9 Times I Thought My Dog Was Warning Me About My Partner (and What He Really Meant)
Pushing her away with his paw, giving her dirty looks, marking his territory and more behaviours convinced me my dog was warning me about my exes (there have been many lipstick stains). He’s a 14-year-old rescue beagle who has complicated many romantic situations with his attitude and behaviour. I was set out to report on 13 ways your dog is warning you about your partner — but after speaking with canine behavioural expert and Raising Rover’s owner and head trainer, Caroline Applebee, it turned out I was misreading the signs. With more than 20 years of experience working with dogs, Applebee was able to explain what the beagle was actually thinking (and not what my very human emotions projected onto him).
Whether we’re confusing Cesar Millan’s television approach to canines with actual dog training or just generally misunderstanding our pups (this is common, reassures Applebee), communicating with our fur-children is key to a happy home. So, let’s talk about all the times I thought Clark Kent, the super (bad) beagle, was warning me about my partner — and what he was actually trying to say, according to our dog expert.
My dog pushed girls away with his pawWhether we were watching Orphan Black on the couch or cuddling in bed, the 26.6 lbs dog used to wedge his way in between us — leaning into me and stretching out his lil legs to push away my partner. He did it regularly, making eye contact with them and leaning into me deeper.
This is what the dog meant“Dogs really communicate,” explains Applebee, “Dogs protect their owners — they’re a precious resource. They can be possessive — they’re like, mine.”
So, it’s not that he was warning me — he was afraid this person was going to get in on his kibble.
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My beagle would tear through her bagsThe dog went out of his way to find her things and make a mess of her belongings. He’d chew, he’d shred, he’d destroy.
This is what the dog meant“Dogs get nervous around new objects — backpacks or suitcases,” says Applebee.
My old pup would pee on her shoesThe hound would take a few deep sniffs before circling around to lift his leg and urinate into her boots. He’d scurry away with little remorse.
This is what the dog meantThere’s something new in the environment and the dog is marking their territory.
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She accused my dog of giving her dirty looksSeated in my lap enjoying an ear rub, he’d face her. She’d widen her eyes and state he was doing it again: “giving her the mean look.”
This is what the dog meant“There’s no proof on ‘mean looks’ — it’s anecdotal,” explains Applebee. “Are we projecting our human emotions on them?”
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My dog would try to beat her to the bed and refuse to move from her side (it was his)He would dead-weight his 26.6lbs of beagle body on her side of the bed.
This is what the dog meantDogs can be possessive and territorial.
To be fair, he kind of was there first.
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He threw a tantrum every time we huggedIf we were embracing and enjoying a warm hug, the lil guy would do this low tail wag, pull his ears back and sometimes bark in protest.
This is what the dog meant“Dogs aren’t familiar with hugging,” says Applebee. “When two people are hugging, this could be threatening to a dog.”
My fur baby would pee on the bed after she slept in itGross, I know. But sometimes, on days when the lady friend stayed in her own home after a sleepover, the beagle would pee on the bed — urinating on the duvet and sometimes straight on the mattress.
This is what the dog meant“It’s not uncommon when a dog pees on the bed,” offers Applebee. “That is easy to misinterpret. They’re scent based, anxious about a situation — it could be that they’re marking it; could be anxiety. [They could be trying to] get close to their owners scent.”
He would sometimes growl at new loversThough it was rare, sometimes he would straight up growl at girls I brought home upon first meeting. Of course I read it as an explicit warning and assumed the dog might know something I didn’t.
This is what the dog meantThis one is harder to translate as there could be a number of factors to consider. However, Applebee warns to avoid yelling at the dog in this situation as you’ll end up creating negative associations.
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The dog would leave the room when she walked in — or seat himself far away from herWith a snort, he’d get up and bumble away from us if we came into a room he was just hanging out in. Sometimes, he’d return — only to take a seat far away from the lady friend.
This is what the dog meant“Dogs really communicate — they don’t speak English, but you can understand a lot from their body language,” says Applebee. “It doesn’t necessarily mean the person is bad news.”
She goes on to explain dogs are all about olfactory — this means that they’re scent based. A dog might not like someone based on scent.
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Well, the dog is happy now as it’s just me and the beagle these daysMaybe if I’d known all this just a bit earlier, I wouldn’t be a 34-year-old single lesbian with a needy beagle and our co-dependent relationship.
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