Dog Life Unleashed Calming the Chaos Experiment (Why This Challenge Is Different Outline)
I've made excuses for my own dog for years now.
He's a Weimaraner.
He's a tough dog.
He's strong willed.
He's a sporting dog.
That's all well and good but it's no excuse for bad behavior. Especially when I'm a trainer. A dog trainer at that.
It all came to a head when there was a change in my household with my sister finally moving along to a place of her own. My dog went into an anxiety spin when left alone.
It wasn't entirely the household change. A lot of other factors were going on at the same time.
He somehow got pancreatitis. He had what appeared to be a mini stoke one night when the heat wave had unbearable humidity and we had no air conditioning in our coastal home.
In any event, his anxiety was coming out all over the place.
It coincided with my making some lifestyle changes as well as really diving into work with anxiety. I've been studying the book written by Russell Kennedy, MD, The Anxiety RX. I realized how much work I need to do on it. I've been burying it for years and it's become apparent I can no longer do that. It's become apparent that like a lot of high performers, I'm good at hiding it. And yet, I don't want to feel anxiety inside. Not for one more day.
I'm not unlike my dog training clients and the two statements I tell them all the time.
1. Your dog is reflecting your behavior and vise versa.
2. Often we don't get the dog we want. We get the dog we need.
And here I am, my dog showing increased signs of anxiety, he's unstructured, does what he wants without worry to consequences until after he's traveled outside the lines appropriate in our society, and I end up getting mad. And then he retreats to anxiety again.
It's a mad circle. Anger is a reactive way to deal with anxiety after all.
Another fact about anxiety. "All anxiety is separation anxiety." That's a quote by Dr Russ Kennedy from the Anxiety RX book.
One other factor that came up that plays a part in my own decision to do the work and Calm the Chaos... my dog knows I've been mad at him. He knows that what I felt for Zelda, my passed away heart dog, I don't have for him. Instead of me spending time showing him how to be calm, how to walk on a leash nicely without pounding his collar, I get irritated at him. He knows it. And he doesn't deserve that.
I wasn't even providing for his most basic need. Exercise.
Even though I preach exercise, it's been my life long athletic way, I was spending all of my time training other dogs, while he hung out and waited. No structure. Not enough exercise. I just expect him to get it.
So many things I teach other people wrapped up in this but I wasn't doing for myself.
And that fact wraps right back around to the practice I learned in the Anxiety RX. Instead of listening to my own needs, instead of taking care of myself, I was taking care of every one else. I put others needs or wants before my own.
I wasn't practicing the message Zelda left me with at all.
I love you more than anything in the world. That's a statement that should be first and foremost for self so that you are really great at taking care and loving others, instead of trying to be it all and not sleeping at night with worry about your own life and what the future might or might not bring.
It was like the light went on in my world. Connection to Divine Light opened up and I started applying all these things I've been studying for years to myself rather than pouring myself into making sure my friends, my family and my clients needs and wants were being met.
I decided to get better. Like Micheal Jordan's quote: “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”
That decision has my dog a whole lot better already too. He's actually turning into a genuine pure bread good boy!
And out of it, the program I've wanted to launch for more than 7 years is happening.
Dog Life Unleashed: Calming the Chaos: A 30 Day Experiment to Unlearn Anxiety Through a Better Relationship With Your Dog
It's happening. My own platform to teach people what I know about dogs and anxiety, which ultimately is about people and anxiety.
Committing to a few simple changes for 30 days can change everything.
Calming the Chaos Experiment (challenge)
For 30 days:
1. Run/walk with your dog for at least 20 minutes
2. Drink a minimum of 3 quarts of water
3. Gratitude: In the morning when you get up list 7 things each morning you are grateful for
4. Before you got to bed think of 3 good things that happened: Think of three things that went well.
5. Bonus: drink less alcohol
Through my work with dogs and their people over the last 21 years, I know that reactivity and anxiety are the biggest problems that I get called in for help. It's hard to take your dog for a rejuvenating walk when there's internal angst at either end of the leash.
In this experiment, there will be daily prompts to help you with a way to communicate with your dog so your walk or run together without pulling on the leash, anxiety or reactivity preventing you from moving forward goes away.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. ~Viktor E. Frankl
Track your progress and you'll see that Calming the Chaos can change your life to calm, confidence and play for you and your dog in 30 days!
You can join me here: