You’re probably used to teaching your dog tricks or even the basics of life like not pooping all over your carpet or waking you up during your afternoon naps.
But did you know that there are several life lessons your dog can teach you as well? Nature is a wonderful thing and dogs are no exception – although they can’t speak words, their actions can communicate things of much more depth and substance than, indeed, many humans’.
On that note, I’d like to share with you eight of the many, many spiritual lessons you can learn from good ol’ Fido.
Lesson #1 – We All Communicate and Receive Love Differently.
It’s a well known scientific fact that hugging works wonders for the human mind and body. Oxytocin is released when we hug and cuddle – but only with other humans.
Researchers have found that dogs actually don’t like when humans hug them; it is taken as a sign of aggression. This raises a very powerful point – we all receive love differently. We all have different languages of love and it’s important to make the effort to understand that of your partner, friends and family.
Lesson #2 – Life is Most Enjoyable in the Moment.
Humans have an episodic sense of time – we remember things in snippets that follow each other in context. Dogs, on the other hand, experience time a bit differently.
Dogs live much more in the moment – although they understand the passage of time and possess an episodic memory somewhat similar to ours, it is not as rooted in nostalgia and dwelling on mistakes.
Lesson #3 – It’s the Simple Things that Make Life Fun.
How often have you seen your dog drop their toy at your feet, demanding that you buy them an upgraded version? Slim to none, I would suspect.
In fact, you’re probably more often than not surprised at what your dog likes to play with. And that’s what humans should strive to be like – not bogged down by the details of well-marketed goods but appreciative and imaginative.
Lesson #4 – Inquiry is Far From a Bad Thing.
Whenever I go to a new friend’s house and they’ve got a dog, I always prepare myself to be sniffed. It’s just the way dogs are. They want to know if they can trust you before they let you disappear with their owner.
Too often as humans we let people get the best of us by not standing our ground and asking questions when they need to be asked. You don’t need to be cynical and write people off – dogs don’t do that either – but being inquisitive is far from the worst thing you can do.
Lesson #5 – Get Outside!
Nature is a wonderful thing. Dogs can appreciate that – have you ever seen how they light up as soon as they see you open the door to take ’em outside?
All animals – including humans – can benefit from a few hours spent outside each day.
Lesson #6 – Sometimes Restrictions Can Set You Free.
Have you ever seen a dog light up as soon as a leash was brought out? While a leash can certainly be looked at as restrictive, your dog gets excited because it knows putting on the leash is the only way it’s getting out for some fresh air.
Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to be limitless and out doing our own thing that we forget restrictions are sometimes totally necessary to keep us safe.
Lesson #7 – Don’t Take Things So Seriously.
Dogs do get upset. But how often do you see them holding grudges or being angry for days on end?
Dogs seem to be constantly moving on from things that get them down or riled up. We should aim to be no different.
What has your dog taught you?
Share you thoughts in the comments!