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  • Writer's pictureCassidy

The Dog Father (Dogs & Dating Series Part One)

Transcribed from the Spicy Dog Mama Podcacst

I'm back! Welcome to the Spicy Dog Mama podcast, Season Two. I'm your host Cass, dog mom to my girl Rey, a reactive, dogs selective, bully-mix. And I am thrilled to be back this season to share more perspectives about life with dogs, the highs, the lows, and the spicy. My journey started back in 2018 when I adopted Reese, a one and a half year old fear-aggressive dog. And I just remember feeling so alone, like a failure, that nobody else could relate to what I was going through and that is why I started this podcast, to share my experiences- though I'm absolutely not an expert. But I want to create a space that people can feel heard and hopefully provide some hope for your journey. Whether you have a reactive dog or just understand that owning a dog can be hard. I've opened up a lot about my story last season and I also share other people's stories because we can all learn so much from one another.

I took a month off from posting any episodes, but I used that time to build some amazing connections. Hear some fantastic stories and learn so much about those of you who listen. And I thank you so much for those who have reached out to share your stories, whether that's to participate in episodes, if you just needed to vent or to tell me how much this podcast means to you. As difficult as it can be for me to open up about my struggles and where I've messed up, hearing from you makes me want to keep going, so, thank you. But alas the moment we've all been waiting for.

If you've been following my Instagram page, Spicy Dog Mama, then you know that I'm starting off this season with a spicy series. It felt silly to me when I had the idea. Am I really going to be that kind of podcast? But the response from all of you told me yes, I am. I think we can all still learn so much from this series. I've learned a lot from those who I've had the chance to talk with so far. And I still have more stories that I've yet to hear.

Dating is hard. Dogs are hard. Dating with dogs is hard. Dating someone else with a dog is hard. Maybe I'm being too dramatic. But am I? I have gathered stories, experiences and opinions from many different people. And I'm excited to share for the first episode on season two, the dog dad perspective. Without further ado, dogs and dating. On this episode, I will be bouncing back and forth between conversations that I have with dog dad Hayden and dog dad/ dog trainer Eddie from Classic K9 Academy. And I also had written responses to my questions sent in from Jeff and Tyson.

Cassidy Well, thanks so much for joining. How are you doing?

Hayden I'm doing well. I just got back from the gym. Got Koda fed up and out of his crate.

Cassidy Have you been gone all day?

Hayden No, I work from home so I'm with him all day long.

Cassidy What kind of dog is he?

Hayden He's a German Shepherd Rottweiler mix.

Cassidy I so appreciate you taking some time to talk to me because I feel like, especially when it comes to Instagram, women kind of overtake that world. I don't get to hear from a lot of guys and their perspective on this.

Hayden I'm excited to answer some questions there and talk with you about it. So my and Koda's life is well... I'm his best friend and I'm kind of all he knows. I got him in August of 2021. So I've had him for just over a year now. So a day in our life is, you know, he sleeps beside me all night long. We get up pretty early 630/7, go for a walk together. And then as I mentioned earlier, I work from home so I'm with him kind of all day long. And then at about four or 430 I'll leave for the gym so he goes in his crate and back at seven and you know we get playtime, training time and then another night walk and then he sleeps beside me all night and we do it all again the next day. And he's awesome because I take him kind of everywhere with me. Other than the gym he comes to my office, if I ever have to do go into my branch, he comes in there. Super friendly with everybody. He's a great adventure buddy. He goes for runs with me goes to the lake with me. So it's been he's been great. He really is like my best friend. I know it's a cliche saying of a man's best friend but

Cassidy But it's so true.

Hayden It is very true. And I moved out here from BC in July of 2020 so I don't really have like many like childhood friends out here. I have zero childhood friends actually. So when I'm in the gym as much as I am like he's who I spend all my time with really. That would be such a good experience for him, growing up and being able to go to the office with you. That's really good exposure for him. So he must be amazing with people. How is he around other dogs? German Shepherds are notorioiusly on-leash reactive. So it does require a lot of training, we've been getting a lot better. When he was a puppy it was tough. But as long as I stay consistent and make sure I'm treating him and communicating with him properly, he's been getting a lot better. Off-leash, playing with dogs, no issues, everybody's loved him and said, there's no issue.

Cassidy So let me jump right into my questions and kind of get the nitty gritty, talk about your dating life. I do think there's some interesting perspectives out there, especially having a reactive dog, two very strong breeds mixed into one, Have you found any difficulties dating, having Koda.

Hayden There's definitely some challenges when it comes to dating. With the dog, like, first off your partner has to be a dog person, especially when Koda is not a small dog and not something that you can easily neglect, like he's very present and very in your face. So if somebody's not a dog person, right off the bat, there's going to be challenges because Koda is a presence. And I wouldn't say it's like, there's any challenges finding a partner, because there's a lot of people that are just like dog people, or will tolerate him. But I guess like one of the challenges is really monitoring the time that's spent out of the house, especially if you do have a busy schedule. And you know, your partner wants date nights or your partner lives a 30 minute drive away. And you really have to be cognizant of the time you're spending outside of the house. Because for me, if I go out on a date night, that's a dinner and a movie. It's a 20 minute drive to pick somebody up, dinner's an hour long, movie's another two hours long, then it's 20 minute drive to drop them off. Now I've been out of the house for four hours, and that whole time Koda has been in his crate. So it's always in the back of my mind. 'hey, can we speed this up?' without being rude?

Cassidy No, I get what you're saying. And even though you work from home, like I do, it's not intentional time with your dog. I do see her, I'm with her. I can give her pets give her treats. But it's not the same. I feel better leaving in the evenings, for extended periods of time. But she still needs that time with me where I'm being intentional with her and playing with her. That part is huge. And if you're with somebody who rolls their eyes at you saying I need to spend time with my dog, or scoff, like, I've been away from my dog for a few hours, then it's not going to work. It's as simple as that, like you either understand or you don't?

Hayden Well, one of the things I have said in the past is I laid out my priority lists because there was a little bit of an argument and an ex girlfriend was like 'I'm not even your first priority or your second priority'. I said, "Well, that's correct. It's my career than the gym. So like my health and fitness, then it's Koda. And then like, unfortunately, you just fall into that fourth category by no fault of your own". But if Koda doesn't have me or somebody for 24 hours, he's not going to be in a good situation. If you don't have me for 24 hours, you'll be fine.

Cassidy That's a good way to think about it. And if they've never owned a dog, you do have to extend some grace if they don't understand exactly what goes into it. Or maybe why a dog can't be left alone for so long, so they at least have to be open to hearing and having that conversation.

Tyson our dog dad from Ontario, who wrote in his response had nearly the same answer. He said that the biggest challenge was the balance. There are only so many hours in a day. He only has so much energy that he has to offer. So he has to make that decision who gets his attention and how much of it with keeping himself in check and not getting worn out. Luckily, he has a low energy dog, a St. Bernard, so his basic needs are lower than someone with maybe a higher energy dog like a Border Collie, a Jack Russell or like a German Shepherd/Rottie mix. But trying to meet everybody's needs can be exhausting.

And we also have Eddie with us who was on episode nine in Season One 'Handling Reactivity'. He's a trainer with Classic Canine Academy and he also runs a structured doggy daycare, which is super cool. If you want to listen to more about his story. Go back to Season One. Listen to Episode Nine. But Eddie, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to owning dogs and trying to date

Eddie Having someone comfortable around big dogs such as the Cane Corso and obviously a Doberman. And their breed, especially the Cane Corso, is not the best with strangers. Especially men, but especially with Ezra, specifically females who are shy who have a certain energy that that is not comfortable for him as well.

Cassidy And our dog dad, Jeff, who also wrote in his response had something very similar to say as Hayden and Tyson, he's dog dad to Izzy, a two year old mini Aussie Doodle who he has had since a puppy. He works full time and has a part time job on the side. So his biggest challenge with dating and owning a dog is the balance of time. He values the time off that he has, and tries to spend as much of it with Izzy because she's home by herself when he's at work.

And back to you, Hayden, what are your expectations outside of understanding your dog's needs? And being a dog lover? Do you look for anything else? Like how they interact with your dog? Do you have any expectations around that at all?

Hayden Not really no, when it comes to expectations, a dog is similar to a child and like I would never ask a partner to take on that responsibility. It's like, you know what, Koda was my dog, he was here, I have to do everything to make sure he's getting his walks and his dinners and his food and his exercises and everything. Like I'm not going to pressure you or ask you to take him for a walk or to do this. Like it was my dog when we came into this. If they want to help, great, like if I'm in a pinch and I have a long day at work where I do have to leave home and Koda is stuck in his crate. And I could reach out to a partner and say, 'Hey, can you go let Koda out of his crate or go for a walk or do something?' And they're available? Like that's a huge plus. But I'm not expecting that by any means.

Cassidy Would you say though that if it was somebody who'd never wanted to join you on a walk, didn't want to go on adventures with you and your dog didn't want to do those things at all? Would that be more of an issue?

Hayden That would be a challenge? Yes. It's less about the dog at that point. And then I would say it's just more of a clash of personalities. If somebody had that perspective on life, or they didn't want to go for walks or didn't want to go on adventures? Probably wouldn't be my type.

Cassidy Yeah, that's fair. Absolutely pretty similar to what Tyson had said, he put it exactly 'I have little to no expectations when it comes to dating, I'm upfront about my dog, if they don't like it, they can hit the bricks.' That's how he put it, 'my dog isn't going anywhere.' And I like what you said about you know, Koda can't go 24 hours without you, but who you're seeing can and you'll find that balance. And that's really important. And also you are your own priority, and Koda is your best friend, you like spending time with him. So you're not going to put them on the back burner, because that's gonna affect you as well.

Jeff's response to this question was that he needs those that he's trying to date to understand that Izzy is still a puppy, two years old is very young for a dog. So she has lots of energy. And she loves to play. She's very affectionate. So you could be sitting and the next thing you know, you have Izzy jumping up onto your lap or curled up beside you because she doesn't exactly understand the meaning of personal space. And she is top priority when he's dating. She's a huge part of Jeff's life. So when someone else comes into the picture, she's not getting thrown off to the side, she's not going to be an afterthought. She is again, top priority. And as he put it, 'it's cliche, but she is like a child to me. And you wouldn't put the importance of your kids to the side, when you start dating someone, there is a balance and the right person will understand that'. So Eddie, again, as a dog, dad, but as a dog trainer, what are your expectations?

Eddie That's actually a good question. The expectation I have one they are comfortable, but also the certain boundaries and rules that I set upon my dog should be followed through when they also enter into the relationship. Dogs are creatures of habit. This is why if someone were to enter, I guess the household or the relationship, that same routine also has to be followed through, it's just with an extra body, so to speak. Because that routine that is already set up benefits them, it doesn't benefit me it benefits them, but also creates a relationship with the woman that's entering as well, where they get kind of that close bondness because everything that like I said that they do is for them. And if someone else can bring that same routine for them, they would also enjoy as well.

Cassidy Yeah, absolutely. It might also help them become more comfortable with them if they're used to that routine with you and somebody else comes in who follows the same routine like 'okay, we're on the same page'. You obviously want to see the person that you're dating grow a relationship with your dogs.

Eddie Exactly. That's a big one.

Cassidy If you met somebody and you're hitting it off, whatever, but they had a dog would, that be something that you're open to? Dating somebody else who has a dog?

Hayden Of course! Yeah, I don't see any issues with it.

Cassidy I'm already noticing like between you and Tyson, I'm finding that- it's only two guys out of so many dog dads- but you're a lot more lenient than us women.

Hayden Do girls say if I have a dog and a guy has a dog. There's no way Jose?

Cassidy No, no, not to that degree. It really just... we just, we think so much. We overthink everything because you're so quick to answer. 'Oh, yeah, no problem'. We're saying yes... but here's my checklist. Here's the red flags. Here's what I'm looking for, like, fill in these boxes, please. It's not as simple as Yeah, absolutely.

Hayden My partner has a dog. I'm like, bring it over, come meet Koda right now.

Cassidy And I guess it really depends of the dog too. Rey, for example, is dog selective. I've also been in a relationship. I had a multi dog household for a while. I had three dogs. And I started off with my rescue. And I got together with a guy with his golden. The dogs didn't get along with. That's a factor. But even beyond that, we didn't train the same way. His dog simply wasn't trained. He wasn't. He was not a trained dog. Even if our dogs got along, we clashed so much just because of how different we were with our dogs. When I was previously on the apps, 'oh, he has a dog?' It's just an immediate no for me, honestly, without having met the person. Like I just don't want to get into it. I just, I know. Isn't that awful?

Hayden You're scarred.

Cassidy I am! I'm a little scarred. And I have met guys who have dogs and it's incredible. Like their dogs are incredible. They train really well. They're great dogs. But my immediate reaction is no.

Hayden My immediate is Yes.

Cassidy Which is great. I love that.

And Jeff, of course coming in as the third male perspective, he absolutely would date somebody with a dog. Izzy is a very social dog. She loves being around other dogs. However, if the dogs aren't compatible, if they don't get along, looking at things with a long term perspective, it just wouldn't work out. And that's totally fair.

So Eddie, I have to ask you as our fourth male perspective, would you date somebody with a dog?

Eddie Yeah, 100%.

Cassidy You guys. So quick to say absolutely.

Eddie It depends on how their dog is.

Cassidy Okay, so, what would you look for?

Eddie How their dog behaves, how they treat their dog as well. Also, if the dog's potty trained. That's also a big one. I don't have a lot of red flags. Just because I do train dogs. I can work around certain things compared to other people.

Cassidy I guess as long as they're willing to work with you as well.

Eddie Exactly. Like if they're willing to work with my dog I'm willing to work with their dog as well. I'll even include where it has to be like, only one dog. Not two, not three. I'm not having five dogs, like a little farm in my home.

Cassidy One thing that Tyson said and I felt called out. So when I asked him if he would date somebody who has a dog, he said, 'I have zero issues dating someone who has a dog. However, I will admit when people make their dogs their whole life, I take issue with that my dog is an extension of my life, not my whole personality. I have a life outside of my dog. I do.

I know that you said that you don't have any expectations, really, when you're dating somebody, but maybe like any deal breakers off the top of your head, like you bring Koda into the bed, Rey comes into the bed with me. And all of a sudden you meet someone who says no, no dogs in the bed, that's disgusting.

Hayden Yeah, that would be a challenge. If he slept here every since he was a puppy like he can't stay? It would definitely have to be a conversation and a compromise to try and figure out, you know, a solution there. You know, off the top of my head. I would say he's saying because he's always done it. He's always been my little armpit. Armpit boy!

Cassidy I love it. Do you have a king sized bed? Not to get too personal, but the size of him! You're not in a twin?

Hayden No, were just, we're a queen! We're a queen. We'll get a king here someday.

Cassidy Okay.

And Tyson and Jeff coming in with pretty much the same answer to the 'Are there any dog related deal breakers' question'. Both just saying that they can't leave their dog at home alone all day while they're at work and then be out all night. They have to understand that dating is fun and things can be spontaneous. But Jeff said it can make things difficult having a dog that has been home alone all day while he's at work. And you either have to plan to have somebody look after the dog or make plans that include Izzy, if he's been away from her all day, he doesn't want to just stop in, let her out, feed her and then go again.

And Tyson said the same thing that he's not comfortable leaving him alone all day. So the person that he ends up with has to be understanding of That fact, and willing to adapt. And if they can't, it simply won't work out. And he does make the comparison of his dog being like his child, which is a tough comparison. We know that dogs are not babies, dogs and having children is not the same. And like Hayden had mentioned, you can't just leave the dog, the dog relies on you, we are responsible for them, and they require us to take care of them. Tyson also mentioned that he dated a woman who loved attention, like almost an unhealthy amount, she couldn't handle the attention being on anything but herself. And that, of course caused issues when he would give his dog attention in her presence. And he almost had to keep those two parts of his life separate. Which was of course, a nightmare. But hey, Winston is still around. And she isn't.

Something for me was specifically like, I don't want them to just tolerate my dog. I think my dog is the bee's knees. And it's so important for somebody to truly love and appreciate her. And now I'm seeing somebody who is almost as obsessed with her as I am. And it just makes my whole day. So are you good with someone just tolerating Koda?

Hayden Yeah, I would say like, I'd be fine with just somebody who, they don't have to give him the same love and attention that I do. Because at the end of the day, I picked him out. He's my dog. And Koda is a lot. He's smart, he's smart as a whip, and listens to me, is very trainable. But he is always raring to go like, well go run a 5k. And we'll come back and he wants frisbee time. And I'm like, dude, we just ran five kilometers. He has an endless battery. So for me, I think that line of like tolerating and loving, I think tolerating is loving, because he's just so much. Tolerating Koda is loving Koda.

Cassidy If they spent enough time with Koda, I'm sure he is fantastic. They'll fall in love, too. They usually fall in love with the dog earlier than the person. So.

Hayden Yes, yeah.

Cassidy And where I totally get where Hayden is coming from, Eddie what are your thoughts on? Would you be with somebody who simply just tolerated your dogs? Or do you have a different perspective on that?

Eddie I would not allow myself and my dogs to be put in that position. So I would not date someone who's just wants to just have your dog lay down and don't even talk to him. And your dogs also, over time will get depressed the fact that there's this other human being that lives with you, that doesn't want to engage with you. And that will negatively affect the dogs as well. No matter if she is a celebrity I would not.

Cassidy Well, I mean, I've dated people who like... they all love, Rey, she's super sweet, but you can tell the ones who are like, I don't necessarily want her here all the time, which is fine. I'll put her on her bed. She doesn't have to be super present all the time. But there's a difference between when I'm nervous that she's being too much. And then just knowing that the person that I'm seeing absolutely adores her.

Eddie One thing is, this might be a little bit too spicy, or too controversial at the moment. But it's If you enter a relationship, and you currently have dogs and this person, is like I don't want to deal with the dogs or, you know, they can just stand over there don't have them near me, I can get I can almost guarantee you, they will be the same way if you had a stepchild, or you had a child and they were coming into into the relationship. And it just shows character of a person as well.

Cassidy That's the third time that children have been mentioned. It's a cliche to think like your dog is your child, but it's also not, like they're an important part of your life. If I had a child, I'm essentially looking for a stepfather. So when I have a dog, I'm looking for a dog, Dad.

Eddie You're right.

Cassidy If you were in a relationship, and they said they were going to get their own dog, how would you feel about that?

Eddie I'm all for it. Yeah, I want a third dog.

Cassidy And Jeff, of course, said that he'd be very excited for them if they want to get a dog. But being fully aware of the time commitment that comes with having a puppy, that might mean less time spent together as a couple, which he'll be there to support them, understanding the needs of the dog. And Tyson also said he would encourage it if their lifestyle meets the needs of the dog first. And Hayden you also said that you would absolutely love it if the person that you were seeing said that they're going to get a puppy. And I want to know have you used him as an icebreaker? Or first date, like I find it so easy to 'Oh, hi, you want to meet up' because I've been on the apps and 'you want to meet up let's take my dog for a walk.'

Hayden I wouldn't want to use him as an ace in the back pocket. Like I wouldn't want to do that. It's more so like, make the connection and then bring the dog. I guess it would be a great icebreaker to just say like, 'Hey, here's the dog and let's go for a walk' but I don't think it's necessary.

Cassidy Again where our differences lie. I find it so easy. Just like, especially on the app. I've never talked to somebody in person. Are they easy to talk to? Or are they awkward? I can be a little awkward sometimes. So if I have Rey and if we run out of conversation, I just say, Oh, look at her. She's so cute.

Hayden Yeah, the I guess the issue would lie if like you show up and what if Reyis on her worst behavior that day and then it's a nightmare.

Cassidy No, Rey is an angel!

Well, that was an absolute blast.

Thank you so much to Tyson, Hayden, Eddie and Jeff, for taking the time to answer my questions and share your stories. You guys are great. And such good dog dads. Where we have some different opinions. We are also so very similar and the main priority when dating is putting our dog's needs first.

What did you think of part one of the Dogs and Dating series? Did their answers surprise you? This format was something else to put together. I'm certainly no professional podcast editor. But I did my best. So I hope it was easy to follow along.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. It is so helpful to me if you like rate, and leave a review. Also share it with your friends if you think they'd be interested.

Next week's episode, part two of this series, we get yet another perspective. But this time, from someone who does not own a dog, I get to talk with one of Rey's favorite people, my sister Courtney, about what it's like dating guys with dogs. She has never owned her own dog, but she is auntie extraordinaire to mine. Having also been a single person myself prior to owning a dog and dating someone with a dog. I also have a few experiences to share.

Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss out on these episodes. Later on we will also get the dog mom perspective, the perspective of trying to date a dog mom, breaking up with dogs, and successful dog dating stories to maybe provide some hope on that front. I hope as cheesy as this series is that you are still able to maybe relate or at least simply enjoy the content. Once again, I'm so happy to be back and I will meet you here next week for part two.

Have a great week. You're doing amazing.


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