A Buddhist student once said “my teacher is so powerful she can go days without eating.”
Another student said “my teacher has so much discipline he can go a week without sleeping.”
A third student said “my dog is so wise she eats when she’s hungry and sleeps when she’s tired.”
Buddhists and dog behaviorists aren’t as different as it might seem. For starters, both groups seek to find balance by better understanding the truth. Where a Buddhist might seek answers to questions such as “who am I?” A dog behaviorist seeks to understand “who is this dog?” The dog, too, wishes to understand - “What in the hell is a city and how do I safely navigate this human world?”
It’s our job as pet owners to understand and love our pets, to make sure they are safe and balanced. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what their dog actually needs. People let their dogs have free reign of the house, then wonder why they bark at guests (the dog thinks they are in charge of keeping the family safe). They shower their dogs with affection for no reason and wonder why their dog freaks out at other dogs (anxious state of mind has been rewarded unknowingly). If we want to truly have a balanced, happy relationship with our dogs, we have to see things as they really are, rather than how we think they should be. Buddhism can help.
Let’s explore the teachings of Buddhism and dog behavior, and the ways their philosophies can build upon and reinforce each other. Buddhist principles, such as loving-kindness and equanimity, can be examined in relation to concepts from dog behavior such as pack dynamics and the states of a dog’s mind.
As we dive into this topic, you’ll learn:
- The 4 Noble Truths and how they apply to the human/dog relationship
- Calming meditation practices to better connect with your dog
- How to take a dog on a mindful walk
- Why practices such as generosity can make someone a better dog owner
- What dogs can teach humans about Buddhism
- How to shave a dog’s head and get them to wear orange robes. (Just kidding)
How to Raise a Buddhist Dog is a fun approach to the awesome connections between humans and dogs. We want to encourage you to commit to the best practices when it comes to your dog: to listen and understand the relationship from a new perspective, one that is mutually beneficial. While we’ll emphasize Buddhist principles, these are concepts and practices that anyone from any background can implement. This is Buddhism without (ahem) dogma.
Buddhism teaches interdependence - all things are connected. In the case of our dogs this means the more balanced we are, the more balanced our dogs can be. Buddhism also teaches impermanence - everything is always changing. If we want to be better dog parents, we too, must be willing to change. We will show you the path.
How to Raise a Buddhist Dog: a must-read for anyone with two legs raising a being with four legs.