Relationship status: half my bed is for my dog.
I'd love to say the reason I date fewer assholes now than I once did is because of marked maturity and growth. But, that's not really true at all. My improved taste in men has more to do with my BD-versus-AD timeline: before dog and after dog. The reality is, my dog Jez has created a barometer against which I measure potential suitors. All crazy dog people do. If someone can check off these commandments of dating a dog owner, they're ready for a relationship with me.
If my dog doesn't like you, I don't like you
Let's face facts. When it comes to crazy dog people, it's unanimous: if the dog doesn't like you, we don't like you. Jez, my black German shepherd, loves everyone. So if she doesn't, it's a pretty clear sign the person is a serial killer. Do yourself a favor and go in smart with the dog. Bring (healthy) treats. Get to know each other. Because if that dog barks every time you walk up, you won't need to read past this first rule.
Establish respectable boundaries
If your SO says no table food, then NO TABLE FOOD. It's not that complicated. By respecting your SO's dog and the rules established, you show respect for their hard work, training, and connection with their dog. My dog is dominant and smart. Feed her from the table, and next time my baby nieces and nephews are around her we'll have to worry about little fingers being snapped up along with whatever food the kids are holding.
Don't cage me in
Figuratively and literally. Dog people spend a lot of time with their four-legged friends. This means we have a tendency to be a little quirky about our dogs, our free time, and our conversations. My friends and I have been known to serenade our dogs with the latest T-Swift or Beyonce (OK, and Bieber) hits. Acting like you find this weird or nonsensical is not good for you. Me walking in to find you singing "Backstreet's Back" to my dog? You're winning me over.
Also, more seriously -- never ask to have a dog crated or caged while you are there or sleeping over. Just never do that.
Find out what your SO's dog likes, and get it
There is no faster way to my heart than someone who gets my dog a chew toy or a badass tennis ball (didn't know they existed? They do. I’m waiting.). A treat for my dog? Hell yeah. One that occupies her mind and energy? Even better. I know most girls love flowers and chocolates and all that romantic stuff, but crazy dog girls love when you get the dog something.
I mean, don't forget me! But seriously, if you get a gift for your SO, get the dog a little something too. Solid way into their heart.