The 11 incredible things your dog can teach you

I have never claimed to know it all. Like most people, I am constantly learning and growing from my life experiences and the people I meet.

However, it never dawned on me that I could potentially learn the most from one of my best friends in the whole world: my dog.

Just like there are ways that our dogs show us their love, there are just as many ways that we can learn from our dogs.

We've all heard the saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." I just never thought that the roles could be reversed and that my canine friend would be teaching me.

Scroll through this exclusive list of things your dog can teach you. These are such great reminders that the best lessons in life can come from the most unexpected places.

I truly love my dog, but after reading this, I may just have to say an extra big "thank you" for teaching me so much.

What has your dog taught you? Let us know in the comments!

1. Don't forget to play

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

One of the best lessons your dog can teach you is about the importance of playtime.

Our canine friends are almost always excited to take part in a game of catch or fetch. If we throw a ball, they will run and retrieve it immediately, then wait for us to throw it again.

Yet, for some reason, adults nearly always forget just how important it is to find the playful moments in life.

So organize a game night. Break that old hula-hoop out of the garage. Play patty-cake with a child in your life.

We are never too old to inject a little playtime into our lives, and to rediscover many of the joys we felt as a child.

2. Do a little digging for buried treasure

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dogs never cease to enjoy digging for buried treasure.

Too often in life, we give up when the going gets tough, or we fail to dig deeper than the surface. Our dogs know that the best stuff sometimes lies beneath the surface, so why not keep digging?

When we are initially put-off by meeting a new person, we can often find a great friend by digging deeper. When we have a disagreement, trying to find the root of someone else's opinion can help us to find connection and compromise. And when we encounter a problem at work, being creative and digging deeper can lead us to exciting and unexpected solutions.

3. Bonding is important

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

While dogs will sometimes fight with other dogs, they also can teach us about the importance of bonding with a pack.

As busy adults, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle, forgetting to make time for our loved ones.

Interaction with others can be a much-needed source of joy. In the good times and the bad, our dogs know that we don't need to go it alone.

When we are feeling good, reaching out to a friend — or making a new friend — can truly make a difference in that other person's life.

And when we are feeling bad, spending time with others can be the first step on the path to feeling better.

4. Enjoy eating

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dogs don't just eat their food; they enjoy their food!

Life can be so busy sometimes that we forget to slow down and enjoy exactly what we are doing. Food doesn't have to just be a source of energy; it can also be a source of pleasure.

Steal a page from your dog's playbook, and take the time to savor your meal — even if you're going it solo!

Instead of heating up a frozen dinner, make yourself something that you know you will truly enjoy. Eating delicious meals can be one of the most satisfying ways to improve our lives.

5. Run to greet those you love

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

There is something so wonderful about coming home to our dogs waiting for us at the front door. So why don't we do this for each other?

Appreciating the people we love and care about isn't just something we feel, it's also something we do.

And what better way to show someone you care than by greeting them with a big hug or a kiss when they arrive home?

As adults, it's easy to take our relationships for granted. But our dogs know that every time you see someone you love can be just as exciting as the first. Remembering this can only strengthen our relationships.

6. Live in the moment

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

One of the most important lessons we can learn from our dogs is to live in the moment.

Our dogs don't have some big master plan. They aren't worried about the past, and they aren't terrified of the future. They live right here in the present moment.

This canine mentality is truly a joyous and positive way of living your life.

Smell the roses. Close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air. Put your phone down and fully experience where you are. And if you're really bold, make like your dog and stick your head out of the car window. There is nothing like the wind in your face to remind you to live in the present.

7. Loyalty is key

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dogs are fiercely loyal, and we know that they would do anything for us.

Likewise, we can be just as loyal with our relationships. Dogs don't need a thousand different owners to protect; they just need the one – you.

Focusing on being fiercely loyal to the people you love is an easy way to make your relationships even stronger.

When our friends need a shoulder to cry on, we can be that shoulder. And when our loved ones need someone to come to their defense, we can be their true advocate. Loyalty is such an admirable and important quality.

8. Remember to listen

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

If you've ever watched your dog hear a whistle, or another dog bark in the distance, you've seen them cock their head and listen intently.

Our dogs have a heightened sense of hearing, and they are always listening to the sounds around them.

As humans, however, we aren't necessarily the best of listeners. It is so easy to go on autopilot in a conversation, not truly listening to what the other person is saying.

So let's perk up those ears! When someone tells you about a problem, practice reallylistening. Pay attention to what they say, rather than simply thinking about what you will say next.

Listening is key to strong and lasting relationships, which is something our dogs know all too well.

9. Don't be afraid to get messy

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dogs are not afraid to get down and dirty. In fact, they love jumping in puddles and playing in the mud.

So what are we so afraid of?

We don't always have to be clean and perfect all the time. Letting our hair down and getting messy can be absolutely liberating.

But we don't have to roll around in the mud to "get messy" necessarily. Just remembering that things don't have to be perfect all the time can go a long way toward finding more joy in life. And if you ever have any doubt, just look at how much fun our dogs are having.

10. Enjoy the quiet moments

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

As much as our dogs love to run around, they also know how to take a break and just enjoy the quiet.

We can learn a lot from seeing our dogs rest. It doesn't make us lazy to create time in our day to just take in the silence. There is something very calming and rewarding about making some quiet time for yourself.

Especially if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, a quiet space can give you the chance to think a problem through or even just clear your head. Who knows what our dogs are thinking? But they seem to be enjoying the quiet.

11. Stay active

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dogs love to be physically active.

Just as it is important to find quiet time, it is just as important to stay active. Physical exercise and activity is scientifically proven to release endorphins, making us happier. That's why our dogs often look to be happiest when they are running around playing.

We can learn a lot from our active canines by adding physical activity into our own lives. Go for a walk. Go for a swim. Go for a bike ride.

If our dogs could speak, they probably would tell us that being active can be a great source of energy and joy.

What has your dog taught you? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE if you believe we truly can learn from our dogs!

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