Monday, August 26, 2013

INSTINCTUAL LIFE LESSONS FROM DOGS THAT WE ALL NEED TO LEARN!

   
We've been covering some heavy duty subjects that are indeed informative but not necessarily pleasant.  So this week, we thought we would "take a walk on the lighter side" and present to you something not only illuminating, but a bit more fun as well!

Dogs may never send a rocket to the moon, but what they instinctively know versus what we require "outside information" for is quite remarkable.  Here's a look at a few of the things that occur naturally in the wonderful world of dogs that we, as humans, could learn a lot from!

SUNBATHING:  Dogs instinctively know they need the sun.  Not only for warmth, but also for their RDA  of Vitamin D (sunshine is THE best and most natural source of vitamin D).  We humans have abused our time in the sun, and pay for it with sunburns and skin cancer.  But dogs know that a little vitamin D goes a long way!  Ever wonder why your dog goes out and lies in the sun on a hot day only to come in a few minutes later panting???  You think "why would  you do such a thing, now you're hot!"  But  note the AMOUNT of time they spend in the sun. They're not out for hours, they're out for probably 10-20 minutes,  which is exactly the right amount of time for them (and for us) to get the proper amount of Vitamin D.  We need sunscreen because we spend hours in the sun. Dogs don't because they know when to come in!

NAUSEA:  If we feel like we may throw up, we go strait to the medicine cabinet and grab our pepto bismol or pepsid or maybe some ginger ale.  ANYTHING to prevent throwing up.  Guess what a dog does?  They find  the most bitter patch of grass, ingest a huge chunk of it and vomit as a way  to speed up the healing process in their system.  Now we're not encouraging any humans to go chomping grass next time a little nausea crops up, but we are encouraging you to let your dog eat that grass and throw up whatever is upsetting their system. They definitely know best in this case.  It's important to note there are actually two different types of grass and each poses a different function.  The first are short, fat blades which are the bitter grass dogs eat when they don't feel well.  The second is what we call "spring grass".  It's the long slender blades of grass that taste sweet to dogs and give them a healthy dose of chlorophyll.   

NAPPING:  Dogs know when they're tired, and napping is a part of their daily regimen.  Napping has been proven to improve overall health not only for those in the animal kingdom, but also for us in the the human kingdom. Now in all fairness how many of us have time each day for a little midday shuteye?  Not many.  However, how about the weekend, or when we have days off, or even when we take a vacation?  Our species has a tendency to be obsessed with filling every moment doing something, or reading something, or watching something and that's not exactly healthy.  Once again the logic of a dog's world is much simpler and smarter here:  I'm tired so I'm going to take a break and take a nap.

STRETCHING:  Studies have proven stretching for us humans is AS IMPORTANT as exercise.   But how many of us stretch upon rising? Or periodically throughout the day, even though it may only take a few minutes?  Dogs always stretch and do it through a full range of motion from head to tail. The yoga world learned a lesson or two long ago by observing dogs stretching. After all, they don't call it "downward dog" for nothing!  Also note that dogs do that wonderful "head to tail" body shake.  Ever wonder why?  There are a few reasons for this but the main reason is a complete spinal chiropractic adjustment. We think if we tried to imitate that one, we'd need a chiropractor!  But dogs, well they just know and have known long before chiropractors or yoga came into play.

MEDITATION:  You've put up with the blog this long but now you have serious doubts. You think to yourself  "Fido cannot possibly don the spandex, sit cross-legged on a comfy mat  and go 'ommmmmmm.'" You are absolutely right!  But isn't meditation is more about being in, and enjoying the present moment?  Welcome to the wonderful world of dogs where living in the present moment is the ONLY way they live!!

Our golden retriever Babe is an expert meditator.  Every morning, for at least two hours, he goes out to the back lawn and lies there watching his squirrel and bird friends.  He doesn't bark, he doesn't run back and forth, he just observes the activity of the world around him, content to just "sit still and be in the present moment"' We don't know about you, but if someone instructed us to go sit and watch squirrels and birds  or just generally watch the world go by for two hours at a time, we'd go bonkers!  We haven't "trained ourselves" to think that way and if we do decide to meditate,  we usually require a class or an instructional DVD to TEACH us how to be in the present moment and just enjoy breathing!  Just one more example of a dogs instincts being a little more advanced than ours.

We could  go on and on because let's face it, the more we all learn about the world of dogs, the more  extraordinary it and they become.  So we are going to cover one last topic  and this one is our personal  favorite:

NEVER LETTING THE KID IN THEM DIE:   In all fairness to our human species, dogs at their height of emotional maturity are teenagers A grown dog's personality is essentially that of a juvenile wolf.   But we can still learn from their extraordinary example of always  retaining a hearty amount of goofiness.  This is one area  where many of us have spent hard earned dollars to LEARN how to "lighten up" and have more fun.  A veterinarian we knew some time ago referred to something he called "frapping":  "Frequent Random Acts of Playfulness".  It's when a dog simply runs in large circles, or runs from room-to-room, or just runs back and forth with no apparent reason, but just for the joy of doing it. We heard this term 21 years ago, and yet it still sticks in our mind every time we  see that wonderful random act of playing we all are privileged enough to witness in our four-legged friends.  And what's so wonderful about such goofiness is how contagious it can be. There are many times we ourselves are immersed in our day, being a bit too serious about life,  when out of the corner of our eyes, one of our wonderful pups comes flying through the house with running like there's  no tomorrow. Literally,  they are having the time of their lives for no apparent reason other than just to have fun.  WOW!  Could we ask for a better life than that?  What a lesson and what wonderful teachers they all are.

Dogs don't have the responsibilities we have (thank goodness!).  There are completely dependent upon us for comfort, food, and health and well-being, making their life considerably less stressful than ours.   But we don't think it would hurt any of us to take a break to not only to be with them and enjoy them, but also to observe and learn from them. We can honestly say in the past 14 plus years that we have been lucky enough to do this "job", we have learned  more from observation than we have ever learned from a course, DVD and/or book about the world  of canines.  Not that supplemental learning isn't essential but it ain't the whole deal!  So next time you're behind a car that has a bumper sticker saying "my dog is smarter than your honor student.........", don't laugh or shake your head, but give it a thought or two.

We hope you enjoyed this blog as much as we did bringing it to you and of course, we welcome your comments because without all of you, we're just kind of writing for ourselves and our imaginary friends. And if you do find these blogs interesting and informative, please don't hesitate to share it with your friends.  Our mission is to help as many people and their dogs as possible, and you sharing this information will advance the cause considerably. Incidentally, the blog will now be every other week  instead of weekly.  We  feel bad about this, but unfortunately we do not have as much free time as our furry friends do!  Thanks  as always for tuning in!

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