Lifes Abundance posts created by lifes abundance

The Ultimate Puppy Behavior Guide


puppy napping on human lap

They’re snuggly. They’re adorable. They’re impossibly tiny, little, fluff balls, and they’re invading your home, yet there’s nothing like the joy, love, and excitement a new puppy can bring to your family. into your household.

Along with that love and joy comes a ton of responsibility, so knowing what to expect can make your transition, and theirs, a bit smoother. Here are five common puppy behaviors to be on the lookout for.

Nipping and Chewing

There’s no way around it, puppies are prone to sinking their teeth into things- it’s one of the ways they explore their world. That doesn’t make it any less aggravating, or painful, when they nip at your fingers, or any less annoying when they chew your favorite shoes to shreds, but remember that although it may seem personal, it’s not. They’re learning and it’s your job to teach them how to behave.

When your puppy nips at you, quickly and firmly stop them, so they know it’s wrong. When they chew on inappropriate objects, try to correct and redirect by offering a toy or bone for them to gnaw on instead.

Teething and Losing Teeth

Speaking of teeth, did you know that puppies lose their baby teeth, just like children? It seems obvious, but some people don’t even know that’s a thing until their first puppy is deep in the throes of teething.

Losing teeth and growing new ones can be uncomfortable for your puppy, so you may see them more aggressively chewing, along with other signs such as red, inflamed or bleeding gums, drooling, bad breath, or increased fussiness and irritability. You can help them by offering teething toys or softening food, if needed. And don’t worry, the teething phase goes by quickly.


puppy chewing on toy

Potty Training and Housebreaking

One of the most challenging tasks for dogs and their human parents alike can be potty training or housebreaking. Dealing with accidents around the house can be stressful for both you and your puppy, but it can be hard for young dogs to understand how to notify you when they need to go outside or how to go on a potty pad to relieve themselves.

One key component to proper housebreaking is positive reinforcement. Every time your puppy successfully goes potty outside, it’s important to reward them with a treat. This helps them associate going potty outside with a positive response, so next time they’ll be motivated to continue practicing this good behavior.

The Zoomies

Now let’s talk about one of our all-time favorite puppy quirks: the zoomies! If you haven’t had a puppy before, this may sound ridiculous to you, but hear us out.

Ever seen the Indy 500? You know how the cars race around the track at impossibly high speeds? Okay, so picture that, except replace the track with your home, and the cars with your puppy. These are the zoomies!

Out of the blue, puppies will get a burst of energy and careen around the room, the yard, or the house at breakneck speed. What to do about this puppy behavior? If your puppy is on a predictable zoomies schedule (many of them regularly get the urge at the same time of day or night), maybe move anything breakable out of the way. Otherwise, sit back, relax, and enjoy the adorable and hilarious show!

Napping

Sometimes, the zoomies will use up so much energy that you might find your puppy passed out on the floor shortly afterwards. That’s not the only time puppies sleep though. Puppies, especially young ones, need ample time and space to sleep, both during the day and at night.

It can be easy for us, their humans, to get so carried away playing with them, taking them for walks, and showing off their cuteness, that we forget to give them a break. It’s important to have a calm, quiet, comfortable place available for your puppy to take a snooze whenever they need. They’re working hard to grow and learn, and naps are an important way for them to recharge.

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for the whole family. We wish you and your new fur baby luck, laughter, and love as you learn each other’s behaviors and work to become one happy, united family!

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

5 Ways Getting A Puppy Changes Your Life

Dog Training Tips: The Secret To Canine Cooperation

The Best Beauty Regimens Have This In Their Arsenal


woman cleansing face

Your skin fully regenerates about every 28 days (and increases to 45-50 days as you get older). Skin cells are born in the bottom-most layer of the epidermis, and they continually mature until they reach the outermost layer, and end their lifespan where they’ll continually shed. And here’s a fun fact:

 

Dead skin cells play an important role in helping your skin retain moisture.

 

That’s why it’s important that you exfoliate regularly to preserve your skin’s natural function.

Supporting the skin’s natural exfoliation process

Your skin’s natural exfoliation process can be aided with the help of natural ingredients that work together with your skin. There are several ways to exfoliate skin gently to help slough away dead skin, encourage circulation and induce a radiant, even-toned complexion.

If you’ve ever seen the severe redness of someone’s skin after a chemical peel, it’s due the abrasive ingredients. Chemical peels use harsh enzymes or acids to break down dead skin cells while mechanical exfoliation is done by using products with small particles that help buff away dead skin cells. We suggest a facial exfoliator like our Hibiscus Mask & Scrub which gives you a natural glow with its combination of natural enzymes like raw honey that helps promote skin healing and provides gentle exfoliation. They work in tandem to reveal brighter, more even-toned and smooth skin.

All natural exfoliation

The Hibiscus Mask takes a two-pronged approach by using both chemical and manual exfoliation. This gives you a gentle-yet-effective cleanser that doubles as a mask and is safe for many different skin types. It combines natural enzymes of pumpkin pulp, sugar extract and hibiscus that work together to break down dead skin cells on the surface. Simultaneously, colloidal oat powder gently buffs away dead skin cells as you massage it into your skin. It’s a win-win for unclogging pores and revealing fresh, bright skin!


woman exfoliating face

How to get the most out of our 2-in-1 Hibiscus Mask & Scrub

Whether you need a leave-on mask or exfoliating cleanser here’s our step-by-step guide.

As a mask:

  1. Always start with freshly cleansed skin.
  2. With skin slightly damp, apply a dime-sized amount of Hibiscus Mask and gently massage across your face and neck. Aim for a near-translucent layer of mask on skin - you don’t need a thick layer for this mask to work its magic.
  3. Leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes. To remove, apply a warm washcloth to skin and rinse with cool to warm water.
  4. Finish with your favorite facial moisturizer.

As a cleanser:

  1. Wearing makeup or sunscreen? Double cleanse. We recommend first washing skin with a foamy or creamy cleanser before using your scrub. Remove as much product from skin as possible before moving on to step two. Leave skin wet after rinsing.
  2. With skin damp, apply a dime-size amount of the scrub and begin gently massaging the product into skin in circular motions. Use light to medium pressure and massage for about 30 seconds. Rinse with cool to warm water.
  3. Apply your favorite facial moisturizer to seal the deal.

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

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The Dr. Jane Foundation Funds Ukraine Animal Rescue


woman holding dog

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is now being called the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II, and it’s not only affecting the citizens but their pets as well.

When faced with making split-second decisions about what to take while fleeing their homes, it’s unimaginable to think anyone would want to leave their pet behind. However, unfortunately, it’s not always possible to bring them to their next destination, which has recently led to overcrowded shelters. Thankfully, there are some incredible organizations on the ground doing great work to keep these pets safe and fed, but they need help to continue their mission.

Luckily, The Dr. Jane foundation keeps an emergency fund on hand at all times. Although typically it’s been used to support natural disaster relief and recovery within the United States, and our hurricane-ravaged neighbors in the Bahamas, we’re honored to support one of these organizations in its mission, “Save Pets of Ukraine,” with a $5,000 donation.


dog coming out of cage

This organization, led by local pet food manufacturer Kormotech, has already distributed more than 146 tons of pet food in just 20 days, and has given assistance to 514 pet care volunteers and animal shelters.

Save Pets of Ukraine is requesting donations for food, medicine, collars, and leashes from US companies and shipping them to Europe. Plus, they have partnered with US-based Greater Good Charities, which is collecting cash donations overseas.

Kormotech was founded in 2003 by Orest Vovk and his children, with a mission to make high-quality, affordable food for dogs and cats - which is in complete alignment of our mission here at Life’s Abundance. If you’d personally like to help the organization further their mission, you can learn more HERE.

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Our Foundation Gives Emergency Funding To 2 Rescues

CAMO Rescue: Finding Dogs Their Forever Home

Your Food Portions Depend On Your Goals


cutting up large meal

What’s the best choice when it comes to eating habits surrounding meal frequency: eating several smaller meals or three larger meals throughout a day? The answer might not be the same for everybody.

Many studies suggest that smaller, more frequent meals may be healthier overall. Yet, mixed results from other recent studies suggest there is no significant difference between several small meals or three large ones. Instead, you must find the option that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Here’s a little more on what the research has to say:

Metabolism

One argument for eating several small food portions throughout the day is that it keeps your metabolism revved. Your body uses energy to digest food, so the theory is that the more frequently you eat, the more calories your body is burning. Researchers fed study participants the same number of calories divided into either one or four meals and found that increased meal frequency also increased post-meal energy expenditure and fat utilization.

However, other studies did not find significant differences in resting metabolic rate or energy expenditure between low and high meal frequencies.

Weight Loss

Even if the frequency of your eating habits doesn’t have an effect on calories burned, does it influence how many calories you consume? The research is mixed as well. Two studies—one in obese men and one in lean men— assessed how eating breakfast as one meal vs divided into four smaller food portions would influence appetite and energy consumption. In both cases, increased meal frequency lowered hunger and appetite, which may mean that several small meals may potentially prevent you from overeating. That being said, only the lean men ended up consuming less in the following meal.


fork picking up food

Chronic Disease Risk Factors

Maintaining normal blood sugar and lipid levels is key for preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Some studies have found that eating smaller food portions reduces insulin excretion, while others did not find any significant difference in insulin or blood sugar responses.

Mixed results have been found with lipid and cholesterol levels, too. In one clinical trial, participants were randomized to eat either three meals a day or three meals plus three snacks a day. There were no differences in metabolic variables except for an increase in HDL (aka the good cholesterol) in the 3-meal group. Yet, another small study compared three vs nine meals per day and found that more frequent meals significantly decreased LDL (aka the bad cholesterol).

The Bottom Line

This one will be specific to each reader. With various findings on eating habits, likely due to varying study designs, more research is needed. Regardless, what’s most important is the quality of food you eat, the proportion of nutrients you eat and understanding your behavior and lifestyle.

If you tend to be a snacker or want to try out a more frequent eating routine, Life’s Abundance supplements are an excellent option. We designed them to fill the most common gaps with a variety of clean, plant-based and organic ingredients. Of course, it helps that they’re convenient and delicious!

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

6 Principles Of Eating Clean

Creating Healthy Comfort Food With Added Nutrition

How To Cope With Pet Loss


dog in owners arms

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie the Pooh

Our pets are more to us than, well, “just” pets. They are loyal companions, joyful playmates, and reliable confidantes. They are members of our families who leave permanent marks on our hearts. But with all the love and snuggles inevitably comes the hardest part of pet ownership – loss.

Losing a pet is painful. There’s no way around it. Everyone who’s been through it knows what it’s like to have an animal shaped hole in their heart for the pets who’ve gone before them. And while there’s no way to circumvent the grief and sadness that comes from the death of an animal, there are some things you can do to help get yourself to the other side.

Acknowledge your loss

Before you can move forward, you need to acknowledge the loss you have suffered. Give yourself time to sit with your grief and try to absorb and comes to terms with what has happened. It’s important to know that there is no timeline, no “correct way,” to handle saying goodbye to a furry family member. The process looks different for everyone. Whatever it looks like for you, be patient, kind, and gentle with yourself.

Talk it out

For many, talking about their fallen four-legged loved one is an important part of the healing process. Whether this means confiding in a family member or close friend, reaching out to a support group, or even writing it out in a journal, talking about, saying the name of, and remembering your sweet pet can help you work through feelings, and ease some of the pain.


cat laying on owner lap

Find closure, ceremonially

While this may not be for everyone, many pet owners find comfort in saying goodbye through some sort of ceremonial practice. This can be as simple as lighting a candle and silently sending good thoughts to your deceased pet, or as elaborate as a full-blown memorial service. Regardless of the structure, a ceremony can be helpful in closing this chapter on you and your pet’s relationship and transitioning to one where they live in your heart, rather than by your side.

Memorialize their life

It may be comforting to find some way to memorialize your dear furry friend. This will look different for everyone but could include planting a tree in your pet’s honor, painting a picture of them, donating in their name, creating a scrapbook of your time together, or reserving a special place in your home to dedicate to their memory. This gives you and the others grieving your pet a concrete place to feel connected to them and their legacy.

Pay it forward

No matter the species, breed, or temperament, our pets all have one thing in common – they make our lives better. Sometimes, the best way to remember and honor them is to take a page out of their book. Reach out and help others. Volunteer at an animal shelter or senior center. Help a neighbor in need. Reach out to friends who are coping with their own losses. Brighten someone’s day, and as you do, remember how your cherished pet brightened yours. Volunteering and helping others gives you a place to channel anxious energy, occupies your mind, and helps you form new connections, all while improving the life of another. If our departed pets could tell us what they wished for us, we have to imagine this would be part of it.

Losing a pet is never easy. When they cross the rainbow bridge, we are left to navigate through grief, loss, and sadness. While the pain will never truly go away, eventually you will be able to look back on your lives together, appreciate the joy and love, and know that your memories will keep them forever alive in your heart.

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Get Your Skin Ready For Summer: Part 2


woman touching clear face

You already know that hydration is important when it comes to taking care of your skin for the summer. Here are some additional tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing through the season.

Eat Well

When we think of hydrating our skin from within, we usually think of water, but you can also hydrate the skin with foods that have a high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and apples to name a few. Oranges also have a high water content and contain a large amount of natural vitamin C, which also helps to brighten a dull winter complexion. 

Summer is also the time to indulge in the colorful, antioxidant-rich produce that are often in abundance during this time of year. Blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and plums are loaded with antioxidants that aid the body in protecting itself from cell-damaging free radicals (like those from the sun). Be sure to load up at the farmer’s market whenever you have the chance. 

Eating well has a direct impact on the health of our skin, so nutritionists and dermatologists also make a point to include essential fats in their moisturizing arsenal, as they are another way to keep the skin soft and elastic from within. Eating oily fish, such as salmon 2-3 times a week and adding a serving of seeds or nuts to your daily snack is a great way to start - flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are all high in good fats to feed your skin. And if you can’t seem to get enough through your diet, you can always supplement with our ultra concentrated and pure Omega 3 Fish Oil. 

A glowing summer complexion doesn’t just start with what you should be eating more of, but also what you might want to cut from your diet - or at least eat less of. Skin congestion and breakouts can be caused by too much dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, and although we aren’t into drastic measures - like telling you to ditch your daily coffee or Friday night pizza altogether, in this case, less really is more - a more radiant complexion.


woman with clear skin in the sun

Exfoliate Your Face + Body For An All-Over Glow

In the warm summer months skin can naturally produce more oil. While more oil for some may not be cause for concern, for others, it can mean excess build up in the pores that can also lead to breakouts. On top of that, our bodies naturally sweat more to help regulate our body temperature. While both of these bodily functions are totally normal and healthy, they can be the perfect acne-causing storm. A gentle enzyme-packed exfoliator can be your summer skin’s best friend to help keep pores clear and skin bright. Opt for a naturally-occuring AHA rich mask like the Hibiscus Mask & Scrub. Not only is it formulated with natural enzymes from pumpkin pulp and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) from berries, but it’s also extremely high in antioxidants - the skin-loving, free-radical fighting components that help protect cells from damage caused by the sun (and other environmental pollutants).  

In addition, daily body brushing using a natural bristle brush is not only a great way to exfoliate the dead skin from your body, but it also stimulates your lymphatic system and circulation, which improves the overall condition of your skin and also helps decrease cellulite. The sooner you add this to your routine, the quicker you will see a difference before baring your skin at the beach.

You don’t have to stay indoors to protect your skin from the sun! As long as you’re incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you’ll be able to embrace the long, sunny days this season all while keeping your skin healthy and glowing. 

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Everything You Need To Know About Skinimalism

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Give Your Dog The Ultimate Spa Day


owner rinsing off dog with shower head

They give us snuggles, keep us busy with walks and playtime, and entertain us with their adorable antics. Our dogs are bright spots in our busy lives, and once in a while, they deserve to be rewarded for their love and loyalty. What better way than with a spa day? Read on to learn how to pamper your pet with a DIY at-home spa day that you can both enjoy. 

Brush It Out

First things first! Before any bathing or pampering, your dog needs a good brushing. Regular brushing helps remove dead hairs, prevents matting, and keeps your pup’s coat healthy and soft. There are a variety of brushes, combs, and tools available to use, and you can choose accordingly based on the length and texture of your dog’s hair. 

Suds It Up 

Whether they love being shampooed or run away from water like it will melt them, every dog feels better after getting a bath. Not only will a good shampoo like our Revitalizing Shampoo get your furry friend nice and clean, it will also leave them smelling delicious, looking silky, and totally tangle-free. 
 
After shampooing, it’s a good idea to give your dog’s ears some love. Because let’s be honest; we love our dogs, but sometimes their ears can smell… less than amazing. This is a sign that there may be dirt, debris, or wax building up inside their ears that needs to be removed. Using a safe, gentle product like our Ear Care Formula can keep their ears healthy, clean, and odor free.

Treat Problem Areas

Every dog has their quirks. It’s part of why we love them so much! But they also have their own health and grooming concerns, and it’s our job, as their loving pet parents, to stay on top of any issues and keep them feeling healthy and happy. 
 
For dogs prone to skin irritation, for example, a spa day is a great time to implement a regular treatment plan. For many, it’s as easy as using a topical spray, like our Soothing Mist, to soothe and protect their skin and nourish their coat.


owner shampooing dog

Towel Time

When your furry best friend is brushed, cleaned, and thoroughly pampered, it’s time to dry them off. Wrap them up in a soft, fluffy, freshly cleaned towel, and rub some of that water away. Snuggle in and cuddle your squeaky-clean companion. It’ll help them dry off faster and give you both some quality bonding time together. For some dogs, this will be the best part of spa day – getting to spend time snuggled in with you.

Quick Alternative

Sometimes, no matter how much we want to be able to spend a whole, uninterrupted afternoon with our dogs, our schedules just won’t allow it. Life gets in the way. And that’s okay. We get it. If you find yourself short on time, there are still ways to pamper your dog and keep them healthy and clean without eating up your valuable time. 
 
A spray-on formula is a great way to end a spa day, use in between baths, or even use as a substitute for bathing when you’re in a rush. Our Bath Fresh Mist will protect your dog’s coat, absorb and neutralize odors, and keep your canine companion feeling fresh and clean.
 
At the end of the day, a dog spa day is as much about carving out some time to bond with your pup as it is about keeping them healthy and clean. Even if you only have a few minutes, your attention, care, and love will make a difference in your dog’s day and let them know they’re loved and appreciated. After all the joy and laughter they bring into our lives, it’s the least we can do to remind our four-legged friends that we’ve got their (squeaky-clean, shiny) backs. 

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

The Secret Ingredient To A Sweet Smelling Pet

All You Need To Know About Bathing Your Pet

Get Your Skin Ready For Summer: Part 1


woman with clear skin in the sun

The joy and anticipation of Memorial Day usually peaks in high school, when classrooms make way for trips to the beach and backyard pool parties, but just because you’re all grown up doesn’t mean you can’t get psyched for summer!

Now you can drive yourself to the beach, lounge by your own pool, or explore your favorite hiking spot in the warm weather- you just need to make sure your skin is ready too! The higher temperature and stronger ultraviolet rays mean that your skin is more susceptible to damage, which means more wrinkles, age spots, and sunburn so prepping your skin before the BBQs start is the best way to be sun smart. 

Here are some great tips to keep your skin glowing through Labor Day and beyond!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate….And Then Hydrate Some More

Hot weather and sun exposure are the leading cause of skin dehydration, so keeping your skin full of moisture is of utmost importance, whether it’s topical or from the inside out. Drinking water throughout the day is the easiest and most effective way to keep hydrated - you can even set a reminder on your phone to drink a few ounces every hour. During the hotter months, you’ll want to drink at least the daily recommended amount of H2O, which according to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women - depending on your height and weight. 


woman touching clear face

If water just doesn’t excite you, our Minerals and Antioxidants is the perfect way to disguise your H2O with either a cherry or tropical twist. It only takes a second to shake up in your to-go bottle and we even have individual servings that you can pop in your beach bag. Not only will this all natural formula keep you hydrated, it also helps protect your skin from free radicals with its blend of 11 nutrient-rich super fruits like acai, cranberry, goji, maqui and pomegranate. It’s free from added sugar, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and the coconut water is full of electrolytes, which need to be replenished after a day in the sun.  

If you’re living in a dry climate, skin will most likely see the effects of this dry heat in a more obvious way. Signs of dehydrated skin look like fine lines, dullness and flaking. To avoid this, keep skin damp with water after washing and apply a light facial oil or moisturizer to lock in all of the beautiful moisture you’re feeding your skin. 

Want even more tips on how to prepare your skin for the summer heat? Check out part 2!

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Everything You Need To Know About Skinimalism

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5 Tips To Properly Walk Your Dog


dog on leash looking up at owner

If your dogs are like ours, they love nothing more than a walk outside with their favorite person: you. Getting out and about with your dog on regular walks is a great way to bond, spend time together, and get in some much-needed exercise.

However, if not equipped with the correct tools, tricks, and information, a calm, relaxing walk can quickly turn into a stressful mess. Dogs that pull, get easily distracted, or seem determined to sniff every blade of grass within a 10-mile radius can make a walk seem impossible. Luckily, there are easy ways to train your dog to behave appropriately on a walk. Follow the five tips below, and before you know it, your little (or big) buddy will be a world-class on-leash walker.

Don’t Pull On The Leash

This may seem counterintuitive, but when your dog gets away from you, the last thing you want to do is pull on their leash. Dogs have a natural opposition reflex, which means as soon as they feel a tug on the leash, they’ll pull in the other direction, resulting in a futile tug of war.

Instead, consider training your dog to walk with a loose leash. One way to do this is by stopping and walking in another direction every time your dog gets ahead of you. Every time your furry friend turns and catches up with you, be sure to reward them with lots of praise, and some of their favorite treats. 

Allow Time To Sniff And Explore

A dog’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times stronger than ours! This means that, to dogs, the outdoors is an explosion of scents coming from every direction, offering them information about their surroundings. For this reason, it’s important to allow them to sniff and explore on walks.

Additionally, try not to rush your dog during bathroom breaks. Dog urine is sort of a calling card among canines. (We know, we know. Gross. But true!) By sniffing another dog’s urine, your pet can tell the gender, age, and general health of that dog. In return, they’ll often urinate right on top of another dog’s scent. This is sort of like dog graffiti telling the world, “I was here!”


dog on leash walking alongside owner

Pay Attention To Positioning

Rather than allowing your dog to walk far ahead of you, try to keep them by your side. This is especially important in crowded or city areas. Having your dog walking right next you allows you to control their behavior, pay attention to them, and keep them safe. As always, treat them regularly for good behavior! 

Handle Distractions

Whenever possible, try to anticipate upcoming distractions before your dog has a chance to. For example, if you see a wild animal, like a bird or cat, or even people or a leashed dog approaching, train your dog to sit and look at you until the distraction has passed. When they do this correctly, be sure to treat them. If there is a stationary distraction, position yourself between the dog and the distraction, so they’re less tempted to check it out.

Greet Others Appropriately

Depending on your dog’s temperament, they may love (or hate) meeting other dogs and people along your travels. Always make sure to follow proper greeting etiquette. This means always asking before allowing your dog to approach another animal or human. Even if your dog is gentle and friendly, others might not be, so this is an important safety measure.

Always keep your dog on leash during meetings. Train your dog to sit or lay down and allow the other animal to approach and sniff them. Then allow your dog to calmly engage. If your dog isn’t social, or isn’t yet trained to interact calmly with others, that’s okay! Simply alert approaching dog owners that your dog isn’t ready to socialize or cross the street and allow the other party to pass.

With these five tips and tricks, walking your dog should become a cherished activity that you and your dog can enjoy together. Enjoy the fresh air and bonding time with your best bud!

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Everything You Need To Know About Urine Marking

Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

Practice Mindfulness Through Breathing


woman taking deep breath outside

As great as life can be, it’s not always rainbows and salted caramel gelato; obstacles come up at work, your kids misbehave, a family member gets sick, or sometimes people don’t treat you nicely. The good news is that you can decide not to allow outside circumstances to affect your peace and happiness. How?

By practicing mindfulness. 

Mindfulness can simply be described as paying attention to the present moment without judgment of what is; it’s about learning to “mind the gap.” That instant between action and reaction where we choose a response. 

So when you’re sitting in traffic for an extended period of time, you’re mindful that you’re stuck in one place - not moving, but you don’t judge it and get irritated about it. You don’t honk and lean your head out the window, cursing the person in front of you for not moving up the extra two feet ahead of him as if that’s going to get you to your destination any faster. You become so rooted in the now that you accept where you are and what the situation is at hand. You’re so mindful of what’s going on in the present that it doesn’t pull you back to the past or project what this moment is going to turn into in the future. Many people discover this place of presence through meditation, but it can also be reached through something as simple as watching your breath. 

Connecting to your breath is one of the most simple and effective ways to pull your thinking out of the past or the future in order to consistently live in the present.  


woman relaxing on couch

The act of breathing is the body's most vital and basic function, and it’s the simplest tool we have to slow down, get present and focus on the now. It’s been said that “the breath is a mirror of the mind” and whatever is going on in your head can usually be seen in your breathing. Anxiety and fear create short, shallow breathing; peace and calm present as a smooth, slow inhale and exhale. 

Just to be clear, we want to be on the peaceful, smooth end of the breathing scale. Here’s one of our favorite, and most accessible ways to connect to your breath and the present moment. 

Practice 1:2 breathing

Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes; this can be in a quiet room in your house or a crowded subway - in fact, the more noise the more you’ll notice it working. This breathing method has you double the time of the inhale on your exhale. So if you normally inhale and exhale to a count of four, then you would double the exhale to eight. Take a deep full breath in - all the way to your upper chest, and then exhale it all the way out until your navel contracts. On the next inhale silently count to four as your ribcage expands fully, and then on the exhale extend the count to eight as you release the breath all the way out. Doubling the breath on the exhale calms the nervous system and helps you focus on the present by dropping all thoughts while you consciously count.

In many cases, people go on autopilot and react to a circumstance in a similar way they’ve been conditioned in the past, or have an instinct to instantly think the worst of any situation. Instead, mindfulness teaches us to take a moment, breathe, and think about the most appropriate way to respond to a situation. Try it - your family, friends, and coworkers will thank you for it!

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