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HOW A DOG SCHOOLED ME ABOUT LOVING A MAN: 7 Lessons from Riley about Relationships

I’m just arriving back home from D.C. and Kokomo, Indiana (where I’m from and where my family still resides). But for the last two years there’s been a special addition to our family…my sister’s amazing dog, Riley. He’s a Min-pin and Chihuahua mix. And he’s 12 pounds full of pep, curiosity, and cuteness.  


During this visit, I got to bond with him bigtime while my sister traveled out of state. He gave me wet kisses. Peek-a- boo time in the morning. And of course I couldn’t resist those puppy eyes (pleading for more chicken or cheese).

But surprisingly Riley taught me these seven lessons about loving my future Mr. Right:  

1.) Stay in the moment.

It’s a known fact that dogs live in and for the present. They are not worried about the past. Or boggled down with the pending.

In a relationship, there are times when you just have to say, “This quality time I’m spending with him deserves my complete attention. Bills, job demands, deliveries from Amazon, and comments Ig or Facebook will have to wait. WE are worth it.”


“Enjoying the present makes you rich. Whining about the past and worrying about the pending leaves you broke(n).”

2.) Forgive and move on.

Honestly there were times when I told Riley we were about to go outside to play…and didn’t. I accidently bumped into him a few times because he was magnetic to my heels. In return, did he try to bite or attack me? Did he give me the cold shoulder for the rest of the night? Nope. He kept loving me.

As humans, forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do. But mistakes happen. Slip-ups occur. Plans change. No man is perfect, so learn to forgive and let it go. The quicker you forgive, the quicker your heart can open up for more love.

3.) Anticipate their return.

Dogs have an amazing amount of focus. Riley showed his love and care by eagerly waiting for my return. (He was often in the exact spot where I left him.)

Being missed and thought of while you’re away deeply touches a person’s heart. So send notes, texts, emails, and voicemails to let a man know he’s loved and you look forward to being together again.


“Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but letting someone know you sincerely miss them makes the bond stronger.”

4.) Greet each other with happiness.

Whenever I came back from an appointment, a store, or night’s rest, Riley would always show excitement. His tail waved faster than a metronome whenever I mentioned his name with a smile.

In a relationship, your enthusiastic energy should show! No one likes to meet up with or come home to a grump. Smile. Do a dance. Give him a huge hug.

Be grateful for their life and presence. (Many women have taken their man or husband for granted. And they were never able to greet them again due to an unfortunate or untimely death.)

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5.) Stay close and loyal.

Time after time, Riley followed me closer than my own shadow. I would turn around and those big eyes seemed to say, “Wherever you’re going, just know I’m tagging along right by your side.”

Now I’m not encouraging you to have excessive static cling in a relationship. (He’ll surely bounce.) However, there needs to be an intentional devotion to each other. Constant communication, sharing ideas, working on goals together, and faithfulness to your commitment needs to be evident.

Too much space, will keep you off pace. Being off pace leads to off each other’s relationship radar.  

6.) Speak up about threats.

Whenever Riley encountered a delivery man, a person in the parking lot, or a dog down the block…he would bark like crazy.

It’s important to be alert and talk about potential threats that could endanger the relationship. If something makes you feel uneasy or you’re unsure about a situation on the horizon, don’t wait until it’s staring you in the face. Use your voice and speak from the heart.

7.) Be ready for adventure.

Just mentioning the words “outside” or “doggie park” got Riley’s ears perked up and his mouth watering like Niagara Falls.

Keeping the relationship fresh requires you to be courageous and shake up life at times vs. pledging allegiance to the same routine. This may require you stepping out of your comfort zone, but should never put you in the danger zone.

Whether you have a dog or not, and whether you’re in a relationship or looking forward to one, these lessons of love are great to apply in your life.

If you ignore ALL of these points, you won’t have a fulfilling and faithful relationship. Besides, what good is love if you’re not learning more about how to share love?

Question: Which of the above have you forgotten about in a past or present relationship? What other life lessons have you learned from a dog? Please leave a comment below, I want to hear from you!

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