8 Valuable Lessons Your Dog Can Teach You
On 14th February 2018, on the same week lovers all over the world will celebrate Valentines Day and on the next evening of the 15th, more than a billion people will join their family for a reunion dinner for the Chinese New Year of the Dog. Perhaps a divine providence?
1. Excitement & Enthusiasm: When my kids came back from school, they knew that their crazy father will race the dog to be the first to greet them. When I opened the door I gave them a big hag and wagged my imaginary tail. What holds you back from greeting your loved ones warmly like a dog?
Are you afraid to make a fool out of yourself? My dogs taught me how to allow myself the freedom of being excited and stop criticizing myself for being different. Life is about showing the people that you love how much you love them. How to be enthusiastic as if it is the first time I see them. Wouldn’t it be great if we greeted people at work and be happy to see them?
Dogs do not stop at greetings. They really enjoy the small things. They are excited to go out, excited to eat, dig holes in the sand and play.
2. Acceptance (Diversity and Inclusion): The dog accepts his human friend unconditionally. To that, the dog first accepts itself. It does not care about the gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, political views, social status or any other issue that might be a source of division among humans. It does not try to change his owner. Acceptance is one of the pillars of well-being. The difference between reality and the ideal situation is called self-inflicting pain. For love among human to last, acceptance, especially of what can’t be changed, is paramount.
3. Being present and deep listening: Dogs live in the now. They aren’t worried about what happened in the past or having anxiety for what will happen in the future. They are focused on our relationship here and now. They are great listeners. They don’t check their mobile phone when listening to you. Dogs read our body language. They might not understand the depth of human language but the commands they were trained with, but they do connect to our feelings.
4. Empathy: Dogs can sense how we feel. They are wired to be empathetic without a need for words. They instinctively know how to be there for us. When I was 11, my father adopted Muki, our first dog. As a family, we have been adopting dogs ever since. Muki taught me the first lessons of empathy and unconditional love. He could make great therapists as he could sense my mood. When I was sad, Muki came closer, put his head on my lap and looked at me with love in his eyes. If I had a tear, he would go to lick them and comfort me. Just like in the video by National Geographic on this link.
5. Being content: Dogs are happy with what they get. You don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to satisfy your dog culinary needs. They feed on love and crave for playful attention.
6. Forgive and Move On: Dogs teach us to let go and move on. Focus on what’s important, celebrate the now and create new memories. Although they have a good memory, dogs do not waste time for guilt, blame, shame and negative thoughts. They will not forget and learn but they will no bare grudges.
7. Loyalty: If a dog could answer about his relationship status it would never say “It’s complicated.” Dogs develop strong emotional attachments to their owners similar to babies bond with their mothers (without throwing tantrums and teenage rebellion). Life is uncomplicated when you are true to your values. Loyalty and honesty make life simple. The dog will not look for a better looking, richer or smarter person.
8. Well-being: Play! and rest Joyfully: The only thing that a dog takes seriously is to protect the owner. They can be silly and make us laugh. Dogs are always eager to play and they know how to rest (so they can play again). When was the last time that you took out your head out of the window in a moving car to feel the wind on your face? My dog Nona reminds me to take time off when she brings me her tennis ball. She also comes to my desk to get some attention and give me the daily dosage of Oxycontin while patting her.
Surprise: A dog can help you with finding love:
In a study conducted by Match.com and the retailer, PetSmart titled “The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating,” 1,210 single pet owners in the U.S (of which 61% were women) took part. Most ladies in the survey found men who own a dog more attractive. Perhaps men who own dogs appear to show qualities of a date as a potential parent. Those who raise dogs are perceived to be more likely to be loyal, responsible and caring, given the amount of attention and time dog ownership requires.
About Avi Liran
Inspirer, writer, humourist and TEDx/IDEASx speaker, Avi Liran (CSP) believes that everyone is a Chief Delighting Officer.