If you ever grew up with a dog in your family when you were younger, or you’re just an animal lover in general, the chances are high that you plan to get a small fluffy companion to join your own family. But one thing that’s easily overlooked is how much this friendly companion can and will have an impact on your life – both good and bad.
We made the decision to bring our Rough Collie puppy, Kai, into our lives and have never looked back since. However, in the relatively short time we’ve had him, there are a number of life lessons we have learned from him that we would like to share and which we hope a lot of other dog owners will be able to relate to.
1. A daily walk can be very beneficial for soul, body and mind
A dog requires regular walking; some for over one hour a day.
Regular walking has proven to be very beneficial, helping to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles and bones and even improve your balance. Walking is also a great way to relieve stress and even a short walk in the morning before work can drastically improve your productivity for the day.
Walking your dog is also a great excuse to get to know more about your local neighbourhood. We’ve found ourselves going all sorts of routes and discovering places we never knew about!
2. The world is a dirtier place than you might have thought
Leading on from having regular walks, one thing you will quickly notice when walking your pooch is that there is all sorts of litter roaming the pavement (you’ll be surprised what you might find sometimes!)
If your dog is as inquisitive as ours, they will be picking up everything they see and in some cases even eating it. One thing in particular we regularly see on our walks are banana skins, which Kai cannot resist… and we thought we lived in a relatively clean area!
3. Your neighbours are nicer people than you thought
Having a dog can attract a lot of attention from strangers; be it because they want to pet them or your dog can’t help but want to say hello to them.
This is especially true of other dog owners.
These are people that you may have never spoken to before, but by walking your dog, you’ll get to know your neighbours and build friendships with them quicker and easier than ever before.
4. Your dog gives you A LOT to talk about
Where your dog may invite you to have more interaction with other people, likewise you will find your conversations mostly revolve around them.
People tend not to like talking about themselves, but can talk almost endlessly about their four-legged companion… perhaps sharing more information than they should as well!
5. Your phone doesn’t have nearly enough space for all your dog pics
“Aww, that is so cute. Quick get a photo!” is a phrase said perhaps one too many times by dog owners.
You may think your dog is much more interesting than anything else going on around you and this will show by how many photos you have of them on your phone or camera.
You will always try to get that ‘best shot’ of them and end up taking up a lot of your phone or camera space when trying to do so.
6. A decent vacuum cleaner is like gold dust!
Some dogs, like ours, can shed a tremendous amount of hair and you will find it almost EVERYWHERE.
If you have carpets then it can build up quickly and a regular clean is necessary.
Investing in a vacuum cleaner that specialises in picking up dog hair can be a godsend for ensuring the house stays clean.
For reference, we’re loving the Shark Upright Vacuum Cleaner that we picked up earlier this year during Amazon Prime Day.
7. Walks can be filled with more challenges than you might expect
Walking with your dog naturally results in a number of challenges that you wouldn’t have ordinarily thought about.
Want to quickly pop into the shops and get some bread or milk during your walk? You don’t want to leave your pooch tied up outside, so you’ll need to either take them home first, or always walk with a partner.
Additionally, getting somewhere will take double the amount of time as they’ll regularly want to stop and sniff or leave their scent. And if it’s not that, then you’re being stopped by strangers who want to say hello to your little friend (or the other way around!)
8. Picking up poop is normal… right?!
Unless you’ve somehow managed to teach your dog to use the toilet, when nature calls they are going to go wherever they like (outside of course).
As a responsible dog owner, you’ll be the person picking up the poop rather than leaving it for someone to step in.
It may sound gross at first (and well… it will still feel that way sometimes), you’d be surprised how natural it’ll start to become.
While we’re on the subject of poop, your dog will also try to show you that when nature calls, you can go just about anywhere (no matter how awkward the place is that they choose).
9. Dinners shouldn’t be eaten in front of the TV
Fancy having one of those TV dinner nights?
Your dog might beg for your food, choose to stare intently at you while you’re eating… and occasionally make a sudden move to steal something from your plate!
Therefore, food should always be eaten at the dining table.
10. Filling kongs is fun… I promise!
Kongs can be a great solution to many problem behaviours seen in dogs and a good distraction technique — giving a frozen one to Kai is the only way he will let us brush him!
They can be filled with an assortment of foods and it can sometimes be fun building the perfect concoction of layers that you think your dog might love.
However, they can be a nightmare to clean properly and always end up getting thrown under the sofa and found days later… mouldy peanut butter anyone?
11. Travelling without your dog is hard!
If you’re a regular traveller, then you will quickly realise that planning trips away opens up a big question not thought about before — what do we do with the dog?!
If you have friends and/or family living nearby who are willing to take them whilst you’re away, then this isn’t such an issue.
Another option is to use a dog boarding or kennel service, but you’ll be surprised just how much you miss them when you’re away. Maybe it’s best just to travel with them from now on…
12. When did doorways become so difficult to navigate?
It might just be a Collie trait, but our dog always wants to obstruct our path or lay somewhere totally inconvenient, such as in front of the fridge when we want to get something out of it, or in the hallway, thus, blocking every door and the stairs… all at the same time!
Does your dog do this as well?
Something else to bear in mind is the nightmare stair gate, which can often be infuriating to get past if your hands are full. The number of socks we’ve dropped down the stairs this year is crazy!
13. Dogs are meant to be a part of the family
Just as you would be proud of your own children, the same applies to your dog.
Whether it would be successfully training them to do their business outside or winning a show competition, you cannot help but feel like proud parents.
Dogs are meant to be a part of the family, but you may be surprised just how quickly that happens!
14. A cuddle everyday keeps the blues away
There is nothing better than having your dog jump up or lean against you to get a cuddle and show you how much they love you!
Likewise, if you’re feeling down, your dog will always be there to comfort you with a warm hug and chase the blues away.
15. Parents are never really in charge are they?
They say that when you get a dog, you have to show it who’s boss and be the ‘Top Dog’ in the pack. However, it’s easy to find yourself always putting them before you, which makes you question who really is at the top of the hierarchy in the household.
Do you sometimes end up buying fancy things for them more than yourself?
Do you sometimes give them food that is even better than what you had?
Do you submit to them taking over your seat on the sofa?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you might not be top dog after all… but come on, parents are never really in charge are they?
16. Don’t say *that* word!
When it comes to training your dog, you will most certainly teach them some ‘trigger’ words so they understand you better.
Be it a word to trigger them to perform a trick, or one to tell them their dinner is ready.
These words start to become off limit in everyday conversation around your dog as you don’t want to accidently trigger a reaction to something not directed at them.
Discussing what to have for dinner for example might cause them unintentional excitement!
17. Clumsiness is a trait best forgotten
If you’re anything like me, then you end up making a mess when preparing food in the kitchen due to being so clumsy, and if your dog is anything like Kai, then they are very much aware of this and try to take advantage.
Things that accidentally get dropped on the floor will get hoovered up instantly by your dog. It’s important to act fast and make sure they don’t pick up anything that can be potentially harmful to them such as chocolate, nuts or raisins.
Therefore, you’d best get over that clumsiness trait of yours… and fast!
18. Other people’s possessions are so much more fun to play with
Kai has an abundance of toys to play with, but they are never as desirable and fun as things he’s NOT supposed to have!
Shoes, slippers, socks, coasters, paper and pens are just a few of the things he would rather play with. Your dog is probably the same.
Alongside all of these lessons you might learn from your dog, there’s one more thing you will always remember… no matter what they do wrong or how much of your time they take up, you will always love them like you would your own child.
Have you already learned some of these life lessons from your dog? What about other lessons you’ve learned? We’d love to hear your thoughts…
Did these dog life lessons sound familiar?
Share them with other dog owners now to give them a few laughs too…