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Ask Your Pet

by Jennifer Dickman

Dear Jennifer,

My dog Lacey and I moved recently, after living in a home where we both developed something like PTSD. I was in survival mode and denial.

She lost her mind on leash twice recently due to seeing other dogs, and became aggressive towards me.

How can I help her with this, aside from finding good times for her walks with fewer dogs around? What can she tell me about myself that I can address?


Dear Molly,

The first thing Lacey is asking me is if you're staying in your new home and don't have to move back to the last place. I'm telling her that she never has to move back there. Lacey wants you to tell yourself you're sorry you stayed there too long and forgive yourself. She says you need to release it, and replace it with love and compassion for yourself. She's saying that deep inside you there's a place that doesn't love yourself, and she wants you to find that place and fully love it. She wants you to let go of any anger you have with yourself, and replace it with love.

Lacey wants to thank you for being supportive of her struggles and working with her. She's very sorry she became aggressive. She says she didn't mean to - it's like she didn't realize it was you in the moment.

To help her while on walks, don’t tense up on the leash if you see other dogs or situations that might stress her. This is very important and a training basic. But, the second part has to do with visualization. The real downside to the fact that animals pick up on images in our minds is that sometimes they pick up on us visualizing the things we're afraid will happen. They don't understand that we don't want those things to happen, those things won't necessarily happen, etc., and often misinterpret it as what we want them to do. So, say you're out on a walk with Lacey and see other dogs, and you think to yourself, "Oh no, I hope Lacey doesn't freak out." The problem is, that as you're thinking that, there's going to be an image in your mind of Lacey freaking out. Lacey then picks that up, and sees it as danger and even possibly a desired behavior.

This is where you have to train yourself. You’ll want to be emitting feelings of calm, safety, and love the entire time you're walking her, as well as in any other stressful situations. If you see other dogs, keep sending those feelings, and consciously visualize exactly what you want to happen, like you and Lacey continuing calmly on your way. You can carry treats with you to reinforce it if she passes another dog and is calm. It takes practice, but it does work.

If the aggression continues, I’d recommend consulting a trainer. Also, ruling out medical issues is always a good idea, even if we feel we know the reason for behavioral changes.

Many Blessings,

Jennifer Dickman

Jennifer Dickman is an Animal Communicator, Reiki Master-Teacher specializing in Animal Reiki, and Intuitive Counselor. She conducts phone and email sessions worldwide. She may be contacted at Jennifer_Dickman@ymail.com  , or through her website, www.JenniferDickman.com where her MP3s "Journey to Contact Your Animals in Spirit" and "Deep Relaxation" are also for sale. To subscribe to Jennifer’s newsletter and receive a free copy of her essay, "Five Things Your Cat or Dog Wants You to Know", please email Jennifer with the word "Newsletter" in the subject line.

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