Usually people train their dogs – not the other way round. Dogs need to learn to live in a human world to be happy and safe here.
However, people also improve in this process. They say dog is a symbol of loyalty and friendship, but I think dogs also set a good example in other spheres. My dogs have taught me these 11 important life lessons and I am really thankful for it:
1. You don’t have to be number one. There are individuals in dog packs who does not want to lead, and they avoid challenges. They are happy, because they don’t need to take care of anything, be responsible for anybody or bother about their status if go-getters attempt to invade their position. Research says lazy workers are happier than their busy friends, too.
2. Not everybody wants more responsibilities. Individuals with high testosterone become aggressive when somebody tries to lower their status, but dogs with low testosterone become aggressive when they are imposed with more responsibilities.
3. Watch your friend’s body language. When you spend much time in dog’s company, you learn to hear what animal “says” by his ears, tail and back, because he cannot speak in human language. However, 90 percent of human communication is also non verbal, and it often transfers more precise information than words. Humans control their mimic and gestures not so good as their tongues.
4. Watch and control your own non verbal communication. As dogs do not understand the grammar, you have to watch what you communicate to your dog by your body, and make sure it doesn’t interfere with your verbal cues. It makes no sense to call a dog and go to him at the same time by your body saying “go away from me”. Going back to inter-human communication, remember that messages transferred by your body are much more persuasive than the ones told. Body posture is an impactful tool if you know what pose to strike.
5. Be friendly. Dogs follow the most friendly member of the pack, and certainly not the most aggressive one. Aggressiveness says that you cannot manage the situation in a peaceful way. So harmonious and balanced people are more liked by dogs, because in dogs eyes, that’s leadership. The main role of a leader is to avoid conflicts, isn’t it?
6. There is no good or bad behavior per se. Dogs do not distinct evil from good. But they are fine by understanding what is acceptable to their owner and what isn’t. Definitions of good and evil were created by humans.
7. The most important opinion is opinion of the ones you love. Dog cares only what his master thinks about his behavior. We should also care about the opinion of our beloved ones and do not worry about what other people think.
8. Be thankful. There is no average behavior of a dog. If he’s not misbehaving, he’s doing good. And the more you will reinforce this good behavior, the less likely he will be to do the opposite. It’s much more effective than to punish him for the bad behavior. People will also be more willing to help if you will not forget to thank them and appreciate their good will.
9. Enjoy the moment. A dog has no future plans. Did you notice that his life practically does not depend on him? He doesn’t know if his owner will get up very early tomorrow, so he enjoys his play and doesn’t think about how hard it will be to get up on time in the morning. A dog might have a clue, but he certainly doesn’t know, when the dinner will be served and what will be served, when he will go for a walk, where he will go, what is planned for the next weekend or for summer vacation. He doesn’t know anything about his future, so he enjoys what he has now.
10. Forget past mistakes. You don’t have to be in a bad mood for the rest of your life if you made a mistake. If a dog’s owner is furious about the chewed chair, it doesn’t mean tha a dog cannot play fetch with him the very next moment. It’s no use to let small things regulate your mood, and learning from mistakes has nothing to do with punishing yourself.
11. Listen to yourself. A dog wakes up not when he hears an alarm clock, but when he feels like he’s had a rest. The best time to go to sleep, according to dogs, is not when it gets dark, but when you feel tired. It’s better to go jogging when you’re full of energy and this not necessarily happens at the same time when you are in the gym. Sometimes it’s best to just lay on the sofa or under the sun and do nothing, if today you feel like it.