How seriously have you considered the affect your mental state has on your dog and your partnership lifestyle?
If you’re like most of the incredible dog moms I’ve encountered over the years, you probably haven’t really thought about the link between your mental state and your dog. I mean, why would you? The two aren’t connected in any way, right?
Well… that’s not exactly true.
In this post, I’m going to talk about how your mental state can affect your dog, your partnership lifestyle, and even your training progress.
So, if you’re ready to take the next step towards developing a brilliant and loving partnership lifestyle with your dog, keep reading!
Can our mental state affect our dogs?
Your mental state affects how you think and behave. It can reach beyond you and impact your interactions with your dog.
Many studies have proved that there is a significant correlation between our mental state and our dogs. If you’re someone with high stress levels, there’s a good chance that your dog is experiencing high stress levels too.
To understand how this works, we must understand how our mental state impacts our behavior. Think about it this way… our thoughts affect how we feel. Our feelings affect our responses to any given circumstance that we encounter, including how we interact with our dogs.
To be a brilliant partner for and with our dogs, we must practice mental conditioning in a way that leads to more positive and optimistic thinking. By doing this successfully, not only are we living happier lives because we have happier thoughts, but we’re also helping our dogs to feel the same way. After all, if our dogs feel stressed when we’re stressed, it makes sense to assume that they feel happy when we’re happy.
However, making this switch to a place of positive thinking has to be a conscious decision. You must take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. The good news is that everything you need to condition your mind to think more positively is already there. It’s just lying in wait beneath the surface and all you have to do is tap into it!
Seeing the world from your dog’s perspective
Reaching the stage where you and your dog are living in perfect harmony together begins with considering your dog’s perspective (more than you already do).
When our dogs behave in a certain way, we often jump to a conclusion to explain their behavior. Usually, it’s the answer that takes the least amount of time and effort on our part. Don’t feel bad about it, this is actually a natural reaction because it’s just how our brains operate.
However, this type of limited thinking can get in the way of you seeing things from your dog’s perspective. An example of this type of thinking is when your dog is lunging or pulling on the leash and you put it down to their immaturity. You might also assume that prolonged exposure and socialization will solve this type of behavior.
On the surface, your conclusions make sense. But, by digging a little deeper and stepping into our dog’s paws to see the world through their perspective, everything changes.
To reach that level of deeper understanding, you must become deeply interested in your dog and their experience. We’re often so occupied trying to get our dogs to see things our way, that we neglect to think about the situation from their perspective.
Think about why your dog lunges when another dog walks by. Is your dog uncomfortable in the presence of strange dogs? Maybe they need your help to avoid situations that make them feel this way.
Whatever the case, embracing your dog’s perspective and doing so with intention, will be the very thing that helps grow your relationship and build a brilliant partnership with and for your dog.
Focus on solutions, not problems
An important step towards achieving a brilliant partnership lifestyle with your dog is to focus on solutions to problems instead of the problems themselves. This is easier said than done, I know.
So, I suggest you start by emptying your stress buckets and starting from a place of calmness, patience, and understanding. If your mind is cluttered with negative thoughts and stress, it’s so much harder to see the solutions to your problems.
If you and/or your dog don’t feel comfortable in a certain situation, the solution is to stop putting yourself (and your dog) in that situation. Take a break. Focus on making your dog feel safe, calm, and happy by not forcing them into situations that make them feel the opposite of safe, calm, and happy.
Condition your mind
You might be a queen at multitasking, but the truth is that our minds can only hold one conscious thought at a time.
So, why not inhabit that single thought occupancy with a solution? Or, a change of perspective? Switch to your dog’s perspective and focus solely on that frame of mind. Doing this will help you to organize your thoughts, think clearly, and reduce stress and anxiety at the same time – not just your stress and anxiety, but your dog’s too!
Rather than focusing on the problem, which stirs up negative thoughts and anxiety, think about creating solutions. A good example of this is when your dog doesn’t come to you when called. It’s frustrating, I know. But, instead of focusing on why your dog isn’t coming to you, switch your focus, and think about how you can create opportunities for success.
For example, you could try only calling your dog when they want to come to you. Doing this repeatedly over time can help establish a new habit whereby your dog comes to you because they want to. Slowing the process down like this and thinking of how you can turn things around is a great way to build trust and grow the bond between you and your dog.
“Trust is the foundation for all relationships.”
How we measure success can influence everything from our thinking to our overall emotions. As humans, we’ve become culturally conditioned to want to measure success and accomplishments. It’s exhausting at times because we’re always striving to be better, get better results, and reap better rewards.
We become so focused on external validations of success that we overlook the everyday successes that we should be celebrating with our dogs.
You walked your dog on a loose leash for three minutes? Congrats!
Your dog came when you called despite the fact there was another dog in plain sight? Amazing!
Your dog actually DROPPED the tennis ball for you during a game of fetch? Awesome!
Be intentional about celebrating your small successes. Every success, whether it comes with a gold medal or not, is worth celebrating.
The path to Brilliant Partnership
For many of us, sharing our life with our dogs is what brings us true satisfaction and pleasure. They help us become our true selves. I believe that by being intentional about stepping into your dog’s paws and seeing life through their perspective, you’ll get so much closer to achieving a brilliant partnership lifestyle with your dog.
“Who we become as a result of sharing our life with our dogs is what brings us true satisfaction and pleasure.”
The only place to start is where you are right now. This means you need to accept where you are and accept that your dog is perfect just the way they are. Living in the moment is so important because each moment can’t be repeated. You can’t do anything in the past or in the future.
The present is all you have and right now, in your present moment, you are lucky enough to have a dog who wants to be a brilliant partner for you, just as much as you want to be a brilliant partner for them.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE ‘Stuck at Home Survival Guide for Dog Moms’ – a downloadable PDF packed with lots of helpful tips to help you survive being stuck at home with your dogs (even if they’re driving you crazy and you’re feeling stressed out!)
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrolment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 105, which you can listen to here.
Watch a short video trailer of the episode below: