Why Mindfulness with Your Dog is the Best

Mindfulness with your dog is the best
Can you spot both dogs in this picture?

Your dog lives in the moment. No dwelling on the past. Forget about planning for the future. Your Best Friend lives purely in the here and now! If you own a dog, then this is common knowledge! Recently, mindfulness is having a moment and is high on our radar. Mindfulness with your dog is the best!

I’m not so sure, but if my dogs could talk, they’d tell me they HATE my smartphone. I’m pretty sure there are some owners out there who’ve fallen on the misfortune of their Best Friend destroying their phone. When your dog wants your attention, your dog wants your full attention. Not some zombie version of you scrolling on that dumb device with ne hand and playing with the other.

Why Your Dog Benefits From Mindfulness with You (and Vice Versa for You)

Have you ever noticed on a good dog walk how you simply stop and take in the world? Perhaps, you let her sniff to her heart’s content. You notice the green of the trees. Maybe, you take in the aroma of the air and your surroundings.

Lately, I’ve had the time to take my dogs for “epic walks” most days. Epic walks generally last longer than 30 minutes, take us from our normal neighborhood route, and allow for sniffing and interaction opportunities. On said epic walks, I rarely think about my to-do list. Additionally, I don’t rush the dogs. I simply enjoy the moment, feel gratitude for the time, ability, and desire to move my body and connect with my dogs.

Mindfulness with your dog is the best! Here are several benefits:

  • A natural de-stressor
  • Stronger human-animal connection
  • De-escalates anxiety (in you too!)
  • Boosts mental and physical health

Natural De-Stressor

Mindfulness, meditation, and quiet reflection are great ways to de-stress. Do you ever come home from work feeling frantic, mind racing? Then, you spot your pet. They don’t feel that way. Your pet hasn’t had a rough day. Honestly, all they want is your attention and are happy that you’re back home with them. To begin, take a few moments to slow your breathing to your pet’s rhythm. Once you’re on her wavelength, you’ll be surprised at how much your energy changes and your stress melts away.

Stronger Human-Animal Connection

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_2057-1-scaled.jpg
Some mindful coloring with Franklin.

Most days, after I wake up and prepare Wally and Oliver’s breakfast, I meditate. Usually, it’s a short 10 minute jaunt. Every day, Wally curls up next to me, with some part of his body touching mine. The connection is hard to explain, but it’s present. Maybe it’s one way he shows me how he loves me.

For anyone who’s ever enjoyed the company of a pet, you know there is a deep connection. Animals and humans share similar feelings of joy, pain, fear, and love. There is power in sharing a quiet moment with your Best Friend.

De-Escalates Anxiety

Back to that rough day at work; what do you usually do when it’s over? For me, I take a long deep breath. Or 10. Or 100. This slow, deep breathing slows the heart rate and calms the mind. Deep breathing allows your blood vessels to dialate and lowers blood pressure. If you practice it, you know deep breathing has countless benefits.

Coincidentally, when you’re anxious, taking a few deep breaths centers your body and mind. Further, deep breathing tells your brain to relax. Frankly, sometimes a few deep breaths are the only thing between a meltdown-tantrum, tears, or supreme calm and a clear head.

Boosts Mental and Physical Health

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve cultivated a small and imperfect meditation practice. Honestly, I can say I’ve benefitted in ways that are hard to see. For one, I’m calmer and less likely to blow up. Meditating with my dog Wally by my side is comforting. Plus, my attitude in general is more optimistic.

Mindfulness holds a host of benefits for our mental and physical health. It boosts immunity. Additionally, practicing mindfulness (no matter how imperfect) has shown to have potential in slowing cognitive decline, supporting heart and cardiovascular health, and may even reduce cell aging. Who knew a few deep breaths would have so much impact!

How to Practice Mindfulness with Your Dog

Here is a simple exercise to practice with your Best Friend, and will help you both relax and connect! Remember, your dog feels your energy. He doesn’t enjoy feeling frenetic, anxious, and harried; but he will feel that way if you do! Why not exude calm, peace, and quiet? (Even if it’s just for a short period of time!)

  1. Find a quiet peaceful place.
  2. Sit comfortably on a pillow, couch or chair. Also, you could lie on your back on the floor.
  3. Close your eyes or maintain soft focus on something in your view.
  4. Picture your Best Friend in his most comfortable, relaxed, carefree body position. Visualize his eyes gently closed, deep breathing taking over his body, his rest relaxed and in the moment. (Your dog may even lie down near you. *At the time of this writing, Wally flopped down under the table right on my feet.)
  5. Breathe in a comfortable meditation routine. First, a deep breath in through the nose and into the throat, lungs, and stomach. Sit with your breath for a moment. Then, exhale through the mouth.
  6. Slowly, breathe like this for any period of time.
  7. Keep picturing your Best Friend, their breathing matched to yours, equally relaxed.
  8. Hopefully, after 5-15 minutes you feel at ease and peace.
  9. Try to incorporate this exercise into your daily life. If your mind begins racing or ruminating, don’t feel upset. Just acknowledge the distraction and let it go. Our animals live purely in the moment and are capable of this deep relaxion and peace that we sometimes struggle to capture. Keep at it!

Other Ways to Practice Mindfulness with Your Best Friend

  • Take a walk or hike. Leave your phone at home. Let your dog sniff. Bonus points for letting your dog snoop off-leash! (You know best if your dog can handle off-leash jaunts!)
  • Indulge your Best Friend with pets or a devoted grooming. Tell her what a good girl she is!
  • During play time, just play with your dog! Try to think about the world from your dog’s perspective. How does she see things during play? What’s she thinking? Put your phone down during play!
  • Sit quietly with your Best Friend. Look out the window. Watch the world go by for a few minutes. See what he sees.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day busyness of our lives. However, it’s vital to take a few minutes and observe, appreciate, and love the world around you. Our pets benefit from those quiet moments with us. Additionally, we have an incredible bond with our pets. Why not strengthen that bond through some mindfulness with them? Try practicing some small mindfulness activities with your Best Friend. You’ll both be glad you did! Mindfulness with your dog is the best!

3 thoughts on “Why Mindfulness with Your Dog is the Best”

  1. WOW BFK❤️ That was mind blowing. We all know all dogs are therapy dogs! That strong intuitive devotion they innately have for people needs to be celebrated more. Thx for highlighting this healing bond.. I’m going to pay more attention. ????
    And I love pics of Franklin…those magical eyes!
    ????Char & Oreo????

  2. Pingback: 10 Ways Our Dogs Saved Us In 2021 | Best Friends Kitchen

  3. Pingback: 11 Quirky Ways Your Dog Shows You Love

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