5 Dog Dads I Definitely Can’t Date

The bad habits I just can’t overlook

By Leslie Phelan


No one can deny that the dog park is the best meet market for singles. At these parks, I like to pay attention to a man’s behavior and his parenting style. It’s always very telling of his overall character and, ultimately, our potential compatibility. After years of careful observation, I have learned to identify (and weed out) five dog dad types I definitely won’t date.

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The Intimidators

Stay away from the guys with scary, snarling dogs, unless want to get bitten. 

The exception is, of course, the guy who adopted or is fostering an aggressive dog with the intention of rehabilitating it. I’m not talking about that guy. I’m talking about the guy that made the dog that way. The owner who likes the fact that his growling, lunging dog makes people nervous.

Whether he is engaged in sketchy business that necessitates an intimidating guard dog or that he has simply failed to train it well is of little consequence. Shady owners make for shady animals, because a pet’s personality is often just an extension of its owner’s demeanor.

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The Slobber Mongers

I love doggy kisses, but nowhere near my mouth, please. And I’m not scared of a bit of slobber, just nowhere near my food, please. I went for ice cream one time with a guy I met in the park, and we were hitting it off until I noticed the way he let Ted, his Rottweiler, lick from the ice cream cone he was still enjoying. In that instant, I knew we would never be intimate.

I didn’t want to be the girl to comment on how he connects with his best friend, but Ted’s big slobbery tongue had left a stream of spit across the wafer and I almost gagged as I watched my date lap it up. It’s kind of endearing to witness this kind of cross-species, no-holds-barred sharing, and it might’ve actually been okay with me if I didn’t happen to notice Ted stopping to lick his own balls on the walk over, and eat a pizza crust off what definitely looked like a dead squirrel. Gross.

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The Bed Sharer

Dog cuddles are one of life’s greatest joys, but everyone has boundaries and in my world, my bed has been declared the only sacred human space of my home.

Few things are more important than my pugs, but when they want to sleep in my bed, I have to refuse.  The couch is fair game, but the bed is for sleep and sex, two things that rank highly on my list of priorities, and that are best accomplished without a layer of dog hair between the sheets.

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The Poop Leaver

Having a pet means accepting responsibility for it. I once met a guy who shamelessly shirked his poop-scooping duties, telling me when I questioned him that he believes the city should send crews to deal with such things. I said there would be maggots in that particular turd before they would get around to it. He shrugged and left it anyway, even after I told him how toxic it is to leave protein-based excrement on the grass. I decided that hanging around him would put my shoes in constant danger. That was the last time we spoke.

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The Pee Puddle Ignorer

We all make the odd bad judgment call. Even I sometimes end up bonding with an undatable dog owner, but there are immediate signs in his home that prompt me to end things, um, cleanly. All dogs, especially puppies and old ones, have accidents indoors. Not a big deal, but they need to be attended to in a timely fashion for a number of reasons. First, the dog might think that peeing indoors is okay. Second, the acidic pee will ruin your floors. Finally, the smell. But even more overwhelming than the stench is when people just put up with it …  I won’t deal with that!