If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know the excitement that is shown when you come home from being out all day and are greeted by your happiest friend.
They are ecstatic. So what can we learn from dogs to get that kind of joy?
This show of pure love is enough to brighten anyone’s day, and there’s something to be taken from that. When we observe our pet’s behaviours, we’ll see that there are many lessons we can learn from our furry pals. From gratitude to mobility to the act of play, here are three lessons we can learn from our dogs:
#1: Show Affection and Gratitude
Remember the last time your dog ignored you when you got home? Neither do I.
Even if your dog is elderly and slow to jump down from the couch to greet you, I can almost guarantee you’ll see a tail wagging to show excitement.
Dogs let us know they love us every day, though they may show it in different ways like tail wags, licks, or cuddles. This display of affection and gratitude is healthy for us; there’s a reason dogs are being trained as therapy animals. Their affection increases our dopamine and serotonin levels (among other benefits), and this reduces stress.
We should be showing the same gratitude and affection to our loved ones of the homo sapien variety, too. But maybe don’t lick them.
Showing gratitude can have positive social, psychological, and even physical benefits. Daily gratitude practices like keeping a gratitude journal are being recommended often as a way to improve health.
Then there’s the affection. We know how it feels when someone shows they truly care. Humans have a real need for affection that calls on us to fulfill that desire. When we’re busy with everyday life, acts of appreciation can slip to the backs of our minds. It’s important to remind ourselves to pay real attention to our loved ones and think of ways to acknowledge them.
#2: Stretch as Soon as You Wake Up
What’s the first thing your dog does when they wake up? Stretch! This is their natural instinct. This is a great lesson we can learn from dogs.
While it may not be apparent, they are preparing themselves for any hunt or show of dominance that may be necessary upon waking.
Although we don’t expect to start a boxing match the moment we wake up, stretching our bodies in the morning has numerous benefits. It increases flexibility which helps prevent injuries. This is especially important for seniors whose bodies don’t heal as well as they used to.
#3: Always Take the Opportunity to Play
Childhood memories are often filled with play. As we age, playing still occurs but it takes the form of things like sports, exercise, games, and socializing. These are important activities for overall health, but we don’t always make play a priority.
For most dogs, getting them excited to play takes minimal effort. Even just picking up a favourite ball can be enough to make them jump circles in front of you. In general, a dog will go for any chance to play.
Which brings us to our last lesson that we can learn from dogs: always take the opportunity to play. Whether it’s playing pretend with your grandchildren, or playing cards with a friend after tea, we should always accept invitations like these with open arms.
You’ll get the positive affects of physical exercise (like reduced stress and better overall health) or that of mental stimulation (which keeps the brain healthy) or both.
We can learn a lot from observing the behaviour of our pets. They constantly show affection, stretch often, and are always ready to play. The benefits could make a lot of difference in your life.