Human's name: Sydney MacLean
Pet: Teddy bear hamster Bubbles
Favourite treat: Chip-Its and veggies
Favourite activity: Snacking
Pet tale: Bubbles' favourite colours are blue and purple.
If you would like to appear in Pet Pause with your pet, please send information to email@example.com. Be sure to include name, breed and the age of your pet as well as your phone number.
I received an email from a reader and dog owner who told me that her dog had a conflict with another dog and as a result was badly injured.
Her dog required surgery to close wounds from the interactions but after a few weeks of recovery her dog was completely healed.
He had even recovered from the emotional trauma of the event and was back to his old self of happily greeting other dogs, but she confessed that she had not recovered.
"Every time he greeted another dog I had this horrific and consuming fear that it was going to break out into another attack," she said.
As a result her husband now walks the dog, which she further confessed is probably why the dog recovered from the altercation emotionally, because her husband is not harbouring the fear that she has and thus feeding that fear to their dog.
The problem she is having is not with the dog or her husband but with herself. She wishes to walk her dog again but is afraid that her fearful energy will be sensed by her dog and that her dog will begin to express the fearful energy she is feeling.
Dogs are wonderfully pliable creatures and that is both good and bad. They feel our energy and, depending on the energy they are getting from their humans, will respond accordingly.
So her final question was, "how do get over my fear of my fear?"
First off, I am impressed that this woman has the wherewithal to understand that her emotional state could create a fearful dog when none exists and that she needs to let it go. Very few people are willing to look within themselves and acknowledge that fear exists. Most blame others, the dog, anything but take responsibility for their self-created emotional state, especially when it is fear or anger.
Fear is a terribly consuming emotion that can rob us of many joys in life, like walking the dog. But once you recognize that fear is what is creating a negative situation it is simply a matter of training the mind to choose another thought, other than the fearful one. Eventually this positive thought will override the fearful one.
This, of course, is much easier said than done.
One way to approach this is to go to areas and do things that trigger those fearful emotions, such as going back to the environment - without the dog - where the conflict took place.
Once there, acknowledge the emotions of fear that are lingering, be it reflecting on the visual images of the dog attack or watching two dogs greet each other. At that point, choose positive thoughts or images and repeat them to yourself until they override the fearful images.
Stay in the environment until you begin to relax and feel positive emotions instead of just thinking or visualizing them. Take those peaceful, positive emotions with you as you leave the area and next time you are there you will be more likely to seek the positive feelings you now associate with the environment.
Another approach is to walk with someone else, such as a spouse, with the dog in an environment that will ensure a positive outcome and observe the dog without interacting with it and witness the positive canine interaction.
The more positive visual cues that you see and feel and put to memory the more the mind will reflect and choose those peaceful positive thoughts, feelings and images in future situations.
This is, of course, the same way a dog is taught to let go of fears. Since we cannot accurately predict what a dog is feeling when it is in a fearful situation, we wait until the body shows signs of relaxation and peacefulness.
At that point we can be assured that the mind is now free of fear and a more positive association is being developed in the environment.
So relax, find a peaceful state of mind and let go of the fear.