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Ask Your Pet

by Jennifer Dickman

Dear Jennifer,

My dog Jason is a six-year-old bichon mix who came from a shelter. Most of the time he is very calm, but he goes crazy, barking and snapping, whenever we walk by another dog on the street. It’s impossible to take him to the dog park or daycare. Why does he do this?


Dear Jane,

Unfortunately, this barking and snapping can often be a problem in small breeds. In Jason’s case, he said that in his former home there were two other dogs who were there before him. They never really accepted him and would try to steal his food, keep toys from him, and prevent him from getting enough attention from his human family. Rather than work on this, the people he lived with decided to turn him in to the shelter.

At that point, Jason was already feeling threatened by other dogs, and like he had to compete with them for attention. At the shelter, he was surrounded by other dogs and the almost-constant noise of their barking. This traumatized him. Additionally, he had to share the attention of the volunteers and shelter workers with many other dogs, and as before, felt he never received his fair share.

I reassured Jason that you love him and will always lavish him with love and attention. I told him that no other dog will ever take that away from him, and he doesn’t have to go into threat mode when he encounters them. I asked him to trust you and relax when other dogs are around, knowing that you will always be there for him and keep him safe.

You can help Jason by reassuring him daily that he is loved and cherished. When you are out for a walk and are approaching another dog, send Jason feelings of calm and reassurance. Visualize things going well. Do not tense up on the leash or anticipate an incident, or it will signal Jason that there is something to fear.

You might want to consult a holistic veterinarian who could prescribe flower essences or other remedies to help Jason with his issues. Alternatively, you could do a web search for animal flower essence formulas for "fear aggression", insecurity, and past traumas. Don’t expect his behavior to turn around all at once. Jason has a traumatic past history and this behavior is somewhat ingrained. If you really work with him and have patience you will notice a marked improvement in his behavior towards other dogs. But, this will happen over time.

Jason is by nature a sweet dog who sadly had a painful past. All he really wants in life is affection, attention, security, and love.

Best of luck in addressing Jason’s issues.

Many Blessings,

Jennifer Dickman

Jennifer Dickman is an Animal Communicator, Pet Reiki Specialist, Reiki Master-Teacher, and Intuitive Counselor. She is available for phone sessions worldwide, and teaches private Reiki certification students locally & through distance learning. Jennifer can be reached at 215.817.0833 or Jennifer_Dickman@ymail.com. To receive a free copy of Jennifer’s "Five Things Your Dog or Cat Wants You to Know" please subscribe to her newsletter by emailing her with the subject line "newsletter request". More information is available on Jennifer’s web site: www.JenniferDickman.com.

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