Save your animal expertise—dogs just want to hang out with someone who will eat something unrecognizable straight off the floor.
In the Dad Weighs In column, I step in with some tough love and modern life lessons in case your dad mostly grunts and falls back asleep asleep when you try to talk to him.
I’ve been noticing a lot of amateur dog whisperer talk exploring the mysterious bond between dogs and dads.
”Dogs must like dads because dads are pack leaders!” ”The dog must have imprinted on Dad as a puppy!” ”You scolded the dog too much, so he likes Dad better!”
It’s actually pretty simple, and it doesn’t take Cesar Milan to explain it: dogs love dads because we basically are dogs. Seriously. The closer you look, the more difficult it gets to tell us apart. Let’s break it down.
Dads and dogs around the house
Dads and dogs both have two gears: the one where we can’t calm down and the one where we’re asleep in the middle of the day. If kids act like they’re about to throw something, our blood pressure goes through the roof, otherwise we’re usually glued to our special place on the couch where no one else wants to sit any more. We need the TV on, but we don’t really know how to set it up ourselves. We’re not going to pay any attention to it once it’s on.
Everyone shuts doors to keep us from wandering somewhere they don’t want us to go.
We drink out of the same thing all day every day. We will eat absolutely anything, and we don’t care what temperature it is. Shortly after that, we need to use the bathroom in a place that we’ve picked out and use at the same time every day. We really don’t want anyone else going near that spot.
We both get super agitated for no reason when someone is outside. Especially if it’s the same mailman we see all the time. We don’t like that guy. We bring stuff in from outside for no good reason. It usually upsets everyone.
We do a lot of dumb stuff that ends up on YouTube, and we don’t care because we don’t really know what that is.
Dads and dogs outside
Dads and dogs are both obsessed with birds, and we annoy the hell out of everyone with it. We both dig up parts of the yard at random, and we can’t really explain why. We will positively destroy your garden. We’re always screwing around and getting stung by something.
We think about going for walks all day, and everyone feels obligated to go with us because that may be all we get excited about that day. Our natural sense of direction is good—it’s our following directions that’s more hit and miss.
We spend a ton of time trying to communicate with our kind around the neighborhood even though no one can tell if we really like one another or not. Everyone is a little uncomfortable when the family brings us to the park.
Dads and dogs as part of the family
Dads and dogs will take care of you, but make no mistake: you will also be taking care of us.
We absolutely hate getting our hair cut, and we will look like crap if no one else is doing anything about it. Someone else will generally need to set up all our doctor appointments, take us in, and explain what’s been going on with us. Once in a while, it will also take the entire family to convince us to quit messing with something.
That said, we’re almost all good with babies, but everyone acts like it’s a surprise every single time. You’ll be glad to have us around if there’s danger nearby because we are usually crazier than the thing you are worried about. Nobody talks about it, but everyone spends at least some time thinking about what they’re going to do when we’re statistically gone before everyone else in the house.
I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the point, and I’m starting to get drowsy here. Dads and dogs deeply understand one another, but don’t forget neither one of us would make it without the rest of you. If you want to show your appreciation, buy us a stupid sweater. We’ll wear it because we love you, and it isn’t really up to us.