If you’re like me, you are a dog lover but not (yet) a dog parent. As a result, you are a well-meaning but uncomfortable presence that often forces your love on other dogs. Like this lady right here.
And as a dog-less dog-lover, you know it’s tough out there. It feels like everyone is coupled up with a dog — strolling around, leash hand in hand, posting adorable selfies, and just generally rubbing it in. It can all feel like too much.
Until you are able to enter into a committed relationship with a canine of your own, there is good news! Turns out there are plenty of dog-friendly bars for you to explore what’s out there, snuggle up next to pups, and figure out what your type is.
I did this just last weekend, and learned a lot. Below is the wisdom I’d like to impart upon you before you hit up your own local dog bar:
Lesson #1: Pre-bar prep.
Get ready to present your most attractive self. This is different for dogs than it is for humans. Sure, you can shower earlier that day or that week if you want, but a real dog won’t care about any of that superficial stuff. All they care about is the person you are, and also how you and your crotch smells.
Yes, that’s right. So make sure you (and your crotch) smell fantastic. I suggest stuffing dog treats in your pockets. That’ll get the dogs drooling for you.
Question: Do you have a Snausage in your pants or are you just happy to see these dogs?
Answer: Both, ya godd-mn Casanova!
Lesson #2: Dress to impress.
Select a relaxed outfit — something you can easily crouch or squat in, roll around on the floor in, and of course something you don’t mind getting a lot of fur and drool on. No one ever said dating wouldn’t be messy, and man oh man if it isn’t a complete sh-tshow!
Lesson #3: Act like you’ve done this before.
Play it cool. Tell yourself that being around a bunch of amazing dogs is just another normal Friday night for you. If you really need to freak out, find yourself a private moment and dance it out accordingly.
Lesson #4: Don’t hit on every dog.
Pace yourself. For starters, there’s just not enough time in the world to hit on all the dogs in your vicinity. Trust me, I’ve tried. Not to mention many dogs (and people, apparently) find this creepy.
Lesson #5: Master the approach.
Once you’ve selected a dog you’d like to talk to, follow these steps to ensure a seamless transition into conversation:
You won’t connect with everyone, and that’s OK. You’re gonna be OK.
Lesson #6: Take selfies, but don’t be a dick about it.
Everyone* loves a good selfie. And while it can be tempting to whip out your selfie stick every 10 seconds, that’s not going to win you many pup pals.
If you must take selfies, count slowly to 1,000 between each one. This will help you naturally regulate yourself and your selfie habit.
*Editor’s Note: We are required to clarify that not everyone loves a good selfie.
Lesson #7: Have a solid opening line.
There’s nothing wrong with making the first move and striking up a conversation. In fact, since the majority of dogs cannot communicate using human languages, you must initiate in order to have an actual verbal interaction with them.
But, hey, don’t stress about that! There are a lot of great opening lines you can choose from. Below are some of my favorites:
Lesson #8: Tell jokes!
Dogs love jokes, so if you have any go-to charmers, try ‘em out. Here are examples of a few real knee-slappers.
Lesson #9: Be sensitive.
Or you’re gonna. get. SLAPPED.
Don’t ask a dog its age. Don’t ask if they’ve been spayed or neutered. Don’t ask how many nipples they have. It’s rude, and it’s not good first-conversation banter. Plus if you do have a successful first interaction, you’re going to find all this out sooner or later.
Lesson #10: Offer to buy water.
Water is usually free at a bar. While dogs do not understand broad concepts like currency and transactions, they do appreciate generosity. A great way to offer them water is to say, “You look thirsty.” But don’t say it like a creep. (And we all know how to make that sound creepy.)
Lesson #11: Tip generously.
The dog won’t notice, but the bartender will. Getting on the bartender’s good side is a solid connection to have, particularly if you begin frequenting this bar. They’ll have the scoop on all the neighborhood dogs.
Lesson #12: Suggest a game.
Suggesting a fun activity, such as pool or darts, is a common sign among humans that you are interested and would like to get to know the other person better. At least, that’s what I’ve been told, since the only game I’ve ever successfully played at a bar is “Words with Friends.” On my phone. Without any friends.
Anyway, the same is true for dogs. Pull out a tennis ball and suggest a game of catch, or offer to play tug-of-war. Maybe the dog has a cool bar trick that they’d like to share, like Sit, or Shake, or Twist the Cherry Into a Knot. Participating in a fun game together will help break the ice and allow you two to get to know each other better.
Lesson #13: Get their number.
Obviously this will entail getting their human’s number, so you’ll have to talk to a human. If you think talking to dogs at a bar is hard, just wait until you talk to a human. It’s even more difficult, painful and awkward. But, sadly, it is absolutely necessary.
Once you’ve gotten the digits, arrange to see the dog again. Suggest a hike, or a dog park rendezvous. Securing contact info AND another meet-up is a great way to end the night. Yes, you’re still going home alone and very, very lonely, but at least now there’s hope — albeit a sliver.
Pro tip: If you’re feeling shy, you can always ask for the dog’s Instagram handle, and enjoy them from afar. This is considered normal human behavior. In fact, you may already be doing this with multiple dogs.
Lesson #14: Accept the inevitable third wheel situation (aka their human).
Because pup parents refuse to go anywhere without their dog, your ideal dog will of course be accompanied at the bar by their human. While this is annoying, you’re better off in the long run accepting it. After all, this human is an important part of this dog’s life.
In fact, diverting your attention from the dog to the human (known amongst humans as “playing hard to get”) may very well cause the dog to grow jealous. A simple question like, “So, where do you guys live?” may prompt nose-nudging and pawing for more pets. Plus, demonstrating interest in a human (even if it’s insincere — like, has anyone ever cared where someone lives?) will show the dog that you’re considerate.
Who knows, maybe you and the human will hit it off! And you guys can actually have a real relationship!. And a dog together!
Score! Two for one!*
*Honestly, this probably won’t happen. Sorry.
Lesson #15: Don’t get too drunk.
This is the last — and perhaps most important — lesson. No matter what you do, do not get wasted. I won’t lie to you: I wish I’d known this final tip before last Friday.
The insane adrenaline of being around so many cute dogs combined with the 9 vodka sodas and 2 Irish car bombs that I chugged led to several sloppy drunken makeouts, many paws to the face, and more than a few “Hey, get your own dog, freak!”
Also, I woke up to this on my phone the next morning:
Needless to say, I have yet to hear from anyone (except Dave, who is a human douche that I sincerely hope I never see again).
So, take my advice: be respectful, put yourself out there, and never, ever give up on your dog dreams. Because one day you WILL find your one and only.
And until then, there are always dog bars.