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Object Association & Ginger EO

Today I wanted to share the topic of association. That may sound strange, but this topic came up in my Foundation Agility class the other day.

I was sharing how dogs can tell what activities they are about to do, based on the collar and leash you put on them.

This then can be expanded to what you are doing and what items you are grabbing. Here are some examples:

• You take a shower, put on your make-up, get dressed in your “fancy” clothes, feed the dog = go to work.

• You put on your workout clothes, grab your tennies, your purse, and your dog's leash = going hiking with your BFF.

• You take a shower, put on your jammies, slip on your slippers = time to cuddle on the couch.

The things we do are an open book to our dogs, they learn our routines and what items are included in those routines.

Just like they recognize our objects (shoes, keys, clothes), they can also recognize their objects (leash, harness, collar). We have all seen that dog that goes CRAZY when they even think they get to go with you, trust me, there was a trigger to that response.

Soooooo this is why I recommend to my clients to have different “paraphernalia” depending on the activity at hand.

My dogs know the task at hand pending what leash I grab or the collar that I put on them.

I use a fancy show chain and handmade fine leather leash for showing confirmation, I use a bungee leash and harness for hiking. I use a flat collar and a 6-foot flat leather leash for obedience and rally and the list goes on pending the sport at hand.

I love that I can grab “x” collar and leash and my dogs get excited about what is about to happen or know that we are going to go to “x” place.

Now here is where it can get dicey…. There is a downfall to this for some dogs.

Sadly, my little Savvy is one of them. When we travel (head out in the car/motorhome), I put on a simple rolled leather collar so that she has an ID on.

Some of you may recall, Savvy is my girl that gets carsick…as in REALLY car sick. It is rare that she can make it a mile from the house without throwing up.

So, I do all the things…don’t feed the morning of travel, use my oils, use bedding that will not slide around in the crate, plus put a Thunder Shirt on her. All these things help, but she is still not happy.

I mentioned the downfall….well, here you go. She sees the rolled leather collar and she knows that that means she is going in the car. She has negatively associated the collar with the car, and the car = not feeling good.

So, I wanted to share a couple of ideas that can help counter-condition the negative response. Now, keep in mind this can be with ANYTHING that they find as a negative.

#1 Place the “item” of concern next to their food dish during meals. When they are eating (positive) we are helping to balance out the negative of the object at hand.

#2 In the case of the collar, I can choose to have her wear it around the house outside of the times that we are going in the car.

#3 Diffuse their favorite calming oil with the object around, BUT not when using it as intended. Example - Putting the collar on and then going to the car.


Yup, you knew I would go there… I always do!!

I have shared in the past many oils to help with calming (Vetiver, Balance, Serenity, Adaptiv, Copaiba).

Today I want to share about doTERRA’s Ginger Essential Oil which can help with the motion sickness side.

I like to use it topically as well as adding a drop to bedding to cover the aromatic side. I place a drop in the palm of my hand, along with my carrier oil, then rub my hands together, petting my dog's tummy, rear pads, and down the spine last.

Ginger has many properties, but in this case, I am using it for nausea.

That's a wrap, until next week!

~ Bree




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