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15 Valuable Lessons Dogs Teach Us

15 Valuable Lessons Dogs Teach Us

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” ~ Johnny Depp

I recently watched an inspiring movie called Hachi: A Dogs Tale. The true story depicts loyalty at its rarest form. In the movie, Richard Gere takes in a young, abandoned puppy named Hachi. As the movie description states: This film is not sappy but “heartfelt and immensely powerful.”  Be prepared to be moved to tears.

I am known to tear up occasionally during a movie, but I wouldn’t consider myself a huge crier. Let me tell you, at one point during this movie I looked over at my husband, and not only were we both crying, but we were both actually sobbing. Maybe this is due to my zany love for animals – but what’s his excuse? The next morning my mind wandered off to the movie and unexpectedly, right there standing in the shower, I broke out into tears again!

This movie paired with my unconditional, immense love for all animals including my own two dogs have inspired this post.

There are so many life lessons dogs teach us, below are 15 of my favorites.

1.  Looks can be deceiving.

Don’t judge a book by its cover; a very big man or woman can be hiding inside any body.


image credit: hz536n via Flickr


2.  Allow fresh air and wind in your face whenever possible.

Dogs truly do know how to live in the moment.  I don’t stick my head out the car window, but I try to appreciate the spring smells and fresh air.  Dogs aren’t thinking about tomorrow, they are excited for this very moment all the time. You can be too.


Image credit: Christina Spicuzza via Flickr


3.  Be loyal.

If only we could all be the person our dogs think we are.  When you think you’ve lost everything, take a good look around, I guarantee your dog will still be there, full of love and admiration.


Image credit: .Bala via Flickr


4.  Never to pretend to be something youre not.

Dogs don’t care what other dogs think.  They have adorable personalities and we love them for it.  Embrace your own adorable personality.


Image credit: alexbrn via Flickr


5.  You are never too old to play.

Life is short, so have fun and stop taking everything so seriously.


Image credit: Dan Barak via Flickr


6.  When loved ones come home, always greet them.

Take an opportunity every day to tell those who mean the most to you that you are happy to see them.


Image credit:


7.  Stretch before rising.

This is a good one to follow especially as we get older.  I often see my dog stretching into “downward facing dog.” It makes me smile every time.


Image credit: Smabs Sputzer via Flickr


8.  Avoid biting when growling will do.

Stand up for yourself, but no need to be unnecessarily aggressive or harmful.


Image Credit: Charles P. via Flickr


9.  Forgive.

Don’t hold grudges, even if someone hurt you; you have the choice to forgive.


Image credit: Moyan_brenn via Flickr


10.  Show compassion.

Dogs are kind souls, full of compassion and love.  In times where I have been upset, my dog is the first one to cuddle and comfort me.


Image credit: ponte1112 via Flickr


11.  Trust your instincts.

Trust your initial instincts of a situation or person, before you let the mental chatter in your mind tell you you’re wrong.  Your gut instinct is usually correct.


Image credit: Paphio via Flickr


12.  Things dont matter.

A dog can have the best time with an old worn out ball.  You can find joy in small things.  Lose your obsessions over materiality.


Image credit: stringberd via Flickr


13.  Go for walks every day.

Dogs are oddly excited by going for walks whereas some days I feel I have to convince myself to go.  Appreciate the opportunity to get outside and be within nature; take in the smells, sights and feelings.



14.  Love unconditionally.

Love yourself, your friends, your kids, your family, your job, your community and most of all, love mother earth.


Image credit: Noel Zia Lee via Flickr


15. Get lots of rest.

You know the old saying, let sleeping dogs lie.  Dogs love to sleep, and we should not downplay our need for rest either.


Image credit: archflorence via Flickr


Please add to this list any life lessons that youve learned from your dog.  Id love to hear from all you fellow animal lovers.

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Tina Williamson

Tina is a student of Buddhism, meditation and yoga. She writes about cultivating happiness through mindfulness at her own blog:  Barefoot Beginnings. Tina lives near cottage country in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two dogs. Also a vegetarian and animal lover she enjoys photography, travel and nature. But mostly she’s just a free spirit trying to follow the path.


+ add your own
5:14PM PDT on May 24, 2015

We all should learn from our doggies.

5:23AM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

2:21PM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Dogs are loyal and they do not care if you have not washed your hair or if you stink like hell they love you just the way you are and I have always said that us humans could learn a lot from dogs, I have a dog and a cat and they play but they are their for one another whom I love both of them but not as much as my son, I have taught him to love nature and animals which I do to. Dogs are so funny too watch and they understand what your saying and a lot of what was said about dogs are so true they love to play, sleep, they do not hold a grudge not like we do, they are loyal unlike us and all they want in return is lots of love and going out for walks everyday, when I say to my dog she gets so excited and wags her tail like mad, she even knows when we go on holiday people think that animals do not think or they are stupid they are more intelligent than people give them credit for.

1:47PM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

Tricia H,

Reflect on what you said for a moment.

It's just not correct. We humans are needy too. The moment we're born, and since our head/brain has to be soft to go through the channel, we're needy. We depend on our mother for months on end, if not years. Much, much more than dogs.

How about the zillions of dogs having to wander about because they were sent away or not given the chance of a home or care taker? An, never saw a dog next to a person living on the street? I've seen several this week. Yet, they stand by their 'owner', never complaining, always loyal.

Think about it. Reflect on what you said for a moment.

1:37PM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

Great article.

The winner phrase is: "If only we could all be the person our dogs think we are.". So true.

I guess every dog owner, consciously or not, knows he/she has a lot to learn from his/her dog. That's plain clear to me. The article expresses that well.

7:41AM PST on Dec 30, 2013

These are all great..
The 'best' and the 'worst' is the 'Love Unconditionally.'
The 'best' part is that if you are busy and forget to feed them at the normal time, they forgive you!
The 'worst' part is when people intentionally hurt them, or make them fight, or do horrible things to them and they forgive these people because they don't know any other life! Sometimes, I wish they weren't so forgiving

6:19PM PST on Dec 26, 2013

Japan made a sculpture of the real Haichi, the dog the movie was based on!

4:06PM PST on Nov 26, 2013

I love dogs but they are so needy, not like a cat where you can leave a dog dish/water of food & litter boxes all over your house for a day or two and come back to a live animal. Dogs need so much care and attention.

3:22PM PST on Nov 18, 2013

I love this

10:08AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

I love my four legged child, he does so much for me.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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