Your dog is perfect.
You know that, I know that, and even your dog knows that! Yet, it’s easy to slip down the rabbit hole of thinking that your dog is less than perfect.
If you let those thoughts take root, it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy life with your dog. Focusing on everything you perceive as ‘wrong’ with your dog only gets in the way of your happiness and it’s time to change that.
I want to help you re-discover that feeling when you first met your dog. The moment you both locked eyes, exchanged hugs and fell in love. You knew that your dog was perfect. But, for whatever reason, you’ve since convinced yourself that it’s not true.
So, I want to help you enjoy a perfect life with your perfect dog and all it takes is a few small changes to your way of thinking and your overall mindset.
Focus on the ‘main thing’
One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Stephen Covey:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
I think this quote is so relevant for us dog lovers and those of us who live a dog-centric life. When we lose sight of the ‘main thing’, we let ourselves get bogged down by this and that until we become overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted.
In the dog world, this could mean you’re focusing too much on things like awards, ribbons, sports, and performances (to name a few). We become so focused on these things, we lose sight of the main thing.
You might have an existing perception of what the ‘perfect dog’ looks like. My guess is that you’re picturing a dog who listens to your every command, never jumps up on guests, never steals a chicken leg off the counter when nobody is looking, and so on. With these high expectations comes high standards that we expect our dogs to adhere to. And, no matter how much progress we make with our dogs, we’re never satisfied because our dog falls short of these ridiculous standards.
The result is quite sad if you think about it. Here you are, sharing your life with a perfect dog and yet, you can’t view your dog as perfect because your perception of a ‘perfect dog’ is so warped.
Expecting your dog to live up to pre-set standards that they have no idea even exist isn’t very fair. So, we need to reframe our mindset and ask ourselves one very important question…
Why do you have a dog (or dogs)?
Why do you have dogs in your life? This is an important question to ask yourself, especially when you’re consumed with feelings of being overwhelmed, frustration, anger, or impatience.
Your answer to this question will remind you of what’s really important. It helps to define your ‘main thing.’
Everyone’s reason for having a dog is slightly different, but usually it revolves around finding companionship and experiencing the non-judgmental acceptance and unconditional love that a dog can give us. Feeling like you have someone who is always there for you and cares for you is a very special thing.
A dog’s love is precious. I believe that dogs have a unique ability to help us become better people. Dogs can bring out the best in you and help you to live a fuller life filled with curiosity, laughter, delight, joy, and adventure.
An unbreakable bond backed by science
It’s not just me saying these things and claiming them to be true. It’s all backed by science and studies!
One study showed when humans spend time petting their dog, their blood pressure drops significantly, while the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin increases. The love hormone, oxytocin, is also released when we spend time and interact with our dogs. And, it’s not just one-sided either!
Whenever a dog sees their human, their brain releases the same ‘love chemicals’ that we feel when we’re in love. How amazing is that!?
The surge of oxytocin we experience with our dogs helps us to bond and feel deeply connected. Knowing all of this, can you see what your ‘main thing’ is?
For me, having a dog enables me to be a better human and to be a better version of myself. Dogs present us with opportunities to be better, we just have to be willing to accept those opportunities and make the most of them.
Meet your dog where they are
Another way to help you enjoy your life with your perfect dog is by meeting them and ourselves where we are. Maybe your dog isn’t always good, but they aren’t always bad either. Promising to meet your dog where they are and accepting them for who they are is a powerful way to grow together as brilliant partners.
Where you and your dog are right now is the best place to start and grow from. Dogs already know how to live in the present moment, and they help us to do the same. As humans, we can become so concerned with the future that we forget to enjoy the present. Dogs, on the other hand, embrace the present moment.
By meeting your dog where they are, you can try to stop worrying about the future and take baby steps each day towards your end goal, whatever that might be.
Accept your dog is perfect just the way they are
You and your dog are perfect just the way you are, right now. Accept that and understand that you can be a work in progress and a perfect match at the same time. Your dog asks nothing more of you than your companionship, love, care, and affection.
When we start to accept that our dogs are perfect the way they are, we can begin to realize that our life with our dogs is perfect too. To help get you in the right mindset for this, I suggest sharing your feelings with your dog. Yup, I’m asking you to tell your dog that you love them and that they are perfect just the way they are (even if you don’t believe it!).
There’s a lot of power in believing that you and your dog are perfect just the way you are while simultaneously having the intention to be a better version of yourself (and supporting your dog to be a better version of themselves too!).
All things in good time
I know this is a bit of a cliché, but it’s true. Great things don’t come easy and they usually don’t come quickly either. However, you and your dog are partners and you can work together to be better and get better.
Dogs are emotional beings and they tend to base their emotions on how their humans are feeling or behaving. So, I strongly believe that our dogs will automatically be better when we are better.
You don’t need a strict timeline in place for you or your dog. Timelines like this just cause unnecessary pressure, stress, anxiety, and disappointment. When we have a timeline and we base our happiness on whether we achieve this or that within the timeline we have set for ourselves, we slip deeper into the abyss of disappointment.
Instead, try to accept that things happen in good time. Stay connected with your dog, even though they may be far from the perfect picture you have in your mind. Accept them for who they are and remember the main reason why you love sharing your life with your dog. Keep your ‘main thing’ at the forefront of your mind and I promise that, with time, patience, and practice, you can finally start to enjoy your perfect life with your perfect dog.
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 112, which you can listen to here.
Watch the video trailer for the episode below: