Our world resounds with echos of barking dogs, meowing kitties and chirping birds. How do we assist them in finding their unique and healthy place with the humans of the earth? I have been honored to be a witness to how pets bring joy to human lives. Knowing our pets are patiently waiting for us, to provide them with gold nuggets of love, care and health, provides fuel for this article. What creates the best health and happiness in a human’s life parallels that which creates health and happiness in our pets’ lives.
Before going further I have an important question for you to ponder: What kind of relationship do you have with yourself? This question has everything to do with having and maintaining a healthy relationship with your pet. Let’s explore.
When humans seek balance, we often begin with: Body = diet and exercise M i n d = R u l e s , b o u n d a r i e s , limitations Spirit = affection, nurturing Our Body, Mind and Spirit is where we begin seeking balance, while ‘diet, exercise, rules, boundaries, limitations, affection and nurturing’ are more specific goals for action. Our pets sense the pure, authentic, you: good, bad or indifferent. You cannot emotionally hide from them. They will reflect back what you have inside. If you are feeling s a d n e s s , f e a r , a n g e r , happiness, hopelessness, frustration, you will see the re-enactment of it in your pet in some form or fashion.
Healthy pet relationships begin with a healthy relationship that you have with you. So, if paying attention to Body, Mind, Spirit helps you to have a healthy relationship with yourself, then applying this approach to your pet, will assist you both to have a healthy relationship together. I see dogs as perpetual 5 years-old children, in a very instinctual dog body. They are always seeking guidance, structure, discipline, affection and consistency. They are willing to learn and they listen intently for instruction. They will not grow up, leave your home, get a job and take care of themselves when they get older. You are their world, for as long as they are on this earth. Let’s make it a great world. Through my own journey, I have discovered that balance is at the root of all life be it human, pet or otherwise.
Begin by walking, or running, with your dog at least 45 minutes to 1 hour every day. Your dog needs to be walking with his pack every day. This ritual is necessary to succeed with your human - dog re l a t i o n s h i p . Walking together enhances relationship - building , in addition to meeting the physical exercise needs for your dog. Remember: a tired dog is a happy dog, and will be easier to discipline (set boundaries and train). Diet. A good diet (preferably raw) that provides the nutrients , minerals and enzymes necessary for proper food absorption to prolong health and longevity.
Be a leader. To lead is to ‘show the way to go’, ‘direct the course of’, ‘by going before’. Lead your dog through the door, or on a walk, by you going first with your dog following. It is important to always show your dog that you are a strong pack leader, by u s i n g c a l m - assertive techniques. Your dog needs you to be in that role 100% of the time. Calm: ‘lack of agitation or excitement’, ‘serenity’. Assertive: ‘positive or confident in a persistent way’. Projecting fear, anger, abuse, or excitement, in any form, to your dog is not being a balanced pack leader. Without judgment, check inside of you and see what is happening that is creating this unbalanced behavior (it is not because of your dog). Your dog is an instinctual being that needs continual l e a d e r s h i p f o r b a l a n c e . Without it the pack will not survive. Without proper leadership, your dog will either attempt to be the leader himself, or become so fearful that his behavior will be unstable. This is one of the root causes of discipline issues with a human-dog relationship.
It is important to assist your pet in understanding the true meaning of calm, by rewarding Aggressive dogcalm behavior. In other words, don’t give affection when they are in excited, fearful, or angry, states. Patience will lead you to the behavior you are seeking. Once calm, give them lots of affection.
I speak about dogs because they require so much more care than cats. However, the same information can be applied to any pet. My kitty frequently reminds me of my state of mind, and I thank her for it. As long as we keep a pulse on our emotional state, clarity of mind, and take responsibility for our behavior, we will have healthy and balanced pet relationships.