Men are from Mars, dogs are from Uranus?

Dating in the internet age is tough.  “Must love dogs” is no longer specific enough a requirement to ensure a meeting of minds (etc.). Consider this scenario:

You spot a guy on an online dating site and one of the things that draws you to him is a profile picture with a dog licking his face.

You meet, the guy is nice, and you are attracted to each other.

He meets your dog, and your dog doesn’t seem to hate him (which, for your dog, is a rave review).

You meet his dog, a sweet young pit bull mix that the guy rescued from the streets, and you discover the following:

  • The dog isn’t neutered (“It’s a guy thing,” the guy says)
  • The dog only goes out and roams “occasionally” and anyway “there are no female dogs in the neighborhood.” And because the dog is about a year old, “it’s too late” to neuter him now.
  • The dog is a humper, and in order to keep him from humping you, the guy punches the dog. Not hard, he says, only “to get his attention.”
  • The dog  is never put into safety restraints when he is riding in the guy’s van because it wouldn’t be “natural.”

You try to explain the problem with all these things, in a pleasant way (except for the punching; you threaten to leave immediately if any more punching occurs). The guy’s eyes glaze over, and his face takes on a long-suffering look, one that suggests you are a typical nagging female. He doesn’t interrupt you — see “mutual attraction,” above — but he is clearly waiting until you are done speaking so more interesting things can occur.

You believe the guy really does love his dog, but doesn’t know what’s best for him and for a world overrun with unwanted pets and that he is unwilling to learn. He’s not even interested enough in your claim that you know a thing or two about dogs to read your blog — which is why you feel comfortable posing hypothetical scenarios — much less your book, which is not a good sign for  other reasons.

Is this romance doomed?

32 thoughts on “Sex & the Single Dog Blogger”

    1. Yeah, but I needed to indulge in a little public self-justification! And, being a queen of de-nile, maybe I was hoping for someone to suggest that the relationship could be salvaged. It’s rough out there for us singlets!

  1. Were it me–Yup, doomed. Good chance I’d walk out as soon as he punched his dog. Also, I wouldn’t expect myself to handle the WIDE disparity in our thinking regarding treatment of our pets without ending up resenting how he thinks/acts. Not exactly a good basis for human relationships!

  2. OMG!

    Doomed, doomed, doomed. Basic irresponsibility combined with a penchant for violence? I know you must be aware of the close correlation between animal abuse and human abuse/domestic violence!

    And I thought I had it bad when a guy complained about the dog hair! LOL

    I am sorry though, as not only is it disturbing to consider the poor dog, but also because it’s so hard to find someone you click with at all. (I mean you in the general sense, not the personal one.)

  3. Not defending the guy — honest — but one clarification: This was a very energetic young dog who wasn’t easily dislodged from my leg. It wasn’t a mean “I’m going to show you who’s boss” hard punch but an attempt to get the dog away from me.

    Just curious: Can anyone suggest how I could have gotten the dog away from me effectively? I kept trying to channel Victoria Stilwell but had no success. Should I have asked for dog treats and shown the guy the dog could be dissuaded from humping by positive means? Among other things, I don’t trust my own instant dog training skills. (The dog was eventually banished to another room.)

    1. A coupon for a neuter surgery and a pair of neuticles as a gift?

      I’ve never had to deal with a humping dog (since mine are always neutered young), so no advice there. I suspect it’s one of those behaviors that can get really entrenched.

      Though, my young FEMALE dalmatian once humped a “stray” cat that hung around our neighborhood. Wish I’d gotten that on video. It was pretty funny.

      1. Ha! Those Neuticals are expensive — up to $1200 for a pair.

        On a more serious note, I just wrote a spay/neuter story for Your Dog and the latest word on neutering is that it’s iffy as a humping/aggression cure (at least on its own, without further behavior modification).

  4. RE: humping- I would have said, “Hey! Let’s go for a walk!” That may have helped the humping a bit (the poor pup was probably just excited that someone new was around).

    I am clearly in the minority, but I don’t necessarily think this guy is a dud based on his animal knowledge:

    – The punching thing- okay, clearly that is not cool (if it was more of a nudge, okay- if violent that would be a mega problem)
    – The roaming thing- when I was a kid my dog got out and roamed around our neighbourhood. Now I know this is wrong, but when we let it happen it wasn’t for lack of loving him, it was how my parents were raised with animals around their houses.
    – Vehicle restraint- when I first got my dogs I didn’t realize what a big deal this was.
    – Neutering- it often is “a guy thing.” He’s wrong, but it is still very uncomfortable for a lot of guys (I got a real pang when I took my femle dog in to get spayed, I didn’t think it would affect me, but it did). Look at how many dogs there are in shelters- a lot of people obviously feel the same way.

    Sure, this guy may be a total ass… or he may just be uneducated. Not everyone reads up on dog stuff as much as we do. I’d say 90% of the population knows much *less* about dogs than we do.

    I’m not sure how long you’ve been seeing this guy for, but one thing I know for sure: You deserve to feel like the person you are talking to is interested in what you have to say. Nobody likes to be lectured, but everybody ought to feel like a million bucks. Especially when you’re being wooed!

    1. Thank you, Shauna. If nothing else, you’ve made *me* feel like less of a total ass. You’ve made precisely the points that I’d made in my head, i.e., that these behaviors were perfectly acceptable to responsible dog owners not too long ago — and still are today to many people who aren’t as dog obsessed as we are.

  5. ditto to Shauna on both counts. the part where she says it’s important he make you feel important is really most important.

    and the punching not good, and probably not effective. but what is with guys…heck.maybe put it to good use – his humping might be a good way to clear the aisle ahead of you at PetsMart, like my Ellie did sniffing up a lady’s skirt that was blocking the aisle..

    As for the dog side, my standards have gotten a little lower working in a rural area …. I would be concerned about like, did he get its puppy shots… does he keep it tied up all day…without water……

    1. Ok, Diane, that’s the funniest comment of the lot. I love the idea of Buster –I’m not giving much away by providing the dog’s name; it’s not like it’s Titus Andronicus or something really uncommon — clearing the aisles of PetSmart by humping everyone who gets in the way. As for treatment, Buster did get his shots (it was in that context that I learned that no neutering occurred, even though the vet recommended it). He also gets a three mile run every morning with “the guy,” and there was plenty of water and nary a sign of a chain in the house.

  6. Poor me, I was just following my dads example. He is not neutered and proud of it. He told me that it is a mans thing. Humping is allowed. Maybe even encouraged. We give each other a little notch when humping. Just so we know we still are on the same level, and not let ourselves get distracted from everybody else around us when they start to make a fuzz out of a mans thing.

    But now this very nice lady came by and told great farytails from her blog and book. What a nice stories she could tell, about not-humping-dogs which are allowed to meet other dogs more often. These dogs even got to meet more humans, also my favorites. I can see now we have hurt some feelings. But my dad doesnt understand. If I could speak for myself I would tell him it is a dog thing, surely he could understand that?

    Maybe the nice lady doesn’t pick my dad, but I sure hope she picks me.

    1. Well, I was waiting for a guy to weigh in — and you didn’t disappoint me! Of course human males aren’t permitted to hump everything they encounter in public — if they do they are put away in places that are similar to the dog pound — but it’s true that, among their peers, they are quite proud of their humping accomplishments….

      If only Buster could tell his owner about the social benefits to him of being neutered and of avoiding displays of interspecies affection in a way that is not sanctioned by humans. I’m sure he would see reason (or not; if the guy’s dog suddenly started talking to him or I should say started talking to him in a way that was comprehensible, he might be traumatized).

  7. After reading Shauna, Diane and Kenzo, I’ve softened my attitude a bit. The roaming is bad because Buster could be responsible for more unwanted pups. And I’ve received the “guy thing” arguments lots of times…with the amount of anthropomorphizing I do on a daily basis, I guess I don’t have room for criticizing that example of it. Punching not good.

    And to Shauna: I, too, am guilty of the non-restraint, for the same reasons. Don’t tell!!!

    If the dude doesn’t listen to you, and hasn’t rushed out and bought a few copies of your book, though, DUMP HIM.

    1. Ha! The “listening to me” criterion — very valid. The “buying a few copies of my book” — not so much. Let’s just say that if I used that as the basis of whether to have third, fourth, fifth date — heck, even cohabitation — I would have a very poor social life indeed. Besides, isn’t that what best friends are for? 😉

  8. I haven’t softened. I realize neutering is a discussion point, but roaming is not, nor is driving without a harness or other restraint. Punching is completely unacceptable, whether it’s a soft punch or not. You know these things, you’re an expert (hello! book with your name on the front!), and if he’s not willing to listen to your input about these things, God help you when trickier issues come up. Have a fling, have fun, but walk away….

    1. Good! I like a woman who sticks with her principles — even if I’m not that woman all the time — and I would expect you, as the queen of restraint device for small dogs, to feel strongly about the topic.

    1. In case you missed that reference, you’re in good company: According to Wikipedia: INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

  9. OK … am I the only guy answering this?

    This guy won’t hunt. It’s a guy thing? It’s not natural? Poking masked as punching? (When the dog gets bigger, what’s he gonna do to get his attention?)

    C’mon Edie … you deserve better than this.

    1. Nope, you’re not the only guy answering, Rod. Kenzo is a guy (well a guy dog, who has his guy owner type for him). And he/they agree with you! Thanks for weighing in!

  10. Well, I do believe it’s a ‘guy thing’. You know, I can sympathize… And you, English speaking people, call it FIXING! Hm …

    Plus, take away guy’s balls, what’s he gonna think with? 😉

    I can see why guys would prefer just females to be “fixed”.
    Perhaps they just should learn to use protection…

    Luckily though, there are some health benefits to dogs being neutered, including eliminating the possibility of testicular cancer and a reduced incidence of some other types of cancer and lower risk of some types of prostate disease, e.g. prostatic hyperplasia and infections.

    Maybe knowing that would help with the decision.

    1. As it happens, Jana, I just did a story on the benefits of spay and neuter — the term castration really makes guys cringe! — and the benefits of neutering are not as dramatic for males as spaying for females. Testicular cancer is very rare, for example, while breast cancer is quite common in females and far more deadly. But you’re right, neutering does head off some very uncomfortable, if not life-threatening, prostatic conditions for males later on.

      And causing the birth of other dogs who might end up euthanized in a shelter — that’s bad enough!

      P.S. I’m trying hard not to be sexist about this (see neutral scientific comments above) but I had to laugh at your “what’s a guy gonna think with” without his balls comment!

  11. I think it can be hard to know so much that others don’t about a topic as important as the care of a sentient being – it can make you very unforgiving to the 90% of the population who remain relatively clueless.

    I’m with Mary-Alice on the punching and take a hard line on it. I know people can be nervous on a date and that may have taken his response to a place it should not have gone out of embarrassment. Only further observance will tell you what kind of person he is. But the idea of punching a dog only enough “to get his attention” made me cringe.

    That coupled with the “It’s not natural” to restrain the dog in his van, and the “it’s too late now” on the neutering makes me think he’s too stubborn for his own good, possibly unwilling to listen to anything that challenges his understanding of how things are. Nothing is worse than having what you say be dismissed with “the eyeroll”. Seems very petulant for early days in dating.

    It’s never easy, is it? Attraction is one thing, relationship is another and the first doesn’t necessarily lead to the next. Enjoy yourself, have fun, keep your eyes open. If Frankie doesn’t hate him, that’s interesting.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Yes, if a little knowledge is dangerous, a lot of knowledge can isolate you from a great many people! But that’s not a bad thing if those people are not compatible with core views that are based on hard science — not to mention compassion.

      And yes, it’s the unwillingness to listen to another point of view that makes me think the relationship is doomed before it really starts.

  12. First off, thank you all (and welcome Carla)! I was hesitant to post this because, though it’s dog related, it’s a bit more personal — or personal in a different way — than my posts that focus primarily on my relationship with Frankie. But now I’m very glad I did. How wonderful to have an online support group that provides all these different perspectives and reality checks.

  13. I found your thanks to respondents endearing. It’s not easy to put the more personal stuff out there. What you can be sure of is that this group is never short on opinions and we offer them freely whenever asked – and, hey, even when we’re not;-D

  14. Hi Edie,

    I thought I had a dilemma but this sounds complicated!

    I am dating a guy who is not even a dog person and all my friends say “DEAL BREAKER” (because I am obsessed with my dog). Thankfully so far, we have had no “relationship issues” related to my dog, and everything is going fine.

    I would feel strange about dating someone who won’t read my book… (or show interest in the stuff that interests ME)

    Perhaps this guy needs some “training”:)

    1. You know, I think being with someone who is not a dog person is better than being with a so-called dog person who doesn’t agree with your dog treatment philosophy.

      As for reading my book… well, it would be nice, but if I want any sort of social life I can’t expect it!

      1. Perhaps you are right, Edie. I wonder if a non dog person can become a dog person. (Hmmm)
        I hope your relationship goes well… would love updates! 🙂

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