I went to see a client who had asked me to work with their dog, who was showing a great deal of anxiety before walks. When the owner put their shoes on, and/or got the lead (any lead) their dog would go and hide, and would literally not come out, or need to be picked up and taken out the house, yet once out the house he would be fine.
So What Did I Do To Help?
During a session I asked if they would mind me doing what the owner did, and reaching for the lead to see how their dog responded.
Initially, he went and sat on the settee, a little unsure, but that was still very different to his normal response of hiding under the stairs.
He seemed curious.
When I used some encouragement, told him he was safe, kept my energy calm, and offered a calm yet happy voice of we are going out, he got excited. A BIG change.
He allowed me to put the lead on and was a little unsure, so I sat with him and you could see his body relax after a little while. That’s when we gave him praise. He then got down himself with the lead on and ran to the front door.
Pets Are Our Mirror
His owner was astounded, and this is when the realisations hit for her:
- he IS tuned into her, VERY tuned into her – she is still stunned.
- that I need to work with her, rather than her dog right now. He is picking up her energy, her anxiety.
- I showed her that every time her anxiety/emotion grew when talking about something, he started barking.
One way pets express emotion and allow it to move through them is verbally.
Several times he came closer to the owner when she has been releasing emotion.
And the main way pets sense the world is through electromagnetic fields, one of which is our heart. Whatever we are emitting, consciously or not, they can pick up on the strongest emission, whether that is a belief, thought, emotion, etc. Everything is energy.
Calmer Dog, Calmer Owner : Calmer Owner, Calmer Dog
When I left, and the owner went to take him out for that walk, he went back to his same old pattern, going under the stairs and not coming out. So future sessions are about addressing more around the owner’s feelings about going out and their own ’emotional battery’, so we can get them both going out together, batteries as empty as they can be, feeling happier and safer.
His owner now understands much more how helping themselves will help their dog too. He is a messenger for her, showing her what she needs to heal within herself.
Everything they do is to feel safe, and this will include the owner in their behaviour as well. If the owner feels safer in the house, they will show this.
So please don’t underestimate your furry friends, they are more in tune with you than you can ever believe. Observe their behaviour and actions and ask yourself, what might they be trying to tell me?
I can also report that not long after this session, I managed to get the owner outside one weekend for a walk with their dog. I knew they wouldn’t want to let me down, and that meeting someone would be the encouragement and motivation they needed. It worked. They realised just how much it helped them, and their dog, by getting out into the fresh air, and getting some exercise.
Set the bar low: they set themselves a target of 10-15minutes minimum a day to be going outside for a walk, which was manageable and just enough for them. And they did it.
We have since worked on the social anxiety they have been experiencing, due to it being modelled in their own childhood by a parent. Their anxiety would begin as soon as they opened their eyes from sleep and would build up and up until they had to leave the house.
To get the client moving forwards, I have now helped them to release this anxiety so they could achieve getting petrol, shopping and the like without the anxious feelings and anxious thoughts that left them housebound. They are now doing these activities without that anxiety crippling them.
Still more trauma release to work through with my client, but I am so proud of them for what they have already achieved, and they see how far they have come too!