How to Train a Dog? Google it and 13.8 million results appear including countless dog trainers because of people like me who are not very good at it.

The other day I had a contrarian thought as I was stroking the soft head of my Lab and looking into his sweet, big ol’ eyes before I stepped into bed . . .“What do our dogs teach us?”

Maybe this was just a hands-in-the-air-I-give-up line of thinking as we have never been able to teach our dogs to do much beyond sit and ring a bell to go outside (and our Big Yellow Dog still hasn’t figured that one out). But maybe they are here to train us to be better and do better? Maybe one day it will be A.I., dogs and roaches running a world filled with weeds in full bloom. (biting tongue on political commentary here) Who knows?!

What I do know is that our dogs teach my family many things on a daily basis: 


  1. Adoption leads to love. Adopted pets, just like children, can be loved just as much as the ones that are bred for you.
    Family introductions in the first days together with Lopey (a.k.a. Little Yellow Dog) who we got from Lucky Lab Rescue as a puppy.
  2. We must look after those that need our help.

    The car ride home the day we got Lukey (a.k.a. Big Yellow Dog) from Lucky Lab Rescue. He had Lopey at Hello. Together they are lovingly referred to as “The Dawgles” by our family.
  3. Being color blind is not a fault.
  4. We need all types of dogs. Shih Tzus wouldn’t do a very good job pulling a sled, but they make a great lap dog.
  5. We are all mutts. If you think otherwise, swab your cheek and send it to an ancestry service.
  6. Be grateful to the ones who look after you.
  7. It’s okay to not always be the leader of the pack. We all have our place, and we are all important.
  8. Greet people at the door and see them out as they leave.
  9. Walking is good.
  10. Napping is REAL good. Please, young ones, just close your eyes and enjoy it. Especially during a long car ride.
  11. If you pull on the leash, it’s likely to get shorter.
  12. Listen to your elders and trust your instincts. They’ve served the generations before you very well.
  13. There is true beauty and goodness when we forgive.

    We forgive you for chewing up the sprinkler system. I’m sorry that you were alone today while we were at the soccer tournament. Thank you, sweet Dawgles, for greeting us with your waggy tails.
  14. It’s fun to chase balls. Go play with one.
  15. Imitation is the best form of flattery. You don’t have to tell your sibling to “Stop copying me!” anymore. They just think that you are so cool and want to be just like you.
  16. It’s nicer to wag than to bark. It’s cliche, but seriously, we can’t help but want to be around a tail wagging dog or a giggling kiddo.
  17. It’s okay to bark at baddies. There is a time and place for the bark, and it’s good to be able to use it.
  18. If someone is in the bathroom, leave them alone. Hey little peeps, listen carefully: The bathroom is Mama’s private time.
  19. And, don’t scratch at a bedroom door if it’s shut unless it’s an EMMERRRGENNNCY.  Also private time.
  20. Loyalty is a very nice quality, and it goes both ways.
  21. If the hair on your back goes up, you probably aren’t in a good situation. Either stand up and give your best bark or leave quietly by the back door.
  22. Get dirty. It’s fun!
  23. Get clean. It’s necessary. Just tuck your tail in, pull your ears back and tolerate it. The clean cuddles will be worth it.
  24. Please be respectful and sit down when your parents or teachers ask you to sit.
  25. Drink lots of water.
  26. You CAN try new foods.

    Carrots are good!!!
  27. Be wary – Some things that look good can actually do you a lot of harm. (Sorry chocolate.) So, go ahead and smell it out first and who is giving it to you and why. And, please learn from what made you sick. (Sorry alcohol.)

    It’s not a myth! We almost lost our first dog after he snuck into our visitor’s bag and ate a box of Belgian chocolates!
  28. Yes, your parents’ bedroom is a place of love and comfort. You can hang there whenever you need a true cuddle.
  29. Enjoy a joyous moment in the sun. Soak it in. How silly is it to think of a dog on an iPad? Be a dog.
  30. Life is short. Too short.

    We loved our sweet, soft, ever-so-adventurous, harmless first dog/child named Jack. His life went full circle from a Brittany Spaniel Rescue home in Pflugerville to Dallas followed by a decade abroad and a return trip to Austin for his last couple of years. I still get a warm feeling in my heart thinking of Jack every time I see the woman in our neighborhood walk her Brittany.

(Photo creds to my kids, their fab friend, Jordan Jary, who is just like my daughter, and my nieces extraordonaire.)

My family is very grateful to Lucky Lab Rescue for bringing two four-legged life teachers into our home. 

It’s Adopt A Shelter Pet Day! When you rescue one dog, you save the life of TWO dogs, as another dog can now go into that place in the rescue or shelter.

If you are looking for a certain breed, there are many breed specific rescues such as those for Cocker SpanielsGerman Shepards, Lhasa Apsos and Shih TzusAnd, there are all types of dogs that would love to join your home from shelters such as Austin Pets Alive, Austin Animal Shelter, and Austin Humane Society and other rescues such as Classic Canines, Addicus’ Legacy and Austin Dog Rescue.

You are invited to share your favorite rescue or shelter or what your kids learn from your pets. Include those cute pics of your pets and kids as well!

Allison Hall
Dr. Allison Hall, PT, MPT, DPT is part of tight knit party of five plus two rescue dogs. All three of her children were born in London, England during her family’s great decade abroad. She and her husband both grew up in Texas and returned in 2013 after purchasing a home after seeing it only via webcam. She finds joy in walking in nature, traveling almost anywhere, learning new things, pondering life intensely, caring for others deeply and doing anything that makes for a good laugh with family and friends. She is a pediatric physical therapist and the CEO/Founder of My Kid Blooms (, a digital resource for parents to find pediatric/OBGYN health-related information and professionals that match the needs of their families.


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