Fear No More: The Freak-Out Free Zone
by Lisa S. Newman, Ph.D.
Fireworks or thunder goes boom, your dog goes crashing through the house trying desperately to escape that horrifying noise that surely means he is in danger. Youíve avoided taking your cat to the vet, even though something seems not quite right, just because the terrified cries and shaking during the trip send you over the edge too. Donít just ëacceptí that these and other common situations are the norm! You can help avoid ñ and in many cases even reverse ñ years old fear reactions in pets of all types.
Using flower essences as an addition to the LifeStyleÆ
daily protocol can change the way your pet experiences events which cause major upset and disruption. Use them as the situation unfolds or use them as a tool to eliminate the response altogether. How do they work? In the simplest of terms, it puts the pet in the right frame of mind to develop a new concept of whatever it is that freaks them out. It takes patience and time, but can be very effective in achieving long-term reversals of even deep-seated fears.
All too often the freak-out process has already begun long before we humans are even aware of it! This is particularly true of noises or trips. Changes in the atmosphere - weather or emotional - are known to pets while most of us go about unaware until the ëstormí is already upon us. Trips to the vet or groomer with our frightened friend may be preceded by anxiety or frustration on our part - before we even bring out the carrier or leash! Whatever the provoking situation, it is important to identify what the initial clues are for your pet; is it the carrier you use to get them to the vet? is it the darkening skies, distant thunder, dropping barometer? is it driving down a certain street? is it hearing the word ìvetî or ìgroomerî? Identifying those clues helps you understand the process of fear blossoming into a freak-out and gives you important sign-posts along the way telling you what your starting point should be and when you have reached your destination.
Whether working with longstanding intense fear issues or newly developed ones, your ideal starting point is when they are safe and secure, emotionally. You may begin just by giving 2-3 drops of the Fear
flower remedy orally every day for a week or so. After this first week has passed, give 2-3 drops orally 5-10 minutes before you introduce the first ìclueî something is up. This could be dragging the carrier out or putting a leash on. For those with pets scared of particular noises, find a CD or audio file that has those sounds on it and play it at a volume so low you almost canít hear it. Do this for about 15 minutes the first day. Repeat the second day but leaving the ìcluesî out or playing the sound for 5 more minutes. Continue increasing the length of time as the week progresses. Do this until there seems to be no response to the sight of the carrier coming out or the sound being played.
When you have reached that point where there is no fear response to that clue itís time to take the next step. For some that next step could be opening the carrier, for others it could be putting them in the carrier, or significantly increasing the volume of the thunderstorm CD; your petís response will guide you. Itís okay to take a step back and revert to just bringing the carrier out or just barely playing the CD- when youíre seeking long-term solutions they rarely occur overnight. Continue escalating the situation in small steps (opening the car door, turning the car on, putting them in the car, driving around the block, driving just a little further, etc. can all be important) using the Fear remedy each time, until there is no longer any response at all to the event that usually sets them off. Then try it without the Fear remedy- youíll be surprised to see youíve arrived at your destination: Freak-out Free Zone!