If you’ve ever been around dogs, whether owning one or just stopping to give the neighborhood pup a little love, you’ve seen why they are considered man’s best friend. Dogs personify the traits we all want—unconditional love, enthusiasm, and forgiveness. There are some excellent lessons that we can learn from our four-legged friends that apply to every aspect of life.
- Loyalty—The loyalty of dogs to their owners is well documented. When you see that tail wagging as you come in the door at the end of the day, you can feel their devotion to you and you alone. Being loyal to your friends, family, and coworkers will create a great team feeling.
- Obedience—Training is an essential part of dog ownership. It gives your dog a sturdy framework for its behavior. Dogs inherently want to please their owners because they see that doing what is right results in good treatment through treats or affection. Following commands and doing what we know is right is also a big part of every human existence.
- Good Listeners—Your dog is like the best confessional in the world—patient, understanding, and will never spill your secrets. When you’re having a bad day, they sense your mood and give you the listening ear you need. Many of us could take a cue from our dogs. We often are so excited to share our news that we forget to listen to others in our lives. We can learn a lot by listening instead of speaking.
- Unconditional Love—Loving unconditionally is one of our dogs’ best superpowers. Even when they need correction, they still love you without holding anything back. We can all use some practice at loving without an agenda or scheme.
- Protective—I pity the mailman that approaches the door too quickly, because that’s when my dog shows them who’s the boss. Because of their loving nature, dogs become our protectors, barking, growling, or attacking if they sense their owner is in danger. While you may not bark at someone, you can step up to defend those that need help. It’s something that takes courage and character.
- Appreciation—Dogs may not pay rent, but they let you know in many small ways that they appreciate you. When you rub their ears or give them a special treat, they acknowledge your attention with snuggles, tail wags, and love. We could all be better about saying ‘thank you’ when kindness is shown.
Studies show that dogs can read facial expressions, feel and show jealousy, display empathy, and even watch TV. They have developed human traits over the last 15,000 years of evolution from their origin as wolves to now. I think there’s a lot we can learn from how they have evolved.
Showing love, obedience, and appreciation can change your relationships at home and work. Listening to and supporting people is a gift that can develop, and we only need to look to our dogs for inspiration. Life can be challenging, and people make mistakes, but incorporating loyalty and love into our lives can make the most significant difference in our world. So take a cue from our furry friends—be a team player, forgive quickly, and love fully!