When your emotional pathway is clear and balanced, you’re primed for connecting and co-regulating with your dog. But finding balance isn’t always easy. So, what tools can you use to help restore emotional balance in your partnership?
In this post, I’m sharing an idea from one of my favorite programs that I taught some years ago called, “The Holistic Animal.” The idea is that you can use flower essences to find balance when you’re experiencing mental, emotional, or spiritual unease.
These flower essences are simple and safe to use and can be an effective remedy in times of need. Using these to bring you and your dog back to balance sets the stage for successful co-regulation.
Now, before I get into what flower essences are and what they can do for you and your dog, let me explain a little bit about the systems available.
Choosing a flower essence system
There are many different flower essence systems you can choose to use. I personally use the Bach system because they’re the most available. However, I encourage you to explore whichever feels right for you! If it helps bring you or your dog back in balance and in tune with your best self, then it’s right for you. If there’s no reaction, you could already be in balance in that way!
One of the great things about flower essences is that you can experiment. There are no reactions or unexpected consequences that you need to be concerned about, unlike with herbs or essential oils. Flower essences have a far less strong physical impact.
The Bach system contains essences made from 38 different plants. Each of these essences or “remedies” have a specific action on a certain mental attitude or emotion. These can be used to allay symptoms of emotional imbalances or feelings of disorderliness. But they don’t treat the physical causes like chemical medicine, such as herbs or drugs, would.
“Essences focus on the root, emotional causes and help bring that back to balance.”
What are flower essences?
In a nutshell, essences help bring us back into balance by focusing on the root, emotional causes of what’s going on with you or your dog’s mind and emotions. They stimulate the emotional, mental and spiritual self-healing capabilities to create a true healing from the inside out.
The remedies are prepared from the flowers of non-harmful or habit-forming plants, bushes, and trees. They’re intended to address mental and emotional imbalances, like worry, apprehension, hopelessness, and irritability, for example.
We all know that emotional imbalances can lead to physical sickness and disease. Using flower essences can help give yours or your dog’s body the chance to produce their own natural healing by restoring vitality.
A quick history of flower essences
This particular flower essence system was developed by Dr. Edward Bach. He gave up his lucrative medical practice to explore the possibilities of the plant world. Bach researched flowers’ effects on different maladies and discovered 38 flowers that had an impact on emotions and unbalanced states of mind. He then sorted these imbalances into seven categories:
- Anxiety and apprehension
- Uncertainty and indecision
- Insufficient interest in present circumstances
- Over-sensitivity to ideas and influences in the environment
- Despondency and despair
- Over-care or over-concern for the welfare of others
Bach designed his remedies so that anyone could use them easily to address their imbalance. You don’t need special techniques or professional advice as, if you select a wrong remedy, nothing will happen!
How to use the flower essences as remedies
There are a few simple ways you can use flower essences.
- Put a drop or two from a single remedy stock bottle into a glass of water or your mouth
- Create your own treatment bottle using pure water and your chosen flower essence stock and then dose from this
When I use Rescue Remedy, I’ll put four drops directly on my tongue, or even use a little spray bottle! It’s actually a combination of five Bach flower essences! This is my go-to remedy for when there’s something stressful or emotional happening.
Say you have a reactive dog, and they’re having a meltdown, this would be a great time to reach for your Rescue Remedy to help restore balance (there’s an animal-friendly version available).
How to administer flower essences for your dog
It’s important to know that Bach developed this therapy to benefit all living creatures. We know that animals are highly intelligent, sentient beings, with a great capability for emotion, so just as these remedies can aid us, they can have the same impact on animals too.
Administering flower essences to your dog can be done in the exact same way. So, adding drops to their drinking water (I use no more than five drops at a time), letting your dog lick them off your hand, or putting them on a snack such as a treat or a piece of bread.
Depending on the essence and the situation, will determine how often you administer them. If there’s a shocking or traumatic experience happening, I’d recommend using the remedy every 5-15 minutes until you start to see calming effects. Otherwise, just once or twice a day is normal.
Which flower essence should you use?
I’m going to share with you some of my go-to flower essences. These are the key essences that I’ve used with animals over the years and the imbalances I’ve used them to remedy. There are many more, but these are the ones that I find so useful in many different ways.
- Cherry plum – treats stress extremes that cause erratic, hysterical, or aggressive behavior, like loss of control, panic, or any extreme fearful emotional psychological imbalance.
- Chestnut bud – can address difficulty learning, such as a lack of focus or concentration leading to repeating mistakes. Often suitable for younger animals.
- Chicory – helps with neediness or attention-seeking behavior, for example, protests, eating disorder or manipulation.
- Gorse – is suitable for treating resignation or apathy often associated with a deep despair or depression after experiencing a severe traumatic event or abusive situation.
- Holly – remedies the tendency for suspicion, hate, and aggression, which can be present in animals who’ve been mistreated or attacked.
- Honeysuckle – can be helpful in balancing emotions related to loss. This covers any type of grief, such as loss of joy, appetite, or sadness.
- Larch – helps to remedy states of low or reduced self-confidence, insecurity, and uncertainty that may have been brought on by certain situations.
- Mimulus – remedies general fears, nervousness and hypersensitivity, whether these are situational or more akin to your nature.
- Rock rose – reduces a sense of fear or terror shown through a lack of courage, extreme anxiety, or complete withdrawal.
- Star of Bethlehem – can soften the after-effects of shock or trauma even after many years. This essence can play an important part in healing deep emotional scars.
- Walnut – is used to deal with change or emotional upset. If you’re rehoming your dog, for example, walnut essence can help your dog absorb the stress and cope with new circumstances.
- Wild rose – remedies a loss of hope or apathetic feelings by restoring feelings of happiness and reawakening interest in daily activities.
“That’s the beauty of flower essences – they’re very, very safe.”
Choosing flower essences for your dog
If you’d like to try these, I suggest making a shortlist of the remedies that you feel would be useful. Then, present the essences to your dog and see how they react. You can either go ahead and get the full set of flower essences or write the names of each essence on a sticky note, and see which ones your dog is drawn to or shows positive behavior toward.
Your intuition is a powerful tool, so when you’re working through this process, lean into it. Trust the connection you have with your dog and yourself and use this to select an essence (or essences) to work with.
Remember that you can’t get it wrong! Flower essences are safe to use for you, your dog, or any other animal. You can have complete confidence to experiment and discover what works for you!
If you decide to give flower essences a go, I’d love to hear all about your experience. Let me know what you choose and how it goes!
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrollment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 153, which you can listen to here.