Why your dog hates your boyfriend or girlfriend – Part 1

There are several reasons our dogs might behave towards our partners in a manner we can anthropomorphize as “hate”. Actual hate is the least likely of these, but can in fact occur in some situations depending on how liberal our interpretation of canine emotions may be. Assertion of dominance, confusion and fear are all far more likely to be the cause.

Dominance:

Dominance issues will be dependent on the genders of the participants and the establishment of hierarchical structures within this new “pack”. From your dog’s point of view, when a new member joins the pack it is obviously necessary to determine their place in the hierarchy. While you and your new partner are working out your relationship, your dog is also trying to ascertain whether this new pack member ranks above or below himself or herself.

This will not be an issue if a heterosexual man or woman with a same sex pet dog, that recognizes their human as the pack leader, starts a relationship with a new woman or man respectively. As the dog is not the pack leader excepting a new alpha “animal” of the opposite sex is not a problem. This does not mean that there won’t be contention from another cause.

If the dog considers itself the dominant of the initial pair, there may be dominance issues related to who is now the leader of the pack. Most dogs, however, taking on this role do not actually wish to have it and a firm demonstration of dominance by the new partner towards the dog can often resolve this quickly, resulting in a situation where all three are happier than they previously were. Domestic dogs do not desire dominance in their “pack” because they have been breed for thousands of years to be subordinate to humans rather than dominate over them. They only take on this role when their perceptions of their pack dynamics tell them that they have to, because their human is not fulfilling the role as they see it.

When a heterosexual woman has a (male) dog or man has a bitch the situation becomes more complicated. The new partner becomes a threat to the dog or bitch’s alpha status within the pack. They will behave aggressively to test dominance, the newcomer will be initially presumed subordinate and any indication of fear will tend to confirm this to the dog.

The reverse is true for homosexual couples. A same sex pet dog will be aggressive towards the new “pack” member because all three in the new pack are of the same gender, while a dog of the opposite sex will not be worried because

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