Country songs are filled with anguished lyrics about cheating wives and husbands. But sometimes it’s not always people who are doing the leaving and breaking hearts. Dogs and cats can also cheat on their owners, leaving their own homes in pursuit of something better, or different. And perhaps more painfully, some pets carry on affairs right under their owner’s nose.Other dogs are looking to move on up, on the hunt for the next best gig.
Audrey Pavia of Norco, Calif., has an 8-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Nigel who forgets all about her when their friend Arden Moore visits.
“Whenever I know Arden is going to be around, I prepare myself emotionally for what's coming,” Pavia says. “As soon as Arden enters the room, Nigel is no longer my dog. All his attentions and affections are completely focused on her. My obedient dog who normally watches my every move doesn’t exist when Arden is around. He is her dog. I am invisible. And if I insist that he listen to me — which I must do with an uncharacteristic stern voice — he looks at me with great disdain. I can almost hear him saying, ‘Geez, I wish you'd get lost.’ ”
Some upwardly mobile pets may look for another home if they meet someone who has tastier food, more time for affection, better toys or a softer couch.Worried that Fido is going to dump you? There might be help.
Veterinary behaviorist Terry Curtis of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville has a cat that moved in with her after throwing over her first owner.
Molly, an orange tabby, originally belonged to Curtis’s neighbors, who also had two dogs and a newborn. The cat started coming over to visit Curtis and stayed longer each time.
“At my house, she could have toys, get more attention and not be bothered by the dogs,” Curtis says. When Curtis finally moved, Molly went with her. “The neighbors were really good friends of mine and they loved Molly, but they could tell she was happier with me.”
But if you don't want to put up with your pooch pining for another — or worse, give him up, it’s easy to develop a stronger bond with him. Start by teaching him, on leash, that he can have everything he wants, but only if he sits and looks at you, says veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist Sophia Yin, who practices at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.Can pet alimony abd custody battles be far behind?
For several days, instead of just randomly petting your pooch or giving him a treat, let him practice getting what he wants when he sits and focuses on you. Reward him with five seconds of petting at a time, then stop. By stopping in between, you’re rewarding the dog for continuing to stay with you and look at you, Yin says.
“Play little games where you have the dog sit, give a treat, then run, stop, sit, get a treat again," she says. "Basically, you’re teaching the dog that you’re fun.”