Do you have questions about the animal companions who share your home and life? Would you like to improve your relationship and learn to understand your animals better? Great! You've come to the right place. I'd like to start a regular Q&A column with the hope of helping people deal with specific problems.
I have loved, honored and appreciated animals all my life. My passion for animals and their well-being has led me into a profession where I can work as a liaison for animals and humans. This Q&A column is dedicated to helping people to better understand their animal’s perspective. I’ve been communicating with animals for a long time. They have been some of my most powerful and profound teachers. If you share your life with an animal, here is your opportunity to get some answers to your questions. With your help, I’ll share those animal questions and responses in a Question & Answer Column*.
Here are some typical questions I receive often as an Animal Communicator:
Question: Whenever my dog and I go for a walk, he lunges at other dogs. Why does he do this and how can I get him to stop this behavior?
Answer: To begin with, think about the messages you are sending when you are walking with your dog. Have you ever been frightened or attacked by an aggressive dog? In the past when I’ve asked this question, the individuals have often admitted that they were afraid of dogs because of a past encounter. The animals that live with us make it their business to understand us very well. If you have fears, your dog will pick up on that fear and do what he can to make you feel safe. On the other hand, if you exude confidence as you walk, he will feel like you have the situation in hand. He can therefore simply enjoy the walk and not worry about your fears. Now, this is not to say that you won’t need the assistance of a good dog trainer, but eventually know that your dog will mirror your fears or your feelings of confidence on a walk.
Question: Help! Suddenly, my cat is messing outside of his litter box. Is there anything I can do?
Answer: The first thing you need to explore is if your cat has a medical reason for not using the litter box. Nothing is a substitute for proper veterinarian care. In connecting with cats, I’ve discovered they are often very sensitive to their environment. Once you have eliminated a medical cause, ask yourself if there are any major or even minor changes to your cat’s environment, especially any changes involving the litter box. Have you changed the litter box, type of litter or moved its location? Have there been any major changes in the household including the addition of new animals or people? If your cat is not neutered, he may be spraying to mark his territory. Once you understand why he has not been using his litter box as usual, you can hopefully correct the upsetting problem. After you’ve fixed the problem ask your cat to please use the litter box properly. It’s also, very helpful to send a visual picture of your clear expectations.
Question: Every time someone walks by our house or comes to our home for a visit, our dog will not quit barking! How can we get her to stop barking and calm down?
Answer: Everyone, including animals, wants to feel like they contribute to the family unit. Often our animal companions will choose a job they can perform if they have not already been purposely assigned work by a family member. I’ve found dogs want to be appreciated for the job they are doing in the home. Just like children may tug on a parent until they are acknowledged, so it is with your dog. She will continue to bark until you recognize that she has done her job. Here’s something to try if she is a continuous barker. The next time your dog is barking, look at her and say this in a low, calm, authoritative voice, “Good dog! (Then, pause.) Thank you for letting me know. Good, I’ll take it from here.” Remember to expect your dog to announce someone’s presence and even remind her to do so if she forgets. When she barks to let you know someone is approaching, appreciate her instead of yelling at her to be quiet. If you do this consistently, your dog will most likely cease the continual barking and only bark appropriately, and at expected times.
If you have any issues with your animal companions that you would like me to address, please send them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your animal. Please don't hesitate to reach out. No question or issue is too small. Remember, I am here to help. I look forward to hearing from you!
The advice in this column is based on Sandra’s experience and training as an animal communicator. She is not a veterinarian and any of her suggestions are not intended to be medical advice in anyway. She does not prescribe or diagnose. Be sure to seek proper professional advice and assistance for any of your animals’ physical needs.