Passing the Fido test

Melissa Bruce and Andrew Murphy are happy together as mutual dog lovers with Storm and Savannah.
Melissa Bruce and Andrew Murphy are happy together as mutual dog lovers with Storm and Savannah. John McCutcheon

SCIENTISTS are investigating whether dogs can smell cancer in their owner.

Greeks believed dogs could foresee evil. And many of us believe that dogs have a sixth sense when it comes to the supernatural.

But can they tell if a new partner is right for you?

Clever Paws dog trainer Melissa Bruce said while that innate sense might be true for some dogs, it was not always a reliable indicator.

"It is more a folklore thing," she said.

"People might say after a break-up - well, my dog never liked him."

The situation can be difficult. You are all loved up with a new partner. Everything is rosy and then you bring them back to meet your furry best friend and a clash occurs.

A devoted dog lover, Melissa said she would never date someone who did not like her dog - a beautiful three-year-old alaskan malamute called Storm.

While he is a well-trained and perfectly behaved dog, he can be shy and takes a while to warm to someone new.

So what do you do if your partner and your four-legged friend do not get along?

Melissa said the clash could be due to a variety of reasons.

The dog may feel the new partner is taking their place in your affections and could feel threatened.

Or the dog may feel that it needs to teach your new partner where they fit in the new household.

"As much as I love Storm, he doesn't get the biggest say when it comes to guys," Melissa said.

Luckily, her partner Andrew and Storm are friends but another obstacle is if the new partner also has a dog.

"There can be quite a few problems there," Melissa said.

She said the dogs needed to be introduced in the right way.

"As a general rule, they should meet on neutral ground," she said.

That way, neither dog will feel threatened or territorial.

Melissa also recommended having the dogs meet in a happy situation, such as a park or anywhere that was not too stressful.

Do not force the dogs to be friends: just let them get to know each other during a couple of meetings.

Once the dogs feel comfortable with each other, invite one dog over to the other dog's house.

Melissa says dog owners do not need to choose between their pets and their love life.

All it takes is just a little time and patience.

Tips to help dog and partner

Don't force your dog to accept your partner. Let the dog get acquainted in his own time. If your dog feels pressured or threatened, they could get defensive.

Reinforce your dog's training that they recognise you are the leader of the pack. If the leader is happy with the new person, the dog will accept this.

Get your partner to do things with the dog that the dog enjoys, such as playtime, take it for a walk or even feeding the dog.

If the dog is aggressive and trying to bite your partner, perhaps see a specialist to get the dog some aggression training.

Topics:  dating dogs relationships

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