5 Love Lessons You Can Learn From Dogs, Because They're The Best Creatures Alive

by Annie Foskett
Mike Windle/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"Must love dogs" is a phrase I would totally put on my dating app profile if it didn't immediately remind me of the awful 2005 film Must Love Dogs. (Yes, I feel entitled to be harsh on the rom-coms of the early aughts that gave me terrible ideas about how I would find love. That said, Must Love Dogs was probably my first introduction to online dating, so maybe it wasn't all that bad.) I do, in fact, love dogs. I also think that you can learn love lessons from dogs. Yes, I sound cheesier than a baked brie, but it's true.

Dogs are many things that I dream of being: they are cuddly, sweet, eager to go outside, and able to catch a frisbee. While I prefer dogs to cats when it comes to dream pets, in actuality, I'm probably more similar to a cat when it comes to love: I'm a bit withholding, I'm calculating, I go to the bathroom indoors, and I'm happy to keep my distance. (Yes, I'm single, thank you for asking.) Still, I believe that we all have an inner "dog" full of love that is just waiting to be shared. I decided to think long and hard about what dogs can teach me about being in love, and here's what I concluded.

1. Be Loyal

Though I have never been cheated on, I judge cheaters harshly. I'm not so sure what miffs me about it: maybe it's the selfishness of the act, maybe it's the fact that I've seen friends' lives turned upside down by cheaters, or maybe it's the general fact that it's hard enough to trust people, so when your trust is broken it hurts. Dogs give slobbery kisses to other humans all of the time, but they have their owner's back first and foremost.

Dogs are loyal in that they truly love and want to protect their owners. In human terms, that means not cheating — but it also means speaking highly of your SO, or supporting them when they get a big promotion at work. Loyalty is everything.

2. Care For Those Who Care For You

Kimmy Foskett

Dogs take care of the people who care for them. That is to say, they treat you nicely when you play with them, feed them, or give them a treat. They don't treat you nicely when you step on their tail.

So when it comes to love, remember to pay attention to those potential partners in your life who treat you properly, not those who jerk you around (f*ckboys are the tarantulas of the dating world). Be good to those who are good to you; life's too short for buttheads.

3. Be Playful

The pressure many of us put on ourselves to find the perfect mate, plan the perfect wedding, achieve the perfect marriage, and even birth the perfect children means that dating and love can often be stressful rather than enjoyable. This is where we need to think like dogs: Life is best when we're playing with others.

Love should make you feel like a kid again, not give you a hemorrhoid. When dating and in love, do exciting new things with your partner. Have a sense of humor. Play with toys. (Any kind of toys.) Heck, play frisbee outside. Just remember to have fun.

4. We All Have Different Types

Kimmy Foskett

Just as dog owners decide to adopt different breeds of dogs, humans match with other humans for inexplicable reasons. I mean, I love Australian shepherds — mainly because that's the type of dog my family has — but other people are super into French bulldogs. Or, what my friend likes to call the breed: "The sign that an engagement ring is coming." (Honestly, I feel like I'm missing some gene when it comes to Frenchies. I don't quite get it.) Remember, it's OK to have your own particular type.

5. Love Your Partner Unconditionally

Dogs love unconditionally, and so should we. Dogs forgive and forget — probably a whole lot easier than humans do — and they are able love their owners no matter what kind of mood the owner is in. This is perhaps the most important lesson to take into your human relationships, especially the romantic kinds. It's important to commit to loving your partner not for their successes, or healthy (hot) bod, or happy demeanor, but for who they are in total as a person. Of course, abusive owners and abusive partners are exceptions to this rule.

Personally, I'm feeling much more inclined to snuggle up to the cutie I've been seeing casually after reading this article, and I hope you are too. Dogs aren't worried about appearing vulnerable, they are full of love and willing to share it. In fact, their vulnerability when it comes to doling out love is why we all love dogs so much, isn't it? Showing interest and love and feelings is attractive! Be like a dog, and give your partner a big suprise slobbery kiss tonight. (OK, maybe minus the slobber.)

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