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Farm Owner Threatens To Break Up With Girlfriend For Treating His Trained Farm Dogs Like ‘Pets’

woman petting two dogs
Inti St Clair/Getty Images

One should always be wary before petting or talking to other people’s dogs.

Generally speaking, most people have no problem if you lean over and pet their dog, or if you speak to them in a sweet voice.

Others, however, are a bit more protective, and prefer it if you leave them alone.

Then too, if the dog happens to be a service animal, one should generally avoid contact with them, as they have a job to do and shouldn’t be disturbed.

After Redditor StationIndependent34 took over his family farm, he felt it was important to become a dog owner.

Only these dogs were not pets, but workers, and adopted with the intention of protecting and maintaining the farm.

As a result, the original poster. (OP) became quite angry when it seemed his girlfriend didn’t understand this concept.

Even going so far as to give her an ultimatum of sorts.

Wondering if he’d overreacted, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my gf to not call my dogs by nicknames?”

The OP explained that he lost patience with the way his girlfriend was treating his dogs, and felt there was only one solution.

“I, 27 M[ale], decided to take over my family’s farm about a a year ago, but I’ve been dating my girlfriend 24 for 6 months now.”

“When I took over the farm, I new I wanted to get two dogs that were great protectors, so I got a Rottweiler, mainly for guarding, and a Maremma Sheepdog, who does the most of the hearding.”

“Needless to say both dogs have important jobs and I always need them to be alert and aware in their training for the safety of themselves and the other animals on the property, that includes not treating them as pets.”

“Recently my girlfriend has been calling my dogs by two distinctive nicknames and it’s really bothersome, she calls my Rottweiler ‘Rumproast’ and my Maremma ‘Jelly’ which are not their names.”

“She has also been petting/cuddling up to them as you would to a cute little puppy or something.”

“I understand that she loves them and the nicknames are out of love, but again these dogs are not to be treated as pets, they are workers.”

“I explained this to her and told her that if she couldn’t understand where I was coming from I really couldn’t have her over anymore and we would have to continue to see each other outside of the farm.”

“This made her upset in a sad way.”

“She was really sad when she had left, and I felt bad. “

“I tried to explain my reasoning and side of things to her and even asked my lil sis for some advise, but my sister said that I was the AH here because my gf is just a great person who cares for the animals as much as I do, which is true so I get where she’s coming from, but I also need these dogs to stay trained as farm dogs.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP did not find any support from the Reddit community, who all agreed that he was indeed the a**hole for the way he treated his girlfriend.

Everyone agreed that the OP overreacted, and nothing the OP’s girlfriend did would have a negative effect on his dogs doing their job.

“Why can’t you pet and cuddle a working dog?”

“I know service animals that are still treated like family when they aren’t ‘working’.”

“Do you think a nickname is going to confuse them to the point they can’t do their jobs?”-jesters_privelage


“I’ve been around police dogs, drug dogs, bomb dogs and rescue dogs and they’ve all been better at their jobs when they got love, snuggles and boops on the nose.”– wheelz5ce


“I think your girlfriend should cut off any love or affection towards you so she doesn’t interfere with you running a farm.”- Mysterious-Bird1293

“YTA working dogs are still pets and deserve/need affection and interaction.”

“Your view is archaic and unkind to these dogs.”- MissNikitaDevan

“Working dogs aren’t supposed to be ‘on’ 24/7, I don’t think you really know what you’re doing.”

“YTA.”- bookynerdworm

“YTA, They can work and still get love and affection.”

“Even guide dogs get love and affection when they’re off duty.”

“As for their names, they are aware of their names.”

‘Let your gf enjoy their company, and talk to them how she wants.”- Bridgett_WDW_OTO



“Nicknames don’t do dick about interfering with their farmish responsibilities.”- StAlvis

‘Maremma’s aren’t herding dogs, they’re livestock guardians.”

“They’re like the completely opposite of herding dogs.”

“It’s a bit strange you specifically list breeds but are using one dog for a job that goes against all its breeding?”

“Anyways, YTA.”

“It’s ridiculous to say that a working dog can’t be shown any affection or called a nickname.”

“No, that actually does not impact their ability to do their job, be it herding, guarding livestock or humans.”

“’Not treating them like pets’ means ‘don’t encourage stupid behavior’ or maybe even ‘they live outside’, not ‘you cannot treat them with any amount of affectation at all whatsoever’.”- CochinNbrahma


“They can be well trained and still appreciate love and attention.”

“Belgian malinios/GSD owner.”- DoNotWeepAtMyGrave

“Wait, you don’t ever let the dogs be yk, just dogs?”

“Like are they always supposed to be working all the time?”- little_owl211

“I by no means a professional trainer, trust me, my dogs would prove me to be no more than an amateur at best, but from what I understand, a lot of trainers actually recommend dogs having an informal name as well as a formal name.”

“The informal name is for goofing off while the formal name is for working.”- OneCrustySergeant


“This is a really weird hill to die on.”

“Let the dogs receive love and affection.”

“I’m pretty sure the actual dogs don’t care about being called nicknames.”

“THEY’RE DOGS!”- ldelsignore


“100% I live on a farm and have a working herder.”

“Her nicknames include Wigglebut and Babygirl.”

“In the evenings she like to sit on the couch with me and my husband and cuddle while we watch tv.”

“None of these things or the copious amounts of love and attention we give her have any negative influence on doing her job.”

“She still loves to work, still works super hard and instantly responds to commands, including the ones to work away from me.”

“Attention, love and nicknames does not take away training in working dogs.”- RohanWarden

“Is the Maremma seriously going to be used for herding?”

“If so then yes it should be treated like a pet.”

“HOWEVER I’ve only known Maremmas to be used as livestock guardian dogs, living with the sheep, among them.”

“And as such they are not treated the same as they are out with the sheep.”

“They need to be friendly and know some commands though.”

“I have never known one to have herding instincts.”- exotics


“Your dogs will be better workers if they have a strong bond with you, as they will try to please you.”

“Being rude to someone for being nice to their animals is just really strange and makes you the ah.”-AffectionateHand2206

“Before my uncle passed, he owned 100 acres in the black hills with all types of animals, I absolutely loved visiting him and helping him out on the farm, bottle feeding highland cows and bulls is my favorite memory.”

“He owned komonders, real carpet looking fellas, he had at least 1 sometimes 2 in a pasture depending on its size and I would play with them in the pastures until dinner time or I had to actually work again.”

“My uncle a real strict but fair man NEVER had an issue with me playing with his dogs and they sometimes saved my dumb behind from wandering into the bull pastures by accident.”

“Showing working dogs love, Komondors are literally bred to be live stock dogs, never once distracted them from their jobs protecting the animals, they just saw me as a real dumb one they needed to pay a little extra attention too.”

“OP apologize to your girlfriend and your dogs for being shit at showing you care.”

“Also while Rottweilers are great at protecting their humans they consider part of their pack, they aren’t the best for live stock like they use to be, so I would get an actual live stock dog.”

“Do better research.”

“YTA big time.”- M-m0112

It would be one thing if the OP’s girlfriend was getting in the way of his dogs doing their job, intentionally or not.

But the fact that he was angry simply because she was showing them affection seems a bit extreme to result in an ultimatum.

Rather making one wonder how invested the OP is in this relationship?

A question which might be answered by whether or not he makes an effort to apologize and smooth things over.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.