Stress Management for Dogs and Pet Parents
Meditation is known to be beneficial to one’s health and happiness, but fitting it into a busy schedule as a pet parent can be a bit of a challenge. Between early morning walks and preparing your pup’s meals, it can be hard to catch a break.
If this sounds like you, try starting your mornings off with canine meditation. This practice creates some new opportunities to spend quality time with your pooch while also working on yourself, which is a win-win. While your pup gets the attention he wants, you get a moment to relax and refresh. So, how can your pup become a meditating dog in no time? Well, you’re in luck—these tips will teach you how to meditate with your dog.
Focus on Your Breath
“The main point of meditation is breathing,” says Suzi Teitelman, creator of Doga (dog yoga). Breathing is something that we do unconsciously throughout the day, but when you’re meditating, it becomes a primary focus. When you and your meditating dog are breathing, you should “Focus on each inhale and exhale and try to align your breath to be in sync with your dog’s,” explains Teitelman. It may not happen at first try, which is completely normal; it’s something that takes practice and commitment. A perfect opportunity to start practicing with your pup is when you’re relaxing on the couch together. You may usually watch television, but instead, you can switch over to meditation music for dogs and try some canine meditation. If your pup needs some persuading in the beginning, the Ruff Dawg Om Dawg Stress Reduction System includes a toy that you can use to take the edge off until your pup is ready for a relaxing meditation session.
The most important thing is to make your pup feel comfortable and relaxed throughout the entire process. Take it day by day; it may be the case that you only breathe in unison for a few minutes on the first day, and that is okay. It will take commitment to help get your pup to a calmer state of mind, but the benefits it will have on your fur baby will be priceless. One of the ways you can encourage this behavior is by plugging in an Adaptil Electric Dog Diffuser, which releases pheromones to calm your pet. You can also try other anxiety-relief methods, like natural supplements such as Rescue Remedy Stress Relief. Once you and your pup have mastered breathing in unison, you can then work on “lengthening your inhale and exhale each time while having your dog lying down on your body,” says Teitelman.
Try Different Forms of Canine Meditation
You can begin to explore other ways to do canine mediation together when you feel that your meditating dog is ready for something new on the mat. “Meditation is a branch of yoga,” explains Teitelman. Try some Doga together, which is another great way to bond and unwind. “You can do meditation at the beginning of any Doga class together. Just breathing throughout the class is meditation where you’re completely still,” further explains Teitelman.
Savasana is another way you and your pooch can meditate together. In Savasana, usually called “corpse pose” in yoga, you lie on your back with your heels spread, and your palms facing upward with your arms at your side but a few inches from your body. The object is to clear your mind so you can relax and release tension. Savasana is usually done at the end of a yoga session; it can be done after a play session or long walk with your pup. You can do this by sitting or lying down on your back while your pup is lying on top of you. It provides “warmth and the physical attachment that will unite you both,” says Teitelman.
There will also be times that your pup doesn’t want to do canine meditation, and that’s totally okay. That doesn’t mean that your meditation has to be on hold on those days. You can practice walking meditation that can easily be done while you take your pooch around the block. This form of meditation is the perfect way to multi-task as a pet parent; you’ll be meeting your pet’s needs and still meeting your own needs. Walking meditation is simple—while you go for your usual stroll around the neighborhood, make it your intention to be mindful of walking in the present moment. By doing this, it will provide you with the feeling of calmness and relaxation that your usual meditation sessions offer.
Patience Is Key
While you and your four-legged companion are learning how to meditate together, you should remind yourself to stay patient, and don’t aim for perfection. Patience is important for many reasons, like knowing when’s the perfect time to meditate with your dog. Understanding your dog’s body language can help you determine if it’s a good time to try canine meditation, and if it’s not, you may end up discovering what else your pup may need at that time. The beauty of being a pet parent is you can really learn how to communicate with your dog and find out what truly makes his tail wag at any moment.
Canine meditation can help everyone become calmer and happier at home. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain, like diminishing stress and alleviating your pup’s anxiety. So, give it a try and start some healthy habits with your pup!
Lindsay Schencker, Pet Central Editorial Assistant
The moment Lindsay started her career here at Chewy, she hit the ground running in customer service; she knew that this is the company she wanted to grow with from then on. When Lindsay isn’t spending her time writing for Pet Central, she’s most likely binge-watching a Netflix series and cuddling up with her 80-pound fur baby, Dexter.