We love our dogs deeply and care for them, so it’s natural that we become concerned when something happens to them or when we are faced with their behaviour challenges. We don’t like to see our dogs stressed, anxious or in pain.
But, what if…
Worry has a cycle. It often starts with an event. Perhaps your dog lunged and barked at another person or snapped at another dog. Perhaps your fearful and sensitive dog was frightened and has lost confidence in world around them, or even worse lost trust in you. Or, your dog gets ill or has an injury that requires medical care. This concern often turns to worry when we can’t see an immediate solution. And, it's these worry thoughts that can so quickly gain momentum, creating future scenarios and mind dramas (what if's….).
Worry expands and spreads These worries begin to occupy headspace and sap our energy. They may even cause us to lose sleep. They usually take over at night when we are alone with our thoughts.
The negative thought patterns lead to emotions and feelings of sadness, fear, grief, despair and even hopelessness. The more time we spend reflecting on these worries, the more we begin to find other things in our life that we are not happy about. Perhaps things that aren’t even relevant to the current scenario, but because of the energy we are putting out there by focusing on the negative thoughts, we are starting to see more of this reflected in our day to day reality! The next phase in the cycle is where we want to move past the pain and discomfort of the current situation, in order to find peace again. We want the problem to be resolved (quickly) so that we don’t have to endure these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings anymore.
Now we are focused on some future time and space when all will be well again.
However, thinking about the happy, calm and ‘all is well’ future, only makes us dislike our current state even more. We become more disillusioned about what has to be resolved before we can find peace again.
It’s this resistance to the ‘what is’ current state, that makes it even harder to resolve the current situation. When coming from a place of fear and worry, it’s really difficult to find creative solutions and to find hope.
We are still focused on what we don’t want instead of what we do want.
“I wish my dog would stop being so reactive.
I wish my dog was not so fearful.
I wish my dog was not so sensitive and easily aroused by everything.
I wish my dog was not ill.”
“When all of these issues are resolved, then we will both be happy again”.
At this stage in the cycle we easily become disconnected with what we really do want and our ‘why’. Why did we bring our dogs into our lives in the first place?
To live a joyous, balanced and happy life together, right?
What we really want is:
For our dogs and ourselves to feel more happy, calm and balanced, more often. To enjoy each day, and be more resilient to life’s stresses. We want more flow and ease.
When we can make this shift in perspective and begin focusing on what we really want now, it makes it a whole lot easier to interrupt our worry thoughts and begin gaining momentum of more positive thought patterns that result in gratitude, love, joy and calm- right now, not some time in the future.
What can help us to get into this state?
This may look slightly different for each person, but here are some ideas that can bring you away from your worry thoughts into the present moment and give you an instant boost of joy!
Get out into nature.
Turn on your favourite music.
Play with your dog.
Dance, sing, laugh.
Get creative - art, gardening, cooking, crafting, etc
Essential oils to calm and uplift your body and mind and spirit.
Meditation, breathing and mindfulness techniques.
How will this help to resolve my current problem with my dog though?
I am not suggesting that you should do these things to get your mind off your current situation or problem and pretend it doesn't exist.
What I am suggesting however, is that by changing your thoughts and feeling state, you are now feeling more calm and balanced and able to see the problem from a fresh perspective.
You will have the energy and mind space to come up with creative solutions and to find the next steps towards resolving your challenge.
From this space, the problem no longer seems insurmountable, but instead seems manageable and feasible.
You are also now in a more calm and balanced state which has a direct affect on your dog. We know that when we are distracted and anxious, our dogs mirror these states too.
Likewise when we are calm, grounded, happy and balanced our dogs co-regulate with us and it helps them to feel more supported. It helps them to feel safe in our presence and it builds their trust and confidence in us, and in their ability to cope with situations.
Wouldn’t you feel more confident and calm if you knew you were fully supported by another balanced and grounded individual?
When we begin to spend more time back in this productive and optimistic space, we have successfully exited the worry cycle. It is easier for us to focus on the things we really do want more of. To find more joy, more gratitude and to be at peace with ‘what is' and knowing that ‘all will be well and as it should be’.
Don’t let your worry about tomorrow steal your strength and joy of today.
Go and find your dog, tell them you love them and trust that your path will reveal itself, one step and one day at a time. If you would like some support on how to work through worrisome thoughts, help with finding solutions to the challenges you are having with your dog, and effective steps to help you live the best life with your dog, right now - then get in touch for a Free 20 minute Discovery Call with me, or join us over in the Paws Reflect Connect Facebook group for regular live chats and relevant content.