Competition: What Lessons Can Dogs Teach Humans?

By on April 13, 2011

Is it really true? Dogs could teach us valuable lessons in how to improve our wealth, relationships, happiness and could even have prevented the global financial crisis? According to a book by K9 Magazine publisher and former professional dog trainer Ryan O'Meara, it is.

Clever Dog: Life Lessons From Man's Best Friend is a collection of valuable and interesting examples showing how humans could take a leaf from our clever canine friends.

About The Book

The dog is undeniably the most successful domestic animal of all time. He shares his life with ours, has integrated into our society, and won the hearts and minds of millions of us. We call ourselves dog lovers because we do sincerely love them: they are fully-fledged members of our family, and we have elevated them to positions of authority in the human world.

Assistance dogs, protection dogs, detection dogs, companion dogs ... they all enhance our lives immeasurably. In this book we will examine a whole raft of canine skills and talents, and try to piece together how and why the dog has enjoyed such immense success as a domesticated animal. We will look at the dog as a problem solver, conflict resolver, and health asset.

As a decision maker and hero. And as a loyal and trusted friend. Clever Dog! is a compendium of life lessons we can learn from our dogs, based on a combination of what we know about them and indeed what we think we might know about them. He's earned his epithet 'Man's best friend:' in this book, our aim is to examine how he did it and how we might emulate his talents in order to enjoy the same fortune and fulfillment in our lives. Be happy and successful: learn from the best!

Features: * Interesting take on self development/improvement lessons * Interesting facts and data on how the human/canine relationship evolved * Amazing examples of how dogs have succeeded and achieved * Practical insights into how humans can use the dog as a life example * Incredible stories of canine bravery, endurance and talent * Understanding leadership from the world's most famous pack animal * Learn how to settle conflicts without 'drawing blood' * Understand how to develop and enhance relationships, learning from the best * Climb the career ladder by following the winning strategy of the dog * How to embrace and cherish independence without being a 'loner'.

Win one of 5 copies of the book being offered by publisher Hubble & Hattie by answering this question:

What is the most valuable lesson your dog has taught you?

The best entries will be selected by Ryan and a free copy of the book will be on its way.

Use the comment form below to submit your canine life lessons (please use your real email address - it won't be published but we will need it to contact you if you win)

Comments

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About K9 Magazine

K9 Magazine is your digital destination helping you have a happier, healthier dog. Here you'll find advice on everything from dog training to dog diet advice as well as interviews with well known dog lovers and insightful features on the broadest range of canine lifestyle topics.

43 Comments

  1. Abel Rodriguez

    April 13, 2011 at 3:02 am

    My dog has taught me to enjoy the life journey to its fullest, As she reaches her end (she is now 13 years old), I have come to realize how precious time si and not to waste it away. I seem to spend a lot more time with her and reminisce about her puppy years a lot.

    • Kwan Ming

      July 14, 2015 at 7:52 am

      Our dog freeway bless her died almost 11 years ago, due to old age but before she died she taught me the meaning of true love & I am not just talking love today hate tomorrow.

      No she taught me how to become a better person and care for those for whom I love in life she taught me no matter what the day brought she was always there for me with a kiss and a smile and this made me feel warm in my heart, she also taught me how to trust dogs like het and was always the one to look into my eyes and say I love you.

      She use to hug me like there was no tomorrow and make me promise to never leave her, she was my true soul-mate in life she was the first wonderfull thing that created me in the morning and the last at night before I went to sleep, she use to say come on and stroke me or kiss, me hug me, adore me in her own way and she made me feel special and cared for for the whole time I knew her from 2001-2005 she was a rescued dog who had been abandoned as a puppy and who my friends who I lodged with owned on paper at least.

      She owned a piece of my heart and I owned a piece of hers she was an in-separable part of my life for the five wonderfull years that I knew her like I say I had paw prints on my heart after she choose me & I choose her as my BFF (Best Furry Friend).

      She was a wonderful golden/yellow Labrador retreiver with a lovingly soft pinkish brown nose brown eyes and silky ears and a personality to match and I feel lost without her in my life now that she’s been dead for so long.

  2. Dorothea Penizek

    April 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Patience! I have learned to be patient and to analyze and try to understand the reasons for a dog’s behavior—and to apply that to my relations with humans.

  3. Dawn Deeley

    April 13, 2011 at 3:26 am

    I have been taught many lessons from dogs throughout my life, I think the most important one is, never judge a book by its cover, we foster dogs for a lurcher rescue and were asked to collect A dog from the pound as her seven days were up! we collected her and I remember thinking that if I had gone to choose a dog I would not have chose her, she is staffie whippet cross, short haired and brindle, I was used to long haired scruffy lurchers. Anyway we fostered her, and she has turned out to be one of the best dogs I have ever owned, we officially adopted her just after she came, she only has six teeth, is missing a toe on one of her paws, covered in scars and would not win first place in a beauty contest! but in a competition for love, affection and the ability to make me laugh, she would win paws down!!. This lead to us fostering another called Betty, who sadly lost her life in a tragic accident, she too was not a looker, she had a cut nose which had not been treated properly and her lip hung down, but like Sophie she was a true beauty and this shone through in her eyes.
    These dogs being part of my life have taught me to accept dogs and people for what they are, not what they look like.
    Dawn Deeley

  4. Lyndsey Franklin

    April 13, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Dogs teach us unconditional love and patience. We recently had to put our dogs in boarding kennells for 5 months but despite being able to visit them, it was upsetting having to leave and we felt so guilty for the reasons (beyond our control) for having to place them there. We have now been reunited – the boys do not love us any less. They have continued life with us from where it was left off and seem to have forgotten all about their long “holiday”. Dogs adapt to chance more willingly than we do – they continue to embrace the day and get on with it.

  5. Samantha Adams

    April 13, 2011 at 4:10 am

    My dog has taught to me to live and let live. Dogs tolerate everybody and don’t stereotype people.

  6. Donnya Terry

    April 13, 2011 at 4:11 am

    The most valuable lesson my dogs have taught me is patience. If I take the time to “listen” to their communications, via body language, behaviour etc, I will know their needs and preferences, making for a less stressful relationship between us.

  7. Victoria Thomas

    April 13, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Foregiveness. I’ve always had rescue dogs and they’ve almost all been damaged by humans in their young years, yet they’ve trusted me and bonded with me in a way I don’t deserve, because we hold grudges and carry baggage around. Dogs don’t, they take each person on merit and give unconditional love, trust and forgiveness.
    Learning from my dogs has made me a better, more compassionate human being.

  8. Rick

    April 13, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Be happy with what you have.

  9. Richard Benn

    April 13, 2011 at 5:17 am

    The true meaning of being a friend. Over the years my dogs have taught me patience, understanding, trust, loyalty and humility. Essential ingredients needed to make a person a true friend and life companion

  10. jan

    April 13, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Live each moment for it’s worth,don’t harbour grudges or assume anything,go with the flow and live life for the enjoyment of the simple pleasure oh and don’t complain..things are never as bad as they may seem. Ben sadly passed away in early feb this year after mananging with a severe cancer for 2 and half years and reaching 13. He was a most affectionate,funny,loving cocker spaniel companion and family pet , who never moaned,took life in its stride and towards the end the strides were few and short..but even just to go out for 10 mins to stiff the air and trees and feel the grass was still a big pleasure for him. He is very much missed,but is always with me in the lessons he taught me. Love you Ben

  11. Rohini Kharbanda

    April 13, 2011 at 5:51 am

    My dog introduced me to lots of dog owners and great friendships. She was fostered and had her whole life changed when i adopted her as her original owner went into a nursing home. She learnt to cope on her own without her big sister as i couldn’t adopt two big dogs and is now 12 years old. She knows what she wants (food, walks and lots of pats and attention) and make sure she gets it!! From her, i have learnt how to look out for myself, trust people, take time to look after myself, and to enjoy life what ever comes. She has brought fun and humour back into my life when i was quite ill and needed to be prompted by nudges to remember to eat and walk, which saved both of us.

  12. Christine Meaney

    April 13, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I have learnt to start each day fresh, not to bear grudges, and to get on with what is here and now, not what happened ten minutes ago or last week, and to trust my dogs judgement, because they are better judges of people than I am

  13. barbara

    April 13, 2011 at 9:44 am

    My Akita dog has taught me to not be angry at my computer when it’s slowing down, crashes, or just printing all kinds of error messages on the screen. He also taught me to choose battles wisely as he completely ignores small dogs that bark like crazy at him.

  14. s.griffiths

    April 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    love is unconditional

  15. Mick Clark

    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Almost everything of value to me, I have in my life had the companionship of over thirty dogs. Some lived to a ripe old age and some passed too soon and broke my heart harder.
    So to: All my Mutts and my present three Ted, Olive and Brody, Dad loves you and has learned more from all of you than you have from him.
    Sitting and giving a paw ha! I have learnt humility, to unconditionally love and the meaning of devotion and honesty.

  16. Mary

    April 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    My Murphy, German Shepherd taught me to trust, just trust. In all the years of his seizures we saw them through together and he knew I’d be there for him, always. Not once did he ever doubt me, no matter what horrible tests and medications etc he had to endure for his eplepsy. I am now retired and I have never trusted any one so completely like that in my life like he did me and bless him for it. His trust was a gift to me and although I lost him three years ago that gift stays in my heart. Thank you angel-Murphy xx

  17. PATTY DEFORST

    April 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    my dogs have taught me the meaning of the terms – unconditional love, trust, loyalty, compassion, empathy, total enjoyment of life day by day and sorrow at the loss of someone we love and can never replace. i am a better person toward my fellow humans with the lessons all my dogs have taught me during my life and i believe i am a better person for all the love they freely gave even when i wasn’t the person who deserved it! oh I forgot to add honesty because all my babies gave with all the honesty in their dear little hearts!

  18. Karen

    April 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I believe the most important things all our dogs thru the years have taught us is, simply, the joy of LAUGHTER! How can a person resist from laughing, from the gut, when one of our four legged friends comes bounding down the hall, smiling, barking, and rolling on the floor, just from having a good poop!?! Who cannot stop even a small grin when they ham it up with the “sad eyes” look for a treat? A person can’t help but laugh and smile when watching one of your dogs bounding into a river, an ocean, or even a snowbank with sheer joy! Each one of our special friends have their own little quirks that we will never forget – and that quirkv will keep us with a grin, a laugh, and a tear the rest of our lifes.

  19. Wilf

    April 14, 2011 at 1:07 am

    My dogs have taught me that love is unconditional and forgiveness is easy. Each new day is to be cherished and not to worry so much about ‘what might happen if’. They have taught me patience and helped with my confidence in interacting with people and other strange dogs which would have been intimidating just a short while ago. They have helped me realise i can accomplish things in life i never would have thought possible – i just need to believe in myself (and them). However much cruelty they have suffered they give back love ten fold and never bear grudges.

  20. Misty Woodyard

    April 14, 2011 at 2:22 am

    In 2008 at 4am, I was so sick with pneumonia that I just had to lay down, my little Maltese Kayla, kept jumping on my chest and making me get up, by the time my son in law called to see if I was ready to go to work, I could only say I needed to go to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital, I had no oxygen in my lungs and was in dire conditions. The doctor told me if I would have laid down and went to sleep I would have died. I have learned that animals know a lot more then we give them credit for and I will always love this little girl with all my heart, she saved my life. Thanks for letting me share.

  21. Stacey Chamberlain

    April 14, 2011 at 2:39 am

    My dogs and all the dogs I have worked with have taught me what I consider to be the key to being happy, a message I hope they will also teach my children. Dogs live simply and in the moment, they take the greatest of pleasure from the most natural and simple of things, whether it is splashing in the sea, chasing snowballs, playing just because they can or the cosy warmth of a fireside. I truly believe people would be happier if we slowed down enough to appreciate the sheer pleasure, contentment and wonder of what is all about us.

  22. Mari

    April 14, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Being blessed as the ‘guardian’ ( i prefer that term to ‘owner’) of my loyal companion, Rosey the Dachshund, has allowed me to understand a dog’s true nature. Having this understanding and knowledge has helped me to achieve a connection, a true man-beast connection, that we all desire in our heart. I no longer worry about the past or get anxious about the future. My dog lives simply, happily and wisely in the moment, she shows me that is all that matters. This is but one of the many magnificent lessons she has taught me in our brilliant life together.

  23. Holly

    April 14, 2011 at 5:12 am

    My dog Toby taught me that life is for living not for slaving away trying to chase the next pound! All he needs in life is affection and his ball to play with. Forget about the latest mercedes or a six figure salary, that doesnt impress him, but throw his ball and give him a belly rub and I get a sense of satisfaction and love that no amount of new handbags can come close too!

    He has taught me to take time out just to play and i’m a much happier person for it

    Love you Tobs!!

  24. Christine Bridson-Jones

    April 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Dogs teach me that we must deal with whatever life throws at us; they give us far more than we can give them. When one of my dogs was diagnosed with bone cancer last year, she accepted the fact that one of her legs was amputated. She was still the fastest dog on the field when she had 3 legs! Unfortunately the cancer returned and she died, but she lived her short life (only 6 years old) to the full. We can learn a valuable lesson from that.

  25. Addie

    April 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

    They have taught me what they instinctually know.
    What is under paw is the past,
    At the end of their nose is the present,
    And in the breeze is the future.
    The past, present and future are in this moment,
    Live in it.

  26. Bev

    April 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    For the last two and half years we have had the pleasure of my two rescued Galgos who have given us so much pleasure dispite what may have happened to them in spain before taken in. They have helped my partner through his depression with a doggy smile and wag of tails they bring love and happiness to the home.

  27. TJ

    April 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

    My dog has taught me there is a new friend waiting to be met around every corner, and never assume anything!

  28. Bonnie Williamson

    April 16, 2011 at 7:14 am

    My dogs have taught me the meaning of true happiness. They do not worry about where they will sleep or where their next meal will come from. They look for a “good boy” or a loving pat on the head. They make me laugh with their goofiness. When I take in a rescue, I am truly happy at every little accomplishment they make–a few steps without me dragging them, eating a handful of food–they don’t need to work like an AKC obedience champ to get love. I have learned that I do not need to be perfect to be deserving of love. Dogs are my life and it is the best life I could imagine.

  29. PETER HERRON

    April 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I have learned something from my life with my dog that I WOULD have expected but would never have imagined to be so intense and important. I adopted a rescue Labrador cross, and read lots of books and looked at loads of videos on the internet about how to educate him. My guiding principle is to try to understand what he is thinking and what he needs, and to reward good behaviour and a good response to training with positive reinforcement, an NEVER any physical punishment. The result is a dog who is never afraid of me, who behaves well and can be taken into shops etc, who loves meeting new people and children, who has the space to develop and show his own personality. He’s not a boring, perfectly behaved dog; he’s fun and energetic and loved by lots of people in my neighbourhood. I’ve learned, therefore, that quiet respect and kindness really does work, and I have the courage now to try to convince others who might be tempted to smack or pull hard etc etc that this kind of way is the best.

  30. Sharon Callan

    April 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Unconditional love, true friendship and loyalty. Most importantly,
    explore my surroundings and take time to enjoy life.
    There is no rush.

  31. Naomi

    April 25, 2011 at 4:21 am

    I agreed to take on a puppy who could not stand or walk. The vet who looked at her recommended she be put to sleep as her quality of life could not be expected to be worthwhile. I knew that given a loving home and shown patience she could overcome or learn to live with her very obvious disabilities and have an enjoyable life. She is every inch a very affectionate dog and taking the chance has been repaid a thousand fold. Accepting what you are told is not always the best way forward – and you can get what you wish for.

  32. Orelina

    May 19, 2011 at 3:56 am

    I currently have 7 dogs (5 puppies 2 adults) and all of them teaches me a bit of everything in anything!!!They are family members and they are like small kids, they would come for affection, sometimes to play, even come to sleep on your bed and dont foget the mess everywhere.
    but the best lesson my dogs teach me and frankly and still learning- is patients lots of it….and loyalty, I might snap and yell at them but they always come back, they really are “man’s” best friend.

  33. Huckster1976

    August 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

    The best lesson my two beagles have taught me is unconditional love – when life throws things our way our dogs are always there no matter what. Our best friends through thick and thin x

  34. Jayne Matthews

    October 5, 2011 at 6:28 am

    My Border Collie taught me the true importance of socialisation at an early age. She was 4 months old when we had her. Up to that age, she had spent all of her time in a stable only being allowed out of an evening to exercise in the farmyard. She was scared of everything and used to shut down completely if taking her anywhere she didn’t know. She was people and dog aggressive through lack of socialisation and her fear came out as aggression. After having her for a year now I managed to get her over her fear of people and she now looks forward to most people approaching her. She still has some dog aggression, but after joining an aggression group with a qualified and excellent dog trainer/behaviourist she has now been honourable discharged from the group and we are working with her constantly to reinforce the non-aggressive approach to other dogs. She is also the one who convinced me to take a course in dog training, so that I could help her more and other dogs in the same situation. I now have a mentor who is helping me tremendously to progress forwards. All of this is down to my dog.

  35. debbie

    November 23, 2011 at 3:35 am

    My dog has taught me that no matter how bad my fibromyalgia & arteritis make me feel today tomorrow it could be less painful & life IS precious and IS worth living. My dog Jessie has a heart condition & pancreatitis & is sometimes is terrible pain yet she still looks forward to her walks & is always ready for a game of fetch .I used to be agoraphobic & was terrified to leave my home & its down to my beautiful girl that im no longer afraid to go out , ,every day she needed to go for her walk & she must of somehow knew how i was feeling she would gently nuzzle her nose into my lap & gaze at me ….her eyes seemed to say “i know ,i promise you`ll be ok im with you -we`ll do it together” that was 6 1/2 years ago and i now go out every day & have even passed my driving test …… i would not of had the confidence to do that before & that`s all down to my dog Jessie. She`s taught me that anything is possible if you give it your all & nothings as bad as it seems .

  36. Jonathan Caines

    November 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    The most valuable lessons my dogs have taught me is how to communicate with them in such a way we become partners and close friends in everything we do together. They have taught me to understand their basic needs, to understand what training methods is fun for both of us, to understand when they may not be well or happy. When behaviour is suspect to be able analyse the situation and be able to communicate without stress or aggravation. I suppose the icing on the cake is when one of the dogs comes up to me when I am in the middle of cooking the dinner and starts performing tricks without any commands from me! She just wants me to stop cooking and start paying her some attention by going through her routine of dancing and tricks, not easy as I dish up dinner! The most valuable lesson the dogs have taught me is how to understand their behaviour, by watching listening observing until we become best friends, yes they truly are not just friends but our family!
    Lesley and the Bedlington Terriers

    Lesley and the Bedlington Terriers

  37. Jean Newton

    February 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    My dog has taught me to trust my instincts. My partner and I live a sociable life and have friends round for parties. There has been in the past some people come as we have mutual friends, certain people you just have a ‘bad’ feeling about but you give them the benefit of the doubt because we know someone who knows them. My dog Max is so good with everyone and just see’s them as more people to give him attention. On occasion he has refused to go someone when they call or put his tail down and almost cowered when a person walks in the house.I have learnt to pay attention to this reaction as these people have generally turned out to be someone not to trust or someone who can easily cause trouble. From this I have learnt to trust my initial gut instinct of someone, it doesn’t matter whether you have a mutual friend, that does not neccessary mean a geniune person. I now listen to my instincts and am wary of people i do not fully trust.

  38. Neda Andreeva

    March 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

    All of our dogs through the years have taught me that there is no difference between the love of a pedigree or a street dog. The dogs they just love- they do not judge you, they do not complain, they are there for you. They know what they want and they know how to enjoy the life. What is more, the dogs make friendships much faster than me.

    Greetings,

    Neda

  39. Angie McCue

    November 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    my dogs and foster dogs have taught me
    love and understanding x

  40. Annabelle

    April 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    My dog has taught me to forget what has happend in the past and look foward to the future, he has helped me overcome my struggles and fears in life and he knows me through and through, he knows when i am in a bad mood and he knows when i want to be cheared up, he has given me self confidence and given me a new lease of life

  41. Caroline Spencer

    August 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Honesty will reap it rewards.
    Listen and you will hear. Watch and you will learn.
    Talking isn’t always the best way to communicate, in fact it can be a hindrance.

  42. Tammy Tudor

    August 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    My amazing dog Binky has taught me how to always love unconditionally, no matter what mood I’m in he always is there to greet me and his eyes lit up and in that moment I know he loves me and nothing else matters. This is such a valuable lesson as when ever someone is nice or not to me I treat them with kindness and love as it really pays off to treat people with such unconditional loving because it can make people feel on top of the world just like my dog makes me!

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