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Welcome to our unique approach dedicated to dog-parents 

who share their lives with sensitive, easily overwhelmed and reactive dogs.

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Do you have a Sensitively Spirited Dog?

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Sensitively spirited dogs have a special way of experiencing the world—they're incredibly attuned to sensory information, emotions and subtle changes in their environment. These dogs often pick up on sights, sounds, smells and even our own thoughts and feelings, and may respond by barking, growling jumping, whining or trying to 'chase the scary thing' away.  Their sensitivity can easily be seen as a weakness or as a problem, but it's actually a superpower that makes them highly intelligent, lively and spirited companions, that are deeply attuned to their world and to us.  With patience, understanding and the right support, these amazing dogs can enrich our lives and become our closely bonded allies, with many beautiful life lessons to share with us. 

Sensitively Spirited Dog or Reactive Behavior? 

When we talk about reactive behavior in dogs, it usually involves sudden outbursts triggered by fear, stress, frustration or conflict. Sensitively spirited dogs might show similar behaviors, but their reactions stem more from their heightened sensitivity and dysregulated nervous system.  


Here are some signs that your dog may be sensitively spirited:
 

  • They startle easily

  • They may bark, whine or vocalize a lot 

  • They are overly cautious in new situations

  • They are wary of strangers and visitors to your home

  • They get overwhelmed by busy environments

  • They are sensitive to touch, grooming and handling

  • They often have gut health problems and/or food intolerances or allergies.

  • They may have separation distress when left alone

  • They get distressed when there is tension amongst family members or when someone is sick/hurt

  • They find it hard to settle and usually don't get enough deep sleep and rest

  • They are affected by seasonal weather changes (struggle with hot / cold temps and seasonal allergies)

  • They may be very fearful of loud noises, fireworks and thunderstorms

  • They may find it difficult to be around young children

  • They are easily distracted by things in their environment & it's difficult to get/keep their attention

  • They get over-stimulated and over-aroused quickly (they have a low stress tolerance)

  • They get hyper-focused on things in their environment often wanting to chase / hunt

  • They have difficulty coming back to balance or settling after a stressful situation


It's important to note that their behaviour is not due to lack of training or disobedience.  Sensitively Spirited Dogs don't usually do well in group training classes or socializing activities with other dogs.   In fact, more training and particularly harsh training methods puts further stress and overwhelm on these dogs, often making their behaviour worse.

What they need more is our empathy, understanding and effective ways to help them regulate their nervous system and build confidence and resilience as they learn to adapt and cope with the stressors of daily life.   

 

How does this affect you?

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I know you love your dog, but life with them can be difficult, and include:
  • Stressful daily walks
     

  • Feeling embarrassed by your dog's behaviour
     

  • Difficulty taking your dog to the vets and groomer
     

  • Worry about what might happen if your dog bites someone or hurts another animal

  • Your world feels smaller, with less opportunities for outings, holidays and activities where your dog can comfortably participate
     

  • ​Stressful family interactions or with other dog owners
     

  • Worried when visitors come around
     

  • Not sure how to support your dog and don't feel good enough to help them need
     

  • Your own stress, frustration and anxiety levels increase

I'm here to support you in becoming a calm, confident and capable dog parent, that can guide your dog safely and joyfully through life.

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Together we will explore the options

Watch the 'Coffee & Chat' Sessions with Sue

We CAN'T change our dogs behaviour. Are we missing the point?
10:14

We CAN'T change our dogs behaviour. Are we missing the point?

"None, but ourselves can free our minds." ~ Bob Marley ### Embracing a New Perspective: We Can’t Change Our Dogs' Behaviour, and That’s Okay Hello everyone, Today, I want to share a message that’s close to my heart, even if it might seem controversial to some. After many years as a trainer and behaviourist, combined with my personal journey of self-development and healing, I've come to a realization: we cannot change our dogs' behaviour. This might seem disheartening, but I believe it's a crucial insight for us to understand. **Understanding Behaviour** Our dogs' behaviours are shaped by a myriad of factors—genetics, diet, past experiences, and more. Just like us, they are complex beings, and their actions are deeply rooted in their individuality. We often seek solutions to change these behaviours, hoping to make our dogs calmer or more obedient, but this approach overlooks a fundamental truth. **The Key Insight** We cannot change other individuals. True change comes from within, whether in humans or dogs. We might influence our dogs, but we can’t force them to fit our model of what we believe they should be. Change must be an internal process, born from a place of readiness and willingness to grow. **Supporting Our Dogs** Instead of striving to change our dogs, we should focus on supporting them. This means creating an environment where they feel safe, nurtured, and confident enough to explore new behaviours. Our role is to provide guidance and comfort, allowing them to naturally develop and adapt. **A Journey of Mutual Growth** This shift in perspective offers a beautiful opportunity: to grow alongside our dogs. As they navigate their path of self-discovery, we too can embark on our own journey, learning, healing, and evolving together. It’s about embracing the process and finding joy in the shared experience. **Embracing Individual Greatness** Our goal should be to support our dogs in becoming their best selves—not according to our expectations, but in their own unique way. By nurturing their individuality, we help them thrive. **Join the Journey** If this resonates with you, I invite you to explore this new approach. Let’s embark on this journey of mutual self-discovery with our dogs, learning and growing together. Reach out if you’d like guidance on this path. Thank you for being here and for considering this perspective. Let's continue to support and nurture our beloved dogs, allowing them to teach us as we teach them. With gratitude, Sue x *************************************************************************** Get in touch: Email: heartconnectiondogs@gmail.com Website: https://www.heartconnectiondogs.com/ Personal Growth programme: Shift, Align & Shine Website: https://sue-mimm.my.canva.site/
Why do women find it more stressful walking their sensitive, easily triggered dogs, than men do?
09:58

Why do women find it more stressful walking their sensitive, easily triggered dogs, than men do?

For those of you who have male partners or husbands, you may have noticed that they often seem to handle walking our dogs with more ease and confidence. They appear less concerned or stressed about it. While this isn’t true for everyone, it does seem to be a general trend. But why is this the case? Let’s delve into some of the reasons behind this phenomenon. Physical Differences Firstly, one of the most obvious reasons is physical strength. Men are generally larger and stronger than women, which can make a significant difference in handling a reactive dog during a stressful situation. This physical advantage naturally boosts their self-confidence. They might feel more capable of controlling the dog, separating it from other dogs if necessary, or even protecting themselves from potential bites. This confidence can reduce their stress levels compared to women, who might worry more about being overpowered by their dogs. Biological and Vision Differences Another fascinating factor is the difference in vision. Studies have shown that men typically have a wider peripheral vision than women. Historically, this makes sense because men were often the protectors and needed to be on the lookout for dangers in the environment. Women, on the other hand, evolved to focus more on the finer details, such as the mimicry of their babies' faces and, by extension, their pets’ body language. Women’s vision tends to be more tunnel-focused, enabling them to pick up on subtle cues and signals from their dogs. This skill is incredibly valuable for nurturing and bonding but can become overwhelming when combined with the need to scan the environment for potential threats as well. Cognitive Load and Stress This dual focus creates a significant cognitive load for women. They are naturally attuned to their dogs’ body language, constantly monitoring their facial expressions, tail movements, and muscle tension. When walking a reactive dog, women also need to scan the environment for possible triggers, which adds an extra layer of stress. This combination of detailed attention to the dog and the broader environmental scan is not what women are biologically wired for, leading to increased stress levels. Self-Acceptance and Awareness Understanding these differences can lead to greater self-acceptance. If you’ve ever been told that you’re overreacting or dramatizing the situation, know that your stress is valid. The additional cognitive load you experience is real and significant. Recognizing this can help you be kinder to yourself and less critical of your reactions. Practical Strategies So, how can we use this information to our advantage? One approach is to practice using our peripheral vision in a more relaxed state. During walks, instead of just scanning for dangers, take moments to appreciate the beauty around you. Notice the trees, the flowers, the architecture. This practice can help shift your brain from a state of high alert to one of appreciation and calm. Personally, I’ve started integrating this into my walks. While keeping an eye out for potential triggers, I also make a point to admire the scenery. I’ve noticed the beautiful mountains, the way the clouds sit just below their peaks, and the fresh, crisp air. These moments of mindfulness help remind me that I am safe and can enjoy the environment around me, even while staying vigilant. Reflecting on Our Walks I invite you to try this on your next walk. Pay attention to where your focus lies and observe how your stress levels change when you consciously look for beauty and joy in your surroundings. You might find that this practice not only reduces your stress but also enhances your overall walking experience with your dog. Conclusion In conclusion, the added stress women experience when walking sensitive, reactive dogs is rooted in both physical and biological differences. By understanding these factors and practicing mindfulness, we can better manage our stress and enjoy our time with our dogs. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic. How do you manage stress during walks? What techniques have you found helpful? *************************************************** My speciality is helping women with the emotional & mental stress of living with sensitive, easily triggered dogs. Visit my websites for more information on how I can support you: Shift, Align & Shine: https://sue-mimm.my.canva.site/ Heart Connection Dogs: https://www.heartconnectiondogs.com/
The Effects of Heat Waves & Climate Change
14:22

The Effects of Heat Waves & Climate Change

Extreme temperatures and weather conditions are becoming more prevalent as climate change marches on at a steady pace. These bring about many changes, including the obvious disruptions to our daily activities and added physical discomfort. However, there are changes on an internal level that we should also be aware of which include physiological stress due to pressure and temperature regulation and lack of sleep. These in turn can lead to changes in our behaviour including irritability, intolerance and impatience. Or on a more profound level, studies have shown that anxiety and depression increase during times of extreme weather. Our mental health is also affected as we begin to consider all the many factors that influence how we deal with extreme temperatures., ie heating & cooling costs, inability to perform certain tasks during these times (it may affect our work or business), food & water shortages, etc. So what can we do about it? * Be aware of our emotional mood state during these times, as well as our thoughts and behaviours. * Remember our dogs are just as sensitive (if not more) to these environmental changes and are affected in similar ways. * Dip into your holistic toolkit to support balance for body, mind and soul. * Support your body (and your dog's body), through getting more rest, staying hydrated and eating 'cooling foods' that don't require the body to work hard to digest. There are many changes in the world happening right now, alongside climate change. Our ability to be aware, tolerant, flexible and resilient is going to help us (and our dogs) to thrive. Join us over in the Paws Reflect & Connect Membership group as we explore the human-canine relationship, our lives with our sensitive canine friends and the self-discovery and transformation with our dogs, through our dogs and for ourselves and our dogs. https://pawsreflectconnect.mn.co/
The Comparison Trap: Navigating the Consequences of Measuring Up
19:50

The Comparison Trap: Navigating the Consequences of Measuring Up

We can often get trapped in comparing ourselves to others and indeed our dogs with other dogs too. We know this is not a healthy thing to do and it can often leave us feeling 'less than' and 'not good enough'. However, there are ways to turn this around and that's what my aim of this video is - to help use our thoughts and energy in a more constructive and positive way. In this video: 1. The Comparison Trap: Understanding the consequences of comparing ourselves and our dogs to others. 2. How comparison leads to misery, jealousy, and feelings of inadequacy, hindering our happiness and progress. 3. Exploring the misconceptions of comparison, such as misaligned values and the incomplete picture we see. 4. Practical strategies to break free from comparison and celebrate our own achievements and wins. 5. The power of gratitude and how it shifts our focus to the positives in our lives. 6. Cultivating genuine happiness for others' successes and building a supportive mindset. 7. Embracing the journey and finding fulfillment in the present moment rather than fixating on future goals. 8. The impact of social media and the importance of redirecting energy to constructive activities. 9. Harnessing the power of intention to experience more of what we truly desire. 10. Letting go of regrets, releasing "should's," and embracing self-empowerment. If you enjoyed this chat and would be interested in joining our Paws, Reflect & Connect Community Network for caring, curious and open-minded dog-parents, then pop on over and see what we are all about here: https://pawsreflectconnect.mn.co/
What does the Law of Attraction have to do with Walking our Dogs?
14:18

What does the Law of Attraction have to do with Walking our Dogs?

Do you feel anxious or fearful about taking your dog for walks? Are you worried about who / what you might encounter and how your dog will respond? When we have sensitive, easily aroused and over-reactive dogs it can feel like the world is against us. We tend to perceive the world as a dangerous and unfriendly place, just like our dogs do. But, what if we could shift our beliefs and perspectives - would our real life experiences change? The Law of Attraction, a philosophy centered around the power of thoughts, may seem unrelated to something as simple as walking our dogs. However, this universal principle can play a significant role in shaping our experiences, even during daily activities like dog walking. By consciously practicing this shift in focus, we reprogram our RAS to filter in more positive information and experiences. Over time, our perception of dog walks transforms, as we start noticing the beauty of nature, the friendly interactions with fellow dog-parents and guardians, and the joy that our walks can bring us. Incorporating the Law of Attraction into dog walking is a small yet powerful way to enhance our daily lives. By changing our internal beliefs and consciously directing our focus towards positivity, we can create a ripple effect of attracting more positive experiences not only during walks but in various other aspects of our lives. So, let's embrace the power of the Law of Attraction and watch as our dog walks become moments of joy, connection, and fulfillment. Join us for more discussions and thought provoking conversations as we take a deep dive into exploring the human-canine bond and our lives with our canine companions. https://pawsreflectconnect.mn.co/ Visit the Website: https://www.heartconnectiondogs.com/
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