It Turns Out That Having A Dog Has This Major Effect On Your Dating Life

In many ways, having a dog is similar to having a child. You’re responsible for the life and happiness of this tiny, adorable creature, and often, your dog’s daily routine becomes a major part of how you structure your day. Pet parent life definitely comes with its perks (a constant snuggle buddy and a new friend group you may pick up at the dog park), but it’s not without its challenges as well. Dating with a dog requires extra thought and intention, especially when it comes to introducing your pup to a brand new partner. Across the board, it seems as if dog owners agree: Your four-legged friend can make your dating life more complicated — but also potentially more rewarding.

According to a new study from dog-walking platform Wag!, 77 percent of dog owners weigh their pet’s response when considering a new partner. Seven in 10 people consider their dog to be an “excellent judge of character,” meaning if the dog doesn’t like someone, it’s a reason for concern. And 50 percent of survey respondents wouldn’t consider dating someone who didn’t get along with their dog! It’s clear that your dog’s response to a new prospective mate is something to take seriously. I asked several women with dogs about how their pup has affected their dating life, and their answers are both hilarious and surprising. Read on for your daily dose of puppy mania — and take this to heart before you bring home a dog of your own!

Awkward Situation
After ending a long-term relationship with the man I got my dog with, it’s just me and her in the apartment now, and she’s definitely confused when I have anyone new over. I’ve started dating women, and Tinder photos with my dog have drawn the majority of messages I get. But when someone comes over, if we start to get into it, my dog gets sort of crazed and will literally force herself between me and my date. I’ve had to stop in the middle of very intimate moments to get her to move away, and it can be tricky to figure out how sternly I can yell at her without looking unattractively out of my mind. I’m more actively trying to train her to be chill so that dates can go… a little smoother.

— Maggie, 26

The Middle Ground
I dated a guy for a while who really liked my dog, but it sometimes felt like he was only dating me for the dog. Like, even my birthday gift was just stuff for my dog. Then I dated a guy who seemed like he was dating me despite my dog. He didn't hate my dog, but he didn't really want him around. Now I feel like Goldilocks — I need someone who likes my dog just enough!

— Natalie, 25

Merging The Family
My boyfriend and I dated long-distance initially, so we had only met each other’s dogs over FaceTime, and our pups had never met each other when we eventually decided to move in together. We both love our dogs so much, so we were really worried about how they were going to get along (especially since they were sharing about 300 square feet of space in my tiny studio apartment!). Amazingly, they loved each other — I find our dogs very reflective of our personalities. Woodford (my boyfriend’s dog) is very calm and mellow, and Winston (my dog) is high energy and loves attention, but opposites attract, I guess. I’ve loved getting to be a dog mom to two great boys, and it really does feel like we’re our own little family now!

— Jen, 24

High Standards
My poodle is almost like a dad, and his approval of anyone outside my boyfriend and my parents is very hard to get. He even barks if my boyfriend tries to kiss me. And my boyfriend has to lay down in bed first before I lay down, or my pup freaks out that I’m going to be attacked or something.

— Hannah, 24

Love At First Sight
When we first started dating, I remember being genuinely nervous that Valor wouldn’t like Jordan (my partner) on the same level as the rest of my family. He’s a big, standoffish Black Shepherd we rescued from a really horrific situation, and he has a very specific sense of what he likes in humans. The minute Jordan sat down on our couch for the first time, Valor climbed into his lap and snuggled up. To this day, I am convinced that he likes Jordan more than he likes me, and if I’m being honest, I took that as a solid recommendation for Jordan. I think we all trust our pets’ choice in people a little more than we admit, and TBH, if your animal has an adverse reaction to someone off the bat, you should wonder why.

— Justina, 21

Dogs Over Dudes
I lose interest in a guy if he says he has pet allergies or isn’t a ‘dog person.’ I love my dog, and if I know he can’t be around them, I will distance myself from them. Pet over guys, any day.

— Megan, 24

Some people say dogs have a sixth sense about them, which explains why they're good at helping you decide whether someone is the right fit for you. Maybe your dog and your new partner are a perfect match, but other times... well, things could get ruff. Being a dog parent has its frustrating moments, but it's also fun to have a partner in crime to help you navigate your dating life. Rest assured that there will surely be funny stories along the way.