Don’t you hate it when other people get involved with you and your dog’s way of life? Or worse, when disrespectful dog people don’t follow the rules and cause a dramatic event to happen with your dog?
It’s so frustrating when things happen that are out of your control. But, the one thing that you can control when the unexpected happens are your thoughts.
Your thoughts can bring you (and your dog) down if you aren’t careful, which is why I want to shine a light on this topic to help you reframe your thoughts about those disrespectful dog people. I hope that these tips help you stay positive when the unexpected happens, and stay connected with your dog despite what might be going on around you.
Dog moms – we need to stop being so hard on ourselves!
We are our own worst critic. We give ourselves a hard time and say terrible things about ourselves that nobody else hears. If you think about it, it’s pretty sad that we do this to ourselves. Isn’t life hard enough without us adding to it? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially in relation to the thoughts we have about those disrespectful dog people.
I know it’s difficult to change our self-talk, so I thought that a good place to start is our thoughts around others. As dog moms, we encounter all types of people during our adventures with our dogs. Some of these people become instant friends, while others make us want to scream internally. Nonetheless, reframing your thoughts about other people is a great place to start.
Negative thoughts can break your connection with your dog
Imagine this scenario in your head for a moment. You and your dog are walking along, enjoying the fresh air, and hearing the crisp fall leaves crunch beneath your feet. You notice another person and their dog is approaching you in the distance. As you get closer, it appears that the dog is off-leash. Now, panic sets in because you know what will happen if that dog gets too close to yours.
You can’t help but feel a little mad because the park has a rule that states dogs must be on a leash at all times. Your dog gets more anxious as the other dog approaches, and your anger boils even more. Then, your dog lunges for the other dog, and a barking battle erupts right there in the park. You desperately pull your dog away and let your thoughts spiral into a pit of negativity. You’re mad that other people can’t follow the rules, you’re mad at yourself for letting it happen, and you regret going to the park in the first place.
When things like this happen, we can get so caught up in our thoughts that we lose connection with our dog.
So, what should you do whenever your thoughts spiral into the “dark side” (hypothetically speaking)?
Steps to help you reframe your thoughts
Inside the Brilliant Partners Academy, I teach the Thought Reframe Protocol. This protocol involves a few simple steps to help you reframe your thoughts when you feel like you’re stuck in a thought loop.
Here are the steps:
- One – Identify the thought you want to change because it does not serve the future you want to create.
- Two – Tell your brain to notify your consciousness when you have a thought like that. This will activate your reticular activating system (RAS).
- Three – Plan for a new thought. This new thought should align with your vision for the life that you want to have with your dog.
- Four – Interrupt the old thought.
- Five – Think about the new thought.
- Six – Repeat the process until the new thought becomes habitual.
How to put the Thought Reframe Protocol into action
You must go through each of the steps as soon as the old thought pops into your head. If you let that thought continue, it leads to anger and frustration, which leads to more negative thoughts.
So, here’s what you need to do. Let’s say you’re back on that walk again, and an off-leash dog comes running over to your dog, and all hell breaks loose. Your first thought might be something like, “What’s wrong with that person? I hate when people can’t follow the rules.” Instead of letting that thought carry you into a string of more negative thoughts, you need to identify it and think about what you want the new thought to be.
Since the other dog is coming right at you, your new thought might be, “My dog is going to need help with this”. So, you smile and take a moment to connect with your dog. You position yourself between your dog and the stranger’s dog. Your dog feels protected and you have successfully reframed your thought in a way that has made your connection with your dog even stronger.
As you continue throughout your day, reframing thoughts for new thoughts, you’ll notice that you feel happier on the inside. Your dog is happier because they know that you are happy, and they trust you to keep them safe. Reframing one thought like this can interrupt an entire sequence of events. It can lead to a wonderful experience for both you and your dog.
Your dog is emotionally attuned to you
Remember that your dog can pick up on your emotions and they do so better than many humans! They can tell when you’re happy, sad, angry, annoyed, and so on. They also look up to you as a role model. So, when you’re anxious about something, they will assume that there is reason to be
anxious. The same thing happens when we’re out walking our dogs, and something happens that triggers negative emotions in you.
Your dog is so emotionally attuned to your emotions, that when they realize you are angry or stressed, they respond in the same way. However, instead of voicing their concerns in the same way you would, they show their emotions through their behavior, whether with barking, lunging, hiding behind your legs, and so on.
All of this can be avoided if you learn to reframe your thought before it cascades into a string of angry, stressed, or frustrated emotions. The next time an unexpected event happens that throws off your day with your dog, remember to reframe your thought and interrupt it before it can take hold. Follow the Thought Reframe Protocol’s steps and rinse and repeat until the new thought becomes your default way of thinking.
Reframing your thoughts will help you to live the life you want to have with your dog. It will also help your dog to trust you and your bond will keep getting stronger.
Click here to watch a trailer of the episode:
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 127, which you can listen to here.