No one wants to be compared to a dog, treated like a dog, or referred to as the female term for one; however, all too often, people forget what is important, and nag or complain about petty things. And though we would never presume equate human relationships to pet ownership, we think the love and enthusiasm dogs express to their owners is downright inspiring. So, where do dogs get it right? There is something to be said for why people commit more easily to dogs than they may to a relationship. Just as Dale Carnegie noted in his timeless book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he first learned about true devotion and unconditional love from his childhood dog.  Let’s look at some lessons we can learn from our adorable puppy pals.

Dogs are always happy to see their owner. Has your significant other ever come through the door after a long day, only to receive a complaint and large to-do list of everything he forgot to finish before he left for work? Or when you come home at the end of a long day, before saying hello to your spouse, are the first words out of your mouth complaints?  You will never see a Golden Retriever approach her owner like that.  The moment he see her, the pup races over immediately and covers her face with kisses and affection.  Boys and girls, we would do well to do the same!

Dogs do not judge.  Everyone has a bad day, or one that is just exhausting and doesn’t leave enough time for keeping up one’s appearance. Unconditional love means accepting your significant other no matter how off-putting their appearance might be; he probably knows he needs a shower and is headed there anyway!

Dogs don’t give the “silent treatment” or keep a record of wrongs. Though some pups may seem more emotional or dramatic than others (here’s looking at you, French Bulldogs), it is very rare to find a dog acting “moody” often.  If he does not get his way, the pup might saunter off for a while, but he certainly won’t drag it out over days, or give dirty looks your direction during breakfast the next morning. Even if a dog doesn’t get the treat he wanted, the pup will rarely ignore his owner, and will generally let go of it after a while. When women or men don’t get their way, instead of punishing the other person with silent treatment, it would be far better to just move forward.

Dogs are always up for an adventure. Whether it is going for a hike, jog, or a spontaneous wrestle in the living room floor, dogs are always up for a good time. While there might be many legitimate reasons why someone wouldn’t be enthused about a big outing or romp in the woods, it is interesting to note that dogs are generally always excited about the prospect of fun.  They are the go-to pal, the guaranteed side-kick when a man wants to do something spontaneous. It is easy to complain in life, or find reasons not to do something. Take a cue from your loyal Labrador and be willing to just go for it!

Dogs just want to be with their owner. Now, we are all for feminism and independence in a relationships. Healthy couples always reflect a balance and maintain their own interests in life. But there is nothing more endearing than seeing a dog happily hop up on the couch next to her owner or trot along cheerfully by his side. Sometimes we get so focused on our own agenda and life goals, that we forget the importance of supporting our partner’s vision and priorities. Learn from your pup, and next time you are hanging out with your significant other, communicate that being with them is enough, no matter what you the two of you decide to do.

There is a saying that “the grass is greener where you water it.” In relationships where someone is given unconditional love, affirmation and support, the individual will thrive (and even reciprocate!).  By observing how dogs respond to the people they love, we can learn why that kind of bond lasts a lifetime, and how dogs have gained the title of “man’s best friend.