Your pup is your best friend and constant companion; the apple of your eye and the trusty shadow that follows you around the apartment each day. As a pet parent, it can be easy to forget the entire world doesn't always see your four-legged pal through those same rose-colored glasses.
If you want to avoid conflict with others, (whether that be with a random roommate or even your significant other), being mindful of space and boundary needs will go a long way. Follow these 3 simple rules for smooth sailing.
1. Be 100% responsible for all dog-related chores.
When you're living with a roommate, especially one you consider a friend, it's tempting to ask for pro-bono help. Friends do friends favors, right? But overloading a friend with your responsibilities can lead to a boatload of resentment. Stick to this rule: if you signed yourself up for a responsibility, it's exactly that – your responsibility. Occasional last-minute things happen in life, but if you find yourself texting your roommate every time you hit up happy hour instead of heading home to let out the dog, you may be inadvertently putting a strain on your relationship. It's worth spending extra cash on arranging a reliable dog-walker or sitter to avoid unnecessary conflict.
2. Ask about boundaries.
Even if your roommate gave you the green light to live with a pup, don't assume that's where the conversation should end. Asking about boundaries instead of assuming another person's comfort level is always the best route to ensuring everyone is happy with the living situation. For example, your roommate might not be comfortable letting the dog roam into her space or onto shared furniture. Even though most animal lovers wouldn't think twice about snuggling with a pup in bed, some people just don't feel that same way. It's always better to ask than to be sorry!
3. Own up to any pet-related incidents.
Even the most well-behaved dogs have the occasional slip-up. An episode of jumpiness, a bathroom accident on the carpet (it's never the wood floors, is it?) or damaged furniture are bound to happen eventually when you're living with a pet. Animal lovers know that's par for the course! But even if a roommate tells you it's OK, always be sure to apologize immediately and take responsibility for your pet. Remember that a roommate may just want to quickly smooth it over by telling you not to worry about it, but it's key to insist on paying for any damage and to demonstrate that you take the incident and your roommates' comfort level seriously.