I’ve been a Dog Mom for many years and enjoy nothing more than spending time with my pups. In addition to bringing me a tremendous amount of joy, they’ve also taught me some valuable lessons over the years. Here are eleven life lessons we can learn from watching our dogs.
Showing unconditional love is the single most significant lesson that I’ve learned from my dogs. No matter what mood I’m are in, what I look like or what kind of day I’m having, dogs always show love and excitement to be around me. They don’t show judgement or hold a grudge and are always happy to come up for a cuddle, pet or lick.
Be Happy to See Our Loved Ones
I always find it funny that no matter how long I leave the house, my dog comes running to the door to greet me. Both of us get so excited to see each other and it always brings a smile to my face. This makes me ponder, “What if I did that each time someone I cared about came through the door?” There are too many times that I let “life” get in the way and it distracts us from the things and people that are really important in my life.
Enjoy the Moment
Dogs never complain that they are too busy or bored. They aren’t thinking about what is next or all of the things they have to do. They simply live in the present and enjoy each moment.
Jump at the Chance to Take a Walk
When I was young, my Dad always wanted to go hiking and I would fight it. Now its one of my favorite hobbies and I absolutely love doing it with my dogs. Each time I pull out the leash and say, “Let’s go on a walk,” my dogs jump up and run to the door. They are so excited to just get outside, breathe the fresh air and get some exercise. They truly delight in the simple joy of a walk. The next time you have to go on a walk, treat it as a gift rather than a chore and see if it changes your state of mind.
Dogs never try to be something they aren’t. They just are unapologetically who they are, and I love them for that part of their personality. There is no acting a certain way to please someone else, they just are who they are.
Love Your Body
This lesson hits close to home for me. I recently lost my soul dog and towards the end he was diagnosed with cancer. As he aged, he got little lumps on him and he got a grey beard. These little things never phased him. He happily greeted each day, regardless of his gray hair, lumps or wrinkles. This made me think about what it would feel like to embrace my body and aging. Fighting aging is part of our culture and I’ve caught myself being depressed when I notice that my body isn’t the way it was when I was younger. When I think of my sweet boy (which is daily) it reminds me to love the body that I’m blessed to have and to focus on all of the positive aspects rather than to focus on the wrinkles or the gray hair.
Incorporate Play into Each Day
One of my dogs is really playful and I love it when he grabs one of his toys and wants me to chase him. It’s a brief moment during a busy day that offers me a break to feel like a child and to laugh. Those small playful moments truly energize me. As we get older with more responsibilities, its important to incorporate play into each day to keep us feeling and acting young.
My dogs have always known when I’m feeling under the weather, sad or having a bad day. They cuddle up close to me, touch me with their paw and just sit with me. Knowing that they have no expectations from me and simply having them close is such a comfort. My dogs have helped me through some very tough times just by being next to me. I also love that I can talk to them about any problem and they don’t try to solve it for me. They let me work through whatever it is on my own. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of me and by talking it out with my dog, I can work through it. The next time one of your friends or family members is having a tough time, act like a dog in the sense that you support them and are there to listen without judgement.
Take Time to Relax
A few weeks ago I was walking my dog on a warm Saturday morning and we stopped at a park along the way. We laid down in the grass and just relaxed. We weren’t in a rush to move on and we just enjoyed the moment. I don’t know about you, but my days seem to fly by with a million things on my to do list. My dog doesn’t seem to have a to do list and when he wants to relax, he takes the opportunity to take that nap. The next time you’re feeling stressed and your dog lays down for a nap, consider giving yourself a break and join him.
Jump at the Chance for Adventure
A few weeks back I wrote a post about The Importance of Being Adventurous. One lesson that I’ve learned from my dogs is that they are always up for an adventure. Whether that is going camping, riding in the car to grab ice cream or going on a hike, they have all welcomed adventure with excitement. Whatever your new adventure is with your dogs, mimic their excitement and I’m willing to bet you’ll have an amazing experience.
Never Pass Up the Chance for a Belly Rub
Every night before I go to bed, my dog rolls onto his back and wants his belly rubbed. It’s become our nighttime routine that I rub his belly, tell him I love him and say goodnight. Now you may not want your belly rubbed, but I’m willing to bet that if someone you cared about wanted to give you a hug or hold your hand, it would make you happy. So, the lesson really is to take each opportunity to welcome physical touch and to be willing to give it.
Dogs are very smart creatures and wonderful teachers. I encourage you to observe dogs and think about what lessons you can learn from them.