The Bach flower remedy, Mimulus, is a popular and effective courage and confidence booster for animals and people. Shy, sensitive dogs, as well as dogs with specific fears and phobias, are perfect candidates for the balancing effects of Mimulus.
If youâ€™re reading this article, Iâ€™m guessing you have a dog that is either fearful and anxious in general, or that has some isolated fear like noise sensitivity.
Maybe youâ€™re searching for a natural alternative to prescription medications, or a natural supplement that calms your dog without making him dopey and drowsy. Maybe you’re familiar with using flower essences yourself, but it’s never occurred to you that animals can benefit, as well!
In all of those cases, youâ€™re in the right place.
Mimulus is one of the 38 Bach flower remedies. If youâ€™ve heard of Bach Rescue Remedy, then youâ€™re heard of these famous flower essences.
Like all flower essences, Mimulus works by balancing emotions on an energetic level. Itâ€™s very subtle, but still highly effective. It doesnâ€™t dull your dogâ€™s nerves, and itâ€™s not strictly a â€œrelaxantâ€. It actually gently re-tunes your dogâ€™s perspective to help him be braver and more confident.
In this article, weâ€™ll look at the types of fears this Bach flower essence addresses, how it helps, and the range of fearful behaviors in dogs that can be improved. Then weâ€™ll go a step further and see which other Bach flowers can act to support Mimulus in its work. Finally, Iâ€™ll highlight a few of my Aldaron Essencesâ€™ blends that help dogs whose fears affect their wellbeing and behavior.
Letâ€™s get started!
The Mimulus Pattern in Dogs
The discoverer of English flower essences, Dr. Edward Bach, described the negative emotional state addressed by Mimulus:
â€œFear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others.â€
You can see from Bachâ€™s own description that the fear described is neither vague apprehension nor outright panic. These fears are concrete; they are specific and identifiable.
Naturally, dogs may experience very different specific fears than people do. But the Mimulus type of fear â€“ specific and identifiable – is the same.
Bach considered Mimulus a personality type as well as an emotional state. If your dog is sensitive, vulnerable, loving tranquility and avoiding confrontation, she may be a Mimulus â€œpersonality typeâ€.
When in a healthy state of balance, the Mimulus personality is gentle, compassionate, and quietly courageous.
When that balance is lost â€“ through stress or trauma for instance – the Mimulus type becomes timid, overly fearful and cautious, and in extreme cases can become prone to resentment and anger.
Of course, virtually any dog can develop fear and anxiety after some frightening event; the presence of fear doesnâ€™t mean your dog has a fearful temperament.
So, if your dog has specific fears or shyness in certain situations, but is outgoing, curious, and adventuresome in general, more likely she has some learned fears. In either case, Mimulus flower essence can reduce those fears, increase courage and confidence, and bring even timid, retiring types more into the light.
Use of Mimulus Bach Flower Essence in Dogs
In his book, Bach Flower Remedies, Form and Function, Julian Barnard writes very perceptively about Mimulus:
â€œCourage is not the absence of fear. Courage is clear action in the face of fear. So Mimulus helps to utilize our intelligence. It develops a pathway to the mind where we can assess our fears objectively.â€
How beautifully put! Using Mimulus will not make your dog reckless or oblivious to danger. It wonâ€™t make him start looking for trouble. It will help him evaluate his fears with a clearer head. Once a clear head prevails, courage is not far behind.
What Kinds of Fearful Dog Behaviors Can Be Helped by Mimulus?
- Noise sensitive dogs that are afraid of thunder, fireworks, gunshots, or evenÂ sudden, or piercing noises like smoke alarms
- The new dog thatâ€™s scared of you or a loved one, of strangers, of visitors to your home
- Working and sport dogs that are fearful and apprehensive after suffering a setback from an accident or other scary event while working
- Dogs that are fearful of going outside, or coming in the house, of stairs, slick floors, fans, heaters
- Skittish dogs that are nervous on walks or in a new home
- The dog thatâ€™s intimidated by you, the cat, tall people, men, people in hats, other dogs
- Rescue dogs with â€œbaggageâ€ thatâ€™s left them unsure and anxious
- Dogs that get anxious during brushing, nail clipping, grooming
- Fearful, traumatized dogs that have suffered abuse or neglect
- Fearful, under-confident dogs that become aggressive when approached, stared at, reached for, or touched
- Poorly socialized dogs that avoid and hesitate
- Dogs frightened of flies, bees, birds after being stung, buzzed, or dive-bombed
- Reserved dogs that dislike confrontation, and avoid interaction by retreating or hiding
- Dogs that canâ€™t relax in public or in crowds
Flower Essences Commonly Combined with Mimulus
Rescue Remedy. A natural choice for dogs that are highly stressed or traumatized. Rescue Remedy will even help if a long-past trauma is still affecting the dogâ€™s emotional state.
Aspen. Dogs with specific fears may also have or develop a generally anxious nature: jumpy, spooky, and skittish. Aspen can help calm this more vague, general apprehension in dogs.
Larch. Fear and loss of confidence often go hand-in-hand. Larch flower essence restores confidence lost through a failure or setback.
Rock Rose. Itâ€™s not unusual for fearful, anxious dogs to have situations that put them into a full-blown panic state. For terrified, panicked dogs, Rock Rose is the essence of choice.
Vervain. When spirited, strong-willed dogs develop fears, their natural intensity can serve to intensify their reaction to fear triggers. This type of dog tends to â€œwind itself upâ€ when afraid. Vervain can help temper the over-intensity and calm fear reactions in high-strung dogs.
Impatiens. Physical tension, including shaking and trembling, often accompany fear and anxiety in dogs. Impatiens reduces that tension, and also will help in cases of frustration reactivity triggered by fear.
Chicory. Fearful, anxious dogs may become over-dependent on their owners. And over-attached, clingy, needy dogs can easily develop fears. Chicory addresses unhealthy levels of attachment and helps â€œcut the apron stringsâ€ in this type of dog.
Holly. A common â€“ but not inevitable â€“ emotion that accompanies fear is anger. Dogs that become suspicious, bad-tempered, ticked off, antagonistic, or prickly when fearful need a good dose of Holly! This flower essence heals â€œvexations of the heartâ€.
Elm. Itâ€™s not uncommon for dogs with fears to be easily overwhelmed in certain situations, making their fears harder to handle. Elm reduces overwhelm.
Oak. Living with fear and anxiety can put a huge strain on dogs. The burden can be exhausting. Oak builds emotional stamina in fearful dogs that are easily over-extended.
Aldaron Flower Essence Blends for Fear in Dogs
Fear and anxiety have become a major issue in pet dogs today. So, it’s not surprising that Mimulus would play an important part in many flower essence formulas I created at Aldaron Essences; in fact, itâ€™s featured in nearly half of our 33 flower essence blends for dogs.
Below, Iâ€™ll highlight a few of our blends to demonstrate how Mimulus can be used to help resolve a variety of dog behavior issues.
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, Train2Behave.com, 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!
Very Scary Things: Flower essences for general fear and anxiety in dogs
What is the first thing most of us picture when we think of a fearful, anxious dog? Nervous, timid, shy dog, â€œafraid of his own shadowâ€. In extreme stress, we might expect shaking, trembling, eyes wide and heavy panting.
Aldaron Essences’ Very Scary Things is designed for just such a dog. A combination of Rescue Remedy, Aspen, Mimulus, Impatiens, Oak, and Walnut Bach flower essences, this is a powerful stress-relieving blend that builds confidence and reduces fear and anxiety.
Itâ€™s a truly outstanding blend for easing mild to moderate fear and anxiety in dogs, and even tackles long-standing, persistent fearful behavior resulting from past negative experiences.
Why use Very Scary Things? Some uses and benefits:
Very Scary Things is our #1 blend for reducing fear of thunder, fireworks, and gunfire in noise-sensitive dogs.
It’s the perfect combination for helping dogs get over bad experiences, such as being frightened by aggressive dogs, rough handling by strangers, a scary fall, etc.
Clients love Very Scary Things for improving courage and reducing nervousness in dogs with very specific fears, like wobbly, unpredictable toddlers, men with beards, people in hats or sunglasses, flags flying, people carrying umbrellas or walking sticks, etc.
This is my most highly-recommended blend for reducing anxiety and timidity in dogs that shake, cower, and cringe, or run away and hide when frightened.
Confidence Plus: Flower essences for confidence issues in dogs
I think we all know what a confident dog looks like – calm, cool, ready and willing to take on tough challenges. But a general lack of confidence? It can look a lot like fearfulness, and vise versa.
Aldaron Essencesâ€™ Confidence Plus combines Mimulus for specific fears with an array of Bach flower essences for every aspect of confidence, to provide a powerful, well-rounded confidence-building blend for dogs.
Combining Centaury, Cerato, Vine, Pine, Mimulus, Larch, Elm, and Gentian Bach flowers, Confidence Plus improves self assurance, confidence, and resilience. This is one of our most-loved flower essence formulas for dogs â€“ particularly among our performance clients.
What are some typical benefits from Confidence Plus?
Some dogs take minor setbacks badly. Confidence Plus improves resilience and the ability to â€œbounce backâ€.
New people, situations, and places can be tough for an under-confident dog. Confidence Plus helps improve self-assurance and willingness to try new things.
This is a wonderful blend for restoring confidence lost after accidents, bad experiences, or misadventures in day to day life, training, or trialing.
Social-Ease: Flower essences to help with canine socialization issues
Poor social skills and lack of sociability in dogs can result from a number of factors: lack of socialization in the litter, not enough exposure to new people, places and things throughout puppyhood, a fearful dam, or just plain genetics, among others.
Aldaron Essencesâ€™ Social-Ease combines the Bach flowers Water Violet, Mimulus, Larch, Beech, Oak, Impatiens, and Rock Water to enhance courage, confidence, and sociability in dogs of any age.
What types of dogs can benefit from Social Ease?
Adolescent dogs going through a less-social phase can be helped to come “out of their shell”.
Rescued and re-homed dogs can lose confidence in the transition to a new home and environment, which can result in social skills backsliding.
Similarly, dogs may become less comfortable socially as they age, and with illness or reduced mobility. Social-Ease can help balance them in that transition.
Fear & Suspicion: Flower essences for defensive aggression in dogs
Fear plays an important role in many, if not most, cases of aggression in dogs. When a dog canâ€™t get out of a frightening situation, and is unable to move to a safe and comfortable distance from what scares him, he may become overwhelmed and defensive.
Aldaron Essencesâ€™ Fear & Suspicion combines Rescue Remedy, Aspen, Mimulus, Holly, and Elm for dogs experiencing this kind of fear aggression. It calms, restores courage and confidence, reduces overwhelm and soothes vexation.
What type of dog can Fear & Suspicion formula help?
Whether through temperament, bad experience, or lack of experience, some dogs will go into a self-protective mode when in stressful or even just unfamiliar, situations. Fear & Suspicion is ideal for this type of dog.
Dogs that have been abused, or that lack proper socialization and respond aggressively when faced with being touched, stared at, etc.
Any dog that displays defensive behavior when overwhelmed (whether that happens at the veterinarian’s office, your groomer’s, boarding kennel, etc.).
Common sense caution: In cases of aggression, or any threatening or potentially dangerous behavior, Aldaron Essences should always be used in conjunction with, and within the overall framework of, a sound, behavior-based training program.
Equilibrium: Flower essences for fear-assertive behavior in dogs
Not all dogs back off and seek a safe place when stressed and afraid. Certainly personalities take a â€œbest defense is a good offenseâ€ approach, and respond to fear and stress by becoming confrontational and threatening.
Often these dogs have never learned how to communicate their discomfort in a more cooperative, peaceable manner.
While fear aggression of any kind requires thoughtful, consistent training, this type of dog can reap huge benefits from a flower essence blend to address the tendency to intimidate when stressed.
Our Equilibrium formula does just that. A combination of Rescue Remedy, essences of Aspen, Mimulus, Impatiens, Chicory, Vine, Holly, and Rock Water Bach flower essences, Equilibrium reduces stress and anxiety, while toning down the inclination to control, bully, or dominate others.
What kind of dog is an Equilibrium dog?
If your dog becomes “in your face”, confrontational, and/or physically bullying when stressed, anxious or worried, most definitely give Equilibrium a try.
Equilibrium can reduce tension, tone down over-assertiveness and posturing, and alleviate the stress and anxiety that trigger confrontational episodes in your dog.
And be sure to evaluate your relationship, lifestyle, and training methods with this type of dog. Finding a good dog trainer who can help you work through problems situations without conflict can make all the difference.Â
If you’re looking for a safe, natural remedy to help ease your dog’s fears and anxiety, Mimulus should be high up on your list of things to try. Among the 38 Bach flowers, Mimulus is the flower remedy of choice to combat fears and anxiety, and restore courage and confidence in dogs.
With the help of Mimulus, dogs with isolated fearful reactions like noise phobias, dogs with fears learned from bad experiences, and dogs with overly-sensitive natures can all learn to face up to life and not give in to their fears.
And when combined with other Bach flower remedies, Mimulus can help improve a wider variety of dog behavior problems, from general fearfulness and anxiety, to confidence issues, socialization problems, fear-aggression, and more.
Of course, no flower essences will replace the need to work with your dog. But whether you are gently socializing your dog, building confidence, increasing tolerance for potentially scary things, or helping your dog learn cooperative behaviors, Mimulus can remove emotional roadblocks that hinder training progress.
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)