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Essences for Dog Training

When it comes to training your dog, the schools of thought on ‘how to’ and the psychology behind training are changing. Depending upon your level of experience and familiarity with dogs you may choose to use a private dog handler, attend a training school or club or you may choose to work from home on your own. Your choice of training will also depend upon what you want and expect from your dog. Will the dog be employed in a line of work which involves people? Will his or her natural skills be used for hunting or stock work or will they be a valued member of the family household?


In general, socialisation is a very important aspect of a dog's life. Between the ages of five and thirteen weeks, a puppy will benefit from contact with other adults, children, other dogs and animals, especially cats. An older, well socialised and stable dog can provide an excellent role model for a young dog.

First Light flower essences will not only support you and your dog through training but can also assist with unacceptable and problematic behaviours. The following three essences are a good place to start with for any training exercises: No 7 Mountain Parahebe assists in learning new skills, No 8 Matata helps ease a stressed and worried mind and No 9 Koru helps with learning, concentration and changing unwanted habits.

Plant essence No 63 Karamu supports the soul in the lesson of learning to focus and complete tasks, so it can be added to any treatment bottle to help your animal companion achieve the mastery of the training exercises.

No 2 Native Flax can be given to the impatient and over-reactive handler or dog. Sometimes people expect too much, too soon from their animal companions. No 3 Cook Strait Groundsel assists the handler or dog who lacks confidence. This essence will help both to feel more confident and helps the handler to be clearer with their instructions and the messages they are conveying to the dog.

Don’t forget that dogs who exhibit aggressive behaviours are often nervous, fearful or anxious. The naturally dominant dog does not need to exert him or herself in an aggressive manner, unless threatened directly. First Light fern essences including No 37 King Fern may be given where the dog fears for its physical safety because of trauma experienced in this area. No 39 Shaking Brake Fern may be given to the animal that has experienced trauma as a result of being bullied or overpowered.

Remember that much of dog training relates to not just the performance of simple exercises such as ‘sit, down, stay and heel’, but to being sociable with people and other animals. Not all dogs are going to like other dogs and expecting them to get on with some people or each other at first introduction is unrealistic, especially if they are forced into each other’s personal space too quickly. Every breed or cross-breed has its own traits and behaviours. However, essences which can assist with socialisation include No 19 Lovers Daisy for unpredictable behaviour in relating and No 21 Hinau for helping animals to relate more positively with each other. No 31 Native Iris, No 32 Ice Plant and No 33 Rewarewa all assist with socialisation, especially where there is a degree of disruptive, intolerant or anti-social behaviour being presented.

The dosage from a prepared treatment bottle is four drops, three to four times daily. Drops can be given directly into your dog's mouth, on the gums, without the dropper touching the dog. If it does, then wash it under the tap or clean water. Drops may alternatively be put in the dog's drinking water or on their food. A combination of these applications may be used. The drops are given until they are finished, about four weeks from the time of starting.

Naturally, if any behaviour appears dangerous or out of control, it is wise to seek help. An animal behaviourist, professional handler, veterinarian (to check for any physical pain) or someone with more experience could be consulted. Realistic and fair expectations, combined with consistent and clear messages when working with any animal, are vital. Be loving, kind and respectful, always observing and checking your animal companion’s responses to yourself, to the training and their environment. And finally - have fun together.

— Marj Marks
Marj is a First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand registered practitioner and registered Veterinary Nurse. Marj can be contacted on 09 422 0177, 027 612 5256 or by email: