A 2-hour presentation by Kathy Edstrom

FOR PET'S SAKE Dog Training Center in Mukwonago, held a two-hour presentation on "The Benefits of Using Flower Essences for Your Dog". Kathy Edstrom who is a Flower Essence and Healing Touch practitioner in Union Grove, gave the presentation on November 14, 1999.


Kathy Edstrom presents a flower essence seminar.

I was thrilled when Patti Muraczewski, the owner of FOR PET'S SAKE, asked me to do a presentation on flower essence therapy for dogs. I have been actively involved with dogs most of my life, but didn't really begin to study dog psychology until a few years ago. Since I began my quest for learning as much as I can about flower essences, I've found there is a major need to educate the public on this subject.

Unfortunately, our culture has been programmed to believe that whenever there is a problem, we are to medicate the symptom. I now realize that is not the answer. The solution to treating any problem is to treat the cause, not suppress the symptom. It saddens me to learn how many pet owners are medicating their canine companions for behavioral issues that could be resolved by using some form of POSITIVE reinforcement training method and flower essence therapy. This was the main topic I discussed during my presentation.

I believe it is important to educate pet owners on the benefits of flower essences not only for their companion animals, but for themselves as well. By presenting a variety of options, people can make educated decisions on what therapies fit their individual needs.

I began the presentation by briefly discussing the history of flower essences, and then went on to talk about how they work, and what they address. 1 stressed numerous times throughout the seminar that flower essences are not cures. They are a tool to enhance healing on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level. If there was one point that I wanted the seminar attendees to remember, it was that flower essences are NOT a substitute for medical or psychological treatments. Flower essences work in conjunction with traditional modes of therapy.

Dogs learn from, and react to, the way people behave. I had a client who was quite active with dog showing. She could not figure out why the dog did so well in the agility ring, but would do poorly in the obedience ring. I suggested on numerous occasions that she take flower essences right along with her canine companion, but she refused. She kept telling me that she didn't have a problem in the show ring. After several months, she contacted me and requested that I make a combination for her to take prior to going to dog shows. My client took the flower essences as I recommended, and within six weeks, she noticed a major change in her dog's behavior. She realized that she was nervous going into the ring, because she anticipated that her dog was going to fail. Her dog picked up on that emotion and in turn reacted anxiously in the ring. He could sense her tenseness and that only exacerbated his anxiety.

Once my client began taking the essences, she noticed how much calmer she became and when she stepped into the show ring with her dog, he picked up on that calmness and reacted in a calm and focused manner. She and her dog received their American Kennel Club "Companion Dog Excellent" title, and she was elated. She told me she hadn't realized that she was setting her dog up to fail because of her negative thoughts.

Many people don't realize how intuitive animals are. This is why I often recommend that dog owners take flower essences right along with their pet. If the person is calmer, the dog usually calms down too.

There are so many uses for flower essence therapy, that it was difficult to choose which flower essences to discuss. The group of seminar attendees ranged from pet owners who were curious about this healing modality, to dog trainers who were into serious competition and wanted to learn more about how flower essences could help them in the show setting.

I chose to discuss the benefits of flower essences for animals by reviewing the most common behavioral concerns that pet owners have sought my assistance with: Aggression issues, breaking bad habits, competition situations, confidence building for shy animals, animals that have a fear of loud noises such as thunderstorms, fireworks, and gun shots, dealing with hyperactive animals, rescue situations, separation anxiety, training sessions and how to get an animal more focused on the trainer, and a big issue for many owners is transporting their pet, either by car or plane.

With all of these issues, I found one particular essence to be a starting point to treat that problem. However, each person and animal receiving the essences have a history, and therefore, other essences usually need to be added to the combination for them to experience the greatest benefits. For example, I have treated numerous dogs and cats for noise sensitivity thunderstorms and fireworks. My first essence of choice would be Rock Rose, however, in several cases, I've added Aspen and/or Mimulus to the combination. Each case truly is individual, and the only way to learn about that history is by thoroughly discussing the background of the owner and pet to be treated. This includes information about the dog's previous owners if there were any, medical history, nutritional profile, medications the dog may be receiving, allergies, past and present training methods used, and also a history of the owners as well. How much time do they spend with their dog? What is the dog's living environment like (inside vs. outside dog)? Are there other pets in the household? How have they reacted to the dog's behavior in the past? All of this information helps me determine what the core issue may be, and then 1 can evaluate which flower essences may be most beneficial for that person and/or pet to receive.

After highlighting some of the uses for flower essences, I then demonstrated how to administer flower essences on my 4-year old German Shepherd, Virgo. I also passed Virgo's flower essence bottle around the group so they could see what a flower essence dosage bottle contains.

The attendees had many good questions. People wanted to know if they had to be concerned about overdosing the animal, or side effects the pet may have. I reassured them that flower essences are not drugs, as they don't have a biochemical effect on the body such as pharmaceutical drugs. People also wanted to know how quickly flower essence therapy would work. I explained that flower essences are not a "quick fix". Each person and animal experiences different results. I've had clients that have noticed a shift in their own emotional state, or their pet's behavior within one week after receiving the flower essences. Others have noted that it took eight weeks prior to them noticing any changes. However, once the changes occurred, the benefits were long lasting and they didn't have to keep the animal on the flower essences any longer. As I mentioned early on, flower essences treat the cause, not the symptom. Unlike so many of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market that suppress a behavior, flower essences work on getting to the root of the cause of that behavior, and the benefits are experienced on that level.

I was impressed with the seminar attendees. They were a very genuine and dedicated group of dog owners, who truly wanted to learn about other options they have for treating their pets that are non invasive, and won't put their dog into a drugged state. From the number of questions I received, and the feedback that I received after my presentation, it seemed that the attendees were interested and accepting of this healing modality. The more information that can reach not only pet owners, but health care professionals and caregivers as well, the healthier and happier our canine companions will be. Remember, it's not us against our dogs; we work together as a team.

On December 4, 1999 - FOR PET'S SAKE held an Open House as part of the Mukwonago Area Chamber of Commerce 7th Annual "Midnight Magic" celebration. As part of the open house, pet craft exhibitors and various animal welfare groups displayed products and information. I set up a small booth to talk with people about Flower Essence Therapy and Healing Touch. Many people were not familiar with either of these healing modalities. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to explain the benefits of Flower Essences, and Healing Touch. Once again, Virgo was "manning the booth" with me, so I demonstrated how to administer flower essences to him. Many "Midnight Magic" participants were surprised as to how easy it is to give flower essences to a dog. They felt that was much simpler than trying to administer a pill, or give an injection.

Other functions I may be participating in: I have been asked to speak at the Wisconsin Federated Humane Society Conference in April of 2000, and I will be a speaker at Dog Days of Wisconsin Summer Camp (a camp for people and their dogs) in August of 2000. I am honored that I've been asked to be a part of these two events. The more I study and work with flower essences, the more passionate I've become about them. I am so grateful I have had, and will have the opportunity to discuss this wonderful healing modality. I thank my clients and concerned pet owners for taking the time to learn more about complementary healing therapies. It is because of them, that I am pursuing this field.

More about Kathy Edstrom on the FES Web Site:

Trainer achieves dramatic results with fearful dog

Horse finds renewed interest in life



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