Both humans and dogs crave connection. We’ve got a deep social need to belong that’s hardwired into us.
That’s why invitations are so important for establishing a partnership with your dog – it’s an instant gateway to connection!
So, how do you extend an invitation that builds a partnership bond?
I had a really interesting discussion recently about how we define expectations and invitations, and how they relate. It got me thinking about the very nature of invitations and how they open up a pathway to connection.
An invitation is an offer to connect with another being. If you have open-hearted expectations and good intentions, then an invitation can show that you’re ready to establish a relationship. It then opens up a two-way discussion and gets that love-lava flowing! But if your intentions aren’t open-hearted then it could result in a very different relationship.
Think about it like this. If you wanted to get together with a girlfriend, would you call her up and say, “Hey! Would you like to meet me for lunch today? I know it’s last minute, but I’d love to connect with you. How about it?”. Or would you say, “I’ll be at the cafe at noon. Meet me there, please.”?
These two conversations have very different energies. The first is a genuine invitation with an open-ended, open-hearted expectation. It shows that I’m not expecting you to say yes and I understand that you may have your own opinions, feelings, and schedule to navigate. It leaves space for a two-way discussion.
The second conversation immediately implies compliance. It expects you to be available and willing to meet me for lunch, and doesn’t consider your wants or needs. It doesn’t feel as authentic or genuine because it’s not leaving space for any discussion or dialogue. You may feel like you have no choice or agency at all!
“Having an open-hearted expectation means that we are respectful and honoring of our dogs’ feelings, thoughts, and circumstances.”
Why would you extend an invitation?
Genuine invitations can be so powerful for a partnership lifestyle because they create space for a dialogue. Only when there’s a back-and-forth can meaningful and authentic connections happen.
We’re also social animals, we have a very strong and hardwired need to belong. This is true for both humans and dogs. Extending invitations to our dog fulfills that deep social need to belong for both parties and helps us to establish our partnership.
How do you define an invitation?
I define an invitation as making a heart-to-heart and a heart-to-mind connection between two beings. In terms of a partnership lifestyle, extending an invitation means your intention is to make a genuine, significant bond with another being and establish a flow of love.
This connection can be physical or non-physical. Again, this is true whether you’re extending an invitation to your fellow humans or your dog. If you extend a Dance Invitation to your dog, for example, this might result in a head to hands physical connection. But it’s important to remember that ours and our dog’s personal space extends beyond our physical body.
A connection doesn’t have to involve physical contact. An invitation to connect can result in merging our energies and non-physical beings.
What comes after you extend your invitation?
So, once you’ve extended your invitation, what happens next? The invitation opens up a dialogue, which opens to the door to possibility. It establishes this heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind connection that allows you to think about what you’re going to do next.
Going back to our Dance Invitation example, anything could happen next! You could hang out, play, snuggle on the couch, go for a walk, practice agility – whatever you’re both happy to do. The point is that you’ve created a space where you’re both on the same page and ready to embrace an opportunity to connect.
How to extend an invitation
There are two main things to think about when extending invitations in order to successfully integrate them into your day-to-day partnership lifestyle.
First, there’s the physical mechanics. You need to consider how you physically express your invitation, so thinking about your movement, hands, voice, your hands, and those kinds of things. But that’s just one part. The part I’m going to focus on is your intention.
Intention is a big part of living a partnership lifestyle. I believe that intention is the mother of everything as all things are born out of intention. When it comes to a partnership lifestyle, your intention should be an open-hearted expectation.
An open-hearted expectation is when you don’t expect compliance, obedience, or a “yes” – your intention is to be open-minded, open-hearted and accepting. Of course, you would love for your dog to accept your invitation! You might even present the invitation in a way that your dog is more likely to accept, but you honor and respect your dog’s right to say no.
This intention ties into some of the core principles and values of living a partnership lifestyle. You hold your dog in high regard and you respect their feelings and thoughts about the circumstances, so you honor their agency and their freedom to reject or accept an invitation.
Whenever we extend an invitation the intention behind it is to connect and share love. This applies to humans as well as dogs! Specifically for our dogs, our intentions go all the way back to being loving leaders.
Our intentions are to establish that loving heart-to-heart dialogue with our dogs and we show this through invitations. It’s how you make that connection and how you can create an environment where your dog will see you as a loving leader that will keep them safe, calm and happy.
There are so many deeper paths here that I could go down, but I want to leave you with this one last thought: intention is everything!
I can’t wait to hear how you’re going to put this into practice. If you have any insights or takeaways that you’d like to share, then do leave them below.
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 144, which you can listen to here.
I’m going to let my dog refuse to be hugged or petted if she seems to not want to; this includes if I call her to me just because I need a pet, I will wait until she needs one , too. This will not include a choice when I need her to come to me for brushing or potty. Or if she’s being a nudge toward others ( ppl oe pets )