Walking = Play
Eating = Play
Cuddling or Petting = Rest
Waiting = Rest
Training = Play
Work = Play
Riding in the Car = Rest or Play, it depends
Rest = Rest
Play = Play
Rest and play, play and rest, rinse and repeat. This is the entire life of a dog. They do not waste their time on things like thinking about the past or future. It is always now for a dog.
Dogs are utterly comfortable in their own skin and fur. They would never ask “does this collar make me look fat?” or turn down an extra treat because they feel bad about their thighs. They don’t pay someone to dye the white hair that’s developed as they’ve gotten older, they don’t have anything waxed or painted or sculpted (unless the stupid humans decide their ears should be a different shape), and they don’t cover anything up. In fact, they are happy to walk around basically naked, wearing the exact same thing every day with no concern for fashion.
They make due with what is, are perfectly and absolutely happy with it, whatever. A small rug or pile of dirty laundry or spot of dirt and grass can act as an awesome bed, a sock or empty water bottle or stick make great toys, and walking everywhere barefooted is the perfect mode of transportation. A tennis ball found left at the dog park or frisbee abandoned on the beach are the best thing e v e r. That walk that you’ve taken or food you’ve eaten twice a day every day of your life is cause for celebration, every time.
Dogs don’t have regrets or guilt or shame. They typically don’t worry about what someone will think about them or wonder if they are cool enough. If they feel any bad feelings, it’s only for a brief moment and then it’s over, and straight back to rest or play. They don’t dwell on things, obsess or agonize, think about how they wish they’d done better, judging and bullying and smashing themselves to bits.
Dogs are models of self-love and self-care, having a sense of the natural rhythm of a day, the best and right mix of play and rest. Even when it can be annoying to be working and have my dogs bugging me for attention or a play break or a walk, I have learned to trust their instincts, to take the break they request. They usually know better than I do that it’s time. They ask for what they want, are who they are, and I want to be more like them.