9 Signs You Have An Unhealthy Relationship With Your Dog David Dean

There won’t be much middle ground on this. People will totally understand and get it, or people will think I’m crazy. I’m aware, I might be crazy, CRAZYBOUTMYDOG OHMYGOODNESS! Yes, I’ve recently become aware that the relationship with my dog is “unhealthy” and “I’m too reliant on him” and “quit putting my advice in quotation marks.” But it’s all circumstantial. I also think the owner can project his feelings on to their dog. This is something I’m no doubt guilty of. I’ll be refering to my dog as “he”, because “he” he is. But this goes for all dogs, breeds, sex, EQUAL RIGHTS YA’LL!

Let me paint you a picture (on a small canvas so it won’t be long): I grew up with a dog and two cats my entire life. In 7th grade I had a crush on girl who was going to look at a Shih Tzu with her mom. I tagged along and then called my mother telling her “we just haaaaaad to get one as well.” If she got a puppy, and I got a puppy, then maybe our puppies would play together and we could make out to No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”! That dog, Penny Lane, quickly became my mother’s dog and they were attached. Penny followed her everywhere, went to work with her everyday, to the point where even as a 15 year old, I thought it was a little unhealthy. So I grew up seeing that, never thinking it would have an impact on me as an adult.

I’d always wanted my own dog, but wanted to make sure I could care for properly, meaning I was out of school, it wouldn’t be left alone all day, etc. So last year my girlfriend and I got a miniature poodle named Max. We lived together in a Dallas high rise and it was a total apartment dog, which always bummed me out. Then that girl and I broke up and she kindly let me keep Max, or maybe I grabbed everything I could, picked up the dog and ran, but that doesn’t really matter at this point. We had been parents to Max for 6 months, but I moved away from Dallas and her, and I took Max with me. For months he only reminded me of her, and I always thought he looked sad. I kept telling myself, IT’S JUST A DOG IT’S JUST A DOG DOGS CAN’T GET DEPRESSED. But really I was probably saying that to myself, using him as some form of coping mechanism.

Months went by and I started to forget about the girl, but realized I was obsessed with the dog. Did I just give you all way too much background info? Maybe! But it’s only so I can preemptively defend myself, knowing someone might send me to therapy or, wait….does my dog need therapy? Should we both go? OHMYGOODNES. I’m going to go Google dog therapists while you read the Nine Signs of an unhealthy relationship…with your dog.

1. YOUR’E JEALOUS WHEN HE SLEEPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE
This one is a killer. Because all the cute things he does with you at night, like cuddle up next to your legs under the covers, then crawl up and sleep in your arms, you think those are your things. Then you take him to visit your parents and as your going to bed you notice he doesn’t follow, then find him cuddled up under the covers with your mom. CHEATER! LIAR! THAT’S OUR THING! HOW COULD YOU! Then you calm yourself down and realize it’s okay, there are other dogs in the house and he just wants to be around them. Which leads to…

2. OVERCARING
You take him to the best groomer and in between those dog nightmare sessions you as well play the part of groomer, but the totally sensitive one that grooms with such ease and love and OHMYGOODNESS should I be a groomer? I bathe him once every few weeks. Sometimes, ONLY SOMETIMES, I even give him little back massages. Like he cares. SORRY I DON’T HAVE LONG NAILS TO GIVE YOU TICKLES QUIT GUILTING ME HERE’S ANOTHER TREAT.

3. YOU WALK HIM FOR HIS HEALTH, NOT YOURS
You should be leading your dog when walking. It’s great exercise for you both. And should be done multiple times daily. But use a leash? Naw, he’s good up in the forest, and sounds like a baby horse when he runs and there’s no way I’m letting a leash get in between me and my dog sounding like a baby horse running. And of course he smells everything, but my dog, he doesn’t just smell things, he smells things and finds the answers to the world and life and he smells deep. Sometimes he even smells things so hard he eats them, like a flower. Which of course leads to…

4. IF HE THROWS UP, YOU PANIC
Dogs throw up all the time, duh. I know that. But when your dog throws up, it’s like wait, what is happening here? WHY IS HE MAKING THAT AWFUL NOISE! CAN HE BREATH? You run to comfort him as if he just found out his dog cousin (I assume he has one) lost his job and on top of all that is going through a divorce. Oh and you think he’s dying now, even though within minutes he running around sniffing cat poop and taking shots of wheat grass from the ground like some sort of vegan.

5. YOU WORRY ABOUT HIS FEELINGS
This really bothers me, because I truly do believe a dog has feelings. Some days I wake up and look at him and can just tell, he’s not in a good mood. Not like grumpy or anything, just kind of, sad. Maybe it’s because yesterday when we were running in the fields, he saw a full grown poodle that look exactly like him only one thousand times bigger, and that big poodle was all snobbish like and didn’t play back. I bet his feelings are hurt about that. Or maybe it’s because some people in my family make these little duck sounding quack noises at him that really scare him big time, which means maybe when he was a tiny little puppy a group of thug ducks picked on him and he’s never forgotten and he had a bad dream about those ducks. I mean, I don’t know, maybe though right? Which makes you start to think that…

6. YOU CAN’T TELL IF THE DOG NEXT DOOR IS BULLYING HIM AND IF SO WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
Yes bullying is a serious problem. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit around a let bullying take place in my neighborhood. I know I saw that other dog give him the stink eye once, and now Max will barely go over there. I don’t think it’s like physical bullying, but I know that dog is communicating some hateful shit. Real alpha male. Does that dog think he’s better than mine? It all starts with the parents I tell you, and it’s time for me and them to sit down and have a talk about social skills, as far as I’m concerned.

7. YOU GET SEPARATION ANXIETY
Sure you can go to dinner with friends, go for drinks, even leave town for a few days. You’re cool, chill, having a good time, BUT DEEP INSIDE YOU’RE LIKE WHAT’S HE DOING WHAT’S HE DOING IS HE OKAY I WISH HE COULD TEXT ME. And it can almost even be like drunk dialing, once the night is hitting its climax and your feeling good, talking to a cute girl, and pets come up, and then you get all nostalgic about him and leave immediately to get home to him and drunkenly be like “Hey bro, you’re my best friend”… Which is basically why…

8. YOU’VE MADE MORE OF A COMMITMENT TO YOUR DOG THAN TO ANY GIRL (OR GUY)
I admit I have commitment issues, so what, so what if I do! (Sorry, ex-girlfriend commitment issues argument flashback.) But if a girl isn’t pretty much instantly jumping on the ground and letting my dog give her face kisses and just being playful and sweet, do I really want to go get sushi and drinks with her? All I’ll be thinking about the entire time if she didn’t do exactly what I wanted her to do in my head is that she is the crazy one. Would you like a little heart to go with your dragon roll you monster?!

9. YOU ALL OF SUDDEN REALIZE YOU’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT YOUR DOG FOR 10 MINUTES STRAIGHT TO A STRANGER WITHOUT TAKING A BREATH
Yeah I might start to ramble a bit, but maybe this person likes the story about how my dog hides bones under couch cushions, or how lately I think he’s been biting his nails too often. I see you stranger, I see you praying your phone will ring any second to get you out of this, but you don’t know my dog like I do. I mean I could on for days. I could go on and on and on….

Featured imaged by David Dean, and yes that is Max

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  1. This is me with my cat–she is and always will be my baby, no matter what!

  2. Every single one of them 9 signs!! aah the jealousy.. and the leave-the-party-soon-so-I-can-go-to-her (yes, my dog is a she)
    And I know about the unhealthiness of it all.. and I don’t freakin’ care!
    I LOVE MY BABY LEXIE MORE THAN WORDS! WHAT!

    I loved your post man, and I think Max is the cutest thing ever! (after Lexie of course..)

  3. Little reminder that dogs are dogs. And one reason why many dogs have behavioral issues, is that people treat their dogs like babies. I am a big dog lover myself, but I also believe in boundaries.

  4. Oh goodness, this is fantastic haha. My family owns three dogs and my mom has pretty much hit all ten of these points at sometime with our dogs. Very well written, sir!

  5. Oh goodness…I’m definitely guilty! Except for taking my pup on walks. She will just sit down after half a block, and I have to carry her. The worst is feeling guilty about leaving her alone all day while I’m at work. I even gave a key to my house to my BFF just in case I’m late and need her to go let out Sophie. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  6. Oh…. oh lord. Rory, my 1 year old Australian Shepard Poodle mix is PRETTY MUCH my life. Like, I leave parties early to get home to him. Oh dear. Oh the upside, I feel like this is a suport group, and I’m so glad I’m not alone.

  7. I absolutely love all these comments! So good to know I’m not alone!

  8. I can completely relate.

    I think this post needed some serious editing before hitting the interwebz though. Got some grammar mistakes, dude. Otherwise, pretty funny article.

  9. this is such a sweet article! a couple of years my dog passed away. She was an amazing dog (person)and I loved her so much. I knew that I could never get another dog, because no dog could ever live up to how amazing she was. well, shortly after she passed away a friend of mine decided to get me a puppy to cheer me up. I had not finished grieving Maggie (I was not emotionally ready for another dog). I just don’t have the same emotional connection with Moose (my current dog). I find my self trying to overcompensate with toys and treats (he is a bit chubby). I feel like a bad person because of it. this article made me think of Maggie, and how I wish I could have this type of relationship with Moose.

  10. I just laughed all the way through this article, then all the way through the hilarious comments! Jaki Watson you are not alone! I have only had my cocker spaniel puppy for a month, but I’m pretty much obsessed with him. Sometimes he’s just lying there perfectly happy, and I’m practically in tears because I get worried that he’s sad. If I throw his tennis ball and he can’t find it, I run across the park like I’m in a movie, playing the part of a woman whose child is being attacked. He also has exceptionally good taste in shoes, choosing to eat not my crappy work shoes, but my new chucks. Good boy Alfie, well played.
    Hilarious article, thanks!

  11. Okay, now how do we get them to live as long as we do? Cuz, I’m not sure I want to experience life without my little Sullivan. He just GETS me.

  12. I must admit that I find it hard to relate to this. I´ve seen it in others.
    An animal, to me, is either food or has a job to do.
    Having a dog seems to be reason and topic with other dog owners aswell.

  13. I am so in LOVE with this article! I definitely get separation anxiety from my dogs, and will most likely stay home and be a hermit just for them! I have three pups and I will over think their feelings especially when giving treats and try to be fair, as if they really care and realize this. This totally made my day to know I’m not the only pet dork! <3

  14. Also, number 10 – your facebook picture is you and your dog, rather than you and your fiance.

  15. I’m definitely like this. I judge anyone who doesn’t completely love my dog or smile at him. I figure anyone who’s heart doesn’t melt at my little guy is a robot, maybe an evil robot.
    However, dogs definitely do get depressed! They can even get PTSD or OCD. After we picked Pocket up from the rescue he could only sleep next to the mirror because his brother looked just like him and he must have missed him. I felt so horribly guilty. I still do, actually.

  16. I am totally a tragic dog owner. My dog is lying by feet right now, under a blanket, which I wrapped him in (because what if he’s cold?). So I totally feel you.

    I really liked this article, but, Public Service Announcement: Please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, put your dog on a leash when they are somewhere other than your yard or a dog park. Baby pony in the forest? Adorable! Know what’s not adorable? My dog–who is on a leash–FREAKING OUT because a strange dog has exploded out of the trees at him. It’s great that your dog is confident and secure enough to be running around and potentially meeting dudes on his own. Not every dog is like that, and it’s scary for me to have to break up fights with stranger’s dogs because mine is protective and theirs isn’t leashed.

  17. Omg #3!!! Baby horse! Except my overgrown Airedale sounds like a fat Shetland Pony! I love this!

  18. #10 You write a children’s book that is inspired by your dog and ask his/her opinion on it

  19. Sadly I don’t have this problem with a dog (as I don’t have one) but I do with my cats, I’d rather sit at home and snuggle with those lil monsters than go out drinking any day… I think I’m a crazy cat man

  20. I often read Hello Giggle articles, but never have I truly connected with one enough to comment; but here I am. This article describes me so perfectly I’m in tears from laughing. Except number 6. My dog is the bully, and it pains me to see him act like such a dick. I just want him to have fun with other puppies because I think he would enjoy it if he just forgot he is now off the streets and doesn’t have to fight to the death for dumpster dives anymore. Hopefully one day, soon. Thank you for posting this, I’ll definitely be sharing!