My belief is that our dogs respond to our emotions and feelings, even when we aren't aware of them ourselves. When we get triggered, by our dogs (or anything else in our lives), we have an opportunity to increase our self-awareness. That makes our negative reactions to our dogs a great opportunity for growth. Using examples from my own experience seems an authentic way to illustrate this.
My dogs respond to my emotions. They aren't responding to the smile I put on my face walking down the street, or the cheery demeanour I give when having coffee with a friend. They are dealing with something truer, something deeper, something that I am holding in my mind-body, accumulated over my life. Usually they are feelings that I am not aware of, or am trying to ignore. These are feelings and emotions that I might share with my counsellor, after months of trust-building, when I feel safe and valued enough to risk sharing them. My dogs don't hear, or see, my filters that are designed to keep me safe, that I use to make me acceptable to society. They just feel the true me. If I pay attention I will learn.
Trust your dog. Our dogs can help us humans reach our true potential. That's why I share what I share on my blog.
Trust your dog - and it doesn’t even have to be your own dog…….. as I found out recently 🙂
A few months ago Archie attended a session I had with my counsellor. Towards the end of the session, Archie started getting restless. I wondered if he needed the toilet, or sensed that the session was nearing a close and was looking forward to getting out to the park. But Archie had jumped up at my therapist, who was seated in his chair, and had started to lick his left arm. He is a 'licky' labrador, but this specific behaviour seemed unusual. I apologised, Archie was discouraged and we left.
But because of my interest in all of this I couldn’t help wondering what Archie's behaviour was telling me. I thought about it over that week. I had read that licking and pawing behaviour goes back to a dog's early development as a suckling puppy. They paw or lick at the mothers teat to release milk. When witnessing this behaviour in adult dogs, I read, it indicated the desire for some sort of movement. So I had come to read pawing and licking in my dogs as a sign that they wanted some sort of movement. Why the therapist's arm ? Was the left arm significant?
I considered my teaching in Bi-Aura. The hands, connected to the heart by the arms, are used to heal. In bi-aura, we have a convention to take energy away from the client with the right hand and release it from the left. That might or might not be significant, but it made me wonder if Archie was trying to encourage some sort of emotional release from my therapist.
At my next visit I shared my ideas on Archie's behaviour with my therapist. I explained that I had interpreted Archie's behaviour as, possibly, wanting to encourage some sort of emotional release in him. I thought he might be interested in exploring himself, although I didnt really expect an answer - after all, its the therapists job to ask the questions, to do the analysing! But I did get an answer, and it amazed me. 'You clever dog, Archie!' my therapist said, and went on to explain. Prior to our meeting the previous week, my therapist had returned from teaching a first lecture at the university with a new group of counselling students. Unfortunately, despite two of the students having indicated the need for wheelchair access, the room allocated for the lecture had none, causing much embarrassment, delay and annoyance. My therapist admitted that he had still been holding onto the feelings that the incident had raised for him.
It was an amazing insight into what dogs are able to pick up and try and help us with, if we are aware.
You might wonder if I asked for a discount on the therapist's fee, for the insight we were able to feed back to him….…...Well, no....but maybe next time!