There’s an adage along the lines of “how you do one thing is how you do everything.”
Our dogs are a particularly powerful teacher when it comes to this level of mindfulness. We can see how the more we are present and aware with our dogs, the happier and more balanced they become. But can we also see how the rest of our day is impacted positively?
Think of your day as a stair step. Every positive, mindful action moves you up a step, every disconnected, negative action moves you down. If you wake up in a bad mood, you’re starting pretty far down the stairs. The good news is every single step you take to counteract that bad mood is a step in the right direction. If you wake up in a great mood, you’re off to a good start, but don’t get too full of yourself, you can easily tumble.
Think about our dogs the same way: if we approach a walk assuming it’s going to be hard, we’re off to a bad start. If we come in with a good attitude, even if the dog is difficult, we will make some progress. We will take a few steps up the stairs.
The main point here is that the external event isn’t nearly as important as the internal one. Our dog can be completely off balance, and if we approach that with frustration and anger, we will just create more of a mess.
On the other hand, our dog can be totally balanced and nice and we can be a complete mess-that will probably drag our dog down with us. This is how we do things. We can choose to approach any situation with a calm, open mind and we will benefit in one way or another. Likewise, we can approach any situation with a shitty attitude, and we will suffer to some degree.
How we do one thing, is how we do everything. If you spend your day at work in a joyful, present demeanor, you will bring that same energy back to your home, your family, and you guessed it: your dog. If you’re angry at work, you’ll bring that home.
Remember, the external event doesn’t matter nearly as much as the internal event. You can have a challenging day at work and see it as an opportunity for personal growth. You can have a challenging day with your dog and still make progress with their behavior. Approach your time with your dog from a place of gratitude and mindfulness. Their behavior will improve, you will grow too.