101 Life Lessons from my Dog
by Kirsten Harris
1. Have a good stretch and yawn first thing in the morning. It feels great.
2. If there is a human being about lie on your back and get your tummy tickled. Tickling is happy.
3. Morning grooming sessions make you feel good for the day. Nobody likes a smelly dog.
Especially look after your feet. You can’t walk without them.
5. Eat your food with gusto and pure pleasure.
6. Drink plenty of water.
7. Be totally delighted to see your friends. Greet them with enthusiasm and joy.
8. Be fascinated by the sights, sounds and smells around you. The best things in life really are free.
9. Playing or going for a walk with someone is better than on your own. Run for Fun.
10. If you need to howl. Do it!
11. Smile and wag your tail a lot, it will keep your back free. Dance like a dog everyday.
12. It is OK to have a snooze in the day time. Dogs loves it when you lie on the floor. Be more dog and rest inbetween activity. It’s good for your back.
13. Get some training. Practise makes perfect. Being skilled is pure pleasure for you and the people around you.
14. It is possible to be totally relaxed and alert at the same time. Alexander Technique’s constructive rest (semi-supine) is the human equivalent of your dog sleeping with one eye open.
15. Worry Less. Muddy floors can be cleaned. Enjoy getting muddy feet in the first place.
16. Dont compare yourself with the other bitches! Be accepting.
17. It feels good to give and get strokes from others. Give and receive praise.
18. Make yourself pant breathlessly from having fun in the world at least once a day.
19. ‘NO!’ is a really important word. Use it.
20. Go outside several times a day to refresh yourself.
21 Have boundaries. Your space is your space, protect it from invaders.
22. Don’t pick fights. Stand up for yourself if necessary. Don’t cower, but exiting fast or going around something to avoid confrontation is often the best strategy. Fighting doesn’t occur if you know how to look after yourself.
23. Commitment brings joy.
24. Trust your instincts.
25. Everyday is an adventure. Going on trips is an adventure. Trust the unknown. Dogs never know what you have planned.
26. Ball games are fun.
27. Have a sense of humour and be a bit naughty sometimes.
28. Bugs, flies, moths and bees are fascinating.
29. Staying a dancing hands length away from being captured is a good game.
30. Have your own space, where you find peace and ease.
31. Sofas are great but sometimes it really is more comfortable to lie on the floor.
Rolling around on the floor is really really good too.
32. Different dogs have different energy levels and personalities. They are all loveable. Accept yourself.
33. Develop your listening skills.
34. Sitting at someone else’s feet is a mark of respect.
35 Be aware.
36. A little treat for a job well done makes life flow and brings happiness and joy.
37. Keep a little treat ‘up your sleeve’ at all times, you never know when you might need a reward.
38 Be loyal and honest. Dogs don’t lie.
39 A good companion and friend is the best thing in the world.
40. Walking everyday keeps you in good shape.
41. Some humans make better leaders than others and get more respect.
42. Slippers are great.
43. Toys that squeak must be destroyed as fast as possible.
44 It is important to respect cows, sheep and horses, but it is OK to chase crows out of the garden.
45 Some ‘cats’ are weird and need assessing before approaching.
46. Humans are a bit slow and clumsy but are generally nice and like to be loved
47. Humans that spend too long on the computer are boring and missing out on great opportunities for adventures and walks.
48. Humans don’t like arse licking.
49 Don’t chase cars.
50. Always look for the most comfortable place to sit. Sit nicely.
51 Find a favourite relaxation spot outside to watch the world go by.
52. Dogs are happy when you are happy. Be happy
53 The countryside is freer than the city. The beach is fantastic!
54. You can communicate with everyone, even if you don’t speak the same language. Be friendly to strangers.
55. Don’t hurt people. People don’t like being bitten.
56. Don’t steal other people’s stuff. Slippers are fair game!
57. Trust people unless they hurt you. Then refuse to go near them.
58. Breathe out deeply with contented pleasure when letting go into rest.
59. Explore your surroundings with new eyes and enthusiasm everyday. It is full of wonder and delight.
60. Respect the environment. Don’t ‘shit’ in someone else’s paradise. If you do, clear up the mess.
61. It is possible to be poised in activity. The eyes lead the body follows, watch a dog catch a ball, it will teach you how the body is co-ordinated.
62. It is OK to drop the ball.
63. Don’t worry. If you think it’s a dog’s life, be more dog.
64. Get messy. Use your body. Explore. Get your feet wet. Run into the sea. Dig in the earth. Enjoy Life.
65. Everyday is a new opportunity to enjoy chasing and catching the ball! People will start buying balls if they know your passion, and come to visit just in order to share your passion with you!
66. Dogs are keenly aware if something different is going to happen … Putting shoes on to go out is a very exciting life event!
67. Watching the behaviour of others is interesting and gives insight! Your dog is watching you!
68. Think ahead! Forward planning can make life a lot easier. A dog won’t necessarily be caught just because that is what you want this very minute.
69. Give praise quickly. If it is a no, it is a no, if it is a yes, be quick with the praise too. Yes is the goal. Your no supports your yes! It’s anatomical!
70. Dogs can anticipate your next action. Maisie, my Cockerpoo, puts the ball where she thinks I am going next, she is invariably correct. My dog is mind reading me!
71. Dogs are very good human trainers!
72. Let sleeping dogs lie. There is truth in old wisdom. It gives you peace.
73. Dogs understand body language.
74. Dogs love it when you rest your hand on them and think into the back of it. Bliss! Alexander Technique non doing ‘hands on’ are an excellent and effective way for calming down a manic, crazy dog … over time!
75. Who cares about the weather when you can go OUTSIDE!
76. Get more Grrrrrr …. stronger boundaries and grrrreater passion for life! Anger and hyper energy can be very useful!
77. Passion and obsession are not so different! …. Really keep your eye on your favourite ball!
78. If one person doesn’t want to play with you, don’t worry! Someone else will play with you.
79. Dogs bring energy and enthusiasm into the room. Whoo hoo! Live life with energy and enthusiasm.
80. Chasing a dog that doesn’t want to be caught is a waste of time!
81. If it is not working with the dog do something else, be creative … Creativity keeps life interesting.
82. Not everyone loves your dog. But all that matters is that you do. Trust your own judgement. Trust your own love! Everyone deserves love!
83. Some dogs are messier than other. It is just who they are. They are not trying to mess up your life on purpose!
84. Not all dogs want to be fawned over, some dogs just like their own space. Free choice! Don’t take it personally!
85. ‘Some dogs mothers are bigger than other dogs mothers!’ (misquoted from The Smiths). We are all different … YAY!
86. No matter how small you are or think you are, you are important! You are allowed to take up your space.
87. People really don’t like being barked at!
88. There are different kinds of bark. Use your bark only in the case of emergency when you really need to get someones attention.
89. Dogs have an opinion too. Allow others their opinion. You don’t have to agree.
90. People are wonderful and to be greeted with enthusiasm. Most people will respond back accordingly. The odd one won’t. Don’t take it personally, it is their problem not yours!
91. You don’t need words to communicate love.
92. Be kind! Kindness will be rewarded with loyalty and companionship.
93. Dogs don’t take your grumpy mood personally. Don’t take things personally.
94. What is your stuff is your stuff, what is their stuff is their stuff.
95. Dogs know how to give you space if you are in a bad mood and will go find somewhere to hang out in their own happy space. Give people space if they need it.
96. Find the warmest and most comfortable place to lie down and let go completely.
97. Take the ‘plunge’ – even if you have never tried to ‘swim’ before you might like it. And if not, the shore is not far away.
98. Innocent but slightly eccentric behaviour can be misinterpreted badly. Be your quirky unique self even if people do misunderstand you. Don’t stop doing what makes you happy just because folk don’t get it!
(My dog likes to tickle her inside leg on the shoe of anyone sitting cross legged. This involves lifting her leg as though she were a male dog about to pee. Maisie is doing her ballet moves for fun!)
99. Dogs change your perception of life … A lone man walking a dog on a path is a man taking his dog for a walk. A man walking alone on a path is a potential threat! (sorry guys!)
100. Dogs love to meet and greet. Dogs bring people together. Strangers will talk to a dog where they might be shy to talk to you.
101.Love is unconditional.
My Motto after two and half years with a highly intelligent, hyperactive Cockerpoo affectionally known as Crazy Maisie is – ‘Be More Maisie!’
Animals can teach us daft humans a whole lot of life lessons …
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UPCOMING ART EXHIBITOIN – SEA AND THE CITY, DUNDAS GALLERY, DUNDAS STREET, EDINBURGH 26 – 30 APRIL 2017 10am – 6pm.
(Maisie will be meeting and greeting visitors to the exhibition!)
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101 Life Lessons from my Dog – copyright Kirsten Harris, July 2016/March 2017