Dogs are instinctive creatures. They live in the present. The past means nothing to them, and they are incapable of anticipating the future. This is their survival mechanism. Because they are not dragged down by guilt and fear and stressful feelings, they react appropriately to threats.
You’re different. You feel guilt or shame over things that happened yesterday, and you worry about the future. Your mind is everywhere but the present moment, and that’s a problem for your dog.
Dogs take their cues from you; when you are agitated or unpredictable, they become insecure. They don’t trust you to lead them, which can lead to behavioral problems. A dog that does not respond appropriately to its environment, which includes not obeying your commands, is said to be unbalanced. This is not only frustrating for you but, believe it or not, your dog doesn’t like it either. Dogs are more comfortable when there is a clear leader.
To establish yourself as “leader of the pack,” it helps if you try to adopt your dog’s outlook, at least once in awhile. There are many ways to do this.
Bringing Mindfulness Into Your Routine
Practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness are all obvious ways to ground yourself in the present and adopt your dog’s outlook, if only briefly. But an even better way is to spend more time in your dog’s ancestral habitat: nature. Spending any time at all in nature, where you can hear the birds sing and the bees buzz, is a surefire way to experience the present moment. Make it a point to go camping, hiking or walking in the park.
You will come back a calmer, more grounded pack leader, one your dog will gladly follow.