You can tell a lot about people from the way they treat animals. When you are dating, a big step in the relationship—in addition to meeting your potential in-laws—is to have a meet and greet with your partner’s pets.
The key to making sure the meeting starts off on the right foot or paw—depending on how you are looking at it—is to prepare ahead of time. Here are five tips on how to make a good impression on your partner’s pets. Click the gallery to check them out.
Ask where their pet likes to be scratched.
Some pets love getting their ears or bellies rubbed, others don’t. So ask first.
What is their favorite treat?
Bring a small bag of treats with you. Yes, it’s a form of bribery, but it can work. Ask your date if it’s okay to bring a treat for his or her pet. Make sure your partner’s pet doesn’t have any food allergies.
Find out what kind of toys they prefer.
Every animal is different. Some prefer toys that squeak and some prefer stuffed animals. Cats love laser lights; just make sure you don't shine one in their eyes. So, in addition to a bottle of wine for your date, bring a new toy with a bow on it. It's never too early to start earning brownie points!
Some animals are wary of strangers and find eye contact too dominant.
Try to put the animal at ease by looking down and away from them while speaking softly and offering your hand, palm down. That way, the animal has a choice and is more likely to come up to check you out. This works well with dogs. For cats, look at them and slowly open and close your eyes a few times—pretty much like they do. It’s a form of friendship. Cats like communicating this way.
Some animals won’t go near strangers until they've had time to watch them for a while.
Give them their space, ignore their presence, and let them come to you. Your date may think that you are a master at animal behavior and like you all the more. If you have any dating tips on how you introduced your pet to your partner, please share in the comments section of this post!
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Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife for numerous online and print publications. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals, and she writes the animal advocacy blog Pet News and Views. Connect with her on Twitter.