Often referred to as man's best friend, dogs all around the world possess qualities so amazingly pure and honest that they put many people to shame. From the stray dog walking the streets to the loved family pet, they can all teach us a thing or two about our own character, all it takes is for us to observe them and to listen to what they have to tell us. I'm sure many of us have had a dog as a pet and companion, or at least the opportunity to feel a dogs affection even if it was just momentarily.
So here is a list of some of the things we can learn from our furry friends.
Ever heard of the phrase “short dog syndrome”? You can describe a person like this as well, but it is a very common personality trait in dogs. Many times while walking through parks and public places, we see dogs either challenging each other or fighting. The funny thing is that most of the time, it is a small dog challenging a larger one, and quite ferociously I might add.
He doesn't care that he is smaller and possibly weaker, because he has the courage and willpower to take on something much bigger than him. If you are facing a huge challenge in your life and feel like the mountain is too big for you, just remind yourself of this.
Being pack animals, dogs need to be part of a group and they make that work by having an awesome amount of loyalty. Whether it's with other dogs, animals or people, they can be willing to lay down their lives or promise to never leave your side because of this.
An example of this type of loyalty is shown in a story about a man and his dog in Argentina. The owner, Miguel Guzmán, died in 2006. His dog (called Capitán) had never been shown where the cemetery was and yet was able to find Guzmán's grave. No one, not even Guzmán's family could bring the dog home. He watched over the grave every night for many years, staying right by his side.
Unlike people in today's times where we tend to desire so many things to be happy and content, dogs require only a few basic things to become profoundly happy. Of course there's the obvious necessities like food and water, but provide a dog with good friends and companionship, take them to open places to run around and somewhere that they feel safe, and you have the recipe for the happiest dog in the world.
They don't desire to always have more and more, they can be happy with the simple things in life which is something that many of us overlook in our busy, stressful schedules.
12 Live In The Moment
While we can't see directly what it is that dogs think, we can get an insight from their behavior. Have you noticed how they chase after the things that they want right in that moment? Perhaps it's a belly rub, food or a toy to play with. They don't hoard their food and save it for later, instead they look for it only when they are hungry.
They know even less about what the future holds than we do, yet it bothers them even less. Just relax and have fun.
11 To Not Hold Grudges
Sometimes it takes a little tough loving to teach your fuzzy pet what is good and bad, such as pooing on the carpet or biting. Sometimes you get angry and yell, or punish a dog how you see fit but however you treat your dog, their love is still unconditional.
They don't hold it against you or keep a little score card in their head of what has happened. They don't even take revenge on you by doing nastier things like some people can do. Your pet will let it go and move on instead of holding onto a grudge; we can all take take a page from their book on this.
10 Play and Have Fun Everyday
What if we all had as much fun outdoors as dogs do? If you've ever seen what happens when you take a dog to the park where there are other dogs to play with, you'll know that they reach a state of euphoria and happiness almost unrivaled by anything else.
They are always happy to have the chance to go outside, see friends and run around playing games until their little hearts are content. If we applied the same mindset to being outdoors, playing games and seeing friends then I bet we would value the good times in our lives even more.
9 Show Your True Emotions
Emotional health is one of the most important parts of being a functional human being. Many of us tend to suppress negative emotions in an attempt to get past them, or to avoid letting others see how we truly feel.
Dogs however, are very honest when it comes to how they feel. If they feel depressed they will ask for attention. They openly cry when someone close to them passes away, they wag their tail when they are happy to see you and express every other emotion they have with their doggy language.
If they don't bottle up their emotions, why should you?
8 To Love Unconditionally
What a lot of us call love is not unconditional. Our relationships and friendships with other people can often be based on a mutuality, where both parties gain something from the other and when that mutuality is lost, many relationships fade.
Dogs tend to love not because you feed them or give them belly rubs, but because of a connection that they share with you. Your personality might change over time, or they may become adopted by another family, but they don't let go of that love even if the relationships circumstances change.
7 To Praise Yourself (As Much As You Do Your Dog)
Have you ever noticed that a lot of the time, we tend to remember our mistakes and faults a lot more than we do our successes? It's not a bad thing to remember your mistakes to learn from them, but it can become unhealthy if that’s all you focus on.
Now, if you see a dog do anything successfully, either on it's own or by command than be sure to take a note on what effects receiving praise and congratulations does to the dog. Not only will it be happy, but it's actions are positively reinforced, making learning and practicing a lot more productive.
Positive reinforcement lifts up your spirits and helps you as you learn and grow as a person. It's a little thing you can do for yourself instead of focusing on negative thoughts.
6 To Not Worry About What Other People Think
It's more common when we are younger to feel this way, but no matter what age we are there can always be a little bit of insecurity in our daily lives. Whether you're worried about what your colleagues will think of your clothes or haircut, or if you're just not feeling confident on that particular day, think of the dogs.
Those guys simply don't care what others have to say about them. Maybe their fur is a little messy, they are dirty or have bad breath, it doesn't matter. These aren't things that stop them from strutting their stuff because you know what? It doesn't matter what others think. What matters is what you think, which is probably why a dog can strut anywhere it pleases with pride.
5 The Importance Of Listening
We all have loved ones who we want to look after and stick by, but as our lives become busier and busier with work and other commitments, it can become easy to miss the fine details of what others say to us.
Just act like a dog when someone is venting or telling you something important; Quiet, attentive and caring. Of course, dogs can't understand every word that we say but they can pick up on little nuances in our speech and facial expressions that give away emotional detail.
This is what we can also practice to understand more intimately what a loved one is truly saying to us.
4 Enjoy The Ride
It's not just the fact that they get to leave the house for a while that makes a dog go crazy with eagerness. It's the excitement of going somewhere new, smelling different smells and seeing different places. If you have ever owned a dog, you would know that the second you say the words “walk” or “car”, they go mental.
They want to get out there and go somewhere, anywhere. They jump into the car without any knowledge of where you're taking them, just that it is somewhere.
Don't be afraid of going somewhere new or leaving your comfort zone. Look at it like a dog and see the excitement and adventure the world has to offer.
3 Be Upfront With What You Want
If you want to get the things that you want, sometimes all you have to do is ask and other times you have to take. Maybe it's not a good idea to take a bite of a sandwich while someone is still holding it, however the dog that does this IS technically the one who gets what they want.
You won't get as far in life if you don't tell others around you that you want something, or by extension want to go somewhere or do something. When a dog is hungry, it will bark until it gets food. If it wants attention, it will be right at your side nuzzling for some love. Don't worry about offending others, because if you want something it is up to you to pursue and hopefully achieve it.
2 Don't Be Afraid of Getting Dirty
Whether it's a fight, playing, or working, never be afraid of getting dirt under your nails. Of course, many dogs enjoy simply diving into mud for the hell of it, but when they are out doing their thing, staying clean is not on their mind.
This is because the way you look is a small detail. If you're chasing after something important to you, getting a little dirty or not looking your absolute best shouldn't stop you. Keep your mind focused on what it is that you are there to accomplish and see it through to the end, no distractions.
Whether it's having fun with friends or working your butt off, if putting all of your effort in means getting a little dirty then by all means, go right ahead.
Finally, the most important lesson we can learn from man's best friend is how to treat other people and animals around us. Do you really think a dog cares what color your skin is? What gender you are or how you look?
Dogs will play with other dogs and judge them by their interactions, not by their looks, breed or anything else. Their relationship with each other is based on how they get along together, and whether their personalities match. We should be more like this, and avoid judging or making assumptions about others before meeting them. Treat others as equals, don't pretend that a social status or skin color changes that.