Choosing the right breed

“Why did you choose this particular breed?” – This is a question I ask all my training clients to gauge what their expectations are for the family dog they’ve selected.

“I thought it was cute.”

“I’ve always wanted a Shepherd.”

“My 5 year old daughter chose her.”

“We did lots of research and thought it would be the best fit for our family.” 

My most successful clients are the ones who answer saying they took time to make the important decision of which dog made sense in their home. They did not base the choice on appearance, emotional attachment or what their kid wanted. When I was a child I wanted a Beagle or a German Shepherd. Looking back, neither of these breeds would have thrived in my home environment as we were inexperienced dog owners at the time with no idea of just how much work those breeds would be.

Having a dog is a major life adjustment that some people don’t realize requires time, energy and training. All dogs, no matter what the breed, need training in order to be happy, balanced companions. Here’s what I think all dog owners need to know before seriously considering which breed is right for them.


Working dogs

These are your Shepherds, Collies, Cattle dogs, Huskies, Hounds, and Retrievers – just to name a few. These are dogs that are bred to do something specific. Whether it’s herding, hunting, pulling, or protecting, these dogs need something to DO! I consider working dogs like A-type personalities, whereby if they are not busy and earning their keep they will find a way to entertain themselves either by “redecorating” your home chewing through walls or becoming the neighbourhood bully.

This category of dog is typically selected as a pet for their extremely good looks or because they were seen in a popular film and portrayed as the ideal pet. In the latter case, what most people fail to realize, is that dog on screen is a trained actor on film who is in fact working. A dog (or in some cases more than one, like in the Air Bud franchise) that has been trained to do everything asked in that movie. That is a dog in work mode.

What’s also important to note is that sporting and hunting breeds will have prey drive and herding dogs will want to chase other dogs (or sometimes cars) to get their fix, so it’s absolutely necessary to learn how to curb and deter these behaviours. Socialization classes will be far more beneficial than dog park visits for these dogs. If you do have one of these breeds, it is crucial to socialize, train and fulfill your dogs needs. Research their skill sets and use that as a way to help drain their pent up energy and then you can relax and enjoy your working breed dog.

Homes that are ideal for working breeds are experienced handlers and active families that have time to invest in lots of training and also enjoy being outdoors exploring and are up for a challenge. These are not dogs for the faint of heart and if you don’t believe me just look at which breeds are at your local dog rescue. More often than not working breeds dominate the shelter scene, not due to their own fault but that of an inexperienced owner who had no idea what they were in for.


These are your mixed breed dogs that have been crossed to either enhance certain aspects (e.g. making certain dogs hypo-allergenic like golden doodles) or deter certain aspects (e.g. fix health issues such elongating a nose to assist breathing like in Puggles). What you need to be aware of here is that a hybrid can come out having both breeds’ characteristics. Take for instance the Labradoodle which can be both friendly and energetic like a Lab, but also highly intelligent needing lots of mental stimulation like a Poodle. In my experience, Labradoodles tend to be one of the most misunderstood hybrid dogs. Many people have no idea about the amount of work these dogs are. They require lots of exercise, socialization and training, not to mention grooming! See also the Puggle. This is a mix of a stubborn breed mixed with one of the most difficult to train, and so it’s no wonder this was a temporary fad that didn’t last long. Don’t get me wrong, these dogs can be fantastic pets but do need owners who understand both breeds used to create their mix and put in the necessary work to raise a chill companion.

Toys & Companion Breeds

Often overlooked, this group of dogs are non-sporting and happy to be a family pet with next to no drive for working. My only caution here is having a small breed with young children. Toys like Chihuahuas have a bad reputation as a biting breed, but with good reason. Due to their size they are often threatened by children’s unpredictable movements. If you do opt for a toy breed make sure children in the home are respectful of the dog and calm when interacting with it. Never is it ok for children to run at them, pick them up or force interactions like hugs or kisses. A better option for a home with young kids is a Shih Tzu, Bichon, or Maltese. With regular walks, these dogs are smart, resilient and playful. Shih Tzu’s are known for having an even temperament and being friendly with strangers. I would recommend companion breeds to inexperienced owners, families or elderly couples that are not very active, or humans with low energy. Don’t get it twisted though, these dogs do also need training and other doggie friends. We have many toy and companion breeds at our daycare who love to mingle with dogs big and small.


No matter what breed you opt for, always be sure to do your research, hire an experienced trainer to assist you from the start, work with a trusted breeder or rescue, and prepare for the lifelong commitment that having a dog is. If you have any doubts perhaps starting off with a goldfish or hamster is a better option as they are lower maintenance pets. If you are curious to know what having a dog is like try borrowing a friends for a week.


The Truth About Socialization

When it comes to socializing your dog it’s important to set you and your pooch up for success. There are many misconceptions when it comes to what socialization truly means, so I though it necessary to address this in a blog. Most dog owners assume it’s making sure their dog can play and be around other dogs without conflict. Although this is important, it is not the only aspect of socialization. Beyond tolerating other dogs, it also means knowing how to behave around humans and in new environments.

Here are my tips on how to socialize your dog and keep them happy and balanced throughout their life.

  1. Be proactive. Don’t wait for issues to arise to start socializing your dog. Start early and enrol your puppy in training classes at an early age. That way you’ll be working with a professional who can ensure your dog’s safety and you’ll learn the tools and skills needed to continue socializing as the dog matures. There you’ll also connect with other likeminded dog owners who can become your dog’s regular friends if you choose to stay in touch. Use it as a networking opportunity.
  2. Once is not enough. Training is important but one class is not going to create a perfect dog. Training and socialization go hand in hand and are ongoing throughout your dogs life. I like to think of it as a lifestyle not a diet. Think about ways that you can continue to grow your dog’s social skills regularly.
  3. Socialization is not just for puppies. All dogs at every age need friends. Dogs, like humans, are social pack animals and need to be around other dogs ongoing so that they are fulfilled, happy and balanced family pets. As your dog grows up, make sure you are still providing opportunities for them to meet people, go new places, and interact with other dogs, those they are familiar with as well as new friends.
  4. Socialize daily. Just like human’s interact with other humans numerous times a day, our dogs need daily interactions with new people, places and other dogs. Regular practice ensures your dog’s manners stay fresh. Try taking your dog with you when you go out whether it’s to the pet store, a friend’s house, out for a drink on a patio, or pet friendly stores in your neighbourhood. You can also sign your dog up for regular visits with friends at a daycare you know and trust or with a highly trained dog walker who works with a pack.
  5. You need to put in effort. Don’t just leave all the work to the pros. It’s not as simple as having your dog walker or local daycare do all the heavy lifting. Although these are fantastic opportunities for your dog to be a social butterfly, it is also very important that your dog knows how to socialize around YOU, not just in your absence. Invite friends to bring their dogs to your own get togethers, start a weekly neighbourhood walk, or see about local events that allow canines. This is what the joy of having a dog is all about, including them in your life events. If you don’t have a network of friendly dogs to socialize with, why not create your own. Facebook and other social media outlets are great for posting and finding local events. Or check with your local pet store to see if they know of any pet friendly events.

Just to give you a few ideas, here’s how I ensure my dogs practice regular socialization with people, places and other dogs. My dogs come with me to family bbq’s and when I teach my training classes. My girlfriend brings her pooch when we have our Bachelor nights (my guilty pleasure). I take my dogs with me for coffee with friends or when I go to dog friendly stores (Chapters is our favourite). I host events like Movie Nights and Paint Nights where dog owners can participate with their furry friends. We also do regular walks with our Dog Haus clients and sometimes I just take my dogs in the car with me for a drive and see where we end up, often times we find a great new walking trail.

I hope you find this article helpful and that it inspires you to get out and have fun with your dog! It’s the best way to show your canine companion how much you love her!

5 things to consider before getting a second dog

When is the right time to get a second dog? As a dog trainer for several years, this is a question I get asked a lot! Being as I recently adopted another dog, I thought it fitting to approach the topic and what I thought long and hard about before adding to my pack. If you are contemplating adding another four-legged member to your pack there are several things to consider.

First let me be clear, dogs are not collectors items! They are living beings with needs that require fulfilling every day, not just when you feel like it. The needs of a dog are simple but when you have more than one dog it does mean you must have more time. A dog needs EXERCISE, DISCIPLINE and AFFECTION.

Dogs also require work, and in some cases lots of it, to properly train. Yes, training is a must, even if you already have another dog. Your first dog is not going to do all the hard work for you. More often than not, bad behaviours rub off on well behaved dogs not the other way around.

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Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before committing to a new pack member:

1. What is the reason you are getting a second dog?

There is a myth that getting a second dog will provide your current dog with entertainment, especially if you don’t have time for it. This could not be more false. It is 100% a bad idea to get a second dog solely as a companion for the first. Trust when I say this will backfire and you will end up with two dogs that are attention starved, thus developing behavioural issues. If you don’t have time for one dog you won’t have time for two…which brings me to my next point….

2. Do you have time to train your new dog? 

It’s important that you allot time and money to work with a professional to help your new dog learn manners and commands. Consider training your dog as a second job. Do you have the time to commit to a second job right now in your life? If not, perhaps it is not the right time to grow your pack.

3. Do you enough money to cover the cost of 2 dogs who will need vet care, boarding, or even emergency surgery?

Dogs aren’t cheap. Much like getting a second car there are many additional fees you should factor into the cost. Similar to how cars need gas, insurance, registration, car washes, and whatnot,  dogs require food, pet insurance, spaying and neutering, vaccinations, training, grooming, pet sitting, and so much more, which all come at a price. Make sure you have money saved up to pay for all the necessities to keep your dog happy and healthy.

4. Is your current dog “balanced”?

If your existing 4-legged companion has behavioural issues, it’s absolutely necessary that you fix those problems first and foremost before introducing a new pack member. Otherwise, you will just double the problem. That’s because your new dog will develop the same issues that your existing dog already has, thus giving you twice the headache.

5. How old is your current dog?

It’s important to recognize that if you have a senior dog, sometimes adding a rambunctious pup into the mix can cause stress to an older canine. If your current dog has mobility or health issues, it may be best to put off the new addition so that you can give your older dog the time and space it needs as he/she ages. The ideal age to add a second dog in my professional opinion is between 2-8 years old. Any younger than this and the dog is still maturing and learning social behaviours. Any older, and depending on the breed, the dog could start showing signs of aging. If you do opt for a second dog in the senior years of your canine’s life, I’d suggest adopting a dog who is older instead of an active puppy. It’s important that the two dogs energies match so as to not disrupt harmony in the pack.

Thinking about getting a second dog? Contact me for training advice and how to integrate the new addition seamlessly.

The 3 Building Blocks to a Solid Relationship With Your Dog

In my years of training I have learned from dogs and Cesar Millan that there are 3 ingredients to any successful relationship: Trust, Love and Respect. This is true of our relationships with friends, family, our dogs, and even towards ourselves. As humans we tend to focus primarily on loving our dogs and less on earning their trust and respect. There is no question, our dogs will love us unconditionally. That is why we consider them man’s best friend after all. No matter what kind of day you’re having, your dog will always be there to comfort you and make you smile. It is something they do naturally and whole-heartedly and truly is admirable. Trust and respect on the other hand do not come automatically and require work to establish.

Let’s take a look at these 3 ingredients in closer detail to see how we can improve our bonds with our dogs.



Having trust issues is not ideal for any human or dog! I have seen many behavioural problems develop due to lack of trust with an owner. Aggression, fear, and anxiety are among a few of the issues that can develop when a dog does not have trust in it’s human. So how do you build trust you might ask? For me it is simple. I work on teaching the dog something new. If a dog can overcome an obstacle with a human it forms a connection built on trust. To give you an example, at the daycare we get new dogs everyday who we need to establish a relationship with fairly quickly in order to bring them in to meet other dogs safely. Many dogs will not just follow a stranger in to meet 25 dogs off leash so easily. If a dog is feeling insecure, I will spend time teaching the dog something new to forge a connection that is meaningful. That something could be learning to go on the treadmill, in the pool, or do some simple agility. Another way to work on trust with your dog is to take them on walks and to visit new places. The more you and your dog explore the world together and have positive experiences the more your relationship will grow and strengthen due to a foundation build on trust!

Just remember that trust is cultivated by doing things together, exercise and overcoming obstacles.


We all love our dogs, that goes without saying. But how and when we love our dogs is important. If we try to love our dogs the way we love a baby or significant other, it is not respecting a dog for the animal it is. For instance by buying a dog lavish gifts, dressing them up in clothes, constantly holding, hugging, and talking to them, we are humanizing the dog. To love a dog the way they want to be loved is to provide them with leadership and fulfilling their needs – exercise, mental stimulation and socialization. After all of that, then we can love on them. And treats aren’t the only way to shower them will affection. Most dogs are more motivated by touch and praise from their human than by a Beggin’ Strip or Milkbone. The best way to give affection to your dog is with a slow massage. Being close to you and feeling your tender touch is not only soothing and calming to your dog but also to you. I encourage owners to praise their dog with calm energy and truly connect with your dog through meaningful touch not mindless petting.

The best time to show your dog affection is when they are in a calm submissive state.


Probably the most overlooked ingredient when it comes to our dogs. Most people don’t care about having their dog’s respect because they are more concerned with being their dog’s buddy. However, this part of the relationship is just as important as any other! Dogs who don’t have respect typically do not listen to commands, jump up, and pretty well do what they want no matter what. This wouldn’t be acceptable for a child so why is it ok for a dog. If a friend came over to your house and jumped on your couch with muddy shoes, screamed and shouted, stole your favourite shoes, and pooped in your living room, you would not only be disgusted but also not impressed. You might reconsider your friendship as you would feel disrespected. So if your dog is running the show in your life it is time to start working on gaining their respect. This means enforcing rules for your dog. Some great rules to implement to teach your dog boundaries and respect are: no being on furniture, no pulling on leash, no jumping on humans, no rushing through doorways. To be fair to your dog, teach these new rules on leash and be calm and patient. Change doesn’t happen over night so be consistent with your rules and you will see a change in a matter of a days.

Earning respect means setting clear expectations, so don’t go changing them or you will end up confusing your dog. Be fair and respectful and your dog will do the same.

If you work on these 3 areas in your relationship with your dog, you will have a deeper, more meaningful connection with her and isn’t that what everyone wants?

To learn more about building on these 3 ingredients, join our Training Essentials Group Class!

“Wanna go for a walk?”

5 simple words that can send a calm and relaxed dog into a hyperactive tail spin!

“Wanna go for a walk?” I think every dog owner is guilty of saying these exact words to their dog almost daily. So, what’s my beef with this common phrase you might ask? Good question!

dog-walk-paseo-de-perro-clipart-pinterestMany dog owners struggle with controlling their dog on leash. One of the most common issues I get called in to help clients with is pulling on leash. They get dragged down the street when their dog tries to chase a squirrel, tackle a kid on a skateboard, or lunge toward another dog. For these reasons, the walk can become stressful for owners. Often times resulting in no longer wanting to walk the dog period.

If we start right from the beginning and promote calmness instead of excitement we will see a drastic change in the walking experience for both dog and human.

So to break it down here’s what happens when we utter those 5 key words to our dog. I’d compare it to shouting out to kids in a playground, “who wants ice cream?!!!!” You would evoke sheer chaos! We all know that the walk is the highlight of our dogs day! It’s their time to explore their surroundings, take in sights and smells, and most important bond with their human! But this time outside must be controlled.

The first thing we do when we take out the leash is promote excitement in our dogs. We have actually conditioned them to get pumped up when the leash comes out, whether you are aware of it or not. Most-likely it is because people think it is cute when a puppy comes barrelling to the front door, tail wagging, barking, whining and jumping up. “He’s so happy to go out!” Then we reward that behaviour by taking them right outside and there’s usually a lot of cooing and coddling in the process. But then as the dog matures and grows much larger and STRONGER this excitement becomes a problem.  Owners can risk getting hurt when a powerful dog is pulling on leash. If we start right from the beginning and promote calmness instead of excitement we will see a drastic change in the walking experience for both dog and human.

You see, an excited dog is in a forward state of mind. It is natural for them to pull and not listen to their owners. A dog in a calm state of mind will be relaxed and instead want to follow. That is why Cesar Millan often says your dog should be in a “calm-submissive” state, so that he will assume his follower position, because his mind is open and willing to take instruction.

13116212_10102667845473661_5452660371272984389_o.jpgI challenge you to practice calmness before going on a walk with your dog. This must start with you. You have to be calm to teach calm. I limit talking to my dog and simply present the leash. Then I wait for her to sit and be calm – it is important that you not just focus on the dog’s body language but also their state of mind. A dog who is sitting can still be super excited and raring to go! I always take my time. Do not rush this process. It may take 10-15 minutes the first time, but if you invest the time to calm your dog before heading out it will dramatically improve your walk together. Lastly, lead through the doorway before your dog. It’s important that you stay in front of your dog to communicate that you are in control. A leader always goes first.

The start of my dog’s walk is like a ritual for me. It is calm, quiet and under control. It is discipline. Nobody is rushed. How we reenter the home after the walk is much the same. You should end just as you began, in a calm state. Do this as a daily practice and you and your dog will become more disciplined with how you walk. By including rules, boundaries and limitations to start the walk, you’re dog will learn that good things come to those who wait. 

Try it and tell us how it worked for you! Or post a video to our Facebook page of your new walking ritual 🙂



Calm comes first

If you’ve ever watched The Dog Whisperer or Cesar 911, you’ve heard Cesar Millan use the adjective “Calm-assertive” about a million times to describe the energy of a pack leader. But what does he really mean?

Being a trainer and running a daycare, dogs have taught me exactly what it means to be a pack leader over the years. They have shown me it is about patience and understanding. It’s about giving clear direction and setting realistic expectations. It’s about confidence and always following through. Plan and simple, it really comes down to communication.

Zen-DogWhat it definitely is not about is ego. It’s not about being tough or strong. It’s not about dominance in an aggressive sense. It is far more grounded than that. Working with dogs is humbling and honest. Through them they will teach you more about yourself then you’ve ever thought possible and some things you might be reluctant to learn. A dog will reflect back the energy you are, and sometimes people are not ready for that reality check.

Through observing owners over the years, I’ve seen it all when it comes to how people communicate with their dogs. Pleading, yelling, yanking, using sarcasm, half-assedly asking, or  not doing anthing at all, people just can’t seem to properly communicate to their dogs exactly what it is they want. The dogs then simply rebel, shut down, or frightened they begrudgingly comply just to end their handlers charades. If we want to better our relationships with our pets we seriously need to get our sh*t together! Our dogs need us to better communicate what it is we want through our emotions and intentions (aka ENERGY).

This is easier said than done for most people. When trying to understand energy it is best to reflect on yourself in the moment and ask yourself two things: How do I feel and what is it that I want? If you can be honest with yourself and your emotions in the moment you can see whether or not you are truly being calm assertive. Notice Cesar Millan never says Assertive-Calm. There is good reason for this. Most people emphasize the assertive part. They try to puff out their chest, speak louder, and often use their arms in grand gestures while barking out commands to their dog. This however is not calm. This is more pushy and aggressive than calm and confident. Calmness is something our society in general can improve on. We all are pretty darn confident in ourselves if you think about it. And even if we aren’t we certainly fake it. What we most definitely aren’t is calm. We constantly busy ourselves, always in a rush, and typically annoyed when anything slows us down. Rarely do we take a breather, calm our minds and bodies and just relax in the moment. This is where we can take a lesson from our dogs. Simply breath. Be present. Chill out. If we focus on calm before anything else with our dogs that’s half the battle right there. If you’ve got an anxious dog, being overly assertive will not help him relax. You must be calm to teach calm, so relax first and then focus on assertion. If you have an excited dog bouncing off the walls only calm energy will slow him down.

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Calm confidence, is still and when it moves it’s deliberate in it’s movement. It’s about patience and taking the time to do things right, never rushing the result. It’s about intention and being quiet rather than loud. Cesar is called the Dog WHISPERER because his energy is understated but his presence is known. He is calm, first and foremost.

I urge you to try emphasizing calmness with your dog. Slow things down. Take a look at how you feel inside and ask yourself are you communicating with your dog in a calm and confident manner. Are you being fair or are you more concerned with being firm? Remember to always be calm assertive and that CALM comes first!



10 Tips on Beating the Blues

At The Dog Haus we always notice a significant change in the dogs’ behaviour when the weather changes. As it gets colder the dogs seem to have infinite energy and you can tell that maybe some pups haven’t been getting their regular exercise.

This isn’t all that surprising as it is that time of year again when it gets hard to get out of bed and face the day. Motivation is at an all time low and really all you want to do is c5e90352b3cd617b3913450c89fdfce2hibernate. I can relate! Trust me. As someone who has suffered long time S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I know all too well about deep dark depression and the misleading comfort it seems to offer. It’s all too easy to slip into that sadness and stay there in a familiar funk. It takes far more energy to be up beat when the days are cold, dark and long and when stress piles high and you just want to give up. But when you have a family or a pet to take care of, it becomes even more imperative to pull yourself up and keep your mood and motivation in check. When other’s rely on us we need to stay positive, focused and moving forward! So I’m here to offer you solace and refuge. Here are my 10 tips on beating the blues so that you can be the best YOU – parent, dog owner, friend, spouse, teacher, nurse, business owner, musician….you get it!

  1. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to make time for the things you love! So often when we become depressed or stressed we are quick to remove the things that bring us the most joy. If you think about it those are the things that ignite passion within us and in turn energize us! If you take that away because you feel like you don’t deserve it you will stay at a low. For instance with me, I know being creative is something that inspires me. It is important for me to express myself whether it is through writing (like this blog), painting, singing, or dancing, even when I am feeling down. When I do any one of these things I instantly feel different. I feel lighter, freer, and more me 🙂 Find out what energizes you and do it daily!!! I cannot stress this enough!
  2. Invest in yourself. What I mean by this is truly take care of yourself. This means eating well, working out,  going to bed early, and working on ways to improve yourself. If you take good care of your mental, physical and emotional well being it will show through and effect your overall mood. Think of how good you feel after a good night’s sleep, or a run, or when you master a new skill. Why not incorporate that into your routine to keep you functioning at a high frequency always? Duh!
  3. Embrace your inner child. Remember when you were young and you did things just for FUN?! Why not do it again. Think of what it was that made you laugh and feel silly and try it as an adult. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t let loose and giggle now and again. Maybe it was playing board games, tobogganing, finger painting, or jumping rope. Try something you haven’t done in a long time and bring back those good memories.
  4. Listen to uplifting music. When you’re sad or depressed it’s easy to find a soundtrack to your life that keeps you feeling sad and depressed. No offence to Radio Head and ColdPlay, but listening to sad music has a cyclical effect and can often times intensify our sadness. You’re listening to sad music because you’re sad, but you’re also sad because you are listening to sad music, so how is that going to help? Now I’m a huge fan of Bon Iver and other melancholy bands, but I know that in listening to them my depression is not going away any time soon. Conversely, choosing to listen to music that makes you feel good will put you in a happier mood as it actually releases dopamine, the feel good chemical, from your brain (the same affect as chocolate, sex, and some drugs). On days I feel weighed down by stress and sadness I start my morning listening to a favourite song before going to work. Music has such a power over our emotions so use it to help treat your psyche and alter your mood. Try it!
  5. Meditate. In place of anti-depressants and anxiety medication, meditation is increasingly being used to treat depression and anxiety within the medical profession. It was actually my doctor who suggested I try Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to help deal with my depression and anxiety. And so I began an 8 week course and incorporated it into my daily life often meditating numerous times a day. I encourage you to find time in your life to slow down and live in the now. Simple things like focusing on your breath or sensations in your body help to clear the mind and bring us peace. We live in such a busy world that it seems difficult to take 5-10 minutes to literally do nothing, but it is so important to do so. Consider it like a recharging of your battery. This “time-out” completely alone with yourself with all the distractions gone, will help bring more focus, clarity and harmony to your life. For me, I meditate not just when I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor, but also when I run. When I run I just focus on my breathing and putting one foot infront of the other. I am not concentrating on what I’m doing afterwards or how to solve issues I’m facing at work, I am simply in the moment, running. It is one of the best parts of my day and I feel refreshed afterwards.
  6. Surround yourself with positive people. It is said that you are a combination of the 5 people you hang out with the most…so choose wisely. Take a look at who you spend a lot of time with and what are they like. Are they ambitious? Passionate? Fun? Or maybe they are Debbie Downers and people who like to have pity parties. If you want to be confident, positive, and successful find people who inspire that within you. Remember energy is contagious so if you are hanging out with people who have bad vibes, they will rub off on you. Good vibes only people 🙂
  7. Practice gratitude. If you count your blessings each day it’s pretty hard to feel bummed about life. Do you have a job? A roof over your head? Friends and family who love you? Are you healthy? Are you alive and breathing? I suggest that each day you right down the things you are thankful for. Make a list and appreciate all the little things you have in this world. It’s important to also practice gratitude with others. It feels pretty good to actually say “thank you” to people every once in a while. Think about an employee who works really hard, a family member who is generous towards you, or a neighbour who does kind gestures and take the time to give them the appreciation they deserve.
  8. Do something nice for someone. A random act of kindness is a sure fire way of lifting your spirits. Good deeds really shouldn’t be done just because they make us feel good, but it is an added bonus! You could do something small for a stranger like holding the door open or do something big for a friend, either way it causes a ripple affect of good vibes. Even if the act itself is simple or anonymous it feels good deep down in your soul to make someone else happy. Spread kindness wherever  you go and kindness will reflect back to you.
  9. Repeat daily affirmations. It sounds cheesy but it works! Write them down, say them to yourself out loud in front of a mirror, or repeat them in your head when you get feeling blue. Self talk is a powerful thing so telling yourself things like “I am a kind and positive person” or “I am beautiful inside and out” make a huge difference in how we perceive ourselves. You are what you think so think positive things about yourself and you’ll believe it to be true…because it is!
  10. Lastly, and probably most important, GET OUTSIDE! Sure it may be chilly, but bundle up and brave it! There is nothing better than fresh air in your lungs to make you feel alive. So resist the urge to stay inside all day and binge watch Netflix, because that’s not doing anyone any good. Strap on your boots, leash up your dog and go for a good walk in the great outdoors! It’s exercise for you and your dog and you’ll both feel better because of it, trust me!