The one thing that I tell my clients over and over again is to be calm. It is crucial with your dogs but it’s a good approach in life as well. What I’m often asked is: “How do I do that?” Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it becomes easier and instinctual to achieve a state of calmness. Anyone can learn how to calm and relaxed. These are some ideas to get you started.
1. Just Relax - Your dog is not misbehaving on purpose. Your dog is not peeing on the floor or chewing up your shoes because he’s bad at you. When dogs are misbehaving, it is because you are not fulfilling their needs. Bored dogs can become destructive. Insecure dogs can urinate if they are afraid. It’s your job, as his pack leader, to make sure that their excess energy is drained through work, that they have structure through directions, boundaries, and limits, and that you give them something mentally and physically stimulating when necessary. Remember you can’t rationalize with dogs and you cannot explain to them why something they did is wrong. They’re not children. Don’t take their behavior personally and don’t get upset about it. Understand that it’s their way of telling you that something is missing from their life.
2. Your dog is mirroring your own energy – Do you want to know how you are felling? Look at your dog. Do so especially during the walk. If your dog is not calm and relaxed, then neither are you. Does your dog go crazy at the sight of any other dog? Then you’re probably nervous or tense about a possible dog encounter. Is your dog hesitant about going on the walk, refusing to follow you and trying to pull you back home? How are you feeling in that moment? You’re probably frustrated, angry or unsure. How is your dog at home? Running around, bouncing off the walls, barking or resting calmly? If you want to change the way your dog is acting, first change the way you are acting… or better yet, feeling.
3. Live in the moment – Live in the present, you’ll be at peace. Learn from the past. Plan for the future. If you live in the past you’ll feel depressed. If you live in the future you’ll feel anxious. Most of our negative emotional states come from not living in the present moment. The past gives us regret over things that we did or did not do, while the future gives us worries over things that may or may not happen. Focus on what’s happening right now, it will help you find that calmness. It’s what dogs do naturally, and it’s one of the greatest lessons we can learn from them.
4. Connect with nature - Go where nature surrounds you. A park, the beach, the mountains or whatever you like. Turn off your cell phone; take a walk with your dog. Just look at and enjoy what’s around you. Listen to nature and watch the interactions of the land, plants, and animals. Don’t worry about what’s going on in your day-to-day world and focus on what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Breathe deeply and maybe even meditate. This is the world that your dog lives in. It’s also the world that humans were born into. It’s very easy for us to lose sight of that.
5. Your dog is a process – Dogs aren’t born perfect. They’re not housebroken immediately, never destroys things that they shouldn’t, and listen perfectly. Sometimes, it may seem like you’ll never be able to fix the problems. Remember what I said about living in the future? Well, worrying that you’ll never be able to rehabilitate your dog is living in the future, and if you’re anxious about not getting results, then you won’t get any results. Acknowledge the small successes, as they happen. Pretty soon, the small successes will become more consistent. Then you’ll get bigger and bigger successes. You’ll stop worrying about what’s going to happen and learn to enjoy what is happening. This will make you feel more relaxed and calm.
Learning to be calm is not a difficult thing. It takes awareness, will to change and repetitions. Mastering it will bring your relationship with your dog to a whole new level. It will also enhance your personal life as well, believe me.
If you continue to have problems, let me know if I can help.
Always remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent
www.packmantotherescue.com / 201-937-6123