Whether you enjoy the company of a roommate or just like splitting the bills, having another person share your living space is often a good idea. Companionship—whether in canine or human form—helps make for a happier home. When you’re bringing someone into a home already occupied by you and your dog, it’s important to make sure all parties can coexist peacefully.
Test the Waters
So you’ve found someone who is interested in moving in—make sure this person knows about your dog. If your potential roommate is uncertain, test the waters. Spend some time together to make sure it’s a good fit for everyone—your dog included. Don’t forget to bring the treats! Seeing how they interact can help you make the final decision about living together. This is especially important if your prospective roommate has pets. It’s important to know if your dog can get along with the new animal, or else you guys might end up living in a war zone.
Set the Ground Rules
Communication is key. Unless you guys hammer out what you expect of each other—including bills, cleaning and guests—you’ll probably end up bickering. This extends to your dog. Let your roommate know the rules as they pertain to your fuzzy buddy. Is your dog a no smoking zone? Is it OK for your roommate to chastise him if he misbehaves? What is your dog’s routine when you’re not around? Is your dog allowed people food? Likewise, your roommate needs to let you know what’s off-limits to your pet. Is their room a dog-free zone? What’s the protocol for an accident, or if the dog is sick and you’re not home?
Educate Your Roommate
Some things are just not possible—like stopping your husky from vocalizing or your bulldog from drooling. Let your roommate know about behaviors that aren’t alterable through training (or, at least, not completely removable). Educate your roommate on any important ongoing training (especially if your dog is a puppy and still learning the ropes). Letting your roommate know the quirks of your furry friend’s breed is not just a good way for them to get to know each other better; it’s also a fantastic way to set expectations.
Dogs aren’t perfect. They make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes might occur on your roommate’s property. Accept that your roommate might be angry and acknowledge their feelings. Try not to get defensive. See if there’s a way to settle the feelings of upset and address the issue reasonably.
You may think it’s adorable when your dog carries socks around in his mouth all day, but your roommate might prefer his socks un-chewed and without drool. Likewise, you might enjoy it when your puppy gnaws on your hands during playtime, but others—including your roommate, your mail carrier, and any guests who visit—shouldn’t have to defend themselves against bites. Be considerate of the things that make your dog a good roommate too—even if they’re things that don’t bother you. As you want your roommate to be considerate of you and your dog, so you too need to be considerate of your roommate to ensure you get the harmonious home you all desire.