What We Can Learn From Dogs

I found this article today and really enjoyed it, thought you might too. I added my own comments here and there in red.
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.

I want to add a “2.01” here. Yes dogs can replace fear with love BUT they also have a natural instinct about people and sense when a person is not a good person and they let it show. They can be abused and still be loyal to their abuser. They can get rescued and be so very grateful to be treated well, but they never forget the abuse or the abuser. The border collie I rescued was a sweet heart of a dog as long as you didn’t put your foot anywhere near her stomach, if you did, she would growl. She had obviously been kicked, You can’t live in fear of being hurt again but you can be cautious and remember to protect yourself.


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. Once again, I have to add, I agree, holding petty grudges only holds you back and dogs are very forgiving of small mistakes on your part but if you don’t treat a dog with love and respect it will not respect you, it may fear you but it will bite you eventually.


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!)

calendar kato at river

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. I love this one. Every morning Stella, Kato, Laila, they all acted like, “OMG! it’s a new day!! and we are here…….together!! isn’t that wonderful??!! I missed you so much while I was asleep!!”

calendar kato jumping logs

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! Amen to this!, if anything Stella tries to make herself really small when she is in the company of smaller dogs so she doesn’t intimidate them. 


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.

I wrote a post about this 2 years ago, I read it this morning and cried, because I remember how I felt back then, a mere two years ago but a life time in many ways. I was still so broken and scared, I have come so far. Don’t ever give up on yourself, you don’t know what lies waiting around the corner.


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. I hate to say this but many women need to learn to be loyal to their gender. The narcissist would have a lot less victims if women refused to back stab another woman in order to get the man. Sorry, it is the truth.

3 behinds

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. Yes, love unconditionally those who deserve it, it does not say to love those that abuse you just that when you do love do it unconditionally. 


So, we can learn a lot from our dogs. Their companionship, loyalty and unconditional love is unmatched by any human standards. And if you have huskies like I do, their singing will always brighten your day. Here’s a look at my howling huskies.

Follow Debbie Gisonni on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/debbiegisonni
MORE: Life Lessons From Pets Pets What Matters Most Life Lessons Life Lessons From Dogs Dog Lessons From Pets Lessons From Dogs Dogs

4 thoughts on “What We Can Learn From Dogs

  1. safirefalcon

    Great stuff here. # 8. I have been forgetting to or been too lazy to drink enough water most days and I will find myself saying to myself at the end of the day, “I didn’t drink enough water.”

    I don’t know about the eating thing with dogs though. I’ve known lots of dogs (especially if they feel they are competing with other dogs) that would eat non-stop if you let ’em. (I know you didn’t write that, I’m just commenting on it. 🙂

    #9. I couldn’t agree more with your notes in red. I was guilty of this issue and I’ve though a lot about this since the affair has been over. I’m not interested in getting involved now anyway, but if that ever changes, I will be certain to be with someone who is available.

    Having been a pet sitter, animals can really help you stay in the moment when spending time with them. I used to love to take pictures of them all too and have tons of pics. So I’ve just started a photo blog (under a different account) and even just working with and looking at the pics, helps me feel good.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Safirefalcon, I always had a hard time drinking as much as they say we should, until I had heart failure and was told I had to limit how much I drink. NOW I am always thirsty and have to conscientiously deny myself water. LOL we always want what we can’t have.
      You know if there is more than one dog they will eat as fast and as much as they can, but I have found that one dog alone will eat until he is full and go back throughout the day and eating a little bit many times through the day. (which is what they tell us we should be doing, have 6 small meals a day instead of 3 big meals)
      as far as #9, I have to give some slack to women who got involved with a married N because we all know how convincing they are and i am sure in most cases the victim sees no reason to doubt that what he is saying is the truth. i would have never dated James if he would have been involved with anyone. He told me he had been single 6 months. It was years later that he slipped up and told me he had a girl friend when he met me and just stopped returning her calls and that he would rush down to his car in the morning to make sure she hadn’t left any letters on his windshield before I come down. I am almost positive James had started seeing the woman he is with now before we were split but I am sure she has a totally different version of what was going on than what was actually happening.
      Thanks for commenting!


  2. Kathy

    I love this one, Carrie.. It just shows you how simple life should be.. That we can all choose to live life more simply.. I will try to remember these things as I think it makes us happier people to live like this. 🙂


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      It is hard to remember to take life more in stride and enjoy the simple truly important things in life.
      I still struggle with it but am getting better at it with time. Being stripped of everything and having to put myself back together from scratch with nothing and still living an impoverished life I have been forced to look at the things I have to be thankful for and appreciate all I do have.



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