Weekly Wag: The Tao of the Dog

I found a great holistic dog care book recently and I use it as my doggy bible now. It is very easy to find what you are looking for, easy to follow with lots of illustrations. It is called The Complete Holistic Dog Book by Jan Allegretti & Katy Sommers, D.V.M. Some topics include acupressure, flower essences, TCM, herbs, wholesome nutrition, bodywork and energy medicine.

I feel bonding with your pet beyond playing at the park, going for walks and playing fetch is important. To become one with your dog, so to speak. We are all one spirit, one mind! I have permission to share this with you from The Complete Holistic Dog Book. Enjoy!

The Tao of the Dog

The ancient philosophy of Taoism has a very important precept called wu-wei, which translates to “not doing.” By practicing we-wei, you are relating to your dog with our force or interference. This “art of doing nothin” will give you a better understanding of who he really is.

Take your dog to a dog park, or a protected nature area where he can safely be off leash. Try just sitting for an hour or two, and quietly observe your friend. As you watch him move through this new environment, try to imagine what it is like to hear sixteen times better than you do, and have a sense of smell a hundred times better than your own. Which activities give him joy? How does he sense danger, and how does he respond to it? What is his connection to you? Is it comfortable and easy, or does he experience anxiety whenever he drifts away from you?

If past problems suggest your dog is not ready to be off leash with strange dogs and people, have a friend take your dog for a walk on a long leash. Go along, but only as a passive observer, not as a participant. Walk in silence, putting all your attention on observing your dog. Can you see him “talk” through his body language? Do you recognize the difference between a big, slow, tail wag that means, “I’m happy,” and the fast, sharp wag that indicates stress or uncertainty?

Which parts of the walk does he enjoy most? When is he stressed or unsure of himself? How does his expression toward each passerby change? Is he submissive, or does his body language suggest, “Stay away from me”? Most importantly, how does your dog respond to the direction of your friend when there is tension in the situation?

You can practice wu-wei with your dog at home, too. If your dog is relegated to the back yard or a kennel every day, try sitting a few hours there with him. Perhaps you’ll come to understand why he tears up the rose bed! Or you may decide that a softer bed on that concrete floor might not be such a bad idea after all. Just observing your dog in a passive and open way, you will be better able to interpret his unique communication style and know more intimately what makes him tick. No doubt, you will likely see your relationship with your canine companion deepen in many wonderful ways as you come to know the “Way of the Dog.”


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