Finding Mr. Right: Fido, or Libido?
By Josie Brown
To many pet owners, Spot holds just as much esteem as a spouse or a lover.
In fact, almost 22 percent of America’s 44.8 million dog owners celebrate their pets’ birthday, and 39 percent of pet owners display a picture of the adored animal in their home, while another 16 percent keep a snapshot in their wallet or purse. As to whom is held nearest and dearest to their hearts, 36 percent of dog lovers admit to thinking of their canine pal as their “best friend,” and another 18.5 percent claim them as “children.”
Then there are the 12 percent who feel closer to their dog than they do their spouse — which is probably why more than 10 million dogs are allowed to sleep on top of their masters’ beds, and another 1.26 million are actually allowed under the covers.
In any regard, you should never have to choose between Fido and your libido. That said, here are some suggestions on how to keep your love life and your best friend off a collision course:
1. First things first: train the pup to sleep on a mat — preferably in another room. The sooner you start this process, the better, for all involved. Yes, the pup will whine for several nights, but your pet will soon get over it, as long as you show poochie who’s the boss.
2. Encourage your partner and pet to bond. When and where it is appropriate, arrange play dates for the three of you, perhaps a periodic walk to the local park for a game of fetch. An animal is at its most loving and trusting when it realizes that this new person in its midst is friend, not foe — to either itself or its master. Of course, your matchmaking scheme is more difficult if the human object of your affection is not a “dog person.” In that regard, ask them to hold out their hand to be sniffed by Rover, so that your canine companion can get used to this new friend’s smell. At the same time, keep Rover on best behavior. A dog obeys its master — if and when it is given the clear order to do so.
3. Reward your pet — before, during or after lovemaking with your mate. If lust strikes when Rover is roaming about, put food in his dish to keep him busy. Better yet, put him in your car, along with his favorite bone. Then, after your passion break, reward his patience with a trip to his favorite walking path or dog park. This predisposes him to anticipate some one-on-one time with his favorite human.
4. If need be, call in a pro. If it breaks your heart to discipline your dog, don’t go it alone. It’s worth the effort and money to send Fido to obedience school. Make sure the instructor knows the end game: peace and quiet when you need it the most.
Her next book, written with her husband, Martin, is the perfect self-help manual for your BFF (…okay, and for you, too). It’s THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO FINDING MR. RIGHT [September 2009]
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