12 Things I Learned From My Dog

Guinness (c) Susan Langer

So, you think I’m crazy because of things I learned from my dog? Well, it’s really not so crazy. I don’t see my dog, Guinness taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Yes, maybe a few dogs do need these but not many. Guinness is just able to teach me so many things. Many of those things, I paid big bucks to a therapist to learn. If I only knew then what I know now, I would have paid closer attention to my dog at the time, named Punky. He was a good teacher too, but I was too distracted and mentally unhealthy to learn from him back in the 80’s. Now, 30 years later, I learn daily from Guinness how to live my life.

Guinness’ Teachings:

  1. Live in the moment

    Dogs teach us to live for today. They don’t worry about the past or the future but in the present moment. If we learn to do this depression (from living in the past) and anxiety (from worrying about the future) cease to be a problem for us.
  2. To stay connected

    Dogs connect every day and even every minute that they are with us. They need love and time from us. We need to learn to stay connected with others which feed our soul.
  3. Feel less fear and more love

    Dogs that are fearful tend to be either very shy or very aggressive, but they can be changed through love to be happy and well adjusted. We need to replace our insecurities and self-criticism (evidenced by fear) with self-love and self-acceptance.
  4. Let go of grudges

    Dogs don’t hold a grudge because they live in the “now” not the past. We need to let go of resentments held about being hurt and live in the “now” too. We are much happier that way.
  5. Trust your gut instinct

    Dogs live by their intuition, their instincts and trust their gut instinct for safety and for relationships with others. We need to pay more attention to our gut instinct leading us to trust our inner soul or self.
  6. Seek balance in life

    Dogs teach us that balance and a daily routine is good for us. Notice how a dog does best when he knows when he is going to be fed or exercised. The same holds true for us with less chaos and focus on the negative but balancing our lives with decrease in stress.
  7. Self-acceptance is essential

    Dogs don’t want to be something else. Have you ever seen a Pug wish he was a German Shephard or a Poodle wish she was a Terrier? No. This is because they accept who they are without question. We need to accept ourselves rather than trying to change our looks, our features, our size. We are perfectly unique just as we are.
  8. Be loyal;love unconditionally

    Dogs are very loyal and love us unconditionally. They learned their loyalty instinctively by being pack animals. Unconditional love is evident from our dogs by the wag of their tail, the enthusiastic greeting when we arrive home and the slobbery kisses they bestow on us. We usually set conditions to our loving. “If you do this…I will love you.” is a common scenario with humans. We just need to love without setting conditions, period.
  9. Make each day special

    Dogs find life exciting. They find excitement in being fed, going for their walk, seeing you come home and even visitors. If we learn how to be enthusiastic about the simple things in our lives, we are more grateful and much happier with our life.
  10. Set good boundaries

    Dogs thrive when the rules are clearly communicated to them. They learn what pleases us and how to avoid our displeasure. We need to also set clear boundaries with other relationships in our lives. Our “no” needs to be no and our “yes” needs to be yes. We do well to communicate this to others whether they are our family or friends or bosses.
  11. Play daily

    Our dogs love to play and that includes exercise such as running, jumping, etc. This is a reminder to our bodies to move and exercise daily. It also opens your mind and spirit to different and creative ideas. Playing daily also breaks the 24/7 constant working that we tend to do.
  12. Find your purpose and enjoy the journey

    Dogs have a sense of satisfaction or contentment when given a job to do. That is why service dogs do so well. Dogs don’t worry where they are going when on a car ride. The just love the ride. We need to find our true purpose in life so that we can feel that our life has meaning and thus we feel more fulfilled. Setting goals in life are fine but don’t become too attached to the outcomes which can lead to frustration. Always have a Plan A and a Plan B by planning for detours.

As you can see, there are lots of things our dogs can teach us about life if we just pay attention to how they live their lives. Whoever said that “old dogs can’t learn new tricks” is wrong. Guinness learns every day how to entertain me, love me unconditionally and he teaches me new tricks.

Until next blog,

Susan and Guinness…






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