I work with animals who have behaviour problems caused by blocked, unprocessed emotions.
What does this mean?
This means that the animal is displaying undesirable behaviours as a result of a negative experience in the past. When animals experience traumatic events, intense emotions are attached to that memory. It is the emotion experienced that determines how this memory changes their behaviour moving forward.
A large part of my work involves working with dogs and their owners as they try to change the behaviour or emotional state of their dog; often often training techniques have failed.
As an animal behaviourist and kinesiologist – here’s the BIG thing dog trainers don’t tell you!
NEWSFLASH 1! – This is only a problem for you! This is NOT a problem for your dog. If it was they wouldn’t be doing it!
For your dog, performing a particular behaviour somehow resolves an emotional problem they are having. If, for example, your dog barks and growls at other dogs, it is because they want to create space between itself and the other dog. If you remove your dog from the situation, or the other dog walks away with its owner, then this behaviour has been successful for your dog. The aim of the behaviour was to create distance from the other dog, therefore although it was an undesirable behaviour for you, it was highly successful for your dog.
NEWSFLASH 2! – You have to resolve how you ‘FEEL’ about your dog’s behaviour before you can begin to change it.
This is often the most overlooked aspect of changing dog behaviour. Dogs tend to behave badly in situations where they feel scared, threatened, or in danger. Once this behaviour has been exhibited a few times, it is almost inevitable that you, the owner, will also have some kind of emotional reaction to it.
If your dog is reactive around other dogs, you may be feeling some/all of the following emotions:
- Anxious of any strange dogs that approach you off lead.
- Embarrassed to walk your dog in a public area and at popular times.
- Embarrassed about what people will think of you. What if they think you are an irresponsible owner?
- Angry / frustrated at your dog’s behaviour.
- Helpless that you can’t get your dog to understand that there is nothing to be worried about.
- Isolated, because you can’t enjoy the social aspect of owning a dog.
- Demotivated. Feeling like you have let your dog and yourself down
- These are just some of the emotions you will be experiencing using the example of a owning a reactive dog. With each experience you will be laying down memories with each of these emotions attached.
Now think about this……
How can you make a significant difference to your dog’s behaviour when all of these emotions are churning around inside of you? Don’t forget that your dog will be picking up on all of these emotions when out for a walk, and this will undoubtedly be adding to the problem, potentially even increasing the levels of reactivity.
This is important because you have to identify why it is a problem for YOU, and how you FEEL about that behaviour and resolve it before trying to change your dog’s behaviour when it doesn’t want to change. It is crucial that you be the consistent calm anchor for your dog in order to create a space of clarity and connection so new behaviours can be learned. To do this, you need to deal with all of our emotional baggage!
This is where Animal Kinesiology comes in!
The first thing we do is address why you feel the way you do.
If you avoid public areas because you are embarrassed by your dog’s behaviour, do you find you care too much about what people think of you? Are you self-conscious? Do you not feel you measure up against others?
If your dog’s reactivity makes you angry/frustrated, how does this relate to other aspects of your life? Do you feel stressed when you have little control over situations? Do you often feel anxious and unable to cope? Would others say you are very rigid in your way of thinking?
If you feel isolated by your dog’s behaviour, do you feel you are not participating fully in your life? Do you feel like you have little control over the direction of your life? Do you feel misunderstood by and not heard by the people in your life? Do you feel you are not quite connected to your greater purpose?
The underlying lesson here is that depending on what is going on in your life, will depend on how you respond to, and tackle, the problem of your dog’s reactivity. Using neurological energetic kinesiology we clear the emotional reaction you have to your dog’s behaviour. You will of course remember all of the instances and be fully aware of the behaviour, you just won’t have the emotional reaction to it as before.
Then we do the exact same thing for your dog!
It is much easier to learn new, alternative behaviours, when the emotional intensity has been removed. In many cases, the bad behaviour just disappears completely with no further changes required.
Why don’t dog trainers tell you this? Good dog trainers don’t bring their emotions into their work with dogs. If they take your dog to train, they don’t have the same emotional connection to the dog, it’s behaviour, or the circumstances as you do. They can separate themselves and instinctively create a space of calm for your dog to learn new behaviours. It’s not that they deliberately don’t tell you – they just assume everyone knows this instinctively, as they do.
The other things dog trainers don’t tell you:
In resolving your dog’s behaviour you learn SO much about yourself. There is immense scope for self-development through becoming more self-aware. You begin to see that you and your dog are just mirror images of each other, and that in choosing your dog, you have welcomed a similar energy to you own into your life. Emotions you resolve in relation to your dog influence how you engage with the world around you. Animal Kinesiology is more than just a means to an end. It is a journey of discovery into complete connection with your dog and exponential growth together.
What is your animal here to teach you?