Things I didn't know before I had a dog:
1) Puppies really do love EVERYTHING. They love everything and make any bad day into a good one when they greet you at the door. Literally, puppies love everything. They lick everything they like, and they lick everything.
2) You can be ridiculously proud of a dog that you've trained. The first time Beorn did "high-five," after I taught him, I nearly cried with pride.
3) Dog farts. I'd heard about dog farts before, and even experienced them, but the first time you give your dog a chicken treat that doesn't quiiiiiite agree with his tummy before you put him in his crate and then go to pub trivia for a couple hours... oh goodness, when you get back, you'd better give that room at least an hour to air out. God help you if it's 4 degrees where you live and you are faced with the choice of opening a window and freezing or leaving it closed and hoping the smell dissipates before you die of dog fart inhalation.
4) Our home is in desperate need of protection. Evidently, we live in a terrifying neighborhood, full of hipsters, hipsters with kids, old people, hipsters with old people, and wind. For the record, we never asked for a guard dog. We never trained him to be a guard dog. Nonetheless, according to Beorn, other dogs he sees across the street (thank goodness we live on the second floor and he doesn't have a great view) are a Very Serious Threat. Anyone invited over who steps onto the porch is a serious problem. The nefarious mail-person is a brigand. The downstairs neighbors are seriously suspicious until they get into the house, and then they're our friends. The wind is a phantom poltergeist-monster that will throw things at us all unless Beorn barks it down. Our Christmas Caga Tio is particularly troublesome, and Beorn will bark at it until you show him that the caga tio is literally a log with a face on it. Sometimes he does this adorable under-his-breath-bark, but he's clearly alerting us that SOMETHING IS EXTREMELY AMISS IN OUR ABODE and HE MUST PROTECT THE DEN.
5) Tennis balls are the GREATEST THING EVER INVENTED. Beorn has figured out that if he puts his paw on a tennis ball on our hardwood floor hard enough, the ball will squirt itself off into a random direction where he can chase it. He might be a genius-dog who can make his own fun.
6) Good lord, bacon. BACON! Are you making bacon?! Because if you are, Beorn is losing his mind. He's sitting politely next to you, or perhaps lying on the floor across the kitchen, but he. Is. Losing. His. Mind.
7) Dogs on the television are just as much a threat as those dogs across the street. Potentially lethal. Whatever you do, dogs on TV, don't bark. Or make any noise at all.
8) Maybe this is a fraction of what parents feel. Honestly, when Beorn learns something new that we've been trying to teach him, it's totally ridiculous how proud we are.
9) So this is what it's like to have someone Eager To Please... you. If you give Beorn a toy, he wants you to throw it. If you don't, he will bring it to you and leave it at your feet. If you don't throw it, he will sit, thinking that you want him to do that. If you still don't throw it, he will lie down, thinking you want him to lie down. He will stay there, down, staring at you, wagging his tail, until you acknowledge him and throw Mr. Dinosaur. He tries very hard.
10) If you have a bad day, a dog greeting you at the door for five minutes with a wagging tail and ridiculous grin will make your day infinitely better.
11) It's completely possible to communicate with a dog without words. If Beorn is bummed, we can tell. If he's tired, we can tell. If he's got to go, we can tell. If he's agitated, we can tell. He can tell the same about us. With the possible exception of got to go, which... maybe he can? He wants you to be happy, and seems to think that putting his head and paws on your knees will do that (usually he is right).
This is how Beorn greeted me on New Year's morning. Who could resist?
He's looking at me like that right now, wanting me to throw this felt candy cane stick I got him for Christmas.
He also just farted again.