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Mindfulness and Canine Education

There are heaps of books about mindfulness out there. We have found ourselves living in a fast world, we even do leisure time in fast time and clock watch as we go through our day, think about things we’ve got to do the following day let alone today. How many times during your day or week are you actually living in that moment, without thinking about your next 4 appointments or goals or end results or even what people are going to think of your various actions or words?

We have seemed to develop a man-made time frame for everything and this puts pressure and frustration on the individual if the time frame is too short and expectations too high and the goal too great. We get pressure from peers, managers, professionals and above all our selves feeling we need to achieve something tangible or visible to others in order to measure our success.

Your dog and you are complete individuals and there is no time frame for teaching and education. For me taking things slowly, step by step and enjoying every moment of success and accept there will be plenty of setbacks too.

The most important lesson for both you and your dog is to get to know each other. Not rushing in with sit, stay and heel with your new rescue or puppy. You both need time to adjust and connect and to just be.

To “Just Be” is greatly underestimated in the world of dogs with humans and quite frankly in our world as you’re deemed to be lazy! It’s seems to me that so many people are advised to walk, play and entertain dogs 24/7 or they will get bored. If you entertain 24/7 then you are not teaching your dog the most important lesson of them all and that to have down time and “Just Be” in the moment and think of nothing, just enjoy the moment and boredom sets in as they are unable to relax or entertain themselves.

These “mindful” moments of down time then progress to mindful, short and sweet lessons and activities. So many dog are not connected to their own emotions let alone those around them, they too run about like headless chicken. Let’s take the pressure off and be mindful in all that we do with them. Doing nothing and just being, sitting, holding and massaging them is very grounding, being quiet and listening to the waves on the beach, wind in the trees, watching birds flit about or buzz of distant traffic, shut your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, this in turn will bring your dog into a more mindful calm state.

With you calm and your dog calm and both, then you are both in a great frame of mind to teach and be taught. No learning is done when you or your dog is hyper or tired.

By Caroline Spencer


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