Tricky Transitions: Moving In With a Partner (and Pet)

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

You’re all set to shack up with your love except one little problem: his pet. No matter how you feel about his furry friend, it can be a tricky path to navigate. We can help. Try these tips to keep everyone living peacefully.

Practice patience

Pets are super fun, until they’re not. Even the cutest pup seems like a devil when she mysteriously wants a 4am walk and won’t stop barking until she gets it. You’re gonna need plenty of patience to deal with a pet who is getting used to a new element (you) but, over time, things should smooth over as everyone acclimates.

Spend some alone time

It can feel like a slight when your new pet so obviously prefers to snuggle with your partner (and ignores you) but realize it takes time to build a relationship. Spending some alone time (just you and the pet) might help speed up the bonding (doling out a few treats also doesn’t hurt; bribery!) so you can start to understand those warm pet owner feelings.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Keep a cleaning schedule

The fact of the matter is that most pets make a mess (and they can’t exactly clean up after themselves). Getting proactive about keeping a clean house can certainly help alleviate a big part of the frustration factor of owning a pet and working as a team to tackle the fur will help you both feel like you’re caring for your pet.

Modify bad behavior

Contrary to popular belief, old dogs CAN learn new tricks. If your new pet has habits or behaviors that just don’t fly with you (and were previously allowed) things can get tense. You humans need to figure out the rules; nail out just what is okay and not okay for your pet to do and then go about modifying behaviors until it turns into reality. It will take time so be prepared, but if you both agree, it will happen eventually.

So tell us pet parents, how do you deal with a live-in love plus pet?