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 🙂
Thank you for this beautiful email. Brought me to tears
I love my GSD but my husband is almost giving up on the hope that our baby will not change his behaviour
I am so torn
Thanks Benny! If your dog is suffering from behavioural issues you can change them, but those changes always start with the humans first! My website TheOnlineDogTrainer.com covers a broad range of behavioural issues and shows owners how to easily address them…maybe take a quick look…its a $1USD trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan
Hi there Dan….Peanut sounds an amazing dog. Our last dog, a rescue collie cross, was a treasure and we miss her dearly. Your story of Peanut sensing the end has prompted me to share our story. My husband and I had spent over a fortnight up in the Shetland Isles, and Phoebe, 14 but very active, couldn’t come with us on this holiday, for various reasons, so she went into kennels for the longest time we had ever left her. We felt guilty about this, and intended to have another short break away with her when we returned, to make up for it. We returned home on a Monday afternoon, went straight to the kennels, and she came trotting out to greet us, seemingly none the worse for being left. We all had a good romp in the meadows before returning home. But the next day she had trouble with her back legs, and when we took her for a walk she didn’t want to spin and run and catch the ball, in her usual manner, just plodded about. I should say, it was also the hottest week of the summer, here in the UK, so we thought maybe plodding was best! The following day her legs were still dodgy and she didn’t want her food, but we still put that down to the heat and her age. But on Thursday she couldn’t get up at all, we took her to the vet, where she was scanned – and found to have a massive tumour in her ribcage. She was made comfortable so that the whole family could visit her to say farewell that evening. We sat in the waiting room until the end of surgery, and then were shown in to the room where Phoebe was lying ……only she wasn’t…she had got up when she heard our voices, I suspect, and was staggering to the door as we opened it – it was heartbraking. We stayed with her, two at a time, for the next half our or so, stroking and kissing her, it was so lovely and so terrible, yet we knew she understood. The children left us alone with the vet eventually, and Phoebe soon slipped away. It is making me tearful just telling this story – but as the vet said, Phoebe waited for us to return from our holiday before collapsing. She must have had the tumour for quite a while, and yet there had been no sign of any problem until the day after we came home….she had waited for us.
I absolutely believe in the sixth sense that dogs have, other creatures too, which we do not have. The suddenness of Phoebe’s departure was a dreadful shock for us all, but we take comfort in the fact that she waited for us, loved us unconditionally. There is nothing greater in this world.
Hilary I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful dog Phoebe. Your story had me tearing up! It is apparent that she was a very important and valued member of your family and it was a blessing that you could be there with her at the end. Thank-you for sharing your story, as hard as it can be….Dogs are amazing, Doggy Dan
Wow, I’m so glad I found and read this blog. This is truly the most beautiful thing that I have ever read. It’s all about love, that’s what life is all about. I was so touched by reading this, and it has really opened my eyes to what kind of person I want to be. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Thanks Melissa! I’m really happy you enjoyed my Blog about Peanut. She was an amazing dog and her presence is still very much felt in our house. Best, Doggy Dan
So sorry to hear your dog Peanut has passed. Your tribute to her brought tears to my eyes. I truly believe you will be with her again in Heaven. Thank you for
sharing what she taught you in her short life.
Thanks for your well wishes Carol. Peanut’s legacy lives on with our family every day and she will always be missed. It’s so important to enjoy our time with them while we have it! Best, Doggy Dan
Thank you for your tribute to Peanut. Beautiful and touching. We lost Bob our Boston on May 10 2018 at 15. He taught me so much and was the best friend., I totally get what you said about unconditional love. We have recently gotten a 5 month old Boston named Pebbles from a rescue and I am using your online training. I am so thankful for your gentle method and it is working so well. Again sorry for your loss. Peanut was lovely.
I’m glad you liked my post about our beloved Peanut! Sorry for the loss of your Bob, dogs really are great teachers in so many ways. Thanks for your kind words, Doggy Dan
Dear Doggy Dan, the tribute to Peanut was beautiful and heartfelt. She was very special! Thank you for sharing the life lessons…very good reminders for life! My prayers to you, your family and Peanut.
Thanks Megan…Peanut was a very special part of our family and her memory will continue to live on for many, many years to come. Best, Doggy Dan
Hi Dan, My deepest condolences. We lost both of our dogs this winter, and while we’ve adopted a new puppy (who is a joy), we still feel the void. So we do understand how deeply you can feel the loss of a friend like Peanut. We appreciated reading about the special bond you had with him. He truly was special.
Thank-you for your well-wishes….I pass on my condolences to you for your loss as well. Every dog is unique and they do leave their own special mark in our lives. Other dogs certainly help with the healing process but they can never replace a life lost. Best, Doggy Dan
Dear Doggy Dan, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s amazing isn’t it, how deeply our little furpals effect us. I believe as you do, that they know far more about whats going on than we can imagine. They know exactly how to calm our hearts when we are troubled. You were so lucky to have had such a wonderful little soul to guide you along. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Big hugs to you all. Pups included (I know that they grieve too).
Thanks Nancy, your kind words are really appreciated! We are all doing well, dogs included, and Peanut will certainly not be forgotten. She was a ‘one in a million’ dog….but then I guess everyone has one of those don’t they! Best, Dan
Thank you for sharing your story, I have no trouble in believing that dogs (indeed animals) are smarter than we are.
I rescued a GSD it has been a long hard beautiful journey ( I used your online dog training to help me).
I believe she was a gift, sent to help both of us through life’s journey. She has taught me things that only a dog could and I know we both love each other unconditionally and for that I am truly grateful.
I have to absolutely agree with you Joan….dogs are way more intelligent than we give them credit for…in fact I believe they have a higher intelligence than ours in a lot of ways. The challenging ones are sent to teach us lessons that will stick with us for our entire life…but I acknowledge it can be difficult to see that when you are in the middle of working on their behaviour! Best, Dan
Moved me to tears! My dog, “Junior”, a nine months old Bull arab cross, looks just like Peanut, even has a red nose. I love dogs, and Junior would rather cuddle than eat! He loves your idea of the chicken scraps whizzed in the nutribullet and poured over his dry dog food! Enjoy your dogs and kids, must be a great life to earn your living doing what you enjoy!
Thanks Marilyn. The saying ‘do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life’ perfectly explains how I feel about helping dogs and their owners. Junior sounds like a great companion! Best, Dan
So sorry that Peanut has moved on. No matter how long they are with us, it is never long enough. One saying that helps me when one of my pets moves on is: don’t cry because their life is over – smile because we shared life with them. Happy journeys Peanut.
Diane, you are absolutely right…..dogs never live long enough but they do leave a big impression on our lives and we are all the better for it! Best, Dan
What a wonderful memory of Peanut and she has taught us much and thank you for passing it on to us. Best wishes and deepest sympathies, Paul C.
Thanks for your post Paul, she was a great teacher that’s for sure! Best, Dan
Peanut’s example gently taught me and my newfie, Nicholas, who is now 3, but long distance to Oregon, We were part of your online training program when he was a puppy and a teenager. I always thought about how she would react to his puppy ways! He’s a big gentle guy now. I loved reading your beautiful memories of her. What a special being!
Thanks Suzanne….it makes me really happy to know that Peanut has played a big part in improving so many dog and owner relationships across the world. Best, Doggy Dan
Thank you for sharing your story of Peanut and what she taught you. I will take that and do my best to implement it in my life.
I’m happy to pass on Peanut’s wisdom to anyone who may benefit from it! Best, Dan
Thank you so much for letting us share all that Peanuts means to you- and the part she played in your life. I will return to read this message often.
I first read your book about What Dogs taught you about Parenting. I have dogs, no children but a community of nuns (as superior) and your book taught me a lot. I used to listen to often. We all love PEANUTS for what she enabled you to do for our canine friends- world wide! God bless and comfort you in the loss.
M Maria, thank you for your blessings and kind words! It makes me really happy to know that Peanut touched so many people, and that her lessons in life are ones we can all live by. Best, Dan
I was deeply moved by your beautiful memories of Peanut…..it brought me to tears !
What a magnificent friend !!
My life has been immersed in the blessing of animals and so much of what you have expressed, I truly understand and embrace.
Please know that I share your sorrow and the celebration of her precious life !
May she be with you always !
Thanks Penny…Peanut was an amazing dog and her legacy will live on in everything I do. Best, Doggy Dan
OMG this email made me cry so much. We lost our beautiful ‘Ellie Dog’ 7 April 17. She was a standard Poodle that entered our life when she was 3 as a rescue (her previous owner died). She was 14 and a half when she died. She was my angel. Like your lovely dog peanut, she was so soft and calm around everyone in the house.Even my grandaughter sitting in her bed with her!!! She was obedient and fun out on walks too. I loved her so very much and still miss her desparately.
We still have Milo (another rescue standard poodle, who is more lively but has manners) who lived with us when we had Ellie Dog and now Dexter (yet another rescue standard poodle) Who has needed A LOT of training to become a calm and ‘normal dog’!! Hence why we have joined your online training. He has caused a lot of stress to this house and I was becoming desperate with him. A friend pointed me to you via facebook and I watched some of your videos and decided I liked what I saw. AND so far …….. WOW what a difference, and we have only just begun!! I might even get to love Dexter lol !!!! He was 3 when he came to us in January. Definitely mistreated by his previous owner. Kept in a crate for 12 hours + at a time when they worked!!!! He was a leaping, biting out of control dog with absolutely NO MANNERS at all!! We had a dog behaviorist to the house for a few weeks which helped a lot but he still has no manners. (jumps up at everyone who enters the house and mouthing them, even trying to do that at babies!!!! and worktops in the kitchen!! Nothing is safe!) So I hope that with your help and training Dexter will become a lovable dog and I can have visitors again (including my granchildren, which I have had to stop coming around due fear of the Dexter biting and jumping of them!) But so far I have to say THANK YOU DOGGY DAN. Kind regards Melanie
Hi Melanie, thanks for your kind words! Every dog is different, with their own individual personality and so some can certainly require a little more patience than others. I like to remind myself that these dogs teach us a lot about ourselves and we are all the better for their presence in our lives. One super quick way to manage Dexter’s behaviour around guests is to have him on a leash. It will mean he calms down a lot quicker and you can calmly manage any unwanted behaviours. Once he has relaxed you can give him a little more freedom. Best, Doggy Dan