What if walking with your dog was easy?
What if you didn’t have to dread every walk you took together?
It sounds like a dream come true, right?
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you in this post.
Don’t worry, there are no anti-pull contraptions or strict training measures required – All you need is an open mind and a willingness to learn!
How lucky are we to share our lives with our dogs?
Dogs are so incredible in every way. From their knowing gaze to their comforting nudges of affection, dogs have the unique ability to help us grow as people. They teach us powerful lessons and give us countless opportunities for growth.
“Our dogs allow us this safe place to learn and grow.”
As long as we’re willing to listen, our dogs will continue to teach us and help us learn what it means to be in a meaningful relationship with another sentient being.
Let’s be honest, human to human relationships can get really complicated. But it’s different with our dogs. We bond with them. We don’t hold grudges against them. We love them…and they love us. They don’t ask for anything other than our love. It’s remarkable.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that our relationship with our dogs is always a ‘walk in the park.’ Sometimes it’s difficult and unexpected challenges arise that we never saw coming.
One such challenge is having difficulty walking with our dogs. This is a problem that so many dog moms inside the Brilliant Partners Academy have experienced.
So, we’re going to get into it and find out exactly what you can do to help make walking with your dog so much easier.
Why you should ‘think like a mother’
I recently watched a TED Talk by Yifat Susskind, who argues that the best way to face crises is to think like a mother.
To clarify her point, she told a story about a man called Majid from Iraq.
Majid is a house painter by trade and when ISIS invaded northern Iraq, Majid helped a local women’s organization to build an underground railroad. This railroad acted as an escape route for women’s rights activists, their children, and others, who were targeted with assassination.
Yifat asked Majid why he did this. Why risk his own life for people he didn’t even know? It didn’t make any sense, right? After all, he wasn’t a fireman or a member of the police force. He was a house painter.
When Yifat asked this question, Majid responded:
“If we want a brighter future, we have to build it now in the dark times so that one day we can live in the light.”
A powerful and moving statement and one that reflects the same mindset that mothers have. Mothers act in the present with an idea of the future that they want to bring about.
You don’t necessarily have to be a mother in the traditional sense to think like a mother. If you’re here reading this right now, I’m going to assume that you are a dog mom. You’re a mom to your dog and that is amazing.
So, what can we learn from Majid’s statement and Yifat’s advice to think like a mother in difficult times, and apply it to our roles as dog moms?
What it means to be a dog mom
Identifying as a dog mom means that you see yourself as your dog’s protector. You’re a nurturing figure in your dog’s life. You are someone your dog seeks out for comfort, kindness, compassion, understanding, and deep, unconditional love. That’s what it means to be a dog mom.
In many ways, we share the same qualities and characteristics as any mother. We accept our dogs for who they are, flaws and all. We care deeply about our dogs and understand that their feelings are true and valid. We don’t brush off their fears as a ‘phase’ that’ll pass with time.
We help our dogs in any way that we can. In the same way that a mother helps her child overcome their fear of the dark or a monster hiding under the bed, we help our dogs overcome their fear of the vacuum cleaner, or the neighbor’s nosy cat, etc.
We also must learn how to walk with our dogs, side by side, facing the same direction, and with the same end goal in mind. But how?
How can two beings, each with their own needs, desires, and impulses, walk together in perfect harmony?
Is such a thing even possible?
This is where the mother metaphor comes alive. By thinking like a mother, we can learn to walk with our dogs in the same way a mother teaches her child to walk on the sidewalk of a busy street. It takes a lot of patience and understanding, but with time and commitment, you’ll get there.
How to think like a mother
To think like a mother, you need to embrace the mindset of a mother and then apply it to how you walk with your dog.
Imagine a mother walking hand in hand with a three-year-old toddler. Maybe they’re on their way to get some ice-cream. The child is excited and can’t wait to get to the ice-cream shop. They’re so excited that they want to run the whole way there.
What would the mother think at that moment?
She can’t let go of the child’s hand and let them run ahead of her, it’s too dangerous. There’s a lot of traffic and tourists. What if the child runs onto the road? Or what if they get lost in the crowd and go missing?
She has no choice but to do the responsible thing and not let go of the child’s hand. It’s too risky. They have to figure out a way to walk together hand in hand. The mother has a natural instinct to nurture and protect her child but collaborating together takes time.
“All social animals have that natural instinct to mother.”
The mother might even have to have a conversation with the child and explain why they’re holding hands. Most likely, she’ll use a soft and calming tone of voice, so she doesn’t get the child even more excited or (for lack of a better word), hyper.
Apply the ‘mother mindset’ when walking with your dog
When you start thinking like a mother, you can apply that same nurturing mindset to how you walk with your dog. Instead of being hand in hand with a child, you are hand to leash with your dog.
Mother’s don’t get angry when their child wants to run ahead or scream with excitement. They are patient and understanding with their children and this is how you should be with your dog.
When you’re thinking about how you can walk with your dog, remember to try and conjure the same motherly mindset. Treat your dog with the same patience, understanding, kindness, and compassion as you’d treat a child.
I did an episode of the Enlightened By Dogs podcast that has some really great teaching points about using the leash between you and your dog as a metaphor for the connection between you both.
If you want to dig deeper into the idea of connecting with your dog on walks and using this connection to make walking with your dog so much easier, I highly suggest you take some time to listen to that episode – it’s episode 81 of the Enlightened By Dogs podcast.
What if walking your dog was easy?
Walking with your dog can be easy, but it starts with your mindset and embracing that mothering instinct to see your dog as more than a pet. Your dog is like your child. They need your loving care and understanding.
“That mothering instinct is feeling that your dog is like a small child, and you’re walking hand in hand.”
Whenever difficulties arise on your walks, be mindful and take a moment to reconnect with your dog. Embrace those feelings of nurturing, understanding, belonging and unconditional love, and be patient with your dog.
I’d love for you to experiment with this and start thinking like a mother whenever you’re walking with your dog, and even when you’re not! Let me know how you get on in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you!
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 108, which you can listen to here.
Watch a short video trailer of the episode below:
I like reading your articles such as How To Walk with Your Dog. I look forward to put it in to practice as I am waiting to get a German Shepherd Puppy. It is only about 5 weeks old and not old enough to leave her Mother yet.