Does your pet have relationship radar?

Could your dog have a sixth sense that could help you sniff out Mr. or Ms. Right?

Many daters don’t just want the opinions of friends and family when dating someone new — they want to know what Fido, Sparkles and Mr. Poochie think too.

When I first brought up this topic to my single and married friends, all of them had a story about how Snuffie always glared at the woman who would ultimately steal all his really good DVDs and break his heart or how Mr. Whiskers clearly knew from the very first day that the not-such-a-gentleman in question would put the moves on all her friends.

My cat, the slightly evil and cold-hearted Luther, hated every guy I’d ever dated except for one who turned out to be The One, and still is. It seems ol’ Luther had pretty good taste in men after all.

My dog Zeus, on the other hand, is a man tramp. He’ll pretty much cozy up to any guy with food in his pockets… or dripped on his shirt, for that matter.

Not exactly the razor-sharp insight I’d be hoping for.

But many people swear by their pets’ abilities to suss out their dates, and according to animal behaviorist Harrison Forbes, who conducts a poll on the subject every year, an overwhelming number of his radio show listeners have “canned a relationship or stopped a date, purely based on how their pet reacts.”

Kristina, a dog-owning dater says, “My dog Coco is really intuitive — I think they have a strong sense of these things. One time I was dating this guy — Coco knew that I wasn’t that interested in him, and was very aggressive. She wouldn’t let him sit on the couch or even get near me. She sensed it right away.”

“Another time I had a guy who was doing some computer work for me in my apartment. He came in with a motorcycle helmet in his hand, and I felt uncomfortable. She knew that I was scared — she could sense my fear.”

Michelle McKinney Hammond, author of Lessons from a Girl’s Best Friend says, “Pets definitely have a sixth sense about people. I would have to say that my little boy shih tzu is more protective of me than my little girl, Milan.

“However both are quick to let you know when they don’t care for someone by snubbing them completely. Because they are very friendly dogs when they don’t like someone it is a huge red flag to me.

“For instance, I had a guy friend of mine that came over to give them baths and kept them at his home when I traveled. After a while I noticed that Milan wanted nothing to do with him. When he came to the door she ran and hid from him. I decided to take her cue and cut off the relationship. Months later this man was arrested for being involved in a dog fighting ring! He was keeping over 40 pit bulls in the basement of his home! He was also on record for being a sex offender! “To me he was just a nice guy but my dogs knew better. The bottom line for me is you will only get as close to me as my dogs. If they like you then you’re in. But if they don’t, then, as Heidi Klum would say, ‘You are out!'”

Billie, a communications manager, says, “My sister is dating a much older man who nobody in my family is particularly fond of. When my husband and I brought our rescued boxer home for a visit last year (in a different state), our dog, who is well behaved, went nuts and started barking and jumping on this guy. It was funny as hell. Since then, she continues to jump on him and bark whenever she sees him. Everyone in my family is having a private giggle over this, especially since this guy claims to be ‘a dog person.'”

Do pets really have a sixth sense about people?

Yes and no. According to Forbes, host of the nationally syndicated Pet Talk radio show and author of Dog Talk, pets do have a sort of “people sense.” Forbes says, “A lot of dogs are really good at sensing something that is wrong but it may or may not match up. With cats, it’s more of what they don’t do than what they normally do — maybe they won’t rub or purr. And parrots, they’ll outright attack someone. But sometimes that’s gender based. If you’re going to put a lot a stock in your pet’s radar, you need to pay attention to the bigger picture.

“Maybe your ferret is grouchy because he has a stomachache. Maybe your iguana just isn’t a people-person (er, people-reptile?). And maybe your date isn’t a bad guy at all. Maybe he’s tense because he’s afraid after being bitten as a child, and the dog/cat/rooster is reacting to that emotion. “I’m always astounded at the lengths at which people put stock in what their pets think,” says Forbes. “If the dog is wagging his tail, they go to dinner. If the dog isn’t wagging his tail, the date is cancelled.”

One way Forbes suggests Sparky really can help you date better is to observe people with their pets, in a place like a pet store or a dog park. “You can sit back and watch how the person treats their pet. Are they overbearing? Kind and gentle?”

Forbes says, “That probably has the most merit. Make an assessment before you start talking to somebody.”

And finally, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and need to pass muster with Mr. Barkles before your relationship can go any further, well, the best advice is to talk softly and never leave home without a salami roll.

Dating expert Lisa Daily is the bestselling author of two dating books, Stop Getting Dumped and How to Date Like a Grown-Up.

Article courtesy of Click by Lavalife.

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