7 Life Lessons from My Beloved Dog Peanut
At the end of April 2018, my beloved dog Peanut passed away at the age of 13 and a half.
I always believed that she came into this world to change lives and help us understand dogs and ourselves better.
Now, looking back, I also realize she was one of the greatest life teachers I could have wished for.
So today, I would like to share with you 7 lessons she taught me during her life so that you too can benefit from the wisdom of my beautiful, wise, old dog, Peanut.
And, at the end, I’ll share with you a fascinating story, which I personally believe is more than just a coincidence!
Let’s begin with a very quick history of my dear dog.
Watch my tribute to Peanut’s life here...
Peanut came to my wife and me as a 10-week-old puppy who was supposed to remain small, round, and brown!
However, she grew incredibly fast and soon developed into a big, strong, majestic dog.
From the moment we got her, it was clear that she was special. Almost everyone who met her loved her, called her their favorite dog, and fell in love with her...even people who “didn’t like dogs”!
She was so special, in fact, that Peanut was actually the one who finally got me out of the corporate world and motivated me to become a dog trainer.
For over a decade we travelled around sharing the dog training method that has become known as The Dog Calming Code with thousands of people.
She also inspired the membership site of the Online Dog Trainer and was the inspiration behind my book What the Dogs Taught Me About Being a Parent.
So, in more ways than one, she totally changed my life and helped tens of thousands of people around the world.
I was so fortunate to get 13 and a 1/2 beautiful years with her.
So, that’s a quick summary! And in honor of her passing and a desire to continue her legacy, here are 7 things Peanut taught me during her time on earth.
#1 Choose very carefully those people you hang around with.
We all have to be careful about whom we hang around with in life. And looking back at Peanut’s life, I realize now that she put this into practice every day...
She was always very aware of what people’s ulterior motives were and what their energy signature was.
She knew whether somebody was in a place of desperation, frustration, anger, or bitterness. And she was very careful about whom she hung around.
Here’s an example of just how in tune Peanut was. Check out this video to take a look at a very special story of how she helped one lady out…
So, if somebody was being…
- Leachy, or an energy vampire...
- Crazy, silly, excited, or anxiety fueled...
- Angry, aggressive, bitter, hurtful, or resentful...
...she would generally just ignore those people.
That's right. She wouldn’t challenge them. Instead, once she’d accurately ascertained where they were at, she’d choose NOT to align with them.
Put very simply, she’d walk away, and that moving away meant she didn’t waste her energy!
That did NOT mean she stopped loving you if you were having a bit of an off day. But, she certainly was always very aware of hanging around negative energy.
If a dog was looking for a fight, Peanut was the first to simply walk away!
She taught me to think about the energy of the people that I hang around with a lot.
She made me think...
Does this person suck my energy? Do I get sucked into his/her dramas, anger, or frustration?
Does this leave me feeling topped up and positive about life?
Or does he/she drain me and leave me feeling stuck in the status quo?
If Peanut could speak, she’d tell you to pay attention to these things, too!
Take notice of whom you hang around because their energy will affect yours.
And remember, you always have the option of moving away and hanging out with positive people and positive energy.
#2 Being great is not about winning.
Peanut was such a great dog who was loved by both people and other dogs.
But she never had to “win” that love…
Nor did she have to “win” to be loved!
I took GREAT notice of this because I used to be such a competitive person.
And as someone who is competitive, it’s easy to feel as if you need to compete and win to be viewed as “being great” or “worthy” of love.
But here’s the thing...
We loved Peanut because of who she was. NOT because of what she did.
Peanut didn’t have to compete and prove herself. We just loved her.
For this reason, I’ve started being a lot easier on myself in life.
Whether it’s about being right in an argument or coming first in a sports competition, the focus is LESS about winning at all costs.
Peanut has taught me something very simple but totally profound…
“Better to be happy than right.”
#3 Practice unconditional love.
I never really understood what unconditional love was until I saw Peanut demonstrate it consistently for over 13 years.
Let me give you a very simple example...
There was a period when Peanut and I spent almost every day together for an entire year.
She was by me in the passenger seat of the car, next to me at home, with me on the beach, walking, working, resting and playing...she was always by my side…
In fact, I spent more time with Peanut than I did with my wife, Jenni!
But, as the years went by and Peanut got older and stayed home more, we didn’t see each other so much.
We didn’t have so much time for each other, and I was forced to ignore her to a degree to focus on my family, business, and other things.
But she was always there.
It didn’t matter if I was not walking her as I wanted or she wanted. And it didn’t matter that I didn’t spend much time with her.
She was always there.
It didn’t matter what I did...she loved me no matter what.
And on that last day when I was with her, I really felt that.
It was an amazing connection. Something that words will NEVER be able to explain…
Her desire to connect with me on her final day on this earth was something that had to be seen.
It felt as if she had to make sure that I knew how much she loved me.
That even though I had not spent as much time with her as I would like to, she still loved me unconditionally…And she succeeded in doing that. She made it all very, very clear.
She demonstrated unconditional love up until the moment she took her last breath.
Unconditional love is NOT about loving because of what the other being gives you or does for you. You simply love them for who they are...
#4 Be calm and at peace, and others will become calm, too.
There is no doubt in my mind that you attract what you put out.
Having witnessed it over the whole of Peanut’s life, I now understand it better.
Peanut and I worked with thousands of dogs—many hundreds of them were very aggressive—sharing with people how to implement The Dog Calming Code training method with amazing results.
Yet she was never bitten. NEVER. Not once.
Nor did she ever bite...NEVER…Not once.
In fact, she passed through her whole life almost as if she had a protective bubble around her.
It was phenomenal.
She would turn up to some dog consults with very aggressive dogs, and in those situations, she would stay a hundred yards away.
It was as if she was saying, “I am not gonna go near them. They’re gonna bite” so she knew exactly when and with which dogs to keep her distance...
Yet, there were also many, many times where a dog was overexcited, very scared, or potentially aggressive, and she would just move in slowly with her bubble of calm, peace, and confidence.
And then, like magic, it was as if the other dog would become engulfed inside Peanut’s bubble of peace and calm. And the day would be transformed…
He would go from stiff, tail up, tense, and eyes wide open to relaxed, sniffing about, and just casually following Peanut around!
From this experience, I slowly understood that if we want others to be calm and still, then we ourselves need to create that inner calm and stillness.
It's too easy to shout “calm down, calm down” but it never works… Peanut put into practice the great quote of Gandhi...
“Be the change that you wish to see in this world.”
Peanut was calm, loving, and gentle and that is exactly what she attracted into her life.
#5 Master the art of patience.
Peanut’s patience was just unbelievable.
When I look at the puppies she helped raise including my own two, Inca and Moses— she took care of them as if they were her own.
Her tolerance with the puppies jumping and climbing all over her was another level above what I have seen any human put up with.
Not to mention, she was always patient with our two young children.
When she’d had enough, she would move away, and, of course, if necessary, we would step in to give her a break, but that was rarely needed.
And, when she did discipline and tell a puppy or dog off, she would do just enough to give a good clear warning, but never more than that.
She was always in a calm, peaceful place... even when she was disciplining and laying down the ground rules.
She taught me that patience doesn’t mean that you don’t ever say ‘No!’
Rather it’s a case of saying “No” clearly and calmly from a place of patient love.
#6 Silence is golden.
Peanut never spoke!
And she rarely barked!
In fact, for most of her amazing existence, sharing and communication were done in silence.
Through Peanut, I learned that silence is not only golden, but it is also powerful.
The power of silence is something we often underestimate. We think we have to be constantly talking to communicate.
I often wondered what was going on inside Peanut’s mind when she used to just lie in the sun.
Was she dreaming? Meditating?
Unfortunately, I never found out. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that it was a bit of both!
Because remember—you attract what you put out.
Put out love, calm, and peaceful energy, and that is what you will attract.
Put out non-stop talking and sending out energy, and you will get a non-stop barrage of energy back at you!
So, if you really want to take things to the next level…
Spend a bit of time in silence each day, in meditation, in prayer, or just in silence focusing on your breath. Experience what calm dogs do most of their lives!
And if you find that impossible, then maybe you’re getting close to discovering something about your state of mind.
Let me wrap up this point by asking you to think about this quote...“Is it any wonder that man's best friend doesn’t speak?”
#7 Be here now, and experience love.
I know that this is a phrase that is often bandied about...but I never fully understood the level to which one could take it until Peanut passed.
When I look back at how she lived every single moment of every day in the now, I see how, when it came to her last day, she could have no regrets!
She had gotten the most out of every moment, every day, every second, every experience so there was nothing to regret!
When on the beach, she was fully there, exploring the seashore, in the water, in the sand, rolling and playing...she wasn’t worried about me or the other dogs, or what was for dinner!
And when she was at home cuddling, she was there with you 100% in mind and body. There was no wasting time wishing for something to be different!
When it was time to work and to help another dog in a consultation, she was there fully in the moment. Committed to making it happen.
This amazing ability to always simply BE in the moment meant that she was always totally engaged in it.
Fully embracing life at all times, she gave it her ALL and chose to enjoy the process.
And then she moved onto the next thing.
The result of this…there could be no regrets.
Often, she didn’t have to physically DO anything—it would be more of a mental thing.
For example, when she was cuddling you, she could just be there, in the moment, existing, taking it all in, and being happy.
After all, we are called “human beings.” Notice the start of the word: be.
So maybe today, STOP being a “human doing” rushing around “doing stuff” and just be here now.
When you are having a meal with your family or friends, be there with them fully engaged making the most of it…no distractions!
And when you are away from them doing something else, be fully focused on what it is you are doing.
Notice and enjoy each and every moment!
So, there are seven of the many things that Peanut shared with me over her lifetime.
Hopefully some of those will help you on your journey of life.
If you’d like to find out more about what Peanut has taught me, I encourage you to check out the amazing power of The Dog Calming Code method, the exact same one that we shared with thousands of dog owners over the years.
My Gift to you (from Peanut)
And, as a special gift, I’d like to offer you 5 FREE audio chapters from my book to get you started.
➜ Get your FREE Audio chapters here.
I believe Peanut would like it that way 🙂
Now, as promised, I would like to finish with a little story, which I have never shared before.
This story takes place on the day Peanut died. Check it out...
On the day of Peanut’s death, I had a strangely weird sense that I need to pay attention and document the exact time she took her last breath.
So, within seconds of Peanut taking her last breath, I turned immediately to the clock, took the time, and wrote it down on a piece of paper.
The time was 10:34.
At the time I didn’t know why I had to write it down, but it struck me not long after as to why the number was so significant.
You see Peanut was the dog who got me on the path to begin my career as a dog trainer.
She got me out from a series of careers that I did not enjoy—the very first one of which I was a police officer.
And, believe it or not, my police officer number that I had been given by the British Police force was Police Officer 1034.
The exact same number as the time Peanut passed—10:34.
Of course, it may be coincidence that this happened, but it also may not be. You need to decide that for yourself.
I have to add that this wouldn't be the first time an odd coincidence with Peanut has occurred.
Watch this video to see an interesting story from Peanut’s life.
(And I plan on sharing more of those stories at a later time...so stay tuned!)
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that there is so much more going on in this world that we cannot see.
Personally, I believe we are so much more than just physical bodies. That there is another force, call it a spirit or a soul that lives on…
And that the dogs are aware of and connected to these things as well.
It’s my hope that these stories will motivate you to be the best you can and to believe in something greater than the bricks and mortar that we are often imprisoned by.
I do not claim to have all the answers, but I feel blessed to have experienced a lifetime with Peanut, and it is my pleasure to have shared some of those experiences with you.
If we are ready to listen to our dogs (and other animals), then they will certainly be willing to share with us what they know.
Today when you get home, sit in silence with your dog and see what he has to share…
And when he opens up to you in that silence...make sure that you are listening 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget to check out The Dog Calming Code here.
~Doggy Dan 🙂