The First Light Store

Misbehaving Dogs

Dogs can make wonderful animal companions and just like people they have different personalities. The expression of their personalities, the traits of their breeding (cross-bred or otherwise), the state of their physical wellbeing, their age and the way people interact with them all influence their behaviour. A dog's background experiences also affect how they behave.

If you are intending to bring a dog home, find out about its breed or the breeds which are possibly part of its make-up. Will these characteristics fit in well with your situation? A beagle may not come to your call until it has fully followed through on a scent. A bored and under-exercised, under-stimulated border collie may chase moving car wheels or run up and down a fenceline when people pass by. Some huskies are known to be expert escape artists and like to have the last word in a conversation. Some breeds need more stimulation, a more active lifestyle and require their human to be ten steps ahead of them, always scanning the horizon for possible distractions.

In a cross-bred dog, a particular trait may stand out. For example, a huntaway crossed with any other breed may have a deep and loud bark with an incessant need to keep barking. Huntaways are bred to bark. That's their job, to bark and move stock. It is important to remember that all dogs are descendants of the wolf and are therefore predators. They will naturally chase some things which move unless taught otherwise.

If you are having problems with your dog's behaviour, you can enlist the help of a knowledgeable person, a dog trainer or attend dog training classes. This could help you adopt and adapt some methods to work with your dog, with his or her needs and your situation. Sometimes dogs appear badly behaved or disobedient. This can be due to a half-hearted approach to training, to unclear and mixed messages or to inconsistent boundaries, and often relates to a lack of exercise. If the dog is running the show and making life unpleasant for those around them, then an examination of how you manage not only the dog, but other areas in your life may illuminate some areas where you need to become more assertive. If your canine friend is anxious and nervy, are you too anxious in life? If they are aggressive and unsociable, what is your approach to society? Do you feel safe or guarded when around people? If there is trouble or worry in the household, is the dog picking up on this and trying to help carry the load, by doing "out-of-character" things?

Dogs are social animals. They like companionship. If they are left alone, bored or under-exercised, then they may howl, dig holes or chew things. This is how they communicate and fill in time. Our job is to understand what is being communicated and make the best decisions for our own situation and the dogs’. Some dogs have a wonderful sense of humour and if we can see this for what it is, we can recognise that what may be termed misbehaviour as just having fun. Perhaps we need to lighten up and have a bit of fun too.

For the dog that has been traumatised and is fearful, some of the appropriate Fern essences may be selected to be put in a treatment bottle. To assist with learning, the Gemini essences may be given. These are No 7 Mountain Parahebe for mental calm, No 8 Matata for flexibility when learning and No 9 Koru for understanding. Some dogs may have issues around power and show signs of stubbornness or aggression. No 46 Totara will help balance and strengthen the solar-plexus chakra associated with the expression of power. If you know when your dog was born, you can put the correlating Flower essence in a treatment bottle. For example, my dog was born 3rd February, so her keynote essence is No 32 Ice Plant. Putting No 32 Ice Plant in her blend is a key component because it helps to balance her tendency to push herself onto other dogs and to be a bit highly strung. No 32 Ice Plant helps her to be more at ease when relating to other dogs.

The dosage for a treatment bottle is 4 drops given 3-4 times daily until the bottle is finished. Drops can be put directly onto the dog's gums, in their drinking water or onto their food. You can use a combination of these ways of giving the essences.

— 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: