Do you have a clear vision and dream for the life you want with your dog?
Staying committed to the partnership of your dreams begins with some clarity on what your dreams actually look like.
This marks the final part of my five-part blog and podcast series, “The Summer Series on The Power of Partnership.” In this series, I’ve been sharing some simple partnership principles that will help you forge a much closer bond between you and your dog.
In this episode, we return to Mary (an avatar client and proud dog mom), who has been tackling some tricky challenges with her dog Max. We’ll see how Mary has put each principle into action and how they have drastically improved her partnership with Max.
If you’re ready, let’s move onto principle number five…
Staying connected to your dreams
Principle number five is commitment. Part of developing a true partnership with our dogs is based on commitment because it’s vital to achieving any type of dream or goal.
But how do we stay committed when times are tough?
Staying connected to our dreams every single day is one of the key things that helps us stay committed. That’s true for any type of goal, but especially when building a solid partnership with our dogs.
Training your dog using a partnership model is a bit like learning a new and rewarding way of being with your dog. It’s a guaranteed path to sustained success in living cooperatively with our dogs.
But we need to stay committed to this idea to achieve that.
One way I do this is I have a written description of what I imagine my dogs and I can experience together in our life as partners.
I also have a dream poster with images that represent my dream life. I know that looking at my poster evokes powerful and inspiring motivation. This helps me to be committed and consistent with my goals.
Creating a plan of action
I invite you to write down your dreams, visualize the life that you long to experience with your dog, and then make a plan to get there.
I’ll share a quote that I always find useful:
“A goal is like stepping into an experience that I haven’t had before. Reaching and stretching into something new into someone new that I long to experience.”
I’d recommend that you keep your plan flexible. I think this is important so your plan stays realistic and can adapt as your partnership develops.
Why our goals are really about us
I am a firm believer that we’re not here to “fix” our dogs. That’s what I teach at the Brilliant Partners Academy. Instead, we focus on ourselves and what we can do to grow into a better partner and leader for our dogs.
When we think about our goals, they’re really about us. They’re about what we can grow into, not how we can change our dogs. For example, you might have the goal of doing a weekly balanced activity plan with your dog. Or your goal might be to ensure that you and your dog get enough sleep every day.
Let’s say that you have a dream of walking in partnership with your dog so that you have the freedom to go anywhere with them someday. Like with any goal, we need to break that into smaller steps.
Your first step might be to learn to walk as partners around the house or garden so that you and your dog both love the experience of walking as partners. Next, you’ll want to brainstorm some baby action steps.
Those steps might include learning how to stay present and connected with your dog. Maybe you’ll use touch and hold love in your heart for your dog. Another baby step could be learning to use your intention, posture, presence, and voice to communicate actively with your dog.
Another mini goal could be to practice taking a nice deep breath whenever something doesn’t go well. When you do this, you could remind yourself that you’re both engaging in a fun experiment on your journey towards your dream partnership.
Let’s head back to our story of Mary and Max. In such a short time, Mary and Max’s partnership has blossomed and transformed. They still have lots to work on, but they have worked so hard to find new ways of being together.
Mary learned the importance of commitment, so she notices any time either of them falls back into old patterns. Whenever that happens, she takes a deep breath and tries again.
In our session on commitment, Mary had a few fantastic takeaways:
- Looking for baby steps of success and learning along the way is what helps us to stay on course toward our dreams
- A heartfelt dream, along with a personal goal, will help keep us inspired and motivated to take action and solve challenges that crop up along the way
- Being focused and connected to our dreams serves to keep us in the now. Being in the now is what helps us avoid worries about the future
- Old habits and patterns can be challenging to overcome, but having a plan to work through makes it so much easier
Mary’s plan of action
Last time, I mentioned that Mary and Max were taking part in obedience competitions. Mary’s goal will put her in the big leagues with her obedience competition. She wants to focus on this because it’s something that she and Max really love to do together. She also knows that the goal will help her stay committed to being the best partner she can be for Max.
Another goal of hers is to easily walk her dog anywhere, having fun, and socializing together.
As a fun reminder of her commitment, Mary made a dream poster that has a picture of her and Max accepting a prestigious obedience award. There’s also another picture of them happily walking together at a beach filled with friendly people and their dogs.
But there’s one more picture on her dream poster – a puppy!
Mary’s dream of getting a puppy is now possible as her partnership with Max has grown stronger. Mary has a new way of being with her dogs, and she also has help now. She knows that having a great coach and support from other dog moms on the same path of partnership will make all the difference.
What’s your big picture dream?
So, now it’s your turn. Let’s go back to the specific challenge you and your dog are facing.
I’m going to share some journal prompts below that are focused on making your dreams and goals a reality.
- What is your big picture dream?
- What challenges do you want to overcome with your dog to achieve your dream?
- Does this dream get you excited and filled with joy? If it does, you’re on the right track. If not, just try again until you find the dream that makes you really happy when you imagine it.
- Identify the core thing that you believe is keeping you from success.
- What are your baby action steps that will keep you feeling inspired, motivated, and moving forward toward your dream goal?
- What other ways might your life become better?
- How will you stay connected to your dream or goal every day so that you can stay committed?
That’s it from me. It’s over to you now.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on learning how to live cooperatively and lovingly with your dog. This is a great time to write your own partnership success story. I’d love to hear it!
If you need guidance or support along the way, I’d be honored to guide you in my Brilliant Partners Academy, where I help other dog moms like you build a strong, loving partnership with their dogs.
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 enrollment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 171, which you can listen to here.