Can Bach flower essences help your puppy’s socialization and sociability? You bet! Bach flower essences are a gentle, natural tool for balancing emotional extremes. They’re a great way to help improve many common but less-than-ideal emotional reactions pups can experience during socialization.
The time you invest in socializing your dog will be some of the most enjoyable and enriching of his life. New friends to meet, new places to explore, a whole wide, wonderful world of excitement and adventure!
Not every pup comes into their forever home well-prepared to face life’s challenges. If your dog’s “adventures in learning” aren’t going as smoothly as you’d hoped, flower essences may be able to help.
You can use flower essences whether your pup exhibits a seemingly out-of-balance reaction all the time, or just in very specific situations. Flower essences are simple to give: 3 or 4 times a day put a few drops of the selected essences on a treat and give to your pup. Continue until your pup’s responses improve.
Flower essences balance emotions, so to choose the most helpful essences, you’ll need to think about the emotion behind the behavior. If you’re not sure what emotions are behind your pup’s reaction, include a selection of the most likely essences. Any flower essences that are not on target for the behavior will have nothing to balance, and so will have no effect.
To learn about blending your own flower essence combinations, read my article on creating your own Bach flower blend.
Bach flower remedies for socialization and sociability issues in dogs
Flower essences for general stress and overwhelm in dogs
- Rescue Remedy restores calmness and presence of mind and reduces panic and stress reactions. A good first choice with dogs that are stressed, traumatized or needing comfort. Rescue Remedy is Dr. Edward Bach’s original “emergency” formula, combining essences of Impatiens, Clematis, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem. It works brilliantly alone, as well as supporting and enhancing when used in combination with other flower remedies.
- Elm combats overwhelm and inadequacy to the task at hand. Elm is very helpful in overly stressful situations, as well as for dogs that become overwhelmed easily.
Flower essences for over-excited, over-stimulated puppies and dogs
What could be better – and more normal – than the wiggly excitement and gleeful anticipation so typical of puppies? Because this is such a familiar picture, it can be a challenge to pick up on when healthy excitement turns the corner to stress-induced frenetic activity.
If your pup’s typical excitement level seems too high or too randomly directed for her age, breed, or situation, these flower essences may help level out her responses.
- Impatiens reduces tension and frustration and increases cooperation, gentleness, and patience. Impatiens is excellent for calming excitable, hyper, and demanding pups that show frustration behaviors.
- Vervain is a wonderful flower essence for the overly intense, overly impulsive, highly driven personality. Vervain helps restores appropriate enthusiasm, drive, and restraint.
- Cherry Plum improves self-control in dogs prone to giving way to physical or emotional outbursts. Cherry Plum helps improve the ability to communicate unease before it gets to the bursting point.
Bach flower essences for fear, timidity, and lack of confidence in dogs
Fear and timidity are undoubtedly the primary roadblocks to ease of socialization. That said, a degree of initial caution in new situations is most often nothing to be concerned about; most pups will outgrow this behavior, with repeated pleasant experiences. For pups with persistent fearfulness or lack of confidence, these flower essences may help “grease the wheels” of your socialization experiences.
- Aspen restores the sense of safety and security. It reduces apprehension and vague, persistent anxiety. Aspen is very helpful for generally nervous, edgy, jumpy pups that appear to be reacting to “the energy in the room” versus any particular scary thing.
- Mimulus increases courage and confidence. Mimulus is very helpful for pups that are shy of people or other animals, pups with tangible, identifiable fears, timid dogs that hide behind their people, under chairs, etc.
- Rock Rose builds and restores steadfast courage in dogs given to extreme fear and panic. Rock Rose is a wonderful calmative for dogs that either freeze in panic, or try to escape at all costs.
- Larch improves confidence and willingness to try. Combine Larch with Mimulus for dogs that hesitate to try due to a negative experience with other dogs, people, or situations.
Flower essences for socially distant and aloof dogs
Not all dog breeds or individuals are naturally eager to make friends with every new person or animal they meet. Some dogs that are affectionate and interactive with family and friends may be naturally indifferent to strangers. This “aloof” temperament is a perfectly valid and healthy personality type for many dogs. I include this flower essence if you feel your pup’s reserve goes beyond what is normal for his breed(s).
- Water Violet can help warm up the introverted, socially indifferent puppy. Indicators for Water Violet are social reserve, either as a life stage or breed characteristic; “uppity” dogs that have no time for casual companionship, as well as dogs prone to withdraw in times of stress, illness, or uncertainty.
Flower essences are an ideal tool in helping counteract socialization and sociability issues. Short-term, they can smooth over the occasional rough spot with the confident, well-adjusted dog; long-term, they can bring about profound positive change in traumatized or under-socialized dogs.
Julie Cantrell BSc is a professional dog trainer and canine behavior consultant who’s logged many thousands of hours training dogs and teaching owners since 1990. Flower essences have been part of her work with canine behavior since 1994. (bio)