5 Uncommon Lessons My Dog Taught Me About Taking Action

“Try to run before you learn Dog Lessons on Taking Actionto walk and you’ll never stop crawling.”

Danny Iny



Who would have thought that dogs could be geniuses?

After 10 short months of sincere puppy love and training, my little puppy left me with a tear stained face and lots of unanswered questions. He taught me so much that even up till now (5 years later), I still marvel at the vast knowledge he had.

And he was only a puppy.

I was like the happiest guy on earth when I got this pup in a little brown box. Although it was just a local breed, the big eyes were so…..enchanting.

Truce (the name of my pup) was a pretty slow learner…..or so I thought.

He cherished his little brown box so much that whenever it got out, it almost always went back into it. Now that really pissed me off.

I really didn’t know why he did that. It wasn’t until three years later, when I started to take critical actions in my life that it all came to me.

The following five lessons will almost directly oppose your beliefs about taking action. Imbibe at your own risk!


1. Don’t Jump Out Of Your Box Into Danger Zone

I just love my comfort zone. Why? Well, because in this zone, I’m at peace, I think clearly, I eat more (I love food) and I recreate my life. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m complacent in this zone.

For Truce, the box was his domain and he hardly came out of it because of the imminent danger outside- there were other big dogs in the compound.

He needed protection from these dogs and so, came up with a strategy. What was his strategy?

He simply got every one in the house on his side. He did this by warming up to everyone who came to play with him. This way, when any big dog tried to bully him outside of his box, we fought for him. Cool huh?

Take action: Do not despise your comfort zone because that is where you have power. However, don’t be complacent but reach out for challenges. Know your strategy for overcoming these challenges and only come out of your domain when you are ready to face them. You may not win, but yeah, you tried, right? Afterwards, go back to your comfort zone to recuperate.


2. Invent Your Take Action Technique And Stick With It 

Truce was so small that he couldn’t jump out of his box with his paws. I always had to carry him out. The day I saw him out by himself, I was stunned. How did he come out of his box?

He simply learned to somersault and did it every time!

For a dog, that was impressive.

We’ve been told to always take action on what we learn or on the challenges in our lives. But the question is, “Are you taking action the right way?”

The way you take action is also as important as the action itself. Taking action on that challenge could either;

-          Make you crawl back into your comfort zone on all fours.

-          Lead you hopping back with broken bones and a battered ego.

-          Or you can come back standing tall with your head up high.

Yes, in all three scenarios, you overcame the challenge. But you know, a battle isn’t always won the right way? There’s always a safer alternative.

Take action: Be careful about how you take on challenges. Never take on a challenge with just one strategy. Always have a back up plan. Plan out your strategy and master it before confronting the challenge. Never go out of your domain unprepared!


3. Survey Your Boundaries Before Breaking Them

Truce’s box was always kept at the side of the house. Whenever he came out, he would just look around to the front of the house. He just played at the side and never went to the front. Why?

He wasn’t confident enough.

Do you have enough confidence to take on the big dogs in your life?

We’ve been told to always break our boundaries. But guess what? I won’t break mine until I’m ready to take on what is on the other side.

Are you with me?

Take action: You need to build enough confidence before attempting to break that boundary in your life. As I said in the previous lesson, never go out unprepared.

Your boundary may be in your corporate life. You receive a low pay and occupy a low position. Why not make yourself more qualified for that desired position while building your confidence in the process. Your colleagues may think you’re too ambitious, but who cares, it’s your life, isn’t it?

At this boundary-breaking stage, all you need is confidence because when you break a boundary, there’s no going back. Besides, you’ve already broken it, so why try repairing it?


4. Know Your Friends And Keep Them Close

Friends can be terrible. I’ve had my fair share of bad friends and Truce has had his too. I bet you’ve also had yours too? Imagine being the friend to a big dog only for that dog to gang up against you when it’s time to eat?

Alright, I know, you can’t imagine it :-).

So-called friends can stop you from taking action on your dreams without you even realizing it. You’d think they are all out to help you. But no, they just don’t want you to move higher than them. They want to be able to manipulate and deceive you into thinking that you can’t do without them. Negative thoughts and inferiority complex are always the stepping stones of such bad friends (I’ve been there).

So how do you know your true friends?

Take action: Pass all your friends through a sieve. Know your goals in life and determine those who have actually been helping you move steps forward into achieving these goals. Having such people around would actually speed up the whole process.

Look out for those who always seem to delay you when you want to do something life changing. These are the ones you should steer clear of. However, don’t be too quick to judge. Those who seem to always draw you back may actually know what‘s best for you. Don’t just look at their actions but the motive behind such actions.


5. Take Massive Action While You Can

After a few weeks, Truce got tired of his box. He had launched into the danger zone and was ready to explore. But for some reason, his little box kept drawing him back. So what did he do?

He destroyed the box!

Not only that, but he found another comfort zone, even in the midst of all the danger.

By how much has your comfort zone improved?

Instead of being stagnant or stunted, your comfort zone is supposed to develop with every new challenge you overcome. It is supposed to show your achievements and successes as an individual.

You shouldn’t keep learning the same strategy over and over again. Move on to bigger challenges and create a state of rest, peace and clear thinking even in the midst of such challenges.

Take action: Get rid of your comfort zone and move on to a domain that’s more challenging. You’d be surprised at how fast a new comfort zone would evolve.


Life is full of challenges and they’ll keep approaching you, until you’re on your death bed. Truce caught something from the bad friends he moved around with. He didn’t respond to treatment and before I knew it, I was crying over his limp body.

Well, if he didn’t die, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post today, would I?

There’s a reason for everything.


Your Turn

Have you had a pet before? Have you faced challenges in the past that you regret taking action on? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Image credit: Flickr.com (The dog in the picture isn’t Truce :-) )


  1. It’s a great way to teach taking action. I’m sorry about your pet. I had pets in the past and a few of them have died. It was very sad indeed.

    I love the point about using different strategies to fight your battles. It really does help to find a different approach if the one you’re using now doesn’t work any more (or has never worked).
    Anne @ confidence blog recently posted..Loss of Self-ConfidenceMy Profile

    • Hi Anne,
      Yes, having two strategies to solving a problem is always better than one. It gives you more confidence that the problem will soon be history.

      Nice for you to stop by. Thanks for your awesome comment.

  2. What a super, post, Lanre.

    Yes, it’s interesting how pets have a certain insight for things. My cat always takes his time to sniff the air before he walks out the front door just incase there’s something to be wary of. I’m usually impatient and try to rush him out the door but then stop myself and realize he may have reason to be wary. We get wild animals and stray cats roaming around here and it’s a good idea for him to know if one is in the area! Same thing with us. It’s fine to forge into new territory, but we should do so with our eyes wide open and with some knowledge of what we might be up against.

    And yes, appreciating our friends and family who support us thru their words and action is imperative. Yesterday was a great day for me as the sun was shining and several important people in my life took the time to comment on my blog or say an encouraging word. Means so much!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..The Next Big Thing week 16: Interview with an AuthorMy Profile

    • Hi Doreen,
      Sometimes, I actually wonder why animals aren’t as intelligent as humans; because their actions speak otherwise. We need to take lessons on “life’s preventive measures” from them.

      Yes, loved ones are very important and we must never take them for granted.
      I guess the bright and sunny day was a sign of good tidings ;-).

      I appreciate your comment Doreen.
      Lanre recently posted..5 Uncommon Lessons My Dog Taught Me About Taking ActionMy Profile

  3. Great post Lanre. Pets like children can teach us many life lessons. Sometimes it just takes a perceptive person to notice them and learn from them.
    Becc recently posted..My roller coaster rideMy Profile

  4. When I first got my kitten. I thought he was the dumbest cat I had ever had. It turned out the he, in fact, was the smartest. He just loved to play… all the time. He, like your puppy Truce, has been an amazing teacher. He has taught me the power of play and unconditional love. I am so sorry you lost your special little guy, but as you said, they continue to help and teach even after they were gone.
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Guest Post by Patrick Huff – Bitches Brew: BeerMy Profile

  5. Lanre, it’s all about the animals right? If we pay close enough attention we can learn tons form the animal kingdom. Animals are not just pets, they are amazing companions. I’m working on a post that was inspired by my dog savannah; I’ll have to press on the gas now that I’ve read your post.

    Nice work
    Henry Johnson recently posted..How to find happiness…Even at WorkMy Profile

  6. Even we all are comfortable in our comfort zone, we should get out of it as much as we can.
    I think the comfort zone make us lazy and feel we are good. But in reality, the competition is so intense and everywhere whatever the field we are.

    This is personally my learning process. I’m now learning to speak publicly in english (2nd language) and I’m scared.

    Good luck
    Phalakone Mysay recently posted..6 Basic Foods to replace on The Paleo DietMy Profile

  7. Appreciation to my father who shared with me concerning this blog, this blog
    is actually awesome.
    Disney activities recently posted..Disney activitiesMy Profile

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