Flower Essences for Competitive Show Dogs


A report by Mary Szczurek, edited by Jann Garitty

Editor’s note:  Mary Szczurek is a FES Certified Practitioner whose healing work often involves animals. She has developed a particular expertise with competitive show dogs. One of the cases presented as part of Mary’s certification process featured Maize, a panic-stricken dog who became part of Mary’s family. Over the course of time, Maize became a confident, composed and competent member of the family. Updates about Maize’s incredible recovery are included in this report, along with other case citations with dramatic healing results.

Using flower essences with animals

Administering flower essences to animals

Issues related to eating

From lackluster to attentive and happy

Turn around for a reactive rescue dog

From a disastrous show to Best of the Breed

The path with flower essences to championship

Flower essences for whelping and puppies

Flower essences cure car sickness

Correcting intolerance

About Mary Szczurek

Using flower essences with animals

My first go to with a person who needs help with their animal is flower essences. I can also offer reiki as necessary for specific cases. Occasionally, I will use essential oils, though that’s rare. I try to avoid them for animals because one must be cautious due to potential kidney and liver toxicity. When used, especially it is important to dilute them and not use them neat. If an animal exhibits behavioral problems, in addition to what I can offer them, I’ll suggest that people see a behaviorist.

I like keeping flower essence formulas simple. I have made complex formulas, but it seems to me that the simple ones, when there’s a very complex issue, sometimes get right to the core and knock out the problem.

When you consider animals, flower essences truly are a miracle in a bottle. As people, we live with our issues. If we don’t get them resolved, we still live with them. Some people have a difficult life because of that. For example, some people are homeless because of their issues, or have other related issues because they can’t cope with them. But typically, they all survive.

It’s different for animals, if people don’t resolve some of the issues that animals can have, that may be the end of their lives.

I sometimes spend a great deal of time deciding on a formula. Dogs are no different than people…I want it right the first time so that their people see some progress and continue with it.

Administering flower essences to animals

I administer the essences in a couple of ways. Personally, I spray the essences in the dogs’ mouths. I have sprayed over newborn puppies. Specifically, when showing a dog, I take the bottle in the show ring. The reason being, with many breeds, you spritz them with water to make the coat a bit better or in the summer they may be too hot and need cooling. So, they typically don’t mind having the essences sprayed directly on them.

However, some dogs don’t like the sound of the spray. Sometimes it takes dogs one or two times to get used to it, but if they really don’t like it, don’t do it. You don’t want to create a negative association with receiving the essences.

In addition, I tell people to not just use the essences at a dog show. I always ask people to use them until the bottle is empty. It seems to work better. When we’re at home, I like to spray it in the dogs’ mouths. It’s easy for me to do it that way. However, many people find that cumbersome or if they work, they can’t do it regularly. Therefore, I tell them to buy a jug of water, pour a little out so that there’s air space at the top, then spray 5-7 sprays in the jug, and shake it up and down. Then every time they fill the dog’s water bowl, shake it up and just pour it in.

Mainly I tell people to use that method because people who aren’t familiar with flower essences many times can’t get it into their routines and they forget to use them. If the water is right on the counter or by their dog’s bowl, then they remember. That also makes it easy for people traveling to shows to bring the jug and put it in their dog’s water.

Sometimes the owner is the problem, and when offered essences and they decline, I ask them to use a formula, spray it in their hands and rub the dog’s ears. It helps the dog, but actually it’s also being given to them.

I watched one person that I know in particular at a dog show in obedience, and my heart broke for the dog. The woman is so hard on the dog and when she gets upset, I could see why the dog was anxious. I made a formula for the dog and asked her to use it in that way. Later, I could see a bit of a different tone in her.

With cats, I say to use it topically, because cats don’t appreciate being sprayed.

Issues related to eating

There have been several dogs that were having a problem not wanting to eat. For the most part, they all got the same flower essence formula. Occasionally I would add something else. In general, for this issue I use Manzanita, California Wild Rose and Beech. Manzanita and California Wild Rose are for appetite or relationship to food. The Beech is used because sometimes dogs get picky; they may not want to eat a certain thing one day, they may not want to eat the same thing all of the time or they may get tired of the texture. That’s where the Beech is indicated. There are some breeds, such as the terriers who typically have a problem with eating. Whippets also are sometimes picky. Beech is good for their pickiness. In each case, this combination has been very successful.

From lackluster to attentive and happy

An acquaintance brought his dog to a 4-day show. He tried to show her, but she was just “flat” and not really wanting to do anything. The dog needed more spark, charisma and joyfulness. In addition, she was also in season and when dogs are in season, they get very hormonal, and very indecisive.

We brought her home with us, prepared and gave to her what we call the Amazie-N-Grace formula: Cherry, Larch, Larkspur, Pretty Face and Zinnia In addition, I also added Scleranthus for the hormones.

Cherry, Larch, Larkspur, Pretty Face, Zinnia

The day after when we went back to the show, my daughter, Grace, showed her. Grace had never shown her before, and the dog was great. She was attentive and happy.

The remarkable thing about animals that I want to express: I never tell people that the essences work overnight; but in probably 70-75% of the cases, it does!

I travel with an array of flower essences. Often people will come up to me and ask for help with a particular issue. I look through my bottles and maybe while not perfect, I have something that will help. There are dogs who have won a dog show from using a formula only 2 or 3 times before a show. But typically, that’s not the way it should be done. If a permanent change is desired, people should use the whole bottle, not just for a week or two and then stop, because they don’t see any additional changes. If that’s the case, I suggest that we change the formula. Animals generally respond faster than people so sometimes they don’t need to go through the whole bottle, but they do need to use it consistently.

Turn around for a reactive rescue dog

I worked with a 5-year old Labrador/Rhodisian Ridgeback mix dog (at right). He was a rescue with many issues; he didn’t have a good beginning in life. He had been found at a gas station, with all of his lower front teeth broken. We guessed that he had either been kept in a cage or fenced in somehow. He was extremely fearful. Previously, he had been adopted three times and was returned three times. When he would meet people, he would knock them down, and bite at them. That’s the reason why he had been returned the three other times. However, the woman who now was caring for him was very dedicated to helping him and making it work. Flower essences were the tool, but she was a very dedicated owner. She was going to do anything to help save the dog, and she did.

The dog was very protective of her, and he would nip, actually bite people. For example, if the dog was in the car and someone came up to the car and the window was open, she had to warn them that he would bite.

With just one formula, this dog experienced a profound change. The woman would say, “Maverick, spray,” and the dog would come running to be sprayed.

The formula contained:

Holly – for jealousy
Impatiens – for impatience but also because he had no training before she got him
Mallow – to help get along with others, for insecurity in public
Oregon Grape – for any animal with the attitude “I’m going to do it to you, before you do it to me” – for bad experiences in the past they have to get over and so they don’t feel so paranoid
Poison Oak – so that he could get along with others and be in contact with people without being aggressive
Snapdragon – helps with nipping, mouth issues
Tiger Lily – for the aggression

He used up the bottle and she said that he was a totally different dog. She said: “My life has changed 100% since I met you and used flower essences.” Both for her and her dog. It was a totally new dog: he responded, he was much more calm, and she was able to do some off-leash work with him. He would listen to her instead of running off, he would pay attention and listen to commands. He was totally different. But he loved his spray. She probably used it more than 4 times a day; she really wanted it to work. And it did.

The vet commented on how much calmer the dog was. She told him about the formula and he said, “Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working.”

From a disastrous show to Best of the Breed

A terrier dog was being shown by a handler and while in the ring, the dog was up on the table and something scared him. He backed out of his collar which was loose enough, jumped off the high table and started running out of the ring. A man who was watching, thinking that he was going to help, threw himself on the little dog so it wouldn’t run away. That terribly scared the dog and then he really couldn’t be shown. The dog couldn’t get within 25 feet of a judge. The association of being in the ring and of that prior experience was going to ruin this dog’s show career.

The owners came to me and I gave him a formula:

Mimulus – for fear
Larch – to get the confidence back
Beech – because he couldn’t tolerate judges any more
Five-Flower Formula – for an overall calming effect
Oregon Grape – to get over the bad experience and paranoia

This was 4 days before a dog show. The feedback was that he did better at the show. He had been sprayed constantly in his mouth.

A week later, they were at a dog show again and they were actually able to see the difference in the dog. They could not believe the change. They watched the handler to be sure he was given the essences in the water and right before he showed. He showed extremely well.

The next day, he was squirmy and the couple could see the whites of his eyes; he was about to have a problem. When talking to the handler, she admitted that she had forgotten to give him the essences that morning. They reminded her, since he was going back for group the next day. He did better after she gave him the flower essences, and he won Best of Breed.

However, there was a pattern with the handler: when she would forget to use the essences, he would backslide and his performance suffered.

At one point, they went to a 4 day show at which the dog placed very successfully in several Groups. This was shocking compared to how the poor dog couldn’t even function in a ring before.

The path with flower essences to championship

Maize was one of my cases that I submitted for my FES practitioner certification. I continued to use flower essences with Mazie over the years.

The very first time my daughter showed at an AKC dog show, she got 2nd in Juniors. That’s the category where young children can show. It’s impressive at a national dog show for a 9-year old to get 2nd.

Before that show, we used:
Indian Pink – for nervousness, to focus under stress
Larkspur – for confidence
Mallow – for security and social involvement. She was still not a very social dog and they have to be if they’re being shown.

A year plus later, Grace and Maize were going to a dog show and I added to Maize’s formula, though she was doing better –

Cherry – because she was so serious, so she could be more cheerful
Larkspur – for charisma

Grace, 10 years old at the time, got an impressive Best Junior Handler, from a very well-known judge.

She was the youngest child there. Maize showed her little heart out. We were so proud. When she first came to us, we didn’t know what to do for her. But Maize was like a beautiful flower that blossomed.

Grace and Maize

A few years later, we went to the Florida National. Again, the formula was similar, but I added:

Zinnia – because she didn’t have that spark of having fun; she would do it because Grace would ask her to do it. But it didn’t seem like she was enjoying herself.

She got 2nd in her class. At a National when there’s 800 other shelties, it’s incredibly amazing!

Finally, I added Pretty Face. Though Maize had all the points she needed toward being a Champion, she didn’t stand out in competition with all of the other shelties. Maize would not use her ears, meaning they would be—not down like she was scared—but “ho hum…” She wouldn’t put them up like, “Hey! Look at me!” So, I added Pretty Face to that formula.

She started showing better but still could not get the points she needed.

Then I put together what I call Amazie-N-Grace:

Pretty Face

That is when she started to do a lot of winning. The day after we used this formula with her, she put her ears up and she never stopped using them.

In March, she got a Group placement; she got Best of Breed and then went on to the Group and beat all the rest of the herding dogs.

3 months later, we decided that would be her last show so she could just play and have fun. She won her final Major and she became a Champion.

Grace (right) and Maize

Flower essences for whelping and puppies

I cared for a pregnant dog preparing her for the whelping (birthing) process, as her owners had health issues and needed assistance. When the pregnant dog arrived, I immediately started giving her Mariposa Lily, as the owner was concerned that she would not be a great mother. I consistently used Mariposa Lily for about four days before whelping the litter. The birth went extremely well and the dog’s mothering instinct kicked inimmediately. As a matter of fact, she was the best mother to her puppies that we have ever experienced! She was attentive, never wanted to leave her puppies, nursed well, cleaned them constantly, was careful to not step on or lay on them (she would methodically move them out of her way before laying down.)

Prior to whelping, I prepared eight dosage bottles and gathered several essences that would typically be used for the mom and puppies during and after whelping. One situation that flower essences are extremely helpful for is after dew claw removal. In this case, one puppy was particularly fussy after having her dew claws removed, as one of them had been fairly large. I first tried using Five-Flower Formula with her. Each time I sprayed the Five-Flower Formula, it helped her calm down for a minute of two. After a few doses of Five-Flower, I decided to switch her to a formula of Arnica, Star of Bethlehem and Self-Heal. Within three seconds, she stopped crying and fell asleep. I only needed to re-dose that formula a few times that day, and she was fine thereafter…no more fussiness or crying! 

Another essence I have found helpful during the whelping process is Honeysuckle. I had a case where one of the puppies in the litter did not survive. The mother was looking for her puppy, almost panicked. She searched the room, under blankets, in a small trash can, in the puppy warming box, in a closet, in a bag…everywhere. She knew one of her puppies was missing. I gave her Honeysuckle, and she immediately calmed down and tended to the remaining puppies. I also added Red Chestnut, since she became a bit worried/obsessed about the living puppies as well as looking for the deceased puppy. In the next day or two, she looked for the puppy only a couple more times, but with much less intensity. Giving her Honeysuckle helped her let go of the deceased puppy and allowed her to move forward, concentrating on the surviving puppies.

Flower essences cure car sickness

Our dog (at right), a Whippet, was a great dog, but did not like being in the car. He became car sick every time, even before the car was turned on. It was so bad that if the back of the car was open, and we walked past it to just take him for a walk, he would start heaving. We were going drive to Florida to spend a couple of months there, and I had 4-5 days to do something for the dog.

I gave him:

Dill – for the sensory overwhelm in traveling
Elm – for the stress and anxiety due to the overwhelm
Scleranthus – for the back and forth motion of the car

We left a few days later, and he never got car sick ever again.

Correcting intolerance

A young girl asked for help with her dog. They were going to their National with their Springer Spaniel. Though a good dog, it hated old men and the Juniors judge for the show was an older man.

The formula we used, for similar reasons cited above, was:

Oregon Grape

The formula was used for two days prior to the show and they placed 2nd. The girl wrote to me, “He’s a different dog; it’s been such a difference with him using the formula. He was awesome and I got 2nd. Nothing bothers him, which is what I wanted the outcome to be. He’s fixed; thank you again.”

About Mary Szczurek

Mary has been working with flower essences since 2001 and received her Flower Essence Practitioner certification from the Flower Essence Society in 2009. Besides her flower essence work, she is also a Reiki practitioner and is studying for her certification in aromatherapy. Mary has successfully treated many people as well as animals including dogs, cats, horses, and birds. She enjoys organic gardening and has been active in her community, serving on a local citizens committee and in her county and state 4H programs. In addition to homeschooling her children, Mary raises Shetland Sheepdogs using natural and holistic methods. Mary resides in the Chicago area with her family, including several dogs and a cat. She may be reached through her website, www.InnerSpiritFlowers.com or by email at InnerSpiritHealing@sbcglobal.net.


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