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  • Nicole Vykoukal, LCSW

Your Dog is Your Anchor

Find inner peace through meditation with your best friend.

Practicing mindfulness by focusing on your senses, allowing your dog to serve as an anchor to the present moment, can reduce stress and help you feel calmer and more grounded.

When you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, stressed or flustered you can use this meditation to connect to more grounded, peaceful and centered states of being.

Don’t worry about doing this perfectly. The key is to bring present moment awareness to your four senses- touch, sight, smell and sound (we’ll skip taste for this meditation!) while allowing emotions and thoughts to come and go without judgement.

Take about 5-10 mins on this meditation (spend about 1-2 mins on each step).

Six Simple Steps:


Find a comfortable position sitting or lying next to your dog and begin to breathe through your nose. Let your belly expand as you inhale slowly and allow your belly to fall toward your spine as you exhale through your nose. Continue this slow, focused breathing throughout the entire mindfulness meditation.


Begin slowly petting your dog. Notice the warmth of his body and the textures and qualities of his fur and body. You may also gently massage your dog’s neck, ears or shoulders in a circular motion. Observe your dog’s cues regarding his comfort levels with touch. Remember to allow thoughts and emotions to simply pass without letting them sweep you away.


Look at your dog’s body, focusing on his legs, paws, fur, snout, eyes, tail and whatever else catches your attention. Note the emotions and thoughts that surface and then let the thoughts and emotions move through you. Remember to continue inhaling, letting your stomach expand and exhaling, letting your stomach lower toward your spine.


Bring awareness to the scent of your dog. If the thought, “I really need to give this stinker a bath!” comes up, just let the thought pass without engaging the temptation to begin creating a to-do list in your head. Let your dog serve as your anchor to the present moment by bringing your attention back to engaging your senses and focusing on breathing slowly.


Now, bring awareness to the sounds of your dog, focusing on the rhythm of his breath and/or heartbeat. Remember, to just be in this moment and awaken to this current experience with your dog, allowing emotions and thoughts to surface and pass.


Last, mindfully end the meditation by taking a moment to express gratitude to your dog for being your anchor and meditation partner. Also, take a moment to note how your body, heart and mind feel. Thank yourself for focusing on your wellness and bonding with your dog through this mindfulness meditation.

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