Dogs can teach you a lot if you are paying attention.

I just bought my two sons their first dog. The delight on their faces is worth every small hassle that comes with owning a dog.

We ended up naming him Buddy the Internet Dog for two reasons:

1. We found him on the Internet through in the Atlanta area.

2. Buddy sits, lays and sleeps at my feet while I am working on the Internet, like right now.

Buddy (his nickname) makes us all really glad that Al Gore invented the Internet.

So here are a few life and relationship lessons learned so far from Buddy the Internet Dog:

Hang in there. When things are not going well, hang in there, because bad times pass. Buddy was a rescue dog that came to abused and with a leg injury. He spent most of his early life in a cage. Now he’s got two boys who cannot keep their hands off of him, and his own Internet Web site. Never, ever give up.

Rest when you are tired. As hard as Buddy plays, he has this strange habit of resting when he is tired. It sure looks like a good idea. He appears to really enjoy his naps. As humans we can get so focused and driven that we forget to rest. Then our bodies take over, get sick, and force us to rest.

If something is not working, stop doing it. This one has taken Buddy a few tries, but he seems to be getting it. The first time he ate some grass, he got sick. Happened the second time too. This hasn’t happened recently, so perhaps he is getting it. Would that we could learn from experience so quickly. As humans, we seem especially cursed with the habit of doing the same thing that does not work over and over again and expecting different results.

Play as hard as you work. Buddy knows how to play hard, with passion and gusto. I think we, as humans, sometimes forget to play with as much energy as we put into work. Since I have the blessing of working from home, I can get so focused and driven sometimes that I forget to go outside all day. Having a dog has cured me of that really quickly. I’m outside many, many times a day and find that I am moving around a whole lot more. That’s a pretty good lesson to learn from a dog.

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist. E-mail him at [email protected] or, for more tips and tools for living you can visit www.JeffHerring