Slow and steady wins the race for our dogs (as well as tortoises). When we try to rush ahead to deal with challenges we are experiencing with our dogs, or while teaching them a complex new trick, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
For a dog that has issues with anxieties, fear, or reactivity, we need to be mindful that they will have an excess of the hormone cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) in their body. While dogs need a natural amount of cortisol, when they have an excess of it in their system this can affect sleep, memory, and learning (amongst other things).
So when we want our dogs to learn successfully, the first step should be to ensure they’ve had the chance to rest properly. Just as we should take regular mental breathers to help achieve a sense of calm and a greater sense of wellbeing, we need to create an environment that allows our dogs to do the same.
When we think of all the ‘human world’ experiences our dogs are constantly subjected to, it isn’t hard to understand why we have overwhelmed dogs in our homes.
You can start to take the pressure off by implementing some very small changes, including:
- Adding regular Rest Days into your dog’s routine
- Keep training sessions short – think regular 3-5 minute sessions for effectiveness
- Slow down your movements – if you have a busy dog, slow yourself down to help them match your pace
- Stop overtalking! Silence can help your dog have the headspace to focus on the task
In our new course, Mindful Living and Our Dogs, we’ll help teach you how to reduce stresses your dog may be experiencing, while at the same time offering you ways to deal effectively with human stress and the problems it generates. If you’d like to learn how to be more successful while living, anf connecting, with your dog, then we’d love you to join us.Sign up