It can be hard just to keep showing up in a world that is ‘busy’ and demands so much from us. Our use of technology often means that we are available all of the time. It can feel relentless. Too often we just don’t stop to relax. It can feel like we have a never ending to do list that competes against feelings of exhaustion and a sense of guilt that we must keep going. If we do not take care of ourselves we can end up simply wanting to give up and stop trying. We know from research that this is a stress response and that our emotions are hijacking us and that this stops us from processing logical thoughts
Our emotions come from a primitive side of our brain, called the limbic system. This part of the brain controls our flight or fight response and is responsible for controlling our adrenaline and cortisol levels. We can feel aggressive towards other people or feel helplessness and full of anxiety anticipating the next threat to our well-being. A dog’s brain is similar.
Our emotions also affect our dogs. Dogs are absolute experts in reading human emotions, looking to the left-side of our faces to gain information. This informs them if we are a threat to their safety or whether we are going to look after them. Often when we are running on empty we become irritated and our body language can become tense as we develop tension in our muscles. Our facial expressions become less friendly and we can appear aggressive to friends and family. Our dogs are sensitive to this body language and can learn to distrust our emotions. Dogs can smell adrenaline and can become sensitised to it - learning that it means we are stressed and best avoided.
Before we walk our dogs it can be really useful to 'ground' ourselves. Particularly if our dogs are reactive to their environment or other dogs. This can help bring our focus to the task ahead and stop us thinking about other aspects of our life. Our dogs deserve us being present in the moment with them. We can do this by:
Do You Need Help
Do you need help developing your confidence or relaxing with your dog – if so I can help? I offer individual tailored 1-2-1 Canine Coaching Sessions. Each session is 1-2 hours long and includes a follow up email report and telephone support. Sessions start at £45, packages are available for multiple sessions.