Intense, extraordinarily smart, but unsocialized and reactive – what a combination! Stryder, a purebred Malinois rescued from the streets as a puppy, was quite a challenge for owner Ellen. But never fear! This is a story with a very happy ending.

Meet Stryder! A 5 year old Belgian Malinois, Stryder is owned, trained and loved by Ellen Nygaard of Washington state. Ellen works with Woof Project Belgian Malinois Rescue.

Stryder came into Ellen’s life at 5 months old with major behavior challenges already in place. But he definitely ended up in just the right home. With Ellen’s dedication and training, a great community of experienced behavior advice for support, and a little help from Aldaron Essences, Stryder has truly beaten the odds. Let’s hear his story!

Aldaron Essences: Ellen, please tell us a little about Stryder’s background.

Ellen: He was a stray in Seattle and listed as “Not Available to General Public; Rescue Only” due to aggression issues. That’s all we knew.

Aldaron Essences: Poor pup! And only 5 months old. So, tell me what approaches had you tried before trying Aldaron Essences?

Ellen: We worked the NILF and basic Obedience. But due to his over-the-top anxiety, he was reactionary to any sudden noises like a pen dropping or the telephone ringing or movement from people, as in getting up off the couch.

He was also leash reactive and didn’t handle transitions well. We moved to a very patterned and regimented schedule – nearly to the minute. While this was helpful, we felt he could benefit from some herbals.

Aldaron Essences: Which Aldaron Essences formulas did you find to help?

Ellen: We spoke with Julie regarding Stryder’s behaviour and went with a combo of Aldaron Essences’ Moderation to help tone down Stryder’s controlling, bossy, easily aggravated tendencies, and Aldaron Essences’ Hyper-Drive to help prevent Stryder’s from becoming so easily over-aroused by even slight changes or activity in his environment.

Aldaron Essences: Can you describe the differences you’ve seen from the flower essences?

Ellen: It took a month or so before we could see changes. And I’ll be honest, I thought it was a combo of maturation, stability, training and Aldaron Essences. But I ran out of drops and within one day, we all noticed Stryder reacting to noises again. I contacted you and got a rush order. Within one day of being back on drops, Stryder was no longer reacting. No kidding!

Aldaron Essences: What was the most helpful training or lifestyle change you made?

Ellen: Mostly, we train to the dog. Stryder needed a calm, regimented routine, which was akin to military style. No sudden moves or noises. And no loud laughing. All of which was very hard for me.

Aldaron Essences: Wow, that must have taken a lot of dedication. Stryder certainly did end up in the right home! Did you use any other alternative therapies that helped?

Ellen: We took Stryder to an holistic vet as well, to calm his chi.

Aldaron Essences: I know you must be incredibly proud of him. Do you have any accomplishments of Stryder’s that you’re particularly proud of?

Ellen: I was happy when this dog could walk around the block without fighting the leash. As of today, he has passed his CGC, received his HIT in herding and his ORT in Nosework. And as of June 15th, he is a newly titled Nosework 1 Dog! Mostly I’m proud that this reactionary dog is now bullet proof in public and even new places. Noises are no longer his problem. He’s come so far.

Aldaron Essences: Any future plans with him you’d like to share?

Ellen: We plan to trial up to the top levels in Nosework and add Barnhunt and more herding to his repertoire.

Aldaron Essences: Any words of advice to people experiencing similar issues with their dog?

Ellen: My experience with Stryder was the most challenging in 15 years of rescue. At 5 months of age, he was not used to a home, being touched, walked on a leash, and would lash out when startled. I believe the flower essences were a key element to claiming and stabilizing his reactive behaviours. He continues on them today. I cannot praise the products enough and working with your suggestions for which drops to administer.

Thanks so much, Ellen, for sharing Stryder’s story, and congratulations on your many accomplishments. You’ve had a truly inspiring journey and I know there is more to come!

Note to my readers: Aldaron Essences’ online store closed permanently on May 31, 2023. I no longer sell flower essence formulas directly to customers.

Instead, I’m focusing on developing the Aldaron Essences blog into a premier resource on flower essences for dogs and other animals. I’ll also be expanding my dog training website,, as well as my Etsy store of mostly dog training- and breed-related apparel and gifts.

In the coming weeks, you can expect new pages on this site that will detail some of my most popular flower essence formulas for dogs. These pages will replace the old links to those products on the store. Thanks for your patience during the transition!


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)

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