Let’s Talk: What Life Lessons Have You Learned from Your Dog?

Dogs don't have the worries that we self-aware humans have ... but maybe that's the point.


Often when I reflect on my relationship with my dogs, I think about the many things I have taught them. From the time they were puppies, I had to teach them what they could play with, chew on, and eat. Through the standard techniques, I also successfully taught them to go potty only outside and which door to sit by to notify me that they needed to go outside. I taught them basic skills such as sit, stay, lay, and come. I taught them to fetch a ball, bring it back to me, and to give it back to me so that I could throw it for them again. Admittedly, I never really got them to master the “give” part of that equation. Often it’s more like wrestling the ball from their mouths before being able to throw it again. These are important lessons and have helped to build a great bond and relationship with both of my dogs. Looking back at these life lessons, it made me wonder what life lessons my dogs have taught me.

The first that comes to mind is patience. When going outside for a walk and to go potty, it’s less about completing their business and more about enjoying the experience. They have taught me to slow down and breathe the air on a crisp autumn day. Or to take a look around at the white clouds floating like cotton in the sky. Or to pick up a stick and toss it like when I was a kid. Of course, they promptly fetch the stick and begin to chew on it until it’s shredded like mulch. They have taught me to be patient, not only with them, but with all the happenings of the day. There is certainly no need to rush around trying to get everything done. Instead, work through the sometimes overwhelming list of projects until you get them completed. And, if you don’t get them all done today, there’s always tomorrow.

The second lesson is pure joy. Each morning my pups wake up, stretch, wag their nubby tails (they’re Schnauzers), and can’t wait to start the day. I know for me, this is a daily lesson that they have taught me. It’s perhaps the hardest lesson, because I am far from a morning person. For me, it’s more like listening to every joint pop and crack as I make my way out of bed. Of course I always take a moment to do a mental check to make sure it’s not the weekend. In that case, I know it’s safe to sleep a little longer. Well, who am I kidding? The dogs are up and ready by 7:30 a.m., seven days a week. So, there’s really no sleeping in for me no matter what day of the week it is. But, for my pups, they have never seen a morning they didn’t like. They greet me each morning with a smile on their face and plenty of puppy kisses to cover mine. Their joy is always in place, morning, noon, and night. It just takes me a little longer to get my joy mojo going in the morning. The puppy kisses usually help to do the trick, though.

The third lesson is resting my body. We’ve all heard that a restful body is a healthy body. Getting plenty of rest is crucial to having a life of great health. Perhaps this is why my dogs tend to live a healthy life. Though they are still very young and full of energy, they do like to take long naps. They’ve gotten in a nice routine of napping. Wake up, eat, play, then nap for two hours. Throw in some treats, a run in the park and some potty breaks, and the routine stays in place throughout the day. Multiple naps followed by a good night’s sleep keeps them healthy. Unfortunately, it’s a little challenging for me to take multiple naps during the day unless it’s the weekend. However, I have learned to rest when I need it, stretch and walk away from the computer for some mental rest multiple times a day. Also, I try my best to get to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, though, the latter is more of a challenge since I’m usually a night owl.

I know I have just scratched the surface on all the life lessons that my dogs have taught me. I know it’s an ongoing process, and their lessons will continue to grow. At the end of the day I will look back and realize that my dogs will have taught me far more than I have ever taught them.

What life lessons have you learned from your dog? Share your stories and pictures in the comments!

About Tim Link: All American guy, loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir, prefers to associate with open minded people who love all critters, considered to be the literal voice for all animals – Author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, Animal Communicator and consultant. www.wagging-tales.com

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