Ask anyone who has ever owned a dog, and they will tell you that their dog has taught them many valuable life lessons. Today we look at 14 of the best lessons we’ve learned from our dogs, and how they can be applied to our own lives.
1. Live in the moment
Have you ever noticed how your dog just gets so excited about every little thing? A new ball, cold drink of water, or their favorite person coming home from work or school is the best thing ever? Being present in each moment is something our pups do well and we could certainly learn from their example.
2. Overcome fear with love
In many cases, even abused dogs and those rescued from dog fighting rings are still able to love humans and overcome the fear and trauma. Although the world can be a scary place for a pup sometimes, having a loving human as a guide can help a pup overcome (almost) any fear.
3. Don't hold grudges
Sure, your dog might not be delighted when you said enough throwing the ball, or no you can’t have another treat, or even if you snapped at them after a long day at work, but they aren’t ones to hold grudges. Your pup will be back in your lap for a snuggle and a belly scratch like it never happened. Think about any gruge you're holding and what it might be like to let that go...
4. Play every day
Whether you have a young puppy or an older pup, they probably find many ways to play every day. While a young puppy may prefer some toys or a romp in the back yard, an older dog may prefer a leisurely stroll or roll around in some soft grass. Either way, like your dog, you should take time out every day for something playful. Better yet, spend time playing with your dog, it’s a great way to grow and maintain a healthy bond.
5. Jump for joy when you're happy
When your dog is happy they are sure to let everyone know it. Whether it’s because someone has come home from a long trip, or a quick run for coffee your dog is sure to offer a full-body wag greeting like it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. The same goes for being offered a favorite treat, a new toy, or an outing for a pup cup. So be more like your dog and make a big (happy) deal out of all the fun things in life, both big and small.
6. Accept yourself
From having an amputation or an ear that just won’t flop over, dogs come with a variety of features that can make them different. But unlike humans, they don’t seem to know that or care much about it. A three legged dog just makes it work, they don’t dwell on the fact that they are different from their friends.
7. Enjoy the journey
Whether its a short walk around the block or a road trip across the country, wherever your dog goes its just SO MUCH FUN! You can also embrace this joie de vivre even in the mundane everyday tasks (okay fine, you don’t have to jump for joy as you pay your bills or visit the dentist).
8. Drink lots of water
Dogs remember to drink their water regularly, and some even have adorable ways of showing you that their dish needs a refill. Be like your dog and remember to drink plenty of water every day. Healthy hydration is important for both of you.
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. Remember to show up for those who need you even when it is hard.
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.
11. Show compassion
Your dog is probably most often the first one to come to you when you are crying or feeling upset. They may offer some kisses or rest their head in your lap and sit quietly with you. You don’t have to talk to them, it just feels good to have someone sit with you. Taking the compassion you get from your dog and giving it to those around you will help make the world a better place. Especially now after almost two years of global pandemic, social justice issues and environmental disasaters.
12. Greet the ones you love
Whether you’ve been gone 10 minutes or 10 days, your dog is always there to greet you at the door with a wagging tail and wiggly body. The joy your dog feels when you are reunited is always contagious. Can you carry this energy into your greetings with friends and loved ones? After a long day it’s always nice to know someone is really happy to see you!
13. Love what you eat
At mealtime, your dog is always ready to chow down, and is going to be the first one to remind you that breakfast is served promptly at 8 am. You may be on the receiving end of some serious side eye if its served late. You might have noticed that dog loves to eat and finds joy (not calorie counting) in every morsel. From a big bowl of Ollie to a taste of cheeseburger or a pup cup every bite is just delicious.
14. Ask for help when you need it
Since your dog doesn’t have thumbs they rely on you for everything in life. From help throwing a toy, a walk when they need to go out, to regular checkups at the vet your pup needs your help with everything.
Its okay to be more like your pup and ask for help, or even just someone to accompany you when you need it.
When you think about it, dogs really are incredible and they give us so much. From the unconditional love, time to play, and a soft place to land when life gets hard. This is why it is so important to appreciate and take good care of our four legged friends. What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned from your dog?
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.