While feeding the ponies this morning I realized as I write about how much it helps our animals for us to be calm, the question came up, how do you get calm?
I want to offer a simple technique I learned 30 some years ago. It is the three breaths. You start by taking a slow inhalation and then a slow exhalation. This is one breath. Repeat this two more times for a total of three. Really simple and amazingly effective.
What the three breaths does for us is slow down our thought process. You can’t focus on your breath and think at the same time. So basically when I talk about getting calm with your animal I am talking about slowing and calming your thought process.
If you look at lead animals either in a horse herd or dog pack, those animals are calm and quiet. A flick of an ear or a look gets the message across. If we are busy both in our mind and body our animal is not going to see us as a good leader. Someone has to lead this is both herd and pack law.
I suggest start doing the three breathes as you go through your day. Think of it as a mini time out it takes just a moment. Start to notice how you felt before you did the three breathes and how you feel after. You will start to notice that afterward you feel a little calmer and quieter, more focused a little less stressed. .
Three breaths. Is a gift to your animals and ultimately yourself.
After the last post a friend called to tell me what just happened with her older dog. He slipped through the upright posts on a stair landing and fell 8 feet hitting his head.
She said the first thing she did was calm herself before going down to him. Then she went to see if he was injured. As she was checking him I opened up to him. It was interesting what was more important to him in that moment was his leader was calm. Her calm radiated to him and he relaxed. As he relaxed his body could take stock of itself easily without stress.
As he does not see or hear very well her calm helped him to orient himself to the space around him again. He stood up and shook himself and started walking. He took a couple of stiff steps and then walked normally. He showed me he was ok and he had a strong calm leader which really made it ok.
Her husband was already fixing the railing making it slip through proof. It has been an on going unfolding of making changes to keep this little guy safe yet allowing him as much freedom as possible.
This really drove it home to me one more notch that staying calm with an animal when something happens is a huge benefit to them and ourselves.
Two weeks ago I went to print the post I had written and what came out of the printer was surprising. The file was compressed in on itself and unreadable. I looked at the screen and the same mess was there. First it was, oh $#!%, then fear and finally stay calm there is a solution. This event put me on an odyssey which had a great outcome. I found a man who is now my go to guy for computer glitches. Staying calm was the key. So here I am rewriting.
I worked on several cases of lost dogs that were in different areas of the country, each breed was different and how the dog went missing was different. The consistent thread that ran through each case was the level of upset of the humans
I am seeing a correlation between the level of human upset and the dog coming back. I started to see when the human calmed down there was a higher rate of the dog returning.
Think about it, we emit a negative vibration when we are upset. Our animals feel that. They do not have the ability to understand the why, they just know the human is upset. An upset leader of the pack is not a good thing for pack safety. If we do not have a safe leader the dog will stay away, it is survival for them that is hard wired. It is not a thought process.
When we get calm and become a strong leader again that is a safer feeling for the dog and the dog is more likely to come home. Now does that guarantee the dog comes back? No. It does create a higher possibility though.
I am seeing over and over how our upset emotions affect animals. Not just in lost dogs, in all areas of our interaction with them. People are always asking me what can I do for my animal to make their life with me better. More and more my response is be aware of your emotional state and if you are having an upset address it. Does that mean beat yourself up? No. Simply be aware and do something to get calmer.
The gift to your animal will be huge. .