You, like your dog, are a creature of habits.
The quality of your life depends on the number of good habits that you have formed. Your life is a result of your thoughts and actions, no one on this planet is responsible for your shortcomings but you, and there is nobody else to blame.
The cause of our depression is based on our anxiety about the future as we may not see the light at the end of a tunnel. Because of that, we may feel that the tunnel has no exit and, consequently, we feel trapped on this road of mediocrity or, even worse, below average. This feeling that you would never be good enough is based on thoughts about your past. If in the past you haven’t been great, you probably think that even your future will be bad.
The advice “Go with the flow…” is one of the stupidest advice I have ever heard. Would you go with the flow if it leads you to the waterfall? Or would you rather form the good habit of starting to swim, reaching the shore and walking towards your destination? It’s all in your hands, you choose.
One of the best advice I have received is to keep repeating to myself “I am responsible!”, as I am responsible for any negative thing affecting my life. If I am responsible for the creation of the problem, at the same time I am the creator of the solution, and therefore, I am the only one that can fix it. In a rare event of problems where I am not directly responsible, let’s say about something negative beyond my control of which I am not the direct creator, I am still responsible for my emotional response.
Thinking that no one owes me anything and being grateful for what I have and the help I received from people around me, it has taught me gratitude. It is a revelation that taught me happiness.
On the other hand, the most miserable and sad people I see around are spoiled ingrates that learned to find any possible way to blame others for their problems and misfortunes. These people are professional victims never responsible for their actions, they always have someone or something to blame. If these professional victims with no agency cannot blame institutions for their faults, there are always parents and relatives to blame. Apparently, it has become fashionable to be an oppressed victim, it is a good technique to keep asking for more.
Embracing your victim card is a self-entitled spoiled child move that will ensure you a life of misery and sorrow, full of empty praise to keep you a happy dependable voter or consumer for being alive and breathing.
Embrace responsibility and take control over your life.
It’s all up to you, you drive and you choose the destination.
I promise it will be about dogs, don’t worry. Now that we have observed the importance of responsibility, let’s enter the topic of dogs by saying the magic mantra.
Repeat with me: “I am responsible, I have chosen to get the dog, the well-being of my dog is my responsibility.”
Even your dog, despite its more simple thought process, likes the security of a predictable outcome. When he doesn’t have this predictability of events he will eventually become anxious, fearful, stressed and confused.
In order for you to make his life happier and more pleasant, the best thing you can do for your dog is to create a predictable routine and keep it constant.
Make sure to always feed your dog the same amount of food at the same time of the day. Always walk your dog at the same time. You can change the place where you walk to keep the experience even more interesting. Set a time where the dog will rest and don’t forget about play time. I understand that due to work-related lifestyle, it will be difficult to follow the same routine if you are a single dog owner. Still, try to do the best you can with the tools you have.
This routine, followed day by day, will create a predictable outcome that can give some piece of mind to the dog. She will create her mental routine where she knows when it’s time to eat, time to walk, time to play and, especially, time to settle down and sleep. This can prevent your dog from the suffering of separation anxiety as your return home at a certain point during the day will become part of the dog’s routine.
Consistency with house rules will be of benefit for both of you. If you maintain a constant set of rules that are enforced 24/7 without exception, it will be very clear for the dog what is allowed and what is not. For example, if the dog is not allowed on the sofa, the rule must be consistent. If he jumps on the sofa, you must enforce the rule and remove him from there and take him to his bed. You should reward him for calmly staying there. If one day you enforce the rule and another day you make an exception, it will be difficult for the dog to understand whether it is ok or not for him to be there.
Your dog will have a better life because he understands the rules you set and, at the same time, you can benefit from having a well-behaved dog.
Even basic commands must be practised on a daily basis. Make sure the sound and the visual clue of the command remain the same. In other words, always use the same word for ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ etc… Practice it every day: when you feed the dog, call her name followed by the command ‘come’, ask her to sit, ask her to wait and give the command to eat when she follows all your instruction. When you get in and out of the house, ask your dog to sit and stay. You go through the door first and then you can tell her to come, sit and wait while you are closing the door and then you both go. This is not to show the dog “who the boss is”, it is more for the dog to have the habit of paying attention to you and for the commands to become her second nature.
Remember, good habits and consistency are the key to a happy and successful life with your dog.
It’s a concept easy to grasp but, at the same time, it requires commitment from your side. Remember that you have chosen to get the dog and, therefore, you are responsible.
Your dog will be grateful for having an owner like you and you should be grateful to have a pet like your dog.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you like to learn more, please, feel free to subscribe to this blog.
Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check my book ‘Before You Get A Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.