When your dog barks too much or resource guards, the first line of action you may take is in the form of training.
And while training is definitely a big part of the solution, there is another area you might want to explore to help resolve the issue: flower remedies, aka flower essences. Dr. Edward Bach developed a system of nontoxic remedies in the 1930s that has been used on humans and animals over the years to help unblock emotional issues underlying behavioral problems with the help of flowers.
The remedies work on an energetic level and are very gentle, so they don't tend to interfere with any other treatments or medications your pet may be taking.
The Bach Centre recommends mixing up a 30 ml glass dropper bottle in order to dilute the alcohol-based remedies for pets. (The original remedies are made with brandy, though there are now some alcohol-free versions.) Add 2 drops of the remedy or remedies (the remedy should match the behavior you are seeking to rectify) and/or 4 drops of the Rescue Remedy formula (which can be used for visits to the vet, fireworks, and other stressful situations) to the bottle and fill it with non-carbonated mineral water. Dosing is the same as for humans: 4 drops at least 4 times a day until the behavior improves. You can add the drops to a treat and feed to your pet. These mixes last 2-3 weeks if in a cool place or refrigerated. If you think they’ll get warm, you can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin as a preservative.
Though there are 38 Bach remedies, here are 7 that might come in handy for your pet, according to BachFlowerPets.com.
Aspen for Anxiety
Aspen is a good one for pets who are anxious or afraid for no apparent reason. They might tremble, pant, hide or just look scared.
Holly for Jealousy
If you have a new member of the family (whether human or animal) and your existing pet is reacting with aggressive behaviors like growling, hissing, and barking, it might be time for holly.
Chicory for Possessiveness
When your dog or cat is just a little too close—he follows you around all the time and may get destructive or demonstrate other behavioral problems when you try to leave—give chicory a try.
Star of Bethlehem for Trauma
Shelter animals that have been abused could benefit from this remedy since it can help with effects of a big trauma, including PTSD.
Water Violet for Unfriendliness
Those aloof, standoffish pets who really don’t seem to care for a nice head scratch or other forms of affection may benefit from water violet.
Vervain for Over-enthusiasm
Do you have a pet that is just super excited and wants to be involved in whatever is in his environment? I know I do. If I’m hugging someone, he sticks his head in to be part of the hug. If there’s a slight noise, he leaps up to investigate. This is why he gets vervain.
Walnut for Periods of Change
This remedy is ideal for moving to a new home. It can help the animal adjust to the new environment, so keep this one handy for big changes like this.
Flower remedies are a great supportive tool for emotional issues you are seeing in your pet (and yourself). They can be used with other tools, like training, to help your pet maintain a more balanced self.
Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.