Let’s face it, humans may be the most intelligent things on the planet, but we sure could learn a lot from our less advanced pals from time to time. Without a doubt, my dogs (and I’ll go ahead and assume the majority of everyone else’s as well) have a damn healthy approach to the way life should be lived. Let’s take a look at ten things we can learn from our dogs about how to lead happier lives ourselves:
There’s a reason they are referred to as man’s best friend. No matter what you may go through in life with other fellow human beings, your dog will always have your back no matter what the situation. And that’s a great friend to have right there.
2. Be enthusiastic.
As the titular character of Ricky Gervais’ Derek so aptly puts: “A dog is the most enthusiastic thing on the planet, if you go ‘Do you want to do this?’, it goes ‘Definitely, that’s my best thing!'” This is an approach to life that most of us would do well to incorporate ourselves from time to time. You haven’t seen happiness until you’ve let a dog off its leash in a wide, open field and watched it run so fast that its legs nearly carried on without it. Next time you’re faced with a challenge or a new experience that might seem scary, take your dog’s philosophy: give it everything you’ve got and at least you’ll have fun doing it.
3. Get dirty.
Carrying on from this idea of enthusiasm, the next lesson we can take from our four-legged friends is get dirty while you work. Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet sometimes; you might come out of it looking like you’ve been through hell and back, but you can almost always guarantee you’ve done the best job possible.
4. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Us humans as a whole have to learn to be a little less self conscious some of the time. Do you think our dogs care what people think of them when they’re having the time of their lives playing in the park? Does a Dalmatian ever look at a Golden Retriever and think “Damn, I wish I could get rid of these spots”? No, your dog loves life and loves him or herself for who they are, regardless of how others around them act or look.
5. Appreciate the small things in life.
We’ve all bought our dogs toys from PetSmart for a price we wouldn’t dream of paying for ourselves, only for the dog to get more enjoyment out of chewing on your old trainers than it ever does out of the brand-new squeaky toy you just bought. Why? Because dogs don’t care about name-brand items. If it’s fun to play with, they’ll play with it. We could learn a lot from this – sure, it might be nice to splurge from time to time and pay for things that might be overpriced because they have the high-end labels on them, which is all fine and dandy, but let’s not forget to appreciate the smaller things in life that we can get just as much enjoyment out of as well.
6. Never underestimate the power of a good nap.
Napping is always a good way to get rid of stress, which might be why you rarely see a dog popping anxiety pills. If you have one of those days where it feels like the world is just a bit too much to handle, take a nap and wake up with a refreshed feeling and, as we’ve already discussed, a new, enthusiastic take on the day.
7. Stay healthy.
Ever seen a dog on a hot day after it’s been running around a field for a good hour? That dog is going straight for the water bowl and they’re not going to bring their head out of it until they absolutely need to catch their breath or risk drowning. We can learn from this. I can personally say that I don’t always drink enough water or eat enough healthy foods, but on a summer’s day when I see my dog inhaling gallons of water after a nice run, it’s always a good reminder for myself that I should probably follow suit. If you’re in public though, it’s probably best to remember to finish swallowing the water before turning to greet other people.
8. Don’t hold unnecessary grudges.
Remember the first time you shouted at your dog for breaking whatever rule, and the look on its face made you feel guiltier than ever before? Your dog probably doesn’t. Learn to let some things go — if they’re not important enough to worry about now, they’re probably not important enough to affect your relationships with other people too.
9. Give people a chance.
Okay, maybe sometimes dogs tend to dislike other breeds initially. I know my black Labrador was never a fan of German Shepherds and my Border Collie tends to avoid Jack Russells, but all in all, dogs tend to get along with each other without much prejudice. Wouldn’t it be a nicer world if humans were more inclined to be like that as well? A stranger isn’t always an enemy you haven’t made yet, you never know someone’s story unless you give them the chance to tell it.
Dogs give love in abundance. They don’t care if you have a big nose, or spots, or if you wear glasses, or about anything to do with your appearance whatsoever. If you love them, they’ll love you back unconditionally, and for a dog owner that’s one of the best feelings out there. It’s also a great quality to have as a person. So let’s all try to judge others less quickly and remember that there’s a lot of love out there to give. Every dog has its day, and so can us humans.