Choosing a dog over a relationship isn’t as crazy – or as uncommon – as you may think.
But is it the right thing to do?
Should a dog, or any pet for that matter really come before a partner?
It depends on how two people feel about each other, whether you’re both willing to compromise, and how the dog fits into the relationship.
If your partner is already putting their dog before you and it’s causing issues, it’s a huge red flag!
Signs your partner might choose their dog over your relationship!
1. They’re More Excited to See Their Dog than You when They Get Home
If your partner would rather be greeted by their dog than you when they get home from work, it’s a clear sign that they are more affectionate to them than you.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a clear indication that your partner loves their dog more than they love you.
It’s hurtful to see, I’ve been there myself. It feels like they miss their dog more than you – which they do – and it’s not a great feeling.
But it’s something you’re going to have to accept.
Related – Is it a cat causing relationship problems? Here’s what to do!
2. Their Dog Sleeps in Between the Two of You at Night
This is a big one.
If your partner lets their dog sleep in between the two of you at night, it’s a sign that they love their dog more than they love you.
It’s not only hurtful, but it can also be frustrating for obvious reasons.
I’m sure you feel like you’re being pushed out of your own bed and replaced by a big ball of fur, I can’t fault you for feeling lonely.
3. They Throw a Bigger Birthday Party for Their Dog than For You
Doggie birthday parties are all the rage, and I can kind of understand it – it’s fun and a good way to spoil our pets.
But if your partner is putting in more effort to celebrate their dog’s birthday than your own, it says a lot about how they prioritize things.
I’m sure it’s not that they don’t love you, but their dog is definitely number one in their eyes.
I bet it leaves you feeling pretty down, it’s something you should speak to your partner about.
4. They Are Constantly Posting Pictures of Their Dog on Social Media
If your partner is constantly posting pictures of their dog on social media – but not of you two – it’s a clear sign of where their priorities lie.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t post pictures of their dog, but if it’s all they’re posting and is what they get excited about, it’s not a good sign.
It can make you feel like you’re not good enough and that their dog is more important to them than you are.
5. They Spend More Time with Their Dog than You
This is a big one and probably the number one cause of arguments in a relationship.
If your partner is spending more time with their dog than they are with you, it’s a sign that they love their dog more than you.
Or at the very least they clearly enjoy spending their time with their dog over you.
This can be really hurtful and make you feel like you’re not important to them.
It’s something you should definitely talk to your partner about.
6. They Forgive Their Dog Quicker than They Do You
We all make mistakes, both us and dogs, but if your partner is quicker to forgive their dog than they are to forgive you, this is also a pretty big tell.
Again, this can be really hurtful and makes you feel like your partner loves their dog more than they love you.
It never feels good to do something that annoys our partners, and being in the doghouse (yes, bad pun), is not a good feeling.
Hearing them forgive their dog for chewing up the couch when all you’ve done is come home late is adding salt to the wound.
7. They Talk to And Compliment Their Dog More than You
This is another thing that can make you feel isolated from your partner, lonely, and like the third person in the relationship.
As pet owners, we all talk to our pets and it’s fun and rewarding to compliment and applaud them when they do something right.
But no one should be giving their dog more attention than their partner, this is just going to make them feel less important.
8. They Are Clearly More Concerned About Their Dog than They Are About You
This is another one that cuts deep. If you really feel that your partner is more concerned about their dog’s wellbeing than yours, it’s hard to feel secure in the relationship.
You should always feel like your partner has your back, but if they’re constantly worrying about their dog and not you, it doesn’t feel good.
It will only make you feel like they love their dog more than they love you and that when it comes down to the crunch, they won’t be there for you.
9. They Ask You to Put Their Dog on Facetime when They’re Away
This one is a bit of a personal pet peeve of mine.
When my partner is away and she calls, she asks me to put their dog on Facetime so she can talk to him.
I admit, I’m not a big dog person, and I don’t mind showing her Sammy is happy, but sitting there holding the phone while she chats to him on Facetime is a bit much.
10. You Can Just Tell They’d Choose Their Dog Over You
You can analyze how they act, taking into account all the things I’ve said, but sometimes you just know.
If you feel like your partner would choose their dog over you, then they probably would.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t love you, I want to reiterate that again.
But it does mean that their dog is definitely more important in some aspects and it’s going to cause issues in your relationship.
What to do when you hate your husband’s dog.
How to resolve issues when your dog is causing problems in your relationship.
Can You Stop Your Partner from Putting Their Dog First?
While it might not be easy to bring it up, you can try to talk to your partner about them putting their dog first.
It’s important to have this conversation as early on in the relationship as you can so that you’re both on the same page.
If they’re receptive to what you’re saying and understanding of your side, then hopefully you can work together to try and change things.
But if they’re not understanding or they continue to put their dog first, then you might have to re-evaluate your relationship.
Would You Choose Your Pet Over Your Partner?
I want to finish by asking, if you were in a relationship and had to choose between your partner or your pet, who would you choose?
Maybe you’ve been in this situation and you can provide some insights from your side years removed from your decision.
Either way, please let me know in the comments below if you have anything valuable to add.
Image credits – Photo by Jon Grogan on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.
1 thought on “Choosing a Dog Over a Relationship (Why It Happens & What to Do)”
In this current situation my partner had 3 dogs and just got another one. The dogs can do no wrong. For me I grew up with dogs but there were boundaries. I no longer want to sleep in bed with her and sleep cramped on our couch downstairs we have 2 extra bedrooms and pretty large house but the dogs must sleep in our room “we are a pack” she says . We’re engaged and on year 4 we have a business together where she’s invested 36K. I love her and she means the world to me but I’m tired. The room stinks and there isn’t a place animal free because we also have 3 cats and 4 birds in our living room. She hasn’t said it but it’s clear she will always choose them it hurts. I know people will say but you knew she was an animal lover. Yes someone having 15 tattoos dedicated to animals and portraits of deceased animals I should have but at 23 I wasn’t thinking that. Now I feel resentment towards the new dog(he gets a lot of attention)& is spoiled financially. Please if you know Dogs are your world don’t even date it will only hurt someone.