In this post, Iâ€™m sharing my top five picks for Bach Flower Essences to help with on-leash dog behavior like barking, lunging, over-arousal and agitation.
If youâ€™ve lived or worked with a reactive dog, you know what a daunting process training can be. Sometimes it feels like youâ€™ll be working forever on the problem.
Worse than that, I think a lot of people give up completely, and decide never to take their dog out in public again. And no wonder! Fixing canine reactivity can seem at times like an insurmountable task.
As a dog trainer whoâ€™s worked with many reactive dogs, as well as a dog mom that has worked through her share of reactive phases, Iâ€™m thankful to be able to count on the balancing power of flower essences to help with this difficult behavior.
In this quick post, Iâ€™m sharing my top five picks for Bach Flower Essences to help with on-leash behavior like barking, lunging, over-arousal and agitation.
My Top 5 Flower Essence Picks For Reactive Dogs
Rescue Remedy. If your dogâ€™s reactive behavior started after a scary incident, try Rescue Remedy first. This 5-flower-essence blend calms strained nerves, reduces stress, and can help heal the residual emotional effects of trauma.
In fact, Rescue Remedy may actually be enough, by itself, to help you get reactive behavior under control. But if itâ€™s not, then I would still include it in any blend you choose for reactivity.
Mimulus. The lunging, barking, and bristling of reactive dogs is often fear-based. Mimulus not only reduces fears and soothes agitation, it will gradually increase your dog’s confidence and courage to face his fears.
Impatiens. Tension and frustration often play a large role in reactive behavior. Much reactivity starts out as excitement and playfulness, and grows into scary-looking behavior as the dog gets more and more frustrated. Impatiens increases patience, reduces physical and emotional tension, and ultimately tones down the frustration your dog is experiencing.
Holly. Not all reactive dogs are actually aggressive. As I just mentioned, many are simply excited, frustrated, with a bit of fear thrown in. That said, itâ€™s not uncommon for anger (and therefore aggression) to develop in situations that are high in frustration.
Holly is a wonderful flower essence for healing heartfelt negative emotions like anger, vexation, and jealousy. With reactive dogs, if you’re not sure your dog is angry or aggressive, my feeling is â€œwhen in doubt, add Hollyâ€.
Vervain. Dogs with reactivity issues are often intense by nature. I mean, think about it. How many laid back, low key dogs do you see that get crazy on leash? Itâ€™s generally the high strung personalities that are most susceptible.
Vervain is an amazing Bach flower remedy for restoring balance to high strung dogs dogs that are physically and/or emotionally intense. (The two don’t always go together.) And not by making them dull or un-interested. Vervain gently tones down the over-striving and over-intensity that can leave your dog living on his nerves and exacerbate leash reactivity.
In my decades of creating custom flower essence blends for dog owners, these five flower essences very often would form the foundation of my custom blends for reactive dogs. I used them again and again, generally with great effect.
Of course, every dog is an individual, and the exact combination to use will depend on your dogâ€™s behavior and personality.
For a deeper dive on the topic of reactive dogs and how flower essences can help your training be more effective, be sure to read my full article on Bach Flower Essences For Reactivity in Dogs.
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!
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)