Bach Flower Essences for Canine Socialization and Sociability
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The time you invest in socializing your dog will be some of the most enjoyable and enriching of his life. New friends to meet, new places to explore, a whole wide, wonderful world of excitement and adventure!
Not every pup comes into their forever home well-prepared to face life’s challenges. If your dog’s “adventures in learning” aren’t going as smoothly as you’d hoped, flower essences may be able to help.
Flower essences to help with socialization and sociability? You bet! A subtle-energy therapy with more than 70 years’ history of safe and effective use, flower essences are a gentle, natural tool for balancing emotional extremes, and a great way to help normalize some of the common emotional reactions a pup can experience during socialization.
You can use flower essences whether your pup exhibits a seemingly out-of-balance reaction all the time, or just in very specific situations. Simply give a few drops of the selected essences 3 or 4 times each day until your pup’s responses improve. (For more information on blending your own flower essence combinations, read my article,
Preparing and Using Flower Essence formulas. I also offer a convenient Design Your Own flower essence formula service at my Aldaron Essences store as well as pre-designed flower essence blends for confidence and sociability issues.)
Flower essences balance emotions, so to choose the most helpful essences, you’ll need to think about the emotion behind the behavior. If you’re not sure what emotions are behind your pup’s reaction, include a selection of the most likely essences. Any flower essences that are not on target for the behavior will have nothing to balance, and so will have no effect.
Here are some Bach Flower Remedies to consider for socialization and sociability issues in dogs:
General stress and overwhelm
Rescue Remedy is Dr. Bach's original "emergency" formula, combining essences of Impatiens, Clematis, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem. It works brilliantly alone, as well as supporting and enhancing when used in combination with other flower remedies. Rescue Remedy restores calmness and presence of mind, and reduces panic and stress reactions. A good first choice with dogs that are stressed, traumatized, or needing comfort.
Elm combats overwhelm and inadequacy to the task at hand. Elm is very helpful in overly-stressful situations, as well as for dogs that become overwhelmed easily.
Over-excitement and over-stimulation
What could be better – and more normal – than the wiggly excitement and gleeful anticipation so typical of puppies? Because this is such a familiar picture, it can be a challenge to pick up on when healthy excitement turns the corner to stress-induced frenetic activity. If your pup’s typical excitement level seems too high or too randomly directed for her age, breed, or the situation, these flower essences may help level out her responses.
Impatiens reduces tension and frustration, and increases cooperation, gentleness, and patience. Impatiens is excellent for calming excitable, hyper, and demanding dogs that show frustration behaviors.
Vervain is a wonderful flower essence for the overly intense, overly impulsive, highly driven personality. Vervain helps restores appropriate enthusiasm, drive, and restraint.
Cherry Plum improves self control in dogs prone to giving way to physical or emotional outbursts. Cherry Plum helps improve the ability to communicate unease before it gets to the bursting point.
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Proper puppy socialization includes a variety of pleasant experiences with adults, children, new places, sights, sounds and more, before leaving for their new homes.
Fear, timidity, and lack of confidence
Fear and timidity are undoubtedly the primary roadblocks to ease of socialization. That said, a degree of initial caution in new situations is most often nothing to be concerned about; most pups will outgrow this behavior, with repeated pleasant experiences. For pups with persistent fearfulness or lack of confidence, these flower essences may help “grease the wheels” of your socialization experiences.
Aspen restores the sense of safety and security. It reduces apprehension and vague, persistent anxiety. Aspen is very helpful for generally nervous, edgy, jumpy dogs that appear to be reacting to "the energy in the room" versus any particular scary thing.
Mimulus increases courage and confidence. It’s very helpful for dogs that are shy of people or other animals, dogs with tangible, identifiable fears, timid dogs that hide behind their people, under chairs, etc.
Rock Rose builds and restores steadfast courage in dogs given to extreme fear and panic. Rock Rose is a wonderful calmative for dogs that either freeze in panic, or try to escape at all costs.
Larch improves confidence and willingness to try. Combine Larch with Mimulus for dogs that hesitate to try due to a negative experience with other dogs, people, or situations.
Not all dog breeds or individuals are naturally eager to make friends with every new person or animal they meet. Some dogs that are affectionate and interactive with family and friends may be naturally indifferent to strangers. This “aloof” temperament is a perfectly valid and healthy personality type for many dogs. I include this flower essence if you feel your dog’s reserve goes beyond what is normal for his breed(s).
Water Violet can help warm up the introverted, socially indifferent dog. Indicators for Water Violet are social reserve, either as a life stage or breed characteristic; "uppity" dogs that have no time for casual companionship, as well as dogs prone to withdrawing in times of stress, illness, or uncertainty.
Flower essences are an ideal tool in helping counteract socialization and sociability issues. Short-term, they can smooth over the occasional rough spot with the confident, well-adjusted dog; long-term, they can bring about profound positive change in traumatized or under-socialized dogs.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and found it to be a useful resource. If you did, please share with your friends!
Julie Cantrell BSc, CDBC
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