Healing trauma in humans
Following on from the dog does love you blog.
Whether you have had a traumatic experience with your dog, whether you have ditched aversives or felt a lack of a bond and secure attachment to begin with, whether you feel you haven't been the best guardian to your dog or that you have made mistakes, it's time to forgive yourself and begin the healing journey for you and your dog.
Forgiving oneself for past mistakes is a crucial step towards healing and moving forward. Here are some tips on how you can begin to forgive yourself for making mistakes with your dog(s):
1. Acknowledge and accept the mistake: The first step towards forgiving oneself is to acknowledge and accept the mistake made. It can be helpful to reflect on the situation and identify what went wrong. Maybe you already have, to move forward is to put the mistake begin you, if you are feeling incredible guilt you are already aware of what happened and what went wrong or how you feel about a situation. You don't need to dwell on it, dwelling only holds you back and develops your relationship. Your dog forgives you and loves you unconditionally, there maybe a lack of a secure attachment there because of whatever happened in the past or because you have been unable to move forward. But it's OK and here is your permission. It's now time to start a new journey together focused solely on your secure attachment.
2. Practice self-compassion: Show kindness and understanding to yourself, just as you would to a friend who made a mistake. Be patient and treat yourself with compassion. Remember your dog needs a secure emotional attachment and they need to know they can rely on you for everything and that you are both OK.
3. Focus on the present: Dwelling on past mistakes can hinder one's ability to move forward. Focus on the present and the positive changes that can be made going forward. Keep a journal, this is your blank slate, don't include the past or mistakes, a clean slate with the training you want to do, and list all of the wins no matter how small, journal about your walks, where you went, take a photo, set goals such as sniffafaris or a nice area you know you will both enjoy.
4. Make amends: Taking positive action to make amends can help in healing and forgiving oneself. Reach out to the dog and show them love and care and make a promise that you're both going to move forward, focusing solely on their needs.
5. Learn from the mistake: Mistakes can be an opportunity to learn and improve. Identify what can be done differently next time and take proactive steps to prevent the same mistake from happening again. That's as far as the mistake needs to go, no more punishment, move forward and strive to do better one day at a time.
Remember that dogs are incredibly forgiving creatures, and it's never too late to make positive changes to improve the relationship with them. Seek professional help and learn new techniques to communicate and interact with your friend positively. With time, patience, and dedication, you can forgive yourself and create a better future for yourself and your dogs.
Maybe you made a mistake with your first dog, or you shouted at your dog, or you used aversives in the past or anything that makes you feel guilty. Moving forwards, learning from your mistake and focusing on making your dogs the best life that it can be by meeting their needs will help you to both heal and move forward stronger than before, with a secure connection and emotional stability for you both.
This is a very lengthy but really interesting journal on Learning from Errors: and how this affected students in a learning setting, the negative impact, poor feedback from teachers and conversely positive outcomes and feedback. The conclusion is we learn from errors and we become better when we learn we have made an error depending on the individual, the feedback and how they could move forwards. https://www.annualreviews.org/.../annurev-psych-010416...
With this in mind the self care journal I mentioned to begin with I have created and included below for you to print. I really hope this helps you as a tool on your healing journey, learning to forgive yourself and focusing on a strong emotional connection with your dog.
For Miyagis Dog Training