Toby is a bad dog! He chews everything in the house, hides behind the couch when you come home and approaches very cautiously even when you try to give him a treat. Any loud noise freaks him out. Taking him to the vet is a nightmare of whining and peeing himself. What’s up with this dog? You saved him from a sure death at the animal shelter and provide the best food. Hundreds of toys have been packed away or thrown out because Toby doesn’t like them.

The animal trainers you hired have either given up or told you that Toby was abused as a pup and may never get over it. The vet agrees and suggests a full gamut of anxiety reducing medications. Toby spits out the pills and hides if he sees any movement towards the place where the injections are kept.

Whoever said dogs were “man’s best friend” hadn’t met Toby!

More stress is on the agenda—especially today. The conference with a very important client took a left turn. Now the company is scrambling to redo an entire contract to keep from losing this client. Then, there was the drive home through a mix of rain and snow with traffic backed up on I-91 for 45 minutes…

Stop! Where do you think Toby is at this point? He is probably cowering behind the sofa.

So, it was a very bad day. Your wife and children “get it” but little Toby is trying to figure out what he did wrong. After all, one of his masters—in Toby’s mind the Alpha Male of the pack—is upset. Toby thinks it is his fault or that he is missing something important—that he should be supporting the pack leader in.

Thank Goodness Toby didn’t chew a slipper today or commit some other such misbehavior! Minimally he would hear a stern “Bad dog!”

Toby is not a bad dog. He is simply reacting to projected negative energy.

All companion animals love unconditionally. They don’t care about color, religious views or money. They are the embodiment of love. That is why a seemingly aloof cat will become a snuggle bug and stick to a sick caregiver like glue.

Animals are emotionally intelligent. They don’t understand the projection of negative energy.
Anxiety, anger and any emotion that is not conducive to a peaceful existence within the web of life confuses them and causes them to do all of those bad behaviors that they shouldn’t.

So what should a caregiver do? First of all, chill out! Secondly, don’t feel that it is necessary to do much of anything.

In all probability your little companion does not need to be fixed or trained. The Buddhists have a word for what animals need. It is METTA or loving-kindness.

Take heart. There are many ways available to project the positive energy of loving-kindness. For instance, you could funnel some of that money spent on animal trainers and medications
into having a relaxing massage or maybe take a yoga class. In short, do something to nurture and energize yourself. The projection of positive energy is a natural by-product of feeling good. Try a few simple techniques as outlined in this article. Know this—all people are inherently healers. We are born knowing how to heal ourselves and others. Now is the time to re-connect with what may have been unlearned along the road.

For example, a simple 5-minute meditation performed before returning home after a difficult day can turn mayhem into miracles. Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, uses something called the 4, 7, 8 meditation. Clear your mind. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Now breathe in to a count of 4 through your nose. Hold that breathe for a count of 7 and exhale through your mouth making an audible sound like the wind to a count of 8. Repeat this 4 times. A nice addition to this exercise is to borrow a quote from “The Wizard of OZ.” Say, “There’s no place like home,” while using guided imagery to see the love and light that you are blessed with. That simple exercise will create “happily ever after’s” because you are emitting positive, loving energy.

Another thing you can do is listen to soothing music with your animal friend. There are thousands of musical compositions made specifically to enhance meditation and positive energy flow.

The Zen way of approaching the situation is to realize the problem, recognize it for the negativity it is eliciting and simply discard it. The thought process is: “I am feeling angry. Anger is a negative emotion. I release the anger. I am LOVE.” The song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” by Bobby McFerrin contains a great message that would make the entire world a better place if we could put it into practice. Affirmations can help us through many trials and are helpful in negating a multitude of problems. Just as anger can be released by becoming Love, anxiety can be transformed by becoming Peace. A way to honor all living things is to affirm that you embody the traits of Understanding and Compassion. We should learn to embrace our positive attributes.

Most animals are fascinated by watching a person do a breathing exercise like the 4, 7, 8 meditation. They will stop what they are doing and be drawn in by the calming energy.

Being honest with your pet is a perfect opportunity to practice another very powerful method of energy exchange. Many animals are understandably frightened when taken to the vet. Instead of the corner and leash or the trap in a carrier approach, try simple honesty by saying something like “Little one, we have to go to the vet today. We are going there to ensure that you are healthy. You know we love you and don’t want anything bad to happen to you. We will be with you the whole time and tell you what the vet is going to do before he or she does anything.” Gently caress your pet and speak softly while employing these talks, assuring them that they will not be alone. This gentle and honest approach will significantly help in reducing their anxiety.

So, what have we established? Very simply, “problem” animals can be helped through positive energy exchange. Honesty, meditation, music and unconditional love will enhance the bond that our pets so deeply desire!

And don’t forget to smile—because you know what they say….

Michael Sutton is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher currently helping clients in Connecticut. He has performed Reiki with positive results on dogs, cats, squirrels, turtles, chipmunks, birds, mice, horses—and many humans. For appointments, call 203-687-4681.