By Maya Satin
I love my boyfriend. He’s super cuddly, and he’s always so excited to see me when I come by his place. Unfortunately, he’s picked up an embarrassing habit. Any time he sees a dog, he only calls it a bitch. He even does it to dogs we see on TV or the internet. When I asked him why he does this, he says he is trying to be scientifically accurate. He also tells me all his friends do it, and their partners don’t have an issue.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t want us to split up, but I’m not sure how I can ask him to stop. Lots of people in our area have dogs, so anytime we go out to eat or take a walk in the park, it’s inevitable that he’ll spout the “B-word” and make both of us look like insensitive jerks. Plus, we have tickets to next year’s Puppy Bowl- if he pulls this crap there, it’s going to be a disaster. Can you help me, Maya? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?
--Doggone Tired of My Boneheaded Boy
Dear Doggone Tired,
Don’t worry! You don’t have to choose between living with your boyfriend’s bad behavior or breaking up with him. There are plenty of options at your disposal to curb this nasty habit of his.
For starters, you’ve mentioned you can’t go out of the house because he embarrasses you. If you aren’t going out, he isn’t either. That’s right- no more walkies for him. You can also try some positive reinforcement. As you and your guy relax with some Netflix, have some Slim Jims at the ready. If a dog comes on screen and he doesn’t call it a bitch, give him a bite of a Slim Jim. Soon, he’ll start to associate the word “bitch” with a feeling I like to call “snack-lack.” It may sound too good to be true, but trust me, treats do the trick.
Now, let’s say Puppy Bowl season rolls around and your man still isn’t on his best behavior. You might have to get more drastic. If that happens, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to sign up for a woodworking class at your community center. I want you to go to the hardware store and get a hammer, a saw, plywood, nails. I want you to build a doghouse. And I want you to put your man in that doghouse. This isn’t a metaphor or a figure of speech- I want you to make him sleep in the backyard, and I want you to call him a bitch every day that he does until he knows exactly how he’s made all those dogs feel.
I hope these tips come in handy. And if they don’t, take one of your friends to the Puppy Bowl and give this guy to a shelter. There are plenty of other pups in the pound.