I am an intuitive animal communicator and energy healer, not a dog trainer. What can I offer to help an aggressive dog change his or her ways? Obviously not treats or physical reinforcement!
I connect through my heart to see what life looks like from the dog’s perspective. Then I address specific issues using respectful communication and energetic healing.
He was given up by his family for biting
I recently worked with a dog who had bitten people numerous times. The family gave him up to a rescue group in Colorado. The group reached out to Ana Melara of Grace Dog Training & Behavior. Ana brought him under her wing and contacted me to see what we might do together.
Looking at his picture, I heard the words, “stone cold killer.” There’s a phrase trainers use called “the hard stare/hard eye.” He had it.
He had difficulty letting me in. This guy had decided people were untrustworthy and hurtful. Not all aggressive dogs are the result of human abuse. But the information I received when I connected indicated there had been abuse somewhere in this dog’s life. I explained that not all people were hurtful. I asked him to look into my heart. From there, we communicated more deeply.
Then came some energy healing. One of my favorite techniques is “baby love.” I re-purposed it into “puppy love.” I gave him the experience of being loved and seen as a delightful dog from conception to the present. This countered the not-so-good memories.
Abuse as a misuse of power
Ana and I got into a discussion about how abusers deny another being the power to say NO. They make them do it anyway or do it to them anyway. (These are the serious boundary violations we are discussing; I am not talking about making your teenagers clean up their room!) The being on the receiving end may feel a loss of the power to navigate the world safely; they may use aggression to say NO.
We worked on giving the dog his power back so he didn’t need aggression to assert himself. We definitely saw an improvement in his behavior. Listen to this full discussion in this podcast.
Where can we honor our animals’ preferences?
Our animals need to make some choices in their life. Of course, it should be in alignment with the family’s highest good. Some small examples:
- Leave them alone when they don’t want to play or be picked up
- Give them permission to behave imperfectly
- Let them sniff a bit longer at that delicious spot of grass
- When they sit on your laptop while you are trying to finish your article on an aggressive dog, scratch their ears and get another cup of tea
Love the name, By the Grace of Dog.
I am so sorry Moki had to live a life enduring such cruelty. I personally understand about not being allowed the power to say NO! It is a soul crushing experience. I hope he continues to feel his personal power and heal and experience love and joy.
I was hearing that Moki didn’t really go for toys. I too have known animals that didn’t ever seem to have learned to play. It was as if I was trying to teach them an alien concept. We took in a feral cat (we named him Clark) who was a remarkable being. Clark went from being wild to being a loving, happy, mellow house cat. We always said he was born to be a house cat. He slept between us every night and was welcoming to any other cat we brought into our home. I remember seeing him actually smile when he finally “got” the concept of playing with a human. He was an amazing teacher to me. He came into his life with us with an open heart and willingness to trust and continued that way until he passed over to the other side.
I also have to say that I am not a believer in dog crates. For safety and/or transport when necessary, yes. Otherwise, no. I can totally understand not wanting to be confined. I don’t think you should do something to another being that you wouldn’t want to be done to you. Yes, I’m sure there are a bunch of folks who strongly believe in crates. As a pet sitter I met people who had their dogs stay in crates at night or while they were away during the day, and so forth. It made me ill to think of being a part of this treatment. The owners would inevitably be angry that I refused the job and I told them to go clean out their hall closet and stay in there for the same amount of hours under the same conditions and see how they liked it.
Thanks for sharing your insight and experience, Susanna!
Maribeth- your podcast link isn’t working. 🙁
Hi, I’m working to get a good link from Ana. IN the meantime, I’ve taken the link off. Thanks for letting me know, Tammy!