Our pets can display a certain behavior or become ill or injured.  Do you realize that most of the time, they are really trying to tell us something?

  • First of all, you have to realize that animals are here to help teach us.  We only need to listen.  Yes, that can be the hard part as we can become too focused about other things in life.  They truly are some of the greatest teachers we will ever have in our life but most people do not realize this.
  • Secondly, if your pet is exhibiting a specific behavior or illness, you need to ask yourself “why?”.  Why indeed, so that requires some investigation.  Most people honestly have some kind of clue as to what is happening with their pet.  Their intuition is usually correct.  Always go with your gut.  YOU know your pet better than anyone else.
  • Thirdly, ask yourself then what you can do to help resolve the situation.  This is not as difficult as it seems.  Some times it just requires reflecting on the situation and coming up with solutions. 

Here are 2 common issues people face with their pets.  So, you need to explore things by answering questions.  Let’s take anxiety

  • If your pet is acting anxious, is it because you are leaving them home alone? 
  • Are they home alone and lacking companionship?
  • Are they simply young and bored?  Perhaps you don’t have enough items to entertain them with.
  •  If there is another pet with them, do they get along with them? 
  • Or maybe they are anxious because the previous owner neglected them or they were dumped on the street.  It is possible they think every time you leave, you are not coming back.  It is sad how many animals that have been adopted actually think this on a daily basis.
  • If you intend this to be their forever home and have never told them, even if you’ve had them for years, NOW is the time to do so.  A lot of anxiety stems from your pet not knowing their future.  Telling them you love them and giving them treats is not the same as telling them you are giving them a forever home.  A pet can remain anxious their whole life if every day they are wondering if this is the last time they will see you.

 What about aggression? 

  • Are they aggressive towards people or just animals or both?  Are they only lunging or vocalizing at people when someone comes to your front door? 
  • Are they only lunging or vocalizing at certain people that come to your door or out on a walk?  Do you know that many animals size people up pretty quickly and accurately? 
  • Maybe they are lunging only at men.  If so, they could be have been abused by a male before you got them.
  • If they are a protective breed or cross to begin with, you need to realize that.  Know that they are only trying to protect you.  It does not make it right, it just means you know where it is coming from and they are going to need some training. 
  • Maybe rolling items like strollers or bikes bother them the most.
  • Or maybe they are aggressive towards other animals.  Could it be you have the food bowls too close together? 
  • Could it be that the other pet they live with has been aggressive towards them and initiates the fights? 
  • Or it could be that they lived on the streets before you got them and they learned how to defend themselves so they could eat and stay alive.
  • You can tell them “thank you” or “leave it” in a situation where they have alerted you but you want them to not take any action.  This goes for if it is an object like a bike or a person or another animal.  You can come up with a code word.

 Now ask yourself, “what about me?”  Can something you’re doing be triggering the behavior.

  • Yes, could it be you?  It certainly can.  For instance, an animal may be anxious because you constantly change your routine up and they need stability.  Maybe your work hours vary or your feed or walk times. 
  • Maybe your animal is acting aggressive because you tense up in the presence of certain people or situations.  Or maybe you have accidentally reinforced the behavior without knowing it. 
  • And yes, your pet may be acting this way to get you to explore other options in life.  Some pets simply act the way they do because of the results they hope they will achieve.  Yes it can be more than your pet has “suckered” you and they have your number.  What I’m talking about is much deeper than that.  Your pet may be acting out because YOU need to change something in your life and they know it.  Maybe you are working yourself into an early grave.  Maybe you have some of your own issues you truly need to work on.  Maybe if your pet seems chaotic, so are you…  Or what about if there are multiple people in your family and two of you don’t get along.  Don’t you think your pet realizes that and this can affect them?

So, know where your pet is coming from.  This is not just about dogs, it is about any animal.  It could be a cat that likes to attack others or vomits after eating.  It could be the neurotic bird that plucks or flies at people’s faces.  Explore why.  Make a list.  Write it all down.

And if your pet is sick or injured, what does that mean?  Well, more than you may have bargained for.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is their illness similar to yours?  For instance, do they have pain in the right shoulder and you do, too?  It can be that you had it first and they are trying to take on your discomfort to help you.  Or, it can also be that they had it first and you are empathetic with them and you are inadvertently taking on their pain.  Honestly, it happens both ways. 
  • Animals will even take on serious illness for us, even cancer.  This does not happen all the time but it does happen.  Animals will be diagnosed with serious health problems.  You will not.  They will do their best to help to keep you healthy.  This may be a hard one to grasp but know it is true.  Animals are amazing at what they will do for their owners. 
  • Sometimes pets want us to closely look at our health and by them becoming ill, they teach you about how you can go about helping them and in turn, yourself.  Many pets want you to explore your options on ways you can help them AND yourself – different foods, supplements, various holistic methods, exercise and spending quality time together.
  • Keep in mind that most illness, disease and behavioral issues are a result of emotional issues that are unresolved.  It does not matter if it is a dog, cat, bird, snake, sheep, horse, etc.  They are ALL sentient beings that have a body, mind and soul.

So after you have thought about all of this and made a list of possible reasons your pet has a behavior or health issue, what next?

  • Sometimes it is simply a matter of talking to your pet and telling them (in detail outloud) you think you understand why they are like they are and you want to work on things.
  • What are you going to do to try to make this happen?  How can you resolve what you think is going on?  Adjust your schedule, separate the bowls, say a code word, tell them they have a forever home, work on yourself, etc.  Whatever it is, you need to tell them very clearly. 
  • You can also use positive or negative reinforcement.  Yep, both work in different situations.  You may have a dog that pees during the night on the carpet.  First you would want to find out why to see if you could resolve it (is it they don’t want to wake you or do they have bladder control issues).  But you can use negative reinforcement by telling them they will be put in their crate all night long or placed into the bathroom by themselves (instead of being with you) if they continue to use the restroom on the carpet.   And if they don’t stop, you follow through.  Or you can use positive reinforcement and tell them you’ll reward them with a treat or an extra walk if they are good all night long. 
  • If you do not feel comfortable with figuring this out totally on your own, get some professional help.  You want someone that will look at your pet as a “whole” – on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.  They may communicate with your animal or find that a custom Bach flower remedy or crystals will help your pet.  Or maybe reiki will help the situation.
  • If you think you need a trainer, please be careful who you select.  You do NOT want a trainer that thinks of your pet as just some “stupid animal that needs to be shown manners or who’s the boss”.  This is the wrong attitude and will ultimately end in failure.  For instance, Urban Tails and Molly’s Mutt House take a holistic approach with their training. 
  • And lastly, sometimes our animals are helping to push us on the paths we need to be on.  Some times an owner will only explore other options if they are down to the “last straw”.  Know hat YOU are capable of learning how to help your pet AND yourself with natural methods.  Consider coming to a free consultation or taking a workshop so that you have these skills for life. 

I hope this helps you to look at your pets in a different light – as a teacher, a guide, a helper, your loving friend that wants to help empower you, heart and soul.

Next week we will talk about messages from other animals – animals other than pets that you encounter in your daily lives.  They, too, are trying to tell you things, if you will learn to “look”.  Don’t miss Part 2 of this blog as what you will read can change your life as you realize just how many things you did not realize that you’ve been missing!

Blessings to you and the animals you love!