The 5 Greatest Lessons I Learned from Dogs

Dogs are the wisest creatures on Earth.

Any dog owner knows exactly what I mean.

You've seen the perfect bliss and contentment.

And how their butts wiggle in constant anticipation.

The way they play all day, with no worries in the world.

But dogs can teach us even greater lessons than these... here are a few.

1. Be loyal to those who support you.

Rescue dogs are the best dogs. They know you saved them and never stop repaying you in love and loyalty.

Getting adopted is a huge deal to a shelter dog.

You didn't merely save them from a loud, stinky place.

And it's not as simple as: "They opened their home to me."

To the dog, you've extended an invitation to an exclusive club.

They are now a family member. A cherished member of your "pack."

This means everything to dogs, who repay you in undying love and loyalty.

2. Trust your instinct and intuition.

Dogs know how to sniff out "bad people." If a dog doesn't trust you, I automatically raise my guard.

Most of you know this, but I walk a shelter dog or two every week.

Usually I take them to a downtown area with sidewalks (less crowded than parks).

One time, we passed three guys who looked super sketchy. My Spidey sense was tingling.

They clearly knew each other but were spread out as if to surround me and limit movement.

The dog saw trouble coming, too. He let out a big hecking GROWL! And they immediately bolted.

I'm pretty sure he saved me from getting mugged. Can't know it's a fact, but I'll always trust a dog's instinct.

Dogs are the least judgmental creatures alive. If they sense danger or view a person with suspicion, so should you.

3. Drop all that emotional baggage.

Dogs are champions. They let go of stress. They don't let regret or past mistakes hold them back.

People tend to gain weight as they age.

I'm not just talking about pounds and ounces.

We carry mental and emotional baggage as well.

All we see are the many things "wrong" with our lives and the world at large.

There is no sense of lightness or playfulness anymore. This mindset makes life a miserable bore.

Dogs are smarter than people in this regard. They come back from trauma and setbacks much faster than us.

I've walked over a hundred shelter dogs. Most of them have been abandoned or abused at some point in the past.

90% of the time, you can't tell. They greet me with enthusiasm, give me sloppy kisses, and grin as if it's a great day to be alive.

Many of these dogs have every right to be mad at the world. They've been given no reason to trust people. But they're not angry. And they trust us anyway.

4. Stop being serious all the time.

Dogs are a constant source of amusement. It's always "play time" as far as they're concerned.

Dogs are incapable of taking anything seriously.

...unless you're doing surgery on their favorite toy. That's totally different!

A few weeks ago, a dog "took a squat" in my car, and I expressed my dissatisfaction.

She just sat, stared, and smiled as if she saw nothing wrong with her actions. What a jerk!

Yes, this particular dog needs to be house trained. But her reaction to the situation wasn't incorrect.

If you drop your favorite coffee mug on the floor and it shatters into a hundred pieces, will crying solve anything?

No, it won't. Beyond waking up your spouse or kids. Then they might step on a piece of glass and you'll have some real tears on your hands.

Dogs want to be good girls and boys. But that takes time and training. If they make a mess in the meanwhile, don't be mad when they shrug it off.

We should adopt their mindset. Emotions can be controlled. And if they don't contribute anything to the situation except unnecessary stress, why let them in?

5. Be satisfied with less.

Dogs don't need much to be happy. Food, exercise, pets. That's about it.

People are too needy. Not just men or women. We're all guilty.

Everything has to go a certain way. Otherwise, we label it a "bad day."

I'm not saying "lower your expectations" or "don't have big aspirations."

Instead, you need to internalize the difference between needs and wants.

I want to be wealthy, get a great tech job, write a best-selling memoir, and become Batman.

But that stuff takes time. A long time. If I think about what I "don't have" all the time, I'll be sad.

What do I need? Not much. Good food, vigorous exercise, interesting conversation, and time in nature.

Act on your wants with boldness and determination in the long-term. Only identify with your needs in the short-term.

This is the path to a happier and healthier life. And dogs have been trying to teach us this lesson all along. Listen to them.

Do you see any of your dog's behaviors or attitudes here?

If so, share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

Feel free to ask your friends the same question.

We're all stuck inside. Why not chat the quarantine away?

And if you missed the greatest lessons I learned from cats, click here to read that one too.

Scroll To Top