The Collar of Love - Affirmations for Animal Obedience
Have you seen the film “UP”? If you have and love dogs you could probably relate to the wonderful insight into canine behaviour that is depicted in the film. It is when all the dogs stop and gaze totally enthralled in one direction when one of them mentions “squirrel!”.
Read on for the full article, with some interesting ideas about positive affirmations and animal obedience...
The dogs were fitted with “talking collars” that enabled them to speak human. When one did something that the rest of the pack didn’t like they were given “the collar of shame”; this was the huge white cone that vets put on dogs to stop them licking wounds after an operation.
Well my dog is besotted with squirrels and rabbits and would quite happily spend all day in pursuit of these small furry animals. So much so that if she were human she would definitely be in therapy for addictions and cravings. If you say “squirrel” to her she goes into alert mode and gazes up the nearest tree, just like the dogs in “UP”.
Buttons, the dog in question, is half pug and half cairn terrier, she has a little squashed face, big round eyes, a curly tail and tongue, rolls of loose skin around her neck and is stocky – the pug part. She is also hairy with a double coat, loves an untidy bed, soft toys to shake and disembowel, is incredibly vocal and fiercely territorial, foolishly brave and so independent – mostly the cairn part.
She is great fun but a daily challenge with her boundless energy and innate need to be busy with a purpose.
The vocal part can become very trying when you are on the telephone. She has to tell you that there is a dog barking outside or on the television, a train passing half a mile away, a car alarm a mile away or there is a bird in the garden. The most incredible ear-piercing scream just bursts out of her mouth with no warning whatsoever. Her earnest face is telling you that it is a matter of life or death and that she has to go and bark outside to scare off the offending intruder or noise. Her job is to tell you first and then to tell the disturbance to clear off and then come back and tell you what a good job she has done.
This is all well and good or would be if you and the neighbours were deaf. However we are not and in quick succession her actions manage to frighten the life out of you, mobilise you into action to either let her out if you are on the ‘phone or try and grab her if you are not. Shouting, making soothing noises, agreeing with her, joining in, plying her with biscuits and various other bright ideas all have limited or no success at all, I know because I have tried them all!
Nothing seemed to shut this little hysterical mutt up, until that is, I discovered “the collar of love”...
Ok I can just imagine you sniggering as you read this, what a load of rubbish, what is she on about, why doesn’t she just resort to a rolled up newspaper. Well smacking does not work, she moves too quickly and besides I am not into corporal punishment (apart from one smack that hit its mark and made no difference other than to leave me mortified and tapping on my residual guilt).
This leads me into the Energy Psychology Techniques.
I eventually tried EFT and EMO on my feelings about her behaviour, that helped a bit, for a while but it was difficult when I was on the ‘phone and all hell would break loose. Then I tried the proxy approach, “I am Buttons” I would say to myself (yes probably certifiable in some countries). Where in my body do I feel this emotional response to these triggers. I just felt an overall excitement and anticipation and started panting and wagging my tail, well would have done if I had had one. OK so tuning in to her energy helped me to understand how she felt but did not change Buttons behaviour.
Could years of breeding and her formative years with another owner (or guardian as I prefer to refer to our relationship) really be changed or toned down even.
After learning BeautyT, I tried the technique out on Buttons. Part of BeautyT involved moving my hands over her energy field affirming each part of her body as beautiful and beloved, given to her by the creative order and saying how wonderfully each part of her body worked. After this I noticed how calm she was and thought how powerful energy affirmations were.
This and the memory of “the collar of shame” led to the invention of “the collar of love”.
Each morning when I put her collar on for the day (I always take her collar off at night, I think that it must be so uncomfortable to wear all the time) a loving affirmation seems to come into my mind.
As I place the collar around her neck and buckle it up I say to her “ Today I award you with the collar of ... Joy or happiness or calmness or obedience or tranquillity or whatever springs to mind”. At night when I take it off I say “ I hope that you have enjoyed your day of ... Whatever it was”.
The energetic changes are noticeable for both of us.
When the collar affirmation is for calmness she is definitely more chilled, but when I award her the collar of happiness she spends most of the day engaged in barking and charging around. When we walk over the fields she disappears off on scent trails totally oblivious to me calling her. However when I award her the collar of obedience although she still picks up the scent trails she does come back when I call her. How strange is that!
Does the affirmation affect my behaviour for the day that in turn affects hers, as dogs watch our body language and tune into our energy that then affects them. So is the affirmation affecting her through me or is it having a direct affect on her. I suspect it is both.
On the odd days when I just bung her collar on in a hurry we seem somehow disconnected. The time taken to be fully present with my small companion, to take a few moments to lovingly affirm a positive quality and bestow it on her for the day seems to have a positive impact on both of us for the day.
Why not try your own “Collar of Love” on your pet. As long as the intent is kind and loving I cannot see that it could harm and have only seen positive benefits. Let me know how you get on and if you have any further ideas on this.
P.S The “collar of success” yesterday resulted in her catching her first rabbit, I won’t be using that one again, poor bunny!