If you’ve been following me on social media the last few days, particularly on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’ve been dog-sitting a little Shiba Inu cross named Bella. I’ve never had a dog of my own, but I do have a great interest in them and have taken care of a few of them. While we do our best to train our furry friends with different tricks and commands, they have a lot to teach us about how to live our lives too… though it’s probably not socially acceptable to go around sniffing everyone and everything.

A long while back, we took a look at these kinds of life lessons from the perspective of a trainer, but today’s article is much more from the perspective of Fido himself.

Be a Loyal Friend

Inevitably, we will all have our arguments, disagreements and fights with one another. It’s bound to happen. You might get upset at your dog for misbehaving, but dogs are blessed with a wonderful short-term memory. They’ll remember your discipline, but they can just as easily get past that and become your best friend again. And they’re more than happy to be your best and most loyal friend again.

When you have great people in your life, both family and friends, be loyal and honest with them. They’re there for you, just as you’re there for them in times of need.

Establish a Routine

We all like to have some spontaneity in our lives, but it’s also important to have a reasonably predictable routine. Dogs thrive under a well-established structure, knowing exactly when they can expect to go for a walk, when they’ll get fed, when the humans will return home and so on. This predictability provides comfort and reduces stress. As human beings, it helps to also have a certain level of predictability in our lives… but don’t forget to break that schedule once in a while and have some fun.

A Dog at the Park

Communicate with Your Body

It’s probably safe to say that humans are a mostly verbal species, expressing our thoughts, feelings and desires by talking to one another. That’s why we have language. However, it’s important to remember that so much of what you mean isn’t expressed exactly by what you say, but rather by how you say it. Your body language accounts for so much of what is being communicated. Dogs really sense this and that’s why the energy that your project can have a bigger impact than the actual words that you utter. Don’t forget that.

Keep Your Nose to the Ground

More so than the other dogs I’ve cared for in the past, Bella loves to sniff everything. For pretty well the entire duration of our walks, she is smelling the ground, the grass, the stop signs, the fire hydrants, and the rest of it. This is reasonably normal behavior for a dog, I suppose, but it sure doesn’t seem like she is trying to track something; it just seems like she is interested in everything.

Two Dogs on a Walk

There’s a great sense of intense focus at work that can be of great value to anyone who wants to get their work done. Sometimes, you just need to block out the distractions and keep that singular focus. And keep at it until you’re done.

Always Learn New Tricks

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I say bollocks. Indeed, one of your life goals should be to continue learning, continuing to soak in new information, new knowledge and new skills as often as you can. Yes, there is value in the routine, as mentioned, but don’t let yourself get stuck in your old ways when you are presented with something new. It might be better. You just have to give it a shot.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I should probably go for a walk. Who’s a good boy?