I have been seeing an increased number of dogs with reactivity issues of of late, and most of these problems stem from fear. Now we could argue what the cause of that fear is, and yes, there are many reasons out there. I am going to share the most common that I see.
Lack of Socialization is on the top of my list. The socialization window for puppies is pre 5.5 months of age. It is imperative that during this time puppies are properly socialized in a controlled setting with appropriate dogs. Also that they are introduced to as many diverse people as possible. At the pre 5.5 month stage of life puppies are little sponges, they soak up their environment and for the most part take life in stride accepting that this is the norm.
Unfortunately this can also bite us in the rear. If our puppy has a negative interaction during this time, it can also imprint on them, causing issues down the road. This is why having a controlled environment is so important.
So many times we have a reserved puppy that is not given the opportunity to socialize, honestly in most cases, people just don't know that it needs to be done. That is where the use of EO's, along with training can be a huge help.
I always recommend working with a professional positive trainer when dealing with behavioral issues. A behavioral trainer will be able to see (yes, literally) what is going on and then give you the training tools to support the needed training.
My go to oils to use for fear are Balance, Serenity, Vetiver, and/or Copaiba. When dealing with behavioral issues, my go to use is diffusion. This helps us to acclimate our pups to EO use is the least invasive way possible. Once they are acclimated to the smell, then we can consider additional modes of use.
As for using your oils, it is best to diffuse at least 20 minutes prior to a known trigger event, such as going to the vet, out for a walk, company coming over ect. I personally like to diffuse up to an hour prior, and then 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time I will use my chosen oil topically on the rear pads, and pet along the spine. Always remember we never drop oils directly onto our dogs, always apply to your hand first, rub them together, then pet down the area of concern.
Remember to first use your oils when your dog is calm, and not in a situation where they could have a fear response. If you use your oils only when your dog is fearful, there is a chance that they will associate the smell with the emotion, making the oil a trigger for the negative response. The use of EO's when it comes to behavior modification, can expedite your process exponentially.
I would love to hear from you, what oils do you like to use on your fearful pup? Join in on the conversation on our FB Group Pawsitive Principles with Bree