Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

“Home” Acrylic on canvas by Barbara Shumannfang

We humans are always trying to get our dogs to do something. Or to stop them from doing something. Or teaching them to do something fun, or practical, or something that’s good for them. There’s a lot of doing.

Where’s the being?

Is it possible to relax with a dog? Or even because of a dog?

When my youngest dog was about 5 months old, he did something he’d never done before. He voluntarily laid down outside of his crate for the first time. That is what a busy little guy he was, always on the go, always in search of excitement. When he plopped down that first time without being cued or crated, I could hardly believe my eyes.

I learned to really cherish the not doing with him. Watching him sleep became one of the most relaxing things for me. To this day, when I see him curled up on his bed, perfectly still, breathing in and out, my own breathing slows down, too.

I think even (or perhaps especially) the busiest dogs have something to teach us about being still and relaxing. Be sure to give your dog, no matter their age or activity level, time to just be. Maybe you will even want to join in, if only for a few breaths.


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