Life Lessons We Can Learn From Dogs

podcast Nov 13, 2018

Anyone who has ever met my kids knows that they begged and begged for a dog forever. It wasn't until a week before my oldest left for college that I finally caved, and we became the proud owners of a beagle. (You can follow Miss Mabel on Instagram!)

Miss Mabel was tiny, and she fit in the palm of our hands. It wasn't long before she showed us she had a mind of her own, and her naughty side began to show. I talked to a dog trainer, and she suggested doggy daycare to help socialize her. That plan didn't stick though because we fell in love with a sweet sheltiepoo, and we bought Mabel a companion instead. Sassy Cassie (Instagram) looked a little like Cruella Deville, with white fur on one side of her head, and black on the other. She quickly whipped Mabel into shape, and the two are best friends and companions.

In my two years as a dog owner, this is what I've learned:

  • Our dogs teach us that we need companions, someone to spend time with. This interaction is vital to our wellbeing. 
  • Dogs show their affection. You always know where you stand with your dog. And it's clear by their wagging tails and kisses that they adore you.
  • Dogs are LOYAL. It doesn't matter if you leave them behind while you go on vacation, or if you neglect to slip them a piece of steak after dinner. Your dog sticks by you no matter what.
  • Dogs wait for us. Your dog is always eager to join you for adventures or mundane tasks. But when you need time alone (like heading out for a fast run without your furry friend), they are always glad to pick up right where you left off. Dogs give us time to be ourselves.
  • Dogs show their fangs when necessary, but always kiss and make up. Sometimes, your dog has to let you know that they aren't happy. But once they've shown their fangs and told you how it is, they are quick to make up and move on.


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  • Dogs don't hold grudges. Clearly this is a theme with dogs. They love unconditionally and don't hold your mistakes against you.
  • Dogs understand self care. They know what they need, and they ask for it. Have you ever met a dog who doesn't roll over and ask for a belly rub?
  • Dogs are caretakers. They are the first to keep a watchful eye if a family member is feeling ill. My dogs are protective of my middle daughter when she is having breathing issues due to her asthma. They rest by her head to calm her so she is able to sleep.
  • Dogs have pure hearts. Do I even need to elaborate? What you see is what you get. They love their humans. Always.
  • Dogs don't care if your house is a mess, or if you showered, or if they have a zillion presents around the tree. All they care about is your presence.


As we head into the busy holiday season, I think we can learn a lot from our dogs. How different would that conflict with Aunt Esther be if we approached it with the heart of a dog? I'm not suggesting that you lick her or that you challenge her to a game of fetch while Grandma does the dishes, but I do think the outcome might be more pleasant if you took some of the above dog lessons into consideration.

As you prepare for the end of the year and life gets stressful, remember that the most important gift of all is our presence. Just like our dogs, our friends and families just want to be with us. The food and the decorations and the presents are all just bonus. You don't need to be perfect to be loved and accepted. Just ask your dog!

Listen to the full podcast in the player above, or search Power Up Your Performance anywhere you listen to podcasts. (If you liked this episode, I'd love it if you could share, rate and review and spread the love!)




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