You pick up plenty of insights about life when you're in the company of dogs. They make great teachers of love, gratitude, compassion and living in the moment. So, here are 11 things dog ownership can teach pet lovers:
1. It's not so much an ownership as it is a relationship
“Control” is usually associated with ownership and while this might apply to dog discipline, what owners really have is a mutually beneficial relationship with their dog more than anything else. Your dog “owns” you in the same way you own them. You have an attachment and a strong bond that’s hard to break.
2. Dogs value routines
Lazy days of lounging on the bed or sleeping in are long gone if you're a dog owner. You have to stay on track of routines when you have a dog. If your pet is used to morning walks, you need to forget about hitting the snooze button even if it's a Sunday. He'll appear restless if it's time for dinner and you haven't started preparing his meal. Dogs teach you to stick to a routine, which really helps when you always have a packed schedule.
3. Dogs are the eternal optimists
Dogs are easily pleased and entertained. A stick from the backyard will have them wagging their tails so happily. A ride with you in the car will give them such a thrill, regardless if you're going to the park, a short drive-thru, or the vet. This teaches pet owners to appreciate even the little things in life. And when you’re feeling down and blue, all you have to do to uplift yourself is to look at the dog that's wagging its tail at you. They're the eternal optimists!
4. Dogs are about forgiving and moving on
Just looking into those eyes can melt away any anger you might have after learning that they broke a vase in the living room or they gnawed your shoe. Dogs appear to look sad and sorry with their puppy dog eyes to elicit human sympathy, communicate their feelings and seek attention, according to experts from the Dog Cognition Center. Dogs teach people that some things aren't really worth getting mad about especially if it's an attention-seeking behavior. You come across this behavior a lot and you learn to let it go, thanks to your dog.
5. Dogs give importance to sleep
It's easy to forgo sleep if you're too busy with work, obligations, your social life, and family. But dogs teach you to give importance to sleep and rest when they do it for 16 to 20 hours every day. You've got to thank your dog as well for the boost in your energy and productivity level because you've learned to embrace sleep and rest.
6. Dogs are always upfront and won't cover up their feelings
It's amazing how these four-legged furry creatures can be so direct about their feelings when they cannot communicate using words. Dogs will always let you know what they want. They won't hint at it and they're never subtle about it. However, they also won't shut you out or mope around the house if you fail to read their cues. Dogs teach us that it helps to be direct and truly say what you want to say, where it matters most.
7. Dogs always live in the present
These pooches never dwell on the past and don't worry about the future. Dogs live in the moment, live with contentment, and don't have regrets. The things they concern themselves about are limited to food and water, bathroom breaks, play, and sleep. People, on the other hand, multitask, network and participate in a lot of things. Humans never seem to pause so stress may consume their life. This perhaps explains why dogs can be positive all the time. A study from Harvard revealed that those who live in the moment are actually happier.
8. Water is nourishment
Ever notice how dogs instinctively know if they should drink water? They will usually stop whatever they are doing and go to their water bowl. This habit is a good reminder for the rest of us to stay hydrated because the body needs water for nourishment. When you're too busy in the rat race of life, a simple thing like drinking water can be overlooked, but dogs never forget this basic need.
9. Dogs own the compliments
Dogs don't shy away when people tell them they're cute and adorable. They'll happily accept compliments. They are never uncomfortable about getting praises. Humans have yet to learn how not to deflect the praises they get from others. Why can't we outright say “thank you” and simply acknowledge our accomplishments and best traits the way others see it? According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, humans are sometimes wired to view the acceptance of compliments as a superiority complex. Unlike dogs, we make things so complicated, don’t we?
10. They have the best listening skills
It's just not their heightened sense of hearing that makes them good listeners. When you teach dogs commands, they pay extra attention and listen. You can actually see their ears raised and alert. When you vent out about life, they patiently sit, look at you with empathy and listen to your rants. What's more, they won't judge you for showing your frustration. They just know you feel bad and you need someone to hear you out.
11. Love overcomes everything
There are loads of stories online about dogs that have become aggressive due to abuse, neglect, and abandonment. But these dogs turn into gentle souls when shown love by their carers in rehabilitation. This teaches us that love truly overcomes everything and these kinds of stories leave people teary-eyed with joy every time. Transformation and rescue stories never get old, doesn't it?
Truly, humans can learn a lot from dogs. In some cases, they even have higher standards than men when it comes to loving unconditionally and living life to the fullest. We should be so lucky to have dogs in our lives!