Life lessons from Spot.

Dogs have a lot to teach. If you pay attention, you can certainly learn a few life lessons from your favorite canine — even if she chews your shoes. The following are a few maxims I’ve picked up from hanging around my family’s cool pooches.

1.) Stick with your squad.

Dogs are known for their loyalty. Some of them are cowards, and others are messmakers, but they’re all pretty much loyal. Even if you know you’re making a bad decision, a dog will be right there with you, full of unconditional love. So even if you don’t want to ramp your sled off a cliff, you can channel your inner dog and at least be there to support your friend … and make a video of his poor decision.

2.) Speak up when something bugs you.

When dogs have a problem, you’ll know about it. They can’t write down a detailed message of what’s happening, but they’ll certainly bark, whimper, wine, scratch, and jump. Make like a dog when something’s wrong and voice your complaint: you might be better off for it. (Warning: dehydrated dogs don’t always make noise; they may act sluggish instead.)

3.) Rest.

We usually think of dogs as endless balls of energy, but they spend a lot of time sleeping. Adult dogs will stay snoozing for 12-14 hours per day. Be healthy like a canine and get enough rest—humans only require 8-9 hours, but we certainly have enough to accomplish in our daily lives, so our brains need to function at 100%. Plus, a dog might help you get better sleep! (Sometimes.)

4.) Explore your world, every day.

Too often humans get stuck in a rut and do the same things over and over. Dogs might have their routines, but they certainly can’t get enough of following strange smells, far-off noises, or fast-moving objects. So make like a pup and take a good look around you: follow that random path in the woods, strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know, or even investigate a pleasant smell. (Warning: there may be a difference between what you and your dog consider pleasant.)

5.) Laugh.

Life is too short not to laugh, and even dogs do it: so what are you waiting for? Follow your dog’s lead and practice having a good time; laughter is proven to boost endorphin levels. Here are some funny dogs to get you started.

by Joseph Grammer