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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Won't Defend Wife From Shunning by His Family

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Marcus," and I recently adopted an adorable rescue puppy, "Daisy." She was supposed to be mostly my boyfriend's dog because I work a demanding full-time job, and I have a cat that lives with us. Marcus has always been a dog person, but I enjoy them, too.

The problem is, Daisy has taken a liking to me. When I'm home, she follows me everywhere. I suspect, due to her behavior, that she may have been mistreated by men previously, but nonetheless, Marcus is extremely hurt. He won't take her outside if I'm home, and he doesn't try to play with her or train her. Every time she rejects him in any way, he takes it personally.

We signed Daisy up for a puppy training class. He participated for about five minutes before giving up and handing me the leash during the first lesson. How do I get my boyfriend to stop taking our puppy's behavior so personally? I should note, we went through this when my cat didn't like him at first, but they are on good terms now. -- PET PROBLEM IN WASHINGTON

DEAR PROBLEM: It has been my experience that dogs respond more positively to the person who regularly feeds, exercises and plays with them and shows them affection, than to a partner who remains passive. The more Marcus withdraws from Daisy, the more pronounced her attachment to you will become. Urge him to discuss this with the dog trainer, so perhaps the situation can be put right.

Caveat: If this is the way your boyfriend reacts to perceived rejection, I'd think twice about starting a family with him if I were you.

Read more in: Love & Dating