Puppy Steps in the Dog Mindfulness Program

When we think of baby (puppy) steps, we think about taking little steps. The hope is that baby steps will help us develop a capacity to bear experiences of joy, fear, anger, love, and have a higher resolution of consciousness. Learning techniques of mindfulness a little at a time gives us more opportunity to practice and reinforce behaviors to incorporate them into our daily routines.

In this exercise, we are going to learn to experience our surrounding similar to that of a baby to retrain our brain to attend to our sensations. A baby can experience all their senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting) but has no words to attach to their experiences. Try observing only raw sensations without labeling when you go for a walk with your dog. Realize that you will have the tendency to label but, to the extent possible, observe your senses.

Now observe your emotional responses while you are focusing on each sense. Feeling is another way to experience your sensations. Ask yourself how you feel about what you see or hear?

Remember that anytime we can experience a sensation, this serves to anchor us into being in the moment and accept those experiences without judgment, which is the essence of practicing mindfulness.  Identify which of the senses is your favorite and second favorite. You may be more apt to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Try incorporating the senses that are not utilized as often into your daily routine so that you get into the habit of being more flexible, more open to various experiences that you may have missed out on.

You may choose to shift your attention to your dog’s sensations. What are your dog’s top two senses that you observe? Cueing into your dog’s sensations may help reinforce your puppy steps that you are learning to take. One small puppy step may lead to one giant step for human consciousness.

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