Life can get hectic sometimes. There are so many things to do, so many things to think about and achieve in our day-to-day lives. Getting the kids to school, meeting deadlines at work, making sure those bills are paid.
Sometimes, without even realising it, our schedules become so packed that we forget to take a moment to stop and look around us.
Lots of people who come to me are finding dog walks stressful. They have given themselves a short window in their days for exercising their dog, and are often struggling with a dog that doesn’t seem to be enjoying it at all. They might have struggles with reactivity, anxiousness or an out-and-out refusal to walk. It’s really common and it’s easy to find yourself in this situation.
It’s a bit of an old cliche, but stress really does travel down the lead and it affects our dogs massively. If you’re in a rush, your dog will feel rushed, and if you’re stressed, your dog is very likely to feel this too. This is often when we see stress-related behaviours, and when walks start to gain negative associations for our canine pals. Before you know it, walks have become really unpleasant for everyone involved, and you may not stop to think about how or why this has happened.
Dog walks are a great place to start practicing mindfulness. Try to consciously slow your pace, take time to let your dog SNIFF, stop and watch the world go by. Notice the small things - the way the wind sounds blowing in the trees, the colour of the sky, the little birds that pop up to say hello. Talk to your dog! Let that lead go slack and watch your dog’s cues and body language. The benefits to your dog are huge, and you’re likely to see a much more engaged, enriched and calm friend walking by your side. Walks aren’t just about getting from A to B. And you might even feel calmer and more enriched yourself.
Stop and smell the flowers once in a while - life is short and it’s for living ❤️