eventually he realized why I like my cats, and he came to like them too. It would have been easy for him to be resentful of the cats, but he took the high road instead, and it meant a lot to me. Now we're happily married with four cats and he enjoys them as much as I do. Maybe getting to know the dog wouldn't be such a bad thing! You might surprise yourself with how much you eventually like the little guy.
posted by christinetheslp at 3:46 AM on December 15, 2007 [4 favorites]

This isn't quite the same situation, but here is a question I asked two years ago about adjusting to life with a dog in the house. A lot of answers talked about just giving things time and possibly going to dog training. It sounds like you've given things time, and that dog training may be a tough prospect given that she is a smaller dog. (we never did do dog training, so I really don't know what that is like.) BTW: Our dog and I now have a good relationship. Husband is still the prime caregiver, but that's more about him getting out of bed to do the early morning walks than anything else.

Do you like dogs in general? If you do, I would try just getting to know the dog. If you're interested, and your girlfriend is okay with it, help your girlfriend with training. Getting involved with the dog is going to get you time with your girlfriend.

But honestly, upon reading this it doesn't sound like you want to do any of those things. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to do those things in and of themselves, but it obviously isn't helping your relationship with your girlfriend. You need to decide what's more important to you - a dog-free existence, or your girlfriend. If it's your girlfriend, you need to learn to deal with her dog in a way that works for all three of you (including overnight visits - you cannot leave a dog alone no matter how old it is). If it's a dog-free existence, well then you need to break up with your girlfriend.

It's not fair to put the blame on the dog - the dog didn't ask to be in this position.
posted by melissa at 6:03 AM on December 15, 2007

I know how you feel! BUT,

(and not to sound blunt but) seeing that you are not married, do not live together, you are not her father, etc., your g/f is free to do what she wants.

If she wants to buy a dog, she does have the right to buy a dog whether you are happy with it or not - she is not asking you to clean up after it, she is not asking you to pay for its shots, she is not asking you to let it sleep in your bed, etc.

Do you know why she wanted a dog so badly? Are you perhaps being insensitive to her needs?

I am not intending to slam you, but instead take issue with those who are saying that she is choosing the dog over you. It is not a you vs. the dog thing at all.

I wonder if you are being a tad insecure? Don't worry, at nine months, a lot of us would still be insecure! I know I was, so I understand how you feel! But that still doesn't make it right!

My advice - Use this situation as an opportunity - to assess your situation, to check how confident you really are in the relationship. If you are the one who is insecure, then only you can fix it - stop blaming the g/f or the dog! But if you decide that she is being unreasonable then talk about it. No one is perfect - perhaps she doesn't realize what she is doing. You need to give her a chance (and many chances) before you call it quits!

Besides, 5-7 nights at her house? Plus the rest of the time that you spend together - it is natural that you will feel some emptiness now, but you both need some time apart! Enjoy your freedom to run around your apartment/house and watch cartoons and eat on the sofa without having to hold your farts in or suck in your stomach, or whatever it is you want to do!

Relationships are going to be full of people, things and events that will get in your way: dogs, cats, old friends, new friends, family crises, overtime, exams, shopping sprees with the girls, poker night with the guys, etc. A strong relationship allows each person to retain their individuality too!
posted by bitteroldman at 6:19 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

The dog is not the problem, it just highlighted certain issues.

Basically, you're both working full time and going to school full time and have very little free time. You feel that when both of you are together, you should be enjoying each other. However, and this is a key point, she does not. She's probably in heaven, thinking "I got my guy, I got my dog and we're all hanging out, yeah!"

There is nothing wrong with her having a dog or with you not wanting the dog around. The problem is that both of you don't agree and can not agree without one of you willingly changing and it doesn't seem likely.

Long story short, your needs are not being met. You need to either address the situation with your current girlfriend, change yourself or get a new girlfriend. Which one seems most likely to happen?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

You have a few options here:

1. Convince gf to get rid of the dog
2. Convince gf to spend less time with the dog and more with you
3. Make changes in your life to accommodate the dog
4. Get rid of the gf

The first option is not very likely. Since you couldn't convince her not to get the dog when it was only an abstract idea, you are unlikely to convince her to get rid of it now that she's attached to it.

The second option would be irresponsible on her part. It sounds like she's spending an appropriate amount of time with it, especially if it's a puppy.

The third option is probably what you'll need to do if you like your girlfriend more than you dislike your girlfriend's dog. Plenty of people upthread have offered useful suggestions--I strongly agree that a trained dog is much nicer to be around than an untrained dog.

The fourth option is probably what you ought to do, if you really dislike the dog as strongly as your post makes it seem. If you absolutely do not want a dog in your life, then you shouldn't be with a dog owner. If you go down this route, you should make your anti-dog sentiments known to any future girlfriends very early in the relationship. There are plenty of people, especially at your age, who don't have a dog due to present constraints, but who fully intend to get a dog as soon as they graduate/move to a bigger place/can afford it, so it would be better for you to cut them out of pool of potential partners early.
posted by happyturtle at 6:38 AM on December 15, 2007

Too many pet lovers on the internet for you to get level headed responses.
Can you compromise? Do you want to? It sounds like she won't and you are young enough to just chalk it up as a learning experience.
And I don't know why babies came in as a suitable analogy, but if you value a pet like a kid, please don't have kids (and I'm a bit worried about your pets too). [not DOGIST]
I don't think you are blaming the dog, but don't kick it etc.
If you have to choose between her with the dog and no her, I'm hearing no her.
If you can handle the training suggestions up thread, go for it, but if you don't like the dog leave with no qualms - it isn't like it is your kid.
posted by bystander at 6:48 AM on December 15, 2007

All kinds of things are dealbreakers in relationships, you've just found yours. It's not about the dog, it's about a fundamental incompatibility between you and your girlfriend, so stop blaming it on the dog.
posted by biscotti at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2007

Oh, one other thing- she's only had the dog for 2 months. I'm guessing (from the behavior description) that it's still a baby. The dog will outgrow some of the craziness and settle down a little- a little, not all the way, but some. Time is your friend!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:45 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

A dislike of animals and children is a relationship red flag for many women. If you really care for your girlfriend, you will hang in there, be kind to her dog and understand how much her pet means to her. There are, after all, many guys who love animals and would enjoy being around your girlfriend and her dog.
posted by pluckysparrow at 8:30 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

We've been together for 9 months. She got the dog 2 months ago. I told her she shouldn't get it. And not only because I didn't want to deal with the dog.

So not only because you didn't want to deal with the dog. So it was only a partially selfish decision? Maybe that was pretty obvious to her when you told her not to get it.


You told her not to get it? Who do you think you are? If you disagree with something your girlfriend is going to do, then you tell her all the reasons you think it is a bad idea - to be sure she has thought it through sensibly, especially with the commitment that owning an animal requires. If she knew all the reasons, your dictating her actions is entirely inappropriate. If you think that you should be able to say "Don't do it" and her to comply just because she is your girlfriend, then you need to do some serious growing up.

Summary: She wanted a dog. You didn't give her a good reason why owning a dog was a bad enough idea to not get one. It's her life, she can do what she wants with it. If that decision is incompatible with you, then walk away. You're young, she's younger but it sounds like you are needing to grow up more than she does. Especially in terms of two people in a relationship and how that dynamic works. You don't TELL your partner to do things. That is a sure fire way to make one or the other unhappy pretty damn quickly.
posted by Brockles at 8:30 AM on December 15, 2007 [3 favorites]

Dogs are not babies. Bringing new life into the world and being the father of a child is really, really, really different than a girlfriend getting a dog. Being irritated when someone chooses to spend time with a pet instead of you is very different than being irritated by the mother of your child spending time with your baby.

I didn't think the original poster disliked the dog in particular or animals in general. But he made it clear that he didn't want to be in a relationship where there was a dog as a third party and she choose to have the dog. That shows what her priorities are, and perhaps it's not a good idea to continue the relationship.
posted by Melsky at 9:20 AM on December 15, 2007

Yeah, nthing the fact that puppies are not babies. For one thing, puppies can be crate trained. Yes, they need a lot of time, but they don't have to be brought everywhere. When my dogs were puppies and I wanted to go somewhere or if I had someone over who didn't like dogs, they went in their crates.
posted by melissam at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2007

It sucks for a dog to be picked over you, but it seems clear this is the case. If you can't deal with it, move on.
posted by Doohickie at 9:48 AM on December 15, 2007

she "no longer sleeps at your house" because of this dog? dude, her dog is where you used to be, and you're in the doghouse. dump her today!
posted by bruce at 9:51 AM on December 15, 2007

I suggest that you re-evaluate your thinking about this situation.

If you're in love with her, and you want a long-term relationship with her, then you should be approaching this dog in a different way, as a good thing that you want to be part of. Some suggestions:

-- Be delighted that she has found a little dog to make her happy. After all, you want her to be happy, don't you? For a lot of people, having a pet is an essential part of being happy in life.

-- Help her get the dog trained. When my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I got our first dog, getting the dog housebroken was a very time-consuming enterprise. We had to take our dog out seven or eight times a day.

-- Learn to enjoy the dog. If your girlfriend is a dog owner, she probably loves dogs. If you cannot change yourself so that you enjoy the dog, too, the relationship is not worth preserving.

-- Encourage her to adopt positive habits with regard to the dog, such as cleaning up, training it properly, etc. Some dog owners get dogs but neglect the proper training and care. If she's letting the house get filthy, letting the dog bark incessantly, etc., be the change you want to see. Take some initiative and show her how to raise the dog. My wife read this book, Off to a Good Start, when we got our first dog and it really helped.
posted by jayder at 11:23 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I told her not to get the dog is being misinterpreted.

I did give her reasons why not to get it (she couldn't afford it(she put it on a credit card) she was trying to replace her lost friends and family with a dog (we moved to a new city, but different houses) rather than making new friends (she has voiced this on her own), she just started college and would not have enough time for the dog (I was thinking of the dogs needs only here, I hadn't considered the fact that I would become partially ignored) and she tried to hide it from her parents, who help her pay for rent, etc.)

Then I told her she shouldn't get it. Not simply because I am the almighty decision maker in her life, but because it was my opinion.

FWIW, I did go spend the night with her last night. And we did talk about this again (I've brought it up 2 other times.) She understands my sentiments. She wants me to try and accept the dog. Fine.

I wake up to the sounds of a whining puppy (3 am). I go to the bathroom, late night, laboriously avoiding the shit and piss now littering the floor. I am awoken again (8am): her dog barking, spurred by her roommates dog's whining and barking.

I go home, disgusted and annoyed yet again. Our time together again being tainted by her decision (a decision made against my wishes.) Yes, it is ultimately her decision to get a dog, however, she should have given consideration to my opposition. By being with her, I am open to her choices, but by being with ME, she is open to my opinions as well.

It's not that I dislike dogs. I love them. When they're trained. However, it is not my duty to train the dog. I made it clear that I never wanted it. I have no time or desire to help train it.

I think this is just venting at this point.
posted by gradient at 11:23 AM on December 15, 2007

Dogs and people in college/early 20's, don't generally mix well for exactly the reasons you've stated above. Their erratic schedules, staying out late, not coming home, etc etc just don't make it easy to own a dog. If I were you, I'd get that dog into training asap and then try to talk the roommate into agreeing to some sort of arrangement where her and your girlfriend alternate nights (or whatever works) taking care of the dogs.

Also, you need to get rid of your hatred for the dog, once it is properly trained, try letting the dog stay at your house again, this will probably solve a lot of your problems and is worth the time and effort.
posted by whoaali at 11:23 AM on December 15, 2007

Yeah, I do like the dog's personality. I only dislike the effects it has on my relationship and my rugs.

I have told my girlfriend that once the dog is trained he can stay at my house. I am not in blind opposition to pet ownership.

Oh, the comparison to babys was ridiculous. If my wife were taking care of our child jealousy would be the very last thing on my mind. The fact that this was suggested makes me wary of those responsible (perhaps the same that dress their dogs and speak to them in high pitched voices?)

Otherwise thank you all for your responses both negative and positive. They've all been helpful.
posted by gradient at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2007

I think jayder is on the right rack, gradient- at this point, the dog is here and probably here to stay. You can't turn back the clock, so she doesn't get the dog, or move the clock forward to where the dog is perfectly trained. All you can do at this point is move forward from now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:35 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, while jayder's response was very pro-dog, I have to agree with it.

Although I will say that for the first month I was the main force behind discipline and training. The girlfriend continued to baby the dog, and I became the "bad guy" by being the only person willing to punish the "cute little puppy."

I do love her, and perhaps I need to reinvigorate my will in training and accepting the pooch.
posted by gradient at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2007

Taking training classes together will be better than trying to work from a book. Dog training courses are about training the human more than the dog, and it sounds like your girlfriend could use some training.

Good luck to you.
posted by happyturtle at 12:15 PM on December 15, 2007

This a a very general sort of AskMe; I wish you had posed a specific question. You might have found the responses more helpful.

Here's my general advice:
The dog is here to stay.
Therefore, you have two options: leave her, or accept the dog. You should weigh them carefully, choose one of the two options and commit to it fully (rather than dithering or pursuing one of them half-heartedly.)

For example, if you decide to accept the dog, you should establish a pro-dog stance, help your girlfriend get him trained and welcome him to your relationship.

If you can't deal with the dog, end your relationship on the happiest possible note, say goodbye asap and move on. This is better than a drawn-out, miserable canine breakup.

Good luck!
posted by Count Ziggurat at 12:20 PM on December 15, 2007

If you are in a committed relationship, getting a dog is an important decision that should involve both people in a relationship wanting the dog, even if it only technically "belongs" to one person. Period. Personally, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't agree with that. To me, it's not about the actual dog at all. The one possible mitigating factor is that she is 18 and therefore may be more prone to making bad decisions/not mature enough to understand that first sentence: maybe she'll grow out of it. I'd dump her, but I also wouldn't date an 18-year-old (and I mean that in a non-judgemental way; I'm just saying it to highlight that if you are dating someone that young you might have to expect to put up with this kind of BS).
posted by rjacobs at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2007

You know what, dawg? You don't have to like the dog. You don't have to like how your girlfriend prioritizes the dog over you. I think that you have pretty good grounds for a breakup. You might take a lot of flak from dog people, because that cute and cuddly little animal couldn't possibly be splitting you up.

I like dogs, but I'm not a dog person. For me, love of a person should always trump love of a dog. If my girlfriend got a dog, and I couldn't see her as often or had to endure the dog pissing on the floor-- and she seemed unresponsive to my concerns-- I would consider a new girlfriend, too. You could grow to love the dog, but it sounds like it will continue to grate on your nerves-- if the latter happens and she won't budge, then it's worth moving on. The fact that you consider the dog a divisive element in your relationship signals that you're already on the way to doing so.
posted by jstef at 1:40 AM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

She should train the dog properly and her failure to do so indicates a lack of maturity, to me.

If it were me, I would take this kind of behavior as a sign to rethink what I really liked about this person and why I thought it was worth it to stay in the relationship.

Since it sounds like you really want to make it work though, I second the suggestion to go with her to training classes for the dog. Perhaps teaching the dog to behave well can be a good opportunity for you to grow together as a couple.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 7:53 AM on December 16, 2007

Since no one else has mentioned it:

The dog is using the bathroom floor. It's often the only uncarpeted surface in the house, it's close to the commode for disposal, and the dog is a baby. There's a reason they put diapers on babies, they can't wait very long and don't have real good control yet.

Disclaimer: my mother was a small dog person who worked 40 hours a week, and she taught the dog to use newspapers on the bathroom floor if the dog couldn't wait, as a backup plan, on purpose. Her breed of choice was originally Toy Manchesters, followed by several Manchester Terriers when they moved out of a 22' trailer.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 3:04 PM on December 16, 2007

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