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How Your Dog Can Be Your Training Partner


 

Living in today’s Western world means being flooded by information. At every turn, we anticipate the phantom vibration of our cell phones, beckoning us towards the likes of Facebook and Instagram, urging us to to remain “in the loop” and besieging us with the latest tidings. What happens when the beck and call of the wild is but the faintest murmur and you are yearning to just stop and listen? What happens when you are caught in the hustle and bustle and can’t seem to find the will to break free? Sometimes, you need that extra push.

Dogs have historically been dubbed “man’s best friend”. When you make the choice to bring a dog into your life, you are choosing to have a companion, something to care for other than yourself. Dogs, however, have a crafty way of giving back. In being cared for, they open up personal horizons; in many ways, they are taking care of you. This post explores the ways in which having a furry companion can lead you thrive in mind and body.

We are meant to be outside. We are meant to have the sun shine in our face, feel the fresh air on our faces and let our feet sink gently into pools of cool, crystalline water. Sometimes, in the flurry of city life, we cast those fundamental needs aside. When you have a dog, what has been morphed into a luxury for you becomes a necessity for him or her. Getting "back to basics" is intended to be a grounding experience and can also be a constructive activity for the Self. In that way, taking a drive away from the city, shutting off your phone and taking a scenic stroll along the mountainside becomes not only a bonding activity for man and canine but a good way for your to find your center and refocus. In short, your dog needs to go outside and by default, so do you! The many new scents and sounds will alleviate your dog's boredom and he or she will thank you for it. So, trade the urban, cement runway for the tender dark soil of a primeval forest and the stagnant city air for a balmy coniferous breeze and feel yourselves transformed.

In addition to giving you that extra motivation to step outside of city limits, owning a dog means that you can potentially associate yourself with a variety of sports that you probably did not even know existed. The idea of cross-country running with your fluffy pal secured to your side? It’s called canicross and it’s amazing! What better way to encourage you forward then having your personal canine cheerleader eagerly prompting you along the way? Closely related to canicross are the sports of bikejoring and skijoring, whereby your pup is fastened to your bike and skis, respectively. All in all, these kinds of activities are twofold: encouraging you to step outside and get your blood pumping and the oxygen flowing, as well as strengthening the bond between you and your dog by building mutual trust.

Maybe you don’t have the means or time to associate yourself with excursions or canine sports. Fear not! There are fun, bonding experiences within city limits that can be achieved with your dog. Consider doga, where a certified trainer works with you and your dog on mastering various poses, all the while curbing behavioral issues and cultivating a calming state of mind for both master and mutt.

So, there you have it, the relationship between a human and his/her dog is a breeding ground for positive changes. The fact that your pal requires exercise can potentially push you to shatter your own limits. Finding new activities is a must to reduce boredom in your dog (a leading factor in behavioral issues); alternative ways of spending energy lead to stimulation, excitement and stress reduction for the both of you.

Remember, variety is the spice of life!

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Chloë Kibbe
Chloë Kibbe

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