Unfortunately, our pups can’t learn spoken languages, so it’s about time we learn how they communicate.
You shouldn’t leave me alone all the time
I understand that you probably work and you’re busy, but I get bored easily. Consider taking me to doggy daycare or bringing in a dog sitter a few times per week. And also make sure to give me plenty of lovin’ once you get home!
I don’t feel guilty, even if you think I look like it
Crazy, right? I don’t have the breadth of emotions that you do, and when you try to make me feel guilty, frankly, I don’t understand. But usually your voice is really loud and that makes me upset. Please train me firmly, but with a softer tone.
I’m not always happy when I’m wagging my tail
Tail wagging is kind of a language for me. Sometimes it means I’m happy, but sometimes it means I’m scared, insecure, or even angry. Take the time to learn the differences between my tail wags.
I don’t love crowded parties or picnics
While I am a social animal, don’t confuse that for me loving crowded places. I get overwhelmed and scared when there are a lot of people vying for my attention. Plus, if you were my size, wouldn’t you be scared of how many legs you have to dodge?
I respond to rewards, not punishments
If you give me treats for doing something good, I will keep doing that good thing because I love treats. But if you just yell at me and point at things when I do something bad, I won’t understand you and I’ll probably keep doing the bad thing.
Honestly, I don’t know what you’re saying
Like I said, when you talk to me, I don’t understand your words. I do understand your tone, though. So keep talking to me in your high-pitched “pet” voice… I like that.
I get confused when you change up the rules all the time
You get excited when I jump on you, but when I jump on a random stranger on our walk, you get angry. Who can I jump on? And am I allowed on the couch or no? Please make up your mind; I just want to make you happy.
Take me to the vet every year…I can’t tell you when I’m not feeling well
I need an annual check-up so the vet can make sure I’m healthy and up-to-date on my vaccines. Please don’t overlook this appointment––it could be life or death.
Fences and barriers are good things!
Since I’m a domesticated dog, I don’t always have the innate desire to “roam free.” Putting barriers and fences around the house or in the backyard will keep me safe and out of trouble, I promise!
I know you’re tired, cold, hot, etc., but please don’t rush me when you take me out to go to the bathroom
Just like you like to scroll through your phone while you’re doing your business, I have a process. I have to find the perfect place with a mix of smells and mark my territory correctly, and I don’t like it when you tug on my leash.
Some brushes are specifically made for me…buy those
There are myriad pet brushes to choose from when you go to the store, but they aren’t all created equally. Take the time to read the animals and fur types each brush is made for, and purchase one accordingly. My skin, fur, and mood will thank you!
If I’m acting differently than usual, I’m probably not feeling well
I don’t pick up new characteristics or tricks by myself like you do. I’m a creature of habit, so if you notice me acting differently, chances are something is up. I might be sick and you should consider taking me to see the vet.
I dream just like you!
If my legs or eyes are twitching in my sleep, I’m dreaming. Just like you have vivid dreams, I’m probably imagining playing outside or that fun time you had me chase the tennis ball.
I have a “sixth sense”
If you notice me whining, trying to hide, or otherwise acting erratically, chances are, something bad is going to happen, like a thunderstorm. I just know these things. Call the local weatherman and say you know someone better for the job.
Eating poop is pretty normal for me
Don’t freak out, but I don’t hate eating poop. I actually kind of like it. Feces are definitely not the best thing for me to eat, but in most cases, they won’t harm my health. Don’t worry too much.
I need to try out beds just like you
Just like you lay on mattresses before you buy them, I like to test my pet bed before you buy it for me. Take me to the pet store and let me lay on the different beds; depending on my sleeping position, I might choose one style over another.
If I’m yawning, that doesn’t always mean I’m tired
While yes, sometimes I do yawn when I’m sleepy, I also yawn when I’m scared, agitated, or overwhelmed. If you notice me yawning a lot, pay attention to the environment I’m in. Is there a reason I could be stressed or scared? Please remove me from the situation if I’m not coping well.
When I put my butt in your face, that’s not a sign of spite
This action should actually be heartwarming! When I was a puppy, I used to do this to my mom so she could clean my bottom. This means I see you as a maternal figure.
If I’m refusing to listen to you, take the hint: I’m mad
This doesn’t mean you should let me win, but you should know that I’m not just disobeying you because I don’t know what to do. You’ve trained me well, I just feel like being rebellious.
It’s not impossible to teach me new tricks when I’m older
Just because my brain isn’t as plastic as it was when I was a puppy, doesn’t mean “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It just might take me a little longer to truly understand; be patient with me.
When I’m being “bad,” I’m probably just bored
If I’m jumping up on you or grabbing household objects and running around like a crazy dog, that means I just want to play. I know you’re busy, but I haven’t seen you all day and I’d love to play with you!
I really, really, really hate the kennel
Please do your best not to board me when you leave for a longer period of time. I would love a dog sitter so much more, because then I don’t have to get used to new surroundings and interact with people and dogs I might not get along with. If you absolutely must put me in the kennel, don’t be surprised if I get a little ticked off. But don’t worry too much, I’ll still love you. Fido still not acting normal long after you return?
I hate pills. Please hide them in yummy treats
If I don’t like the taste of something, I spit it out. So that’s why I’ve probably been spitting out my medicine. Try hiding it in meat, peanut butter, or “pill pocket” treats from the supermarket. These pills are important to my health, so please make sure I take them.
You’re probably feeding me too much
Think about what happens when you eat too much: you get a little pudgy. To keep me from putting on the pounds (which can lead to a slew of other health issues), control my food intake and actually pay attention to the number of treats you’re giving me.
I overheat more quickly than you––check the temperature before exercising me
During summertime, the sidewalks and pavement can get really hot. You can wear sneakers and you have the choice to dress lighter. I, on the other hand, have lots of fur and I probably don’t have shoes to guard my paws against the pavement. Plus, my internal temperature control system just isn’t as advanced as yours. Please check the temperature before we go for a walk––it could save me. And if I’m an outside dog, make sure I have accessibility to shade or indoor space, and lots of water.
I know they’re expensive, but please give me worm and flea medicine!
I’m more susceptible to certain infections and health problems. The three most common are fleas, ticks, and worms. There is plenty of medicine and other supplies available at the vet to keep me safe from these potentially fatal problems.
Just like you make time for work and sleep, make time to play with me
Like I said before, I can get bored if I’m not given enough attention. I can also get depressed and sad just like you. If you’re that busy, physically block out 30-60 minutes on your schedule to ensure that I get the love I need. Plus, I’ll give you love and stress relief in return!
My “dog breath” could be a sign of an infection
My breath is probably never going to smell pleasant…sorry about that. But if it’s sickening, it may be a sign of a rotten tooth, dental disease, or a handful of other health problems. Make sure to have the vet examine my mouth during my annual check-up.
Feed me healthy food
It doesn’t have to be homemade, “grain free,” or any of the other buzzy diets that are trending. But the ingredients in my food should be real, just like yours! You wouldn’t eat “corn by-product meal,” so why would you feed it to me? Healthy kibble might cost a few more dollars, but it’ll keep me happier and healthier in the long run.
I love you! I really do!
Even when you and I make mistakes, I’m so thankful to live with you and receive your love and attention. Sometimes I get scared or angry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you! Have I mentioned that I love you?