How walking your dog helps you be in the present moment

A dog is your best friend. They are always there when you need them and don’t hold judgement. But when you are out walking your dog, how present are you? In fact, this is where your dog can help you. Your dog can teach you a lot about being in the present moment. After all, they are masters of it.

Your dog, and most other animals, are always in the present moment. They can teach you about what it means to be mindful in the way they pause to sniff out a tree, a pole, a park bench and any other object they find curious.

Dogs are using all the senses to explore and experience the world around them. They are on high alert to what is going on around them and can respond accordingly if they sense danger. On the other hand, people are not so good at being mindful or in the present moment.

Most people, while out walking their pooches, are preoccupied with their thoughts or the latest tweet or social media post on their mobile devices. This means they miss out on precious time to bond and connect with their beloved canine friend.

Dog walking can seem like a chore and something that you must do every day which takes you away from other stressful activities such as checking emails. This means that you rush through the walk as quickly as possible in order not to waste time.

While there are many things that demand your time and attention, it can often be hard to switch off and relax with your furry best friend. But the value of getting out in the great outdoors can actually be of benefit to both you and your dog’s wellbeing.

Next time you reach for the dog leash consciously let go of any other thoughts and allow yourself to be fully present with your dog. Your dog will benefit from you being mindful during the walk by strengthening your bond and the link between you and your canine friend.

Five steps to being present with your dog

  1. Switch off your phone, or better yet leave it at home. Make an intention to focus on your walk and your dog. Look around at your surrounds and really take notice of things you may not have seen before. Be curious and appreciate your environment and allow it to calm and relax you.
  2. Tune into your dog’s behaviour and notice their reactions during the walk. Take your cues from your pooch to know when to talk or enjoy the walk in silence. Keep your voice in a happy, calming tone and let your dog process the words you are saying to them.
  3. Take direction from your dog and let them lead you. Explore your neighbourhood in a playful manner like your dog immersing yourself in each step and each breath. Notice the breeze on your skin, the smell of fresh morning dew, the sound of the birds, the colour of the grass and sky. Following your dog’s lead can give the walk more meaning and connect you even more.
  4. Change your route and mix it up a little instead of taking the same path each day. Consciously slow down and enjoy the many stops your dog makes along the way to reconnect your senses to the natural environment around you.
  5. Engage with your dog by leaving treats along the way and taking a moment to watch them sniff them out. Take some deep breaths yourself and appreciate the shared time with your furry best friend.

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