Saturday, October 20, 2018

Do Dogs Get Depressed?

As an Animal Communicator, I hear a lot of questions from a wide variety of people. Most questions come from my mother (who is still wrapping her head around what it is I do *exactly*). This week’s post was inspired by one of her phone calls. She called me and got straight to the point by asking this:

“Hol, do dogs get depressed?”

My response was that yes, dogs do indeed get depressed. She went on to explain that a friend of hers had a dog who was given medication for their depression. I also explained to her that dogs are emotional beings like we are. She was still shocked at this revelation when she kept saying “Who would have known that a dog could get depressed?”

That is the point that I want all of you, my readers - to understand. That all animals, regardless of the species are emotional beings. They feel the full range of emotions like we do. They feel joy, love, anger, sadness, and they grieve. I am always sharing with people that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings, who have their own thoughts and opinions about the world around them.

My teacher - Penelope Smith has a wonderful blog entry entitled “Animals Confound Expectations”. In this entry, she talks about some of her experiences as an Animal Communicator and how most people have low expectations about an animals emotional sense, yet the animals wind up surprising the people.

As you go about your day with your animal companion, think about or be open to what is going through their minds and/or their emotions in each situation (if you don’t already). Or you can assess a situation if your animal companion acts very differently.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Retractable Leashes vs. Standard Leashes: A Lesson in Safety

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We’ve all seen the retractable leashes. When they first came onto the market, everyone thought they were amazing – since it would let your dog run ahead of you and you didn’t have to run to catch up with them. Over time – these items have become more of a hindrance than helpful. In fact, they can be downright dangerous not only to you – but to your dog as well.

I’d like to share with you something from my own experience – and is the reason I will no longer use a retractable leash. One day while I was working at another job with a pet boarding and daycare facility, two clients with their dogs came into the lobby. The dogs sniffed and got excited as they swirled around each other, causing the retractable leashes to wrap around each other, creating a tight twist. With this excitement came fear and one dog couldn’t get away. That fear turned to aggression – and a manager had to intervene to pull them apart. Luckily – everyone was fine and no one (human or dog) was hurt. If each owner had used a non-retractable leash, the dogs wouldn’t have been tangled up with no means to get away from each other.

Another thing to consider with a retractable leash is that it can also cause damage/harm to a person who has an overly enthusiastic dog who insists on wrapping the leash around you – causing a rope burn or bruising on the legs. How many of you have either witnessed this yourself or have experienced this? I can also tell you from personal experience, getting wrapped up in a retractable leash – HURTS.

If each owner had a regular leash (the ideal length being 6 feet), the one owner can either drop the end of a leash and it can easily unfurl itself, or the owner can still hold on to the end of the leash – unwrapping it as they go. Simple actions like this can prevent the above situation being escalated (I’ve witnessed this in practice as well). With a six foot leash – you will have more control over your dog on a walk, especially during encounters with other dogs. You will also lower or eliminate the risk of getting a rope burn or bruise on your leg if a dog circles around you.

A standard leash doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be made of any material (leather, canvas, nylon, paracord, chain etc..). If you are currently using a retractable leash, I encourage you to try a regular six foot leash and see if it makes a difference for you and your beloved pooch!

As always, I would love to hear from you! If you have a topic or product you’d like for me to cover, please let me know!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Animal Communication Does Not Equal Coercion.

dog-cute-adorable-play.jpgWhen people think of animal communication or animal communicators, they immediately think of a person who can see into the mind of their animal and the animal will instantly obey them – regardless of what the person is saying.

This simply isn’t true. Animals are not subservient to us.

The act of animal communication is something that involves a quieting of the mind, a clearing of any preconceived notions, and accepting the animal as a fellow being. From there – intuitive/telepathic communication can be achieved (remember - “telepathy” means “to feel from a distance”.) As an animal communicator, I am open to what the animal has to tell me or show me. We work together to find out the deeper meaning of why they are exhibiting a particular behavior – not demand that they stop. In the course of the conversation – we can encourage them to stop as well as ask what we can replace that behavior with.

One example is a cat who finds the edge of your expensive area rug irresistible to claw. In communicating with the cat – we can offer and show an alternative source to claw and scratch. If this is a practical solution for the owner – then we have come to an agreement that the cat can stop scratching the rug and go for the new scratching post (or whatever the alternative is).

To begin your journey to open communication with your animals put these three things into practice:

First and foremost: Accept your beloved animal companion(s) as fellow beings.

Take a deep breath and clear your mind of any expectations/preconceived notions.

Be open to hearing what your animal has to say, and allow it to happen.

After you’ve given these steps a try - I’d love to hear from you to see how you did!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Understanding an Animal’s Body Language

animal-dog-pet-dangerous.jpg In this week’s blog, I’ll be talking about dogs and cats. Of course other species will have their own set of body language to be mindful of and to acknowledge.

Most people feel that when they see a dog with a wagging tail that it’s perfectly okay to approach them and say hello. Or an owner will drop their dog off at a doggie daycare or dog park and the dog doesn’t engage, they sit there and either pant or lick their lips with their ears back. Not all body movements or body language is the same or carries the same meaning.

Let’s take tail wagging in dogs. If the dog is giving a long, full tail swing wag – that is a definite indicator of being happy and excited (which is different from being irritated and excited). If a dog has their tail straight up and just the top portion (1/3rd or ½) is doing a small wag from side to side, that’s usually a sign of being on guard or cautious.

Raised hackles: Again, in dogs – raised hackles are a sign of being excited or on guard – not necessarily that they are angry or irritated. The same goes for cats.

Showing of teeth: Not all showing of teeth are the same. There are some dogs who “smile” and the raise of their lip is different than when they are baring their teeth as a warning.

Each animal is different when it comes to their cues and their body language. Ears back and lip licking is usually a sign of discomfort for a dog. Some dogs will make a vocalization that indicates they are very happy, but it can sound like they are irritated. By paying attention and being mindful of an animal’s body language, we can avoid an encounter that results in a bite or scratch.

Does your animal companion have unique body language cues? I’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Happy New Year and Two Posts for the Price of One!

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Happy New Year folks!

This month has been incredibly full and exciting and well, I’ve been neglectful of the blog. This is why this entry is two for the price of one!

First topic - getting back to the basics of how you can start to understand your pet. First and foremost - know that they are a fellow being who has their own set of feelings, opinions and thoughts about the world around them. Secondly, Take a moment to take a breath and be quiet and still. From this point you can begin to allow yourself to be open to what your animal companions have to say. You may get feelings, you may get a visual, you may get a sense of knowing. Notice these things as they happen and keep practicing!

Second topic - Pet etiquette with people. A lot of animal companion etiquette around people can be traced back to obedience training with the owner. Does the owner let their furry family member get away with anything and everything? Are the boundaries in place and are they enforced? Consistent enforcement of boundaries, what is and is not appropriate is critical for having a well mannered member of canine society. Cats need boundaries too.

This is all very general of course and every situation will be different. This is one place to start.

Here’s to a great 2018!!