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How my dog taught me to meditate

Ok so maybe this is a bit far out there for you, but hear me out for a minute....

Firstly, if you have never tried meditation I highly recommend it. There are a lot of different methods, and philosophies around meditation (like anything else), but I think finding what works for you, and that you can stick with consistently, is the most important thing. In my view, meditation is a way of taking time for yourself to become aware of your thoughts and patterns, feelings, physical feelings in your body, all with the goal of bringing this awareness into your every day life so that you can experience more joy and peace.

Mutual understanding is the greatest form of love

First you become aware of your patterns in a quiet space, and then you can start to realize them in any moment throughout the day and therefore, "live meditatively"- which is the ultimate goal for a lot of people. However, how you choose to do this is up to you, but I do think it is necessary to carve out space and time for yourself in the beginning to practice- otherwise the environment can be too distracting and can move you away from your goal of awareness and peace.

For me, the idea of meditating was pretty out there when I first heard of it. It wasn't until I began training with my dog that I realized it's value, and that training itself was a meditation in itself for me. I had to become aware of all the small subtleties in my dog's behavior, which made me aware of subtleties in mine.

People rarely give their dog enough credit for how incredibly difficult it is to live with another species, not speak their language, and still manage to navigate the waters with ease and grace. I know of few people who would attempt, let alone live this feat out with grace and

How your dog might see you at first!

We could start having conversations with the smallest of actions- a blink here, a look in other direction there. I began to realize how i could talk to my dog with my body in very, very minute ways. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of communication, and language he had been trying to show me all along.




People rarely give their dog enough credit for how incredibly difficult it is to live with another species, not speak their language, and still manage to navigate the waters with ease and grace. I know of few people who would attempt, let alone live this feat out with grace and

ease!

It is really so beautiful how forgiving, loyal, and earnestly our dogs want to live peacefully in our world.

So some dogs struggle with this (I myself would struggle quite a bit!), and act out in ways to try to express what makes them uncomfortable and we often misunderstand this for "willful disobedience," when in fact the dog is so frustrated about not being heard! I am sure you can imagine how frustrating it would be to tell someone something thousands of times and not be understood! This is unfortunately, but understandably a reality for most dogs living in human homes.


So what can we do about it?


Learn to slow down. Learn to live in the moment with our dogs. To try and see subtle (or not so subtle!) gestures, and nuances in their behavior that might be a cue to us. Understand where our dogs are coming from, and not just expect them to listen without feelings like robots! Generally speaking, once a dog is no longer being subtle it is because so many of their previous communications were ignored.


For example,

If you dislike your dog growling at children. It is possible that he is telling you he doesn't want kids near him, far before kids actually come in contact with him. Many people will instinctually reprimand their dogs for growling (it's human nature), but this tells the dog he cannot express a warning, and so to feel safe he may try and bite next time kids come around because he is not allowed to growl- This isn't necessarily the sequence of events, but something that happens often enough-


This leads us to ask the questions-:


- Do I just expect my dog to listen without question, regardless of his safety in all situations, whether I have prepared him or not?

- Is my ego wrapped up in how my dog behaves?

-Am I willing to train my dog to feel more comfortable around children, because that is important to me?

-Am I going to accept where he is at, heed his warning signals, and remove him or the kids from the situation when that occasion occurs?

- Is he a dog I am comfortable having?


All of these questions can be very uncomfortable, but they open us to our responsibility in the situation. There is no wrong answer in my book, but it does matter that we take the time to self reflect on our actions, such as,


-Did I take kids into account when I got this dog, or was I just in love with his coloring, or floppy ears?

- Is it fair for me to put the expectation of "loving kids unconditionally" on this dog- who is expressing that he likes predictability and is not overly fond of affection from strangers (especially children who are innately unpredictable).

- Do I get my sense of fulfillment from a sense of total control?


We put expectations on dogs that far exceed what we would ask of a normal person. Asking a dog to feel safe and comfortable, when they do not feel safe and comfortable, is asking for trouble- especially if you are not willing to seek professional advice on how to do this properly.

My point is- we often don't take the dog's perspective into account, and if your dog doesn't like kids it doesn't make them a bad dog, they just might not be the dog for you which is ok


Ok, ok,

so how does this come back to meditation?

Meditation is learning our personal thought and behaviors patterns.

Do we jump at the first shiny thing and give up quickly? Do we plan, and get analysis paralysis and never make a committed decision?


It is really tough to look ourselves in the eye and see who we are being!


But I think it is a beautiful gift that dogs give us, because they have no judgement, they simply see what's there and accept it and act as reflections to us in this way. I try to embody this as much as possible so that I can grow as a person and a trainer, but I would be lying if I said it was easy!

My ego police-man!

Dogs live their life fully present, in total acceptance, with consistency, and without judgement every single day.

I can't think of anyone who has accomplished that! They inspire me to do the same, and I only hope I can bring that sort of clarity into my daily living.

Dogs live their lives fully present, in total acceptance, with consistency, and without judgement you would like any exercises for yourself, or for you and your dog to try to practice meditation together, please message me!


I hope you and your mindful guardian are staying mindful, joyous, and healthy.

With Love,

Val & Lewen


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