You love your pet, and you love your partner, so it’s only natural that the two of them would get along too, right?
Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t quite that easy.
Sometimes the issues can become so severe that you may feel like you need to choose between your pet and your partner. If this is you, you’re not alone – in fact, 64% of people report that they would choose their pet over their partner.
Why does my pet hate my partner?
It’s important to remember that your pet doesn’t hate your partner – even if it feels like they do.
Although it may be difficult for your partner not to take it personally, the first step is to stop personifying your pet and assigning them human emotions. Some of the reasons they might not be warming up to your partner include:
- Protectiveness: Some guard dog breeds are highly protective of their owners and suspicious of any newcomers.
- Territory: Your pet may feel like your partner is taking over their space.
- Their past: When it comes to rescue pets, they may have had a bad experience with someone who looks, smells, or acts like your partner.
- Jealousy: You may have suddenly started spending less time with your pet and more time with your partner.
- Personality: If your partner has a different pet parent personality to you, a sensitive pet may interpret their mannerisms and tone of voice as aggression.
What you can do today
Before trying any techniques to help your pet and partner get along, the first thing you should do is try a little less.
Many people make the mistake of trying too hard – for example, placing the pet in their partner’s lap – instead of letting them get to know each other in their own time.
Here’s what you can do instead:
- Introduce your pet and partner slowly. Start by bringing your partner along on walks or having them over to your house, then increase the time they spend together gradually.
- Take a piece of your partner’s clothing home so your pet can get used to their smell.
- No touch, no talk, no eye contact. Ask your partner to ignore your pet and let your pet go to them when they’re ready.
- Ensure your pet never feels cornered or trapped and has an easy escape route if they want to leave the room.
- Let your partner take over feeding your pet their meals and treats.
When to call in the big shots
If your pet is aggressive or attacks your partner, it’s vital that you step into action quickly to ensure everyone’s safety.
It can be difficult to identify why your pet is aggressive – it could be anything from possessiveness over you to fear of your partner – so figuring this one out is best left to professional animal behaviour specialists.
- Johannesburg: Katherine Brown, Dog and Cat Behaviour Specialist
- Cape Town: Bernice Jaffe, Animal Behaviourist
- Durban: Good Pet Animal Behaviourists for Dogs, Cats & Birds
- Port Elizabeth: Across the Breeds Animal Behaviourists for Dogs
Once you’ve made peace in your home, the next step is to ensure your pet is covered! Get a free online pet insurance quote in under 3 minutes and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your best friend, along with your bank account, is protected.