By Georgia Lasure
No woman wants to be compared to a dog - or does she? Isn't a dog supposed to be man's best friend? No matter how unpopular the analogy might be, see if you recognize some similarities between training your dog and cultivating a relationship with your new girlfriend.
Find a Balance of Power
In any relationship, whether canines or only people are involved, there's a bit of tension as you determine the balance of power. You have to make some adjustments based on how each of you responds to the other.
When your dog pulls on her leash, you have to pull back firmly, and let her know that you're the alpha dog in the pack. Well, when it comes to a new girlfriend, you each tend to pull back and forth a bit, until you understand the blend of taking and giving control that works for your relationship.
Project Strength and Confidence
Even if she likes to direct your activities, she wants you to be a strong partner. So project a positive image - be strong, decisive, and follow through. Show her that you know where you want to go and have a plan for getting there.
Adjust to Her Personality
No matter what you think the best balance of power is, your girlfriend might think differently. If you want to stay out of the dog house, you definitely will have to learn some new tricks. If you're going to cohabitate happily, or even just hang out together comfortably, you'll have to adjust your expectations to work with your girlfriend's unique personality.
Put in the Time
Acknowledge that change doesn't happen overnight. When you want your pet to respond to your training methods, you have to work with her consistently every day. Likewise, if you want your sweetheart to recognize your needs and desires, you'll have to spend time with her regularly, sharing your feelings and listening to hers, getting into a comfort zone.
Send Out Good Energy
Like dogs, most people respond to encouraging words and positive energy. Make sure your new girlfriend knows that you're interested in hanging out with her in particular and want to spend time together. Just as you praise your dog when she's doing something right, you should express to your girlfriend what in particular you like about her. And make sure she also knows what kind of positive encouragement you respond to - enough said!
Share the Good and Bad
Nobody's perfect - not you, not your dog, not your girlfriend. So sometimes you have to deal with crap. Sometimes you just need to cuddle. Sometimes you need to go away and lick your wounds. OK, no more clichés!
But seriously, take the good with the bad and get over it. Be there for each other, like your ever-faithful dog. Forgive and take comfort in your togetherness. Make her feel safe just being around you. When you get that trusting, "I want all your attention" look (maybe even with some panting involved), you know your efforts are paying off.