Dogs are probably the happiest and friendliest creatures of our planet. Dogs are always positive and excited about life. They love unconditionally, and they know how to truly live in the moment.
They experience the world in such a different way than us, some might even say a better way.
I’ve been around dogs since my
childhood and have always loved being in the company of our four-legged
friends. When I told my husband I wanted a dog, he wasn’t too thrilled
with the idea at first. I was traveling a lot for work at the time, and
he knew he’d have most of the responsibility. The compromise we made was
to let him choose the breed. I wanted a small, non-shedding, off-leash
dog. What we adopted, however, were three husky puppies. A large breed
known for shedding and wandering. And despite the years of constant
vacuuming up dog hair, we loved the breed so much that when our original
three passed away, we adopted two more huskies! Our dogs have been a
constant source of love and amusement, but even more so, they’ve taught
us some of the greatest life lessons.
Here are 10 things dogs can teach us about what matters most in life:
1. Live in the moment.
Although dogs remember things like where the treats are kept, what
street takes them home and who they’ve met before, they only access that
information when they need it — in the moment. Whether they’re eating a
bowl of kibble or chasing a ball, dogs live for the present moment. The
past is gone; you can’t do anything about it. The future is unknown.
The only thing you can really enjoy and affect is the present moment.
2. Overcome fear with love.
There are plenty of stories about frightful, aggressive dogs who
transformed into kind, gentle dogs after they were placed in a loving
environment. Dogs can overcome their fear and insecurities through love,
and so can humans. Love truly does conquer all, and the first step for
us is to love ourselves. If you can replace fear and self-criticism with
self-love, no matter what situation you’re in, life gets easier.
3. Don’t hold grudges
A grudge is a feeling of resentment toward someone. It originates in
our mind. Humans are probably the only species that holds a grudge. A
dog will never be angry with you because you didn’t give him a treat
after dinner last night. Holding a grudge weighs you down emotionally
and keeps you from moving forward in life. Let grudges go and you will
create your own personal freedom.
4. Play every day.
Dogs love to play, which usually involves lots of movement, whether
it’s running, chasing or jumping. This is a good reminder for us to play
and move our bodies every day as well. Playing opens up your mind and
spirit to all kinds of new ideas and creativity. It’s a needed break
from the constant 24/7 work environment. And if you can exercise while
you play, even better. Dogs actually give you a reason to get out and go
walking, hiking, running, biking or even Rollerblading. (Although, I
wouldn’t recommend Rollerblading if you have dogs that pull like I do.
Very fun for them. Very scary for you!)
5. Jump for joy when you’re happy.
Have you ever seen a dog circling around or jumping up and down at the
thought of getting a treat or chasing a ball? Wouldn’t it be fun if we
could all jump around when we’re excited about something? We live life
so fast that we often forget to get excited and celebrate the good times
because we’re already on to the next thing. We live in a miraculous
world where the sun comes up every day, flowers bloom and seasons
change. There is much to jump for joy about.
6. Accept yourself.
Can you imagine a terrier wishing she were a boxer or a poodle envious
of a collie’s mane or a pug wanting the nose of a greyhound? We humans
spend a lot of time trying to make ourselves look like someone else’s
version of perfection instead of loving our unique features, our unique
life, and yes, our unique problems. How boring it would be if all dogs
(or all humans) looked and behaved alike! Love everything about yourself
— the good, the bad and the ugly!
7. Enjoy the journey.
When dogs go for a car ride, they stick their head out the window,
smell the air and feel the wind against their fur. They don’t care where
they’re going. They’re just enjoying the journey. Although goals are
great to set, we often forget that it’s the journey that matters most.
When we get too attached to the outcome, we set ourselves up for
frustration, depression or even anger if our exact expectations are not
met. Next time you set a goal, be open to other possibilities and enjoy
every moment of excitement, creativity, fun and lessons in the journey.
8. Drink lots of water.
Dogs instinctively know when their bodies need water. They usually stop
eating when they’re full, and won’t eat anything that seems poisonous
to them, except of course, for one of my huskies who once ate an entire
platter of chocolate rum balls. Anyway… back to water. It’s a good
reminder for us to stay hydrated and drink when we’re thirsty. In fact,
drinking water when you feel hungry is good for weight management
because often you just need some water. Another good practice is to
drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning.
9. Be loyal and dependable.
Dogs are pack animals. They stick with their pack. They play with their
pack. They defend their pack. This is a great reminder for all of us to
be conscientious members of our human pack. The Golden Rule of treating
others how you would like to be treated applies here. Being a loyal and
dependable friend, lover, sibling, partner or parent will enrich your
life in many ways.
10. Love unconditionally.
No matter what, dogs love you unconditionally. They wag their tails
when they see you, no matter what mood you’re in. They still want to
give you big wet kisses, even if you’ve just yelled at them. And they
instantly forgive you no matter how you behave. Loving others
unconditionally is a difficult task, but it’s the one that would surely
make the world a better place if we all just tried.
If you want to find out more about lessons we can learn from a dog you must watch this video.