As a dog owner, you know that your pup is a family member. You love them with everything in you! They bring you joy, fulfillment and happiness.
However, sometimes there are people in your life who may not feel the same way. Whether extended family members or friends, not everyone loves dogs. And there are a variety of reasons for this — from allergies to past traumatic experiences.
There are ways you can be considerate to others who may not be the same page as you about our furry four-legged friends. But sometimes, it’s OK to prioritize your pets. Here are some tips on what to do when your friends aren’t dog people.
It’s important to understand why your friend isn’t comfortable around your dog. Did they have a negative childhood experience that left them nervous or afraid? Be understanding and offer to slowly introduce them to being around your pet if they’re open to it. Keep in mind your dog’s temperament and demeanor. According to The Rutland Herald, it’s a good practice to introduce your dog to one new person at a time.
Another common reason for individuals to not enjoy being around dogs is allergies. Since these are totally out of a person’s control, it’s hard to hold this against them! It’s not fair for you to have to keep your dog outside or locked in another room when they visit, says The Washington Post. So instead, try suggesting a visit at an outdoor restaurant patio or a park where the pet dander isn’t present in your living space.
It’s also important for you as a dog owner to acknowledge when your dog is misbehaving and respect your guests’ personal space. Some people, for example, are bothered when dogs jump up on or near them, while others love the canine attention. Be perceptive and watch for your friends’ discomfort, dealing with it appropriately by restraining your dog when necessary.
“If your dog is fearful with new people, taking them to a crowded space will not be helpful,” says The Rutland Herald. In essence, this means you need to know your dog’s limits. They can sense when the people around are uncomfortable or unreceptive, so keep that in mind when involving your pup in social outings.
In the end, it’s about balancing your love for your dog with your love for your not-so-dog-crazy friends. Be considerate when possible, but have an honest conversation with your friends about how your dogs are also family members. The more openly people can communicate, the more successful your relationships and friendships can be. And who knows — you might just convert a few into dog people.