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10 Life Lessons We Can Learn from Dogs

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Woman is hugging Italian greyhound puppy

10 Life Lessons We Can Learn from Dogs

If you just added a puppy to your family, it might feel like you’re constantly trying to teach your new pet something new. The need for training doesn’t end when your dog grows up, either. It might seem like you’re always the one teaching your dog lessons, but have you considered all the ways the situation can be reversed? Here are 10 life lessons we can learn from dogs.

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Top 10 Life Lessons From Dogs

1.  Slow Down and Take It All In

You might be familiar with the phrase “Stop and smell the roses.” No one takes this advice to heart more than dogs. If you’ve ever taken your dog for a walk and gotten impatient as they paused to sniff every tree and blade of grass, you’re familiar with this life philosophy.

While it can be frustrating if you’re in a hurry, there’s still a life lesson to be learned here. Your dog takes the time to learn everything they can about the world around them, sniffing, listening, and feeling the wind on their face. Take a cue from your pup and make time just to slow down, use your senses, and connect with your surroundings each day.

2. Don’t Dwell on the Past

woman hugging her dog at home on the couch
Image Credit: Evgeny Atamanenko, Shutterstock

Dogs are champions at living in the moment. While they’re capable of creating memories, probably by building associations between related events or people, they aren’t as defined by the past as humans often are.

How many of us dwell on events that happened in our past and let them impact our future? Dogs treat each day as a fresh start because, to them, it really is. We can learn something from this outlook on life.

3. Get Moving

Without daily exercise, dogs frequently become bored and destructive, especially intelligent, active breeds like Border Collies or German Shepherds. One life lesson that dogs can teach us is the importance of staying active.

For humans, the health benefits of exercise are extensive. Nearly every body system, including our mental health, improves when we get moving. Fortunately, living with a dog is one of the best ways to ensure a person gets their exercise.

4. Take the Time to Listen

happy young woman cuddling australian shepherd dog while sitting on couch
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Have you ever found yourself telling your dog all your deepest feelings without hesitation? When was the last time you felt safe enough to do that with a human friend? Would anyone you know feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable with you? Dogs are the best listeners because they never make us feel judged for what we’re saying. Become a better friend and a safe place for people to share by taking this canine life lesson to heart.

5. Have Fun!

Even the hardest working dog needs a break to stay focused, and humans are no different. Dog handlers know they need to build play sessions into their partner’s daily schedule to help them avoid burnout.

Pet dogs also love to play and use it as a way to get exercise and express happiness. Lack of interest in playing is one sign that your dog might feel sad or depressed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to get done, take a quick break to turn your brain off and do something you enjoy.

6. Express Gratitude

owner petting a happy dog
Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

Whether with a wagging tail or a sloppy tongue, your dog won’t hesitate to let you know how grateful they are for you and all you do for them. Expressing gratitude for even the smallest joys in life is an amazing life lesson we can learn from dogs.

According to research, being grateful can lead to an improvement in our overall well-being. If you’re having a hard day, try to find at least one thing to be thankful for, even if it’s just the presence of your precious pup!

7. Don’t Hesitate to Show People You Care

Unconditional love is one of the most beautiful parts of life with a dog. Our dogs love us without expecting anything in return, and they never hesitate to let us know. People could learn some lessons from this approach to life.

How often have you talked yourself out of expressing your feelings to someone you care about? Yes, it can be scary not knowing what their response will be, but how will you know if you don’t try? Show people you care and make sure they know there are no conditions on your love. You’re just there for them, no matter what.

8. Embrace Your Quirks

Great Dane and woman
Image Credit: Roger costa morera, Shutterstock

Especially in this age of constant social media exposure, humans can be tempted to hide their imperfections from the world. Dogs have no such hesitations, and we can learn a lot from their example. Your dog doesn’t care that their ears are crooked or that they can’t seem to turn a corner without hitting the wall.

They’ll chase their tails when they’re excited and drool at the smell of food without worrying about what anyone thinks. Embrace your quirks, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being yourself.

9. Make Friends

Dogs are pack animals by nature and thrive on building strong social relationships. Whether they bond with humans or other animals, dogs understand that friends are an important part of life. Social isolation isn’t good for humans, either.

Fortunately, having a dog gives you the opportunity to bond with another living being and forces you out of the house to socialize, too. Walking your pup or frequenting the local off-leash park allows you to meet fellow dog lovers.

10. Take Naps

Young man sleeping with a dog
Image Credit: asia.marangio, Shutterstock

Dogs work hard, play hard, and nap hard, too. You’re likely to find your dog snoozing in the sun multiple times throughout the day. Hustle culture means that napping has a bad reputation for adult humans, but here’s another way to learn from our dogs.

Catching a quick nap can help you be more alert and work harder when you wake up. Resting your mind and body should never be a bad thing, even when it’s not done in the name of getting more done.

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To be fair, you probably didn’t get a dog because you were hoping to learn something from them. You might have even hesitated to take the plunge because you were uncertain about properly training your new pet.

Hopefully, this article has opened your eyes to everything our dogs can teach us if we take the time to pay attention. These 10 life lessons are just some of the countless things we can learn from the canine friends who share our lives.

Featured Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

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