Image via iStock.com/milanvirijevic
By Kelly Gartner
Before welcoming a dog into your home and heart, chances are, much like an expecting parent, you daydream about what having a dog in your life will be like. Visions of long walks, training your dog to do all sorts of cool tricks, and coming home to a warm and wonderful greeting every night will fill your head.
No doubt, having a dog is going to be a fulfilling and awesome experience, but there are a few things that you might not know about being a dog’s pet parent.
1. Your Dog Will Introduce You to New Flavors
Though, they may not actually be to your taste. Your new buddy may have a craving for things that just aren’t up your alley, but may be found in an alley, like old banana peels, old tissues and other dog’s poo.
2. Your Dog Will Make You Feel Things You Have Never Felt Before
And what you are feeling won’t always necessarily be an outpouring of overwhelming love and pride (though you will definitely experience those feelings as well). What you’ll be feeling is your fingers reaching into your dog’s mouth to pull out that old banana peel, a used tissue or another dog’s poo.
3. Your Dog Will Take You On Long Walks
Sometimes at midnight, 3AM or during the season finale of your favorite TV show. When nature calls or your dog has an upset stomach after eating a yummy something that you just couldn’t fish out of his mouth, it may lead to an upset stomach. Thus, you will take a long walk with your pooch during hours that may not be convenient. Enjoy the scenery. Look at the stars. Give your friend a little privacy and consider what a bonding experience this really is.
4. Your Dog Will Take You to Uncharted Territory
There will come a day when you take your dog for a long off-leash walk and she may decide that the path you are on is not quite what she had in mind; so she’ll run in a different direction. Fast. And, a direction you probably aren’t familiar with. Hopefully, you have on track shoes, because your walk just turned into a run.
5. Your Dog Will Teach You About Proper Behavior & Training
As a new parent you will more than likely engage in some sort of training class so your dog is well behaved and a well mannered member of society. Don’t be fooled. Your behavior and training efforts are training you in addition to your dog. Moreover, once your dog finds what a quick study you are, the training will really begin. When to distribute dog treats. When to play ball. When to take him on a walk.
6. Your Dog Will Introduce You to New Scents
“What is that smell?” you’ll ask yourself. More than likely the smell is coming from your dog or was brought into your freshly scented home by your dog. Smells are one of the things you and your dog will have to learn to agree to disagree on, because what makes you go “Yuck” makes your dog go “Yum”.
7. Your Dog Will Teach You A New Language
Once your dog comes into your home you will learn a new language. A language that is somewhere between baby talk and a free flowing stream-of-conscience that only you and your pup understand. The language will be your own and has absolutely nothing to do with the series of commands that you will teach your dog (and that your dog will sometimes obey).
8. Your Dog Will Teach You the True Meanings of Words
You may think that “fetch” means retrieve that ball I just threw. You may think that “come” means move from where you are sitting toward me. Your dog considers these command words as mere suggestions. Fetch, in actuality sometimes means “Let me chase you,” and come, depending on the instance, may in actuality mean “Sit frozen in place and stare at me.”
9. Your Dog Will Organize Your Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit. On Saturday morning after a long week of work and a Friday happy hour with friends you may want to sleep in and catch a few Zs. Think again. Your pup may have a different thought on this particular plan. Mostly, because sleeping in is not what your dog usually does. Sleeping in is for cats.
10. Your Dog Will Always Be Ready with a Kiss
Even when you have the worst morning breath ever your dog is there to give you a little smooch and share the love. Remember, what smells offensive to dainty human noses is pure bliss to a canine's nose. Even better, your dog is completely unaware of her own offensive breath and expects a big kiss on the smacker right back. Muwah!
11. Your Dog Will Always Be Ready to Listen (or Pretend to Listen)
When no one else wants to listen about your bad day, porcelain cherub collection (all 317 of them), or about that time you met a D list celebrity at the convenience store, your dog is absolutely enthralled with every detail. What? You don’t collect porcelain cherubs?
12. Your Dog Will Provide You With Great Excuses
“I have to go take the dog for a walk.” “My dog needs to be fed.” Come on. Admit it. Chances are you have heard these reasons from your pet parenting friends for leaving your party. Well, now as a new dog owner you too can use your dog as an excuse to leave a party or to get off the phone when your chatty best friend is going on about her porcelain cherub collection. The tail wags both ways.
13. Your Dog Will Keep All Your Secrets
You never have to say to your dog, “Don’t tell anyone,” because you know all your deepest darkest secrets are safe and sound between those adorable and cute fluffy ears. Even better, your dog does not care what your secrets may be, unless, of course, you are hiding a secret stash of treats or the cat’s litter box.
14. Your Dog Will Define the Word Unconditional
Your dog will love you unconditionally. No matter your mood, no matter how you look, no matter how corny your jokes. Your dog thinks you are the most awesome person in the universe. No one compares to you and no one ever will. As your dog’s bestie, you will try to match your dog’s unconditional love, and you may succeed sometimes, but don’t worry if you occasionally fall short. After all, you are only human.