Do these scenarios sound familiar? Someone with four paws (who shall remain nameless) follows you manically from room to room the minute you arrive home. After a trek to the grocery store, you come home to find a path of shredded toilet paper that leads to your (once) favourite, freshly mangled slippers. You love your pooch, but dealing with separation anxiety isn’t fun for either of you. The good news? There’s a lot you can do, free of charge, in the comfort of your own home.
One of the kindest things you can do for your dog is to be aware of your emotions. Sounds a bit strange, right? Here’s the thing – your dog reads your energy and your emotions are part of that package.
We don’t mean to, but sometimes we pass our stress and anxiety onto our animals. This certainly isn’t always the case, but regardless of the circumstances, it has been my experience that dogs’ anxiety levels are greatly affected by the energy around them. Does that mean you’re the cause of all your dog’s problems? Absolutely not, but you can help your pooch by being more aware of your emotions.
When you are getting ready to leave your home, do your best to let go of feeling bad about leaving your friend. Try to find a calm place inside you. When you feel it, they’ll feel it. Your dog may need a lot more support to overcome a serious case of separation anxiety, but every little bit helps. The more calm and relaxed you are, the better for your animal. Not always easy, I know. Be gentle with yourself. This isn’t a blame game. If we could all press a magic button and feel zen whenever we want, many of us would do it. Just do your best. It takes practice and you have all the time in the world.
This tip can help in all kinds of situations. Not too long ago, I was working with a client (I’ll call her Mary) who got very anxious when her dog was around other dogs. A year prior, there had been an incident and ever since, Mary was terrified that her dog would get into another fight. Before she and her dog would even leave the house for a walk, Mary would tense up in fear. Nothing had transpired since the original incident, but her dog would get a big growly when other dogs would come too close. After a few Reiki sessions, her dog’s behaviour was improving, but I could tell that things would move along a lot faster if I could work with Mary as well.
Mary was open to this and used our sessions to help her practice getting to a place of calm and relaxation. Within a few weeks, she learned some techniques that she could use on walks when she felt fear creeping up. Soon afterwards Mary excitedly shared that her dog was friendly at the dog park for the first time in nearly a year. No growling!
This is great news for all of us. It means that you have a lot of power to make things better and more comfortable for your anxious companion. Being aware of your emotions may engender a complete transformation in your dog or it may only help a little. Either way, it’s certainly worth a try. Just remember that your animal picks up your emotions regardless of your behaviour. They read your energy and your mood; a fake smile doesn’t fool them! Use this to your advantage and when your dog is feeling scared or anxious, show them that everything is okay by finding a way to know and feel in your heart that it really is. The best part? You have a happier, more relaxed dog, and your own mental landscape feels better and better as you practice letting go of the day’s stress to help your companion. Win, win!