Boundaries and Safety are fundamental needs that humans often fail to provide for their pets (and for themselves)
My life, in many ways, has been an exploration and evolution of boundaries and safety. The stronger, clearer, and healthier I have made my understanding and expression of boundaries and safety, the happier and healthier my life, and my relationship with my animal companions has become.
All relationships are always and forever about boundaries. How safe your pets feel is directly related to how clear, strong, kind, and consistent your creation, expression, and maintenance of boundaries with them is. This takes significant work, inner and outer, and ongoing. I am no exception to this. This is a deep, ongoing, passionate and committed exploration for me, in all facets of my life and work.
Boundaries and safety – how do you manage this in a healthy way in your life? How do you create and maintain healthy boundaries, and hence support safety?
My first (and ongoing) step has been, and continues to be, to get very, very clear about what I will NOT tolerate, and then I get very clear about what I desire. Then I have a hard ‘healthy no’ to what I will not tolerate – which is in essence, anything and everything that compromises my integrity, causes me harm, or diminishes my freedom in any way.
I then have the opportunity to say a ‘healthy yes’ to what I choose to do – things that bring benefits to my life in a range of ways.
Here’s the thing. In my experience, every time I express any kind of ‘healthy no’ or ‘healthy yes’, there is an inevitable and proportional experience of healthy discomfort in one way or another. In other words, creating, expressing, and maintaining strong, clear, healthy boundaries is work. And to do this effectively, you’ll have to meaningfully endure healthy discomfort ongoing.
The good news is that the benefits of doing so are deep, wide, and powerful. For you first, and at the same time for your pets, before you even actively work with expressing boundaries with them.
Supporting your pets as you work with Boundaries and Safety
The essence here is that you need to take ownership of your close (intimate) personal space, and then have an ongoing conversation with your pets (dogs in particular) about how and when they come in and out of your close personal space.
To have healthy boundaries with your dog, you MUST be able to ask them to stay out of your close personal space, and have them respect that fully. I call this ‘the gentle art of outing’ your dog. If you want to work with me to learn the how, to put this into practice, you can contact me at email@example.com to enquire about the courses or one-on-one mentoring sessions I offer.
Healthy, clear boundaries and safety go hand in hand. That is, when you create and maintain healthy boundaries with your dogs, they will feel more safety. This will deepen your relationship with your animal companions. And… Your dogs are NOT going to like this process at first. Here is where you’ll have to ‘hold your line in the sand’ with your dogs as they work through the inevitable healthy discomfort that follows you expressing a boundary.
One of the key things that I teach EVERY human who I work with as a mentor, veterinarian, intuitive, or animal healer is that you MUST be more determined than your pets. It is so critically important that you do this in a kind way, without dominating your animal companion.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the cuddles and connections you desire with your dog within your close personal space. But it does mean that you own your personal space, and you have a conversation (decide) when and how you invite your dog in, or ask them to stay out.
The clearer and more consistent you become with this ongoing conversation with your dogs, the safer they will feel, and the calmer they will become.
When you do ‘out’ your dogs, you must keep them out #1 until they stop pushing to come in, and #2 until they show obvious signs of relaxation. This builds their capacity to self-regulate. I see so many dogs who use their humans as a drug for emotional regulation.
Want more? Check out our most recent of this series of articles at this link.
If you want an online or in-person consultation with me, go to www.thehealingvet.com and book a free discovery call with me! We also offer a stack of awesome online training programs that empower you to find and heal your pet’s Silent Pain.
Pic of Gem on the couch with her sheepie.