Headlines for Canines: Dating the Dogless

If you're like most dog lovers, the person you're dating has more than just you to impress. No, it's not your parents who must be wowed, or even your friends. It's your beloved dog. For a non-dog kind of person, getting past this hurdle can seem like an insurmountable mountain. But take heart. Just like when you were training your dog, using the right approach can go a long way toward turning your new romantic interest into a household favorite for you – and your four-legged companion.

Don't break the date

So you've met the person of your dreams. He or she is funny, smart, good looking, and you share so much in common with them, except for one very important thing: You're a dog person, your friend is not. Uh oh, almost seems like a deal breaker. But wait. Before you turn your new friend loose, there are several things to consider that could lead to the friend loving your four-legged pal in no time. Or at least coexisting peacefully.

See the world through their eyes

First, upon finding out that your new love interest doesn't care for dogs, hold off on immediately sending him or her to the proverbial doghouse. Hear your friend out. Find out why he or she doesn't care for our canine companions. Perhaps your friend had a bad experience with dogs during childhood. Maybe he or she didn't have the benefit of being raised around animals. Unfamiliarity breeds fear. Rather than coming down harshly, empathize and try to see the situation through your friend's eyes. It could be well worth it in the long run.

Take baby, err, puppy steps

Maybe your dog can be the wonderful creature that helps change the opinion of your new love interest. But in order to do this, you'll have to be aware of your dog's strong points – and not-so-strong points.

Some of the things you find cute or endearing may in fact be annoyances to many people. Most Great Dane owners love it when their giant teddy bears jump up to give kisses. But people with a fear of dogs won't share the enthusiasm, and you shouldn't expect them to. Try keeping your dog on his best behavior when introducing him to your non-dog-loving date. Show how wonderful and loveable your dog is. Use your dog as a force for good – not an example of how not to behave. And if you've ever considered professional training, now could be the perfect time.

Upon first introductions, have your date give your dog a treat, because we all know, the best way to win a dog's heart is to satisfy the stomach. If you have a dog that loves to take walks and play in the park, plan a date that involves these activities. By spending time with the two of you in a fun, happy environment, your romantic interest will see how much your dog means to you. It's a great way to spend quality time together.

Love conquers all

Many people who once thought they'd never care for dogs have been won over by well-trained pooches. Sometimes they just need to meet "the perfect one." In many ways, people aren't all that different from dogs. A little patience and understanding will go a long way toward helping them adjust to the idea of having a furry friend around. And if you've met the right person, the effort will be well worth it.