Self-Help through a Dog? Can it be?

To me dogs are not the students, not the ones that need training. To me a dog is a teacher of life, who teaches us the principles of the most important moral values; honesty, integrity, loyalty, trust, respect and love – Cesar Millan

Many have explained the many benefits of owning a dog. One commonly cited example is that you become more active, reduce stress, become more social, and even improve your mood [1]. The CDC claim that dog ownership reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels [2]. Dogs have been known to have these effects in the elderly [3], and for any other people that need therapy.

At least in terms of health, just owning a dog can help improve your life.

However, dogs do not only just improve your health, they also have the ability to change other important aspects of your life that drastically improve your relationships, your work, and your outlook on life. 

Let me just tell you a story about myself. I always was doubtful about my abilities, and always insecure about everything. I would constantly compare myself against other people, always in a competition with people who had no idea a competition existed.

I can tell you that, through my dog, I have been able to overcome many of my problems.

Being my competitive self, when I got Petie, I wanted him to have the best life that I could give him. I wanted to push myself and do whatever I had to do to make that happen. How did I begin that?

Well, by watching Cesar Millan’s TV shows of course.

Although I know some people may not agree with everything he says, he did inspire me when he said that, to be proper dog owners, we have to become pack leaders.

Well, how do you become one?

This was my process:

1) I started soul searching. I realized that I was not completely happy with myself, not confident. I then spent a lot of my drives to and from work listening to motivation podcasts. In future blog posts, I will share the ones that have changed my perspective and my life. These began to make me feel hope.

2) I started meditating. Although meditation has always been hard for me, the benefits of meditation are amazing. It causes you to forget everything around you, and focus on the present moment. Since meditation sitting on the floor was hard for me, I actually began doing muttitation – where you walk your dog while meditating. I have started using these techniques while walking into the office, at the dog park, or even just in the morning. I will share my muttitation process in a future blog post. Meditation has allowed me to improve my relationship with my husband since I become a better listener, and because I am more aware of his needs as my husband. Since I am not worried about the minutia of everyday life, I have the brain power to help improve the lives of my pack. 

3) I began journaling. I started brainstorming things whenever I had the opportunity. That is how my entrepreneurial idea came to be. Now that my mind was quiet from meditating and my brain was clear, ideas just seemed to flow into my mind for myself, for my work, and for my future. I did not even have to try – the universe’s whispers just seemed to come to me.

4) I began going to the dog park to spend time in the quiet and in nature. Since everyone says that dogs need a lot of exercise, I found a local dog park where I go in the mornings before work, or when I wake up on the weekends. Since it is the morning, I can complete my muttitation exercises while walking, with the sounds and smells of nature. At the same time, my dog becomes visibly calmer which comes back into the home. These dog park adventures have caused him to be less destructive and less anxious. This furthered my belief that nature can heal us all, and spending time in nature with your dogs can work wonders for many behavioral issues. 

5) I began doing activities to improve my confidence and leadership skills. My dog at times was becoming a bully at home. According to Cesar Millan, this shows signs of your dog not respecting you because you are not acting like the pack leader. I began doing this list of activities – which has decreased a lot of behavior issues. I can say that just implementing these tips has caused both of us to be calmer with each other and has increased my patience. Also, since I study nonverbal communication, I started practicing nonverbal communication so I acted and sounded like a leader. I will share some of my tips on how to become a leader through nonverbal communication in future blog posts. 

6) I have found ways to boost my mood in the morning. I was a grumpy person in the morning (and sometimes I still do!). However, some ways I improved my mood in the morning to improve my outlook for the day includes drinking lemon water, stretching, looking out the window as soon as you wake up, and going outside for a walk have improved my mood which continues throughout my day. 

My dog helped me become a more improved person. Through my dedication to making his life better and easier, I have found ways to increase productivity, mood, and just my outlook. This change in my life outlook could only have been learned through the pack. 

How has your pack enhanced your life? Which ways can you improve your life through your dog? Comment below! Please share if you think that this post would be useful to anyone in your life. If you want more future comment, follow this blog! 

 

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-10-health-benefits-of-dogs-and-one-health-risk_us_57dad1b8e4b04a1497b2f5a0

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/

[3]https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Knight2/publication/5403162_In_the_Company_of_Wolves_The_Physical_Social_and_Psychological_Benefits_of_Dog_Ownership/links/0c960530516cc31488000000.pdf

10 Comments Add yours

  1. James L says:

    Always been a cat owner until two years ago. Nothing can beat that get up and go attitude of a dog. So full of life at 6am on a Saturday morning he makes me realise how much I should get up to achieve!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thepackheals says:

    Yes I wake up at 6 am consistently now! I have made a habit of going to the dog park then, and it’s a great way to start the day

    Like

  3. Rebecca MKT says:

    This is a great post! My dogs definitely have a way of making me and my family feel better🙂. I wrote a post about the benefits of having a dog last week. https://strictlyunstructured.com/2017/06/02/the-house-with-four-dogs/. It’s interesting to read your perspective.

    Like

  4. Shannon says:

    I love Cesar Millan. And dogs can totally help you improve your life. Hiking with my dogs has changed my life.

    Like

    1. thepackheals says:

      Me too! I am so sad I do not have a forest around me now! I think that is where my soul belongs – in the forest hiking

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shannon says:

        Amen! Me too!

        Like

  5. Boscoe Flux says:

    Awesome love this post, dogs can drastically change your life for the better. It’s definitely made me more affectionate. Also helping me with my patience I am not the most patient person on the world!

    Like

    1. thepackheals says:

      Me too! I had SUCH a patience problem beforehand. Then, with a dog, I realized losing my patience only makes it worst! I learned really quickly that I better change that behavior because I realized it never helped me in the past anyways!

      Like

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