Dog Training for Humans!

8th April 2020
Leatherhead Parish Church

With dogs walks in our lovely Surrey countryside restricted, I find myself pounding the pavements, dodging all the other people out walking.

Therefore, I have decided that during lockdown I will concentrate on doing some dog training, which, as anyone who has met my two doggies knows, is badly needed! So, I have been listening to Podcasts about dog training whilst out on my walks.

The aim of the course is to make me “sexier than a squirrel”, in my dogs’ eyes! I want them to focus on me all the time, so that when they are off the lead, I don’t have to worry about them chasing a squirrel.

The trainers talk about the dogs having a bowl, which we need to keep full of enjoyment, being careful not to overfill. They go on to relate what they are saying to how we look after ourselves during the current crisis.

Preventing negative feelings overwhelming us

It is very easy to allow the negative to overwhelm us, especially when there’s so much of it about at the moment. They suggest that we should have a 5% to 95% split, where 5% of our time is filled with the negative and 95% filled with positive things.

In order to achieve this, we have to focus on two aspects.

1. Manage the Negative Stuff
We need to manage the amount of negative stuff that we allow into our lives on a daily basis. This could be only listening to the news once a day, or even missing it some days altogether. Only looking at social media at set times and for a set amount of time. Limiting the number of WhatsApp groups that we join, and carefully considering what we post ourselves. It is very easy to get sucked into the negative and allow it to take over. It is something that we can control!

2. Selfcare
The other side of the coin is making sure that we look after ourselves to ensure that we reach 95% of positive things. When we are busy, we often stop doing the things that give us the most pleasure and fill up our wellness bowl. What makes you happy? Having a soak in the bath, reading, knitting, gardening, watching a movie, listening to music, doing a jigsaw or a crossword? Whatever it is, make time to do that. Prioritise that over things that don’t add to your wellbeing. Now, more than ever, we have to look after ourselves and selfcare is not an indulgence, it is a necessity.

Mental Preparation

We don’t know how long the current situation will continue, but it is likely to be for several weeks, so it’s important that we are prepared mentally to see us through.

I hope that when we do go back to normal (whatever that maybe), I will have better behaved dogs and we will all be better at selfcare and looking after our emotional wellbeing.

Sally Milner is a Licensed Lay Minister  and part of our pastoral care team.
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isten to the podcasts mentioned in this article.


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