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10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

Life Lessons From Dog

Dogs are truly a man’s best friend, and if you have one, you know exactly what it means. There are so many life lessons from a dog that can help you in life. Sounds weird, isn’t it? But it’s true. A dog can unknowingly impart many vital lessons to humans.

So this International Dog Day, let’s celebrate these little paws and their presence in our lives!

A little over four years ago, when I walked into Real Good Dog Rescue, I had no idea what I was about to endure: the most excellent adventure of my life. I walked into the feed store with every intention of just buying a bag of food for my older dog and ended up walking out with a 4-month-old adorable terrier mix named Moo.

10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog
10 Important Life Lessons From A Dog This International Dog Day

We journeyed through two cross-country moves, have traveled to over a dozen states together, and have adventured over 1,000 miles in the backcountry together. Whether we are road tripping, skiing, paddle boarding, hiking, or going on sunset walks; Moo always finds a way to live her best life. She is a force to be reckoned with, but over the past 4.5 years, she has taught me so many valuable life lessons.

10 Important Life Lessons From A Dog This International Dog Day

1. Dogs give everyone a chance

Whether it is a stranger walking on the road, the mailman, a neighbor, or a close friend; Moo always enthusiastically greets people with an open mind and open heart. With her tongue hanging out and her tail wagging, she is always so friendly to anyone and everyone she comes across.

As humans, we tend to be a bit closed off and allow our moods to dictate how we interact with others. Imagine a world where everyone was happy to greet everyone they come into contact with, regardless of what they are struggling with within the current moment. 

Life Lessons Learned From My Dog
What I Learned From My Dog? 10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

2. Dogs wake up every morning happy and excited to start the day

Every morning, Moo peeks out from under the covers, tail wagging, ears perked, and runs right up to me wanting pets and cuddles. She is always so happy in the morning and ready to start a new day. I always look at mornings as a fresh start to begin a great day; however, I usually need a moment to wake up, and I need a cup of coffee.

Many of us are not exactly morning people, and that is okay, but what if we looked at each day as a fresh start to happiness? What if we woke up every morning with our tails wagging and smiles on our faces? 

3. Dogs are loyal

A dog will always be your best friend as they aim to please their human companions. Moo follows me everywhere, regardless of whether we are home or in the backcountry. She is extremely protective and can read my emotions. No matter if I am happy, sad, or angry, Moo is always there by my side.

10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog
10 Important Life Lessons From A Dog

As humans, we often write other people off because “they did us wrong.” Instead of working through problems and working on forgiveness, we tend to turn our backs on others. Loyalty is an incredible trait and is the backbone of every relationship. A loyal friend is the best type of friend to have. 

Related: 3 Lessons Taking Care of Dogs Have Taught Me

4. Dogs will try anything once

Whether it is swimming in an alpine lake, jumping off rocks, or riding in a backpack; dogs will usually try anything once. They may not like it, but they will try it because they are loyal and aim to please.

Trying things for the first time pushes us out of our comfort zones and allows us to discover new things that we may in fact love. If we stay in our comfort zones the entire time, then how will we ever learn what we like? Life starts once you step out of your comfort zone. Try new things and push your limits. 

5. Dogs forgive

Moo will sometimes act naughty by peeing on the floor or chewing an article of my clothing. I will give her light discipline, and afterward, I can tell that she is sad, but it does not take long for her to forgive and forget. She does not hold grudges and is back to her happy, loving self after an hour or so.

As humans, we can learn a lot from dogs about forgiveness. Holding grudges is unhealthy and only makes us turn into bitter, angry people. Forgiveness allows us to free ourselves and move on. 

6. Dogs seek companionship

Companionship is incredibly important in life. As humans, we crave physical touch, emotional bonds, and mental stimulation from others. Even if we are introverts, we still thrive on human connections.

10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog
10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

Dogs are the same. They seek out humans to feel loved. Moo always wants belly rubs, will run up to me for a hug and thrives on playing fetch. Dogs and humans were not meant to spend their lives alone. 

Related: How Dogs Can Help Get Your Life and Mind Back on Track

7. Dogs love to play

Whether Moo is chasing her tail, chasing squirrels, chasing bears up trees, or playing fetch; she loves to play. Dogs love to let loose and have fun. Regardless of how old we are, we must find time to play.

Whether it is chasing our kids around, adventuring in the outdoors, dancing, or singing along to our favorite music; we must find time to “let our hair down” and play. We are never too old for playtime. 

8. Dogs always find time to greet their loved ones

Whether we come home dirty and hungry, or we had a bad day at work; dogs are still at the door with their tails wagging and so excited to see their human companions.

10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog
10 Important Life Lessons From A Dog

It is so essential that we pay our loved ones the same greeting when we come home. Even if we had a bad day, it is crucial to put our feelings aside for a minute and greet the ones who matter to us. 

9. Dogs practice self-love

Have you ever seen a dog that is unhappy about its appearance? Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and many are downright funny-looking. Regardless of appearance, dogs happily live with who they are; it does not matter if they have a leg or tail missing; they make the best of what they have.

As humans, we are so hard on ourselves. We are our own worst critics, but if we took time each day to compliment ourselves on who we are, we might find ourselves actually loving who we are. Once we love ourselves then we can begin to love others. 

 Lessons Learned From My Dog
What Can We Learn From A Dog? Life Lessons We Can Learn From A Dog

10. Dogs live in the moment

Dogs do not think about yesterday or tomorrow. They listen to their primary needs at the moment. Whether it is to play ball, sleep, or eat, they enjoy what’s happening at the moment and make it count. Moo plays hard, sleeps hard, and drinks water until she pukes.

As humans, we often are so focused on our future dreams or are agonizing over past mistakes that we often forget about the present. Living in the moment and enjoying what is in front of us can increase our happiness and gratitude

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” -Josh Billings 

Dogs are some of the purest souls to walk on this earth, and humans have so much to learn from them. The important life lessons learned from from a dog are valuable and priceless at the same time. They are really divine, aren’t they?

Written By Kristen Fuller   
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
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10 Important Things We Can Learn From A Dog
Life Lessons From Dog Pin
10 Lessons Learned From A Dog
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10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

Kristen Fuller, M.D.

Kristen Fuller is a successful clinical writer in the mental health realm, a physician, and an author. Dr. Fuller enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine and also contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies in educating the public on the stigma associated with mental health and sharing the importance of finding your own happiness, regardless of your current situation or life path. Dr. Fuller spends her free time hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping, and paddle boarding with her dog in the Eastern Sierras, where she calls home.View Author posts