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Most people would say dogs can teach you a lot about responsibility...which is true. BUT, they can teach us a lot more about how to live our lives if we're willing to pay closer attention.

In my last post, we focused on love lessons from Church E. Bear. Well, here are some more generic life lessons that my sweet bernese baby has taught me over the past couple years.

Learning how to live through the lessons that dogs teach us would be a major upgrade to the average human (myself included). I'm trying to live my life more through the lens of Church E. Bear everyday. Since Church taught me all of this, it's sort of my first guest post...transcribed by momma.

Here's to you Church E. Bear!

  • Schedules are important. If you’ve ever (successfully) trained a puppy, you understand how important schedules are to their lives (and to the happiness of yours). They do not understand us, but they do understand routines. The schedules we develop for them allow them to be successful! Meeting expectations becomes easier, because they now understand what those expectations are. Stick to a schedule to help develop & meet your own expectations!
  • Focus on the good and ignore the bad. Church does not dwell, he really doesn’t let much upset him. Airy steals his toys like it’s her job, he doesn’t pout, he doesn’t fight, he ignores it and finds something better to do. God I admire him. He’s helped put in perspective that life is too short to get upset over things that are either: 1. out of your control, or 2. not worth arguing over.  
  • Practice makes perfect. I woke up Saturday and decided it would be fun to teach Church a new trick. When teaching new tricks it's very apparent that on first attempts, he has no idea what I’m trying to get him to do. We break it down step by step, and celebrate each small victory with a treat. He doesn’t get frustrated with himself for messing up, he just smiles and tries again. He’s just trying to make it to the next treat! Church has helped me to accept my failures, keep trying and celebrate small victories! Oh by the way, he has already mastered the new trick…take a bow Church!


  • Persistence pays off. When Church wants to play he stares, and then he’ll growl, and then bark at you. He won’t.stop.staring. If he wants to play and I want to watch The Sopranos, he’s probably going to win. He simply just wants it more than I do. He’ll bring me every toy, and usually refuse to give up. Imagine if we were as persistent as our dogs in all our endeavors, imagine if we all saw a potential dead end as only the starting point in the negotiation.
  • Life is amazing. I think we should take more cues from their zest for life. Let’s greet our families the way our dogs greet us when we get home, run hard through mud puddles, get more curious and less judgmental, do tricks to earn our treats. Church has shown me that every day there is so much to be thankful for, so much to get newly excited about and that nothing should be taken for granted.
  • Nap when needed. Last, but not least, when you need a nap...take one. You'll be more productive if you just listen to your body. Church really over does it with about 18-20 hours a sleep per day, but hey those other 4 or 5 hours are well utilized. I used to feel super guilty for sleeping/napping (former insomniac here!). I felt it was unproductive and precious time wasted. I've learned from Church that relaxing, slowing down and recharging is essential if you're going to live life ALL OUT the rest of the time!

What's the best life lesson your dog has taught you? I know there are at least 586 more!