Exploring the unconscious emotional dynamic between dog's and their owners

Posted: 31 March 2020

Living with a dog is an emotional journey, especially when there is a behavioural issue. If this is the case it's very easy to find ourselves becoming over-emotional on a regular basis.

If a situation arises that pushes our emotional buttons then it’s a good indicator that maybe we need to do some inner work in that area. As contrary as it seems, there’s a strong possibility that a part of ourselves on a subconscious level has an investment in perpetuating the situation. Exploring our dog's behaviour from the perspective of how we feel can give us invaluable insights into ourselves and our relationship with our dog.

Does our dog suffer from separation anxiety? Maybe we have some unresolved abandonment issues of our own. Do we project that sense of abandonment onto our dog? Or maybe we feel our under valued and seek confirmation that we are needed and loved?

If reactivity is the issue does the situation act out old associations of anxiety around loss of control or repressed anger? Does the dog that always runs away reflect a part of us that wants to be free?

When those unconscious feelings are brought to the surface and acknowledged then we can work with them and shift our behaviour, allowing our dog the opportunity to shift theirs.

I recall two dogs from different households, both of whom were terrible escape artists and always walked on the lead when out. In both cases the owners (and main care givers) were married women who both went on some years later to leave their husbands. They have since divulged how unhappy they had been and how much they had wanted to leave for a long time. This does not mean to say that every dog that runs away has an owner secretly longing to leave their spouse but it may be worth asking questions around feeling restricted, lack of self-expression, desire to be free of responsibilities.

Ever a work in progress, I continue on my own personal healing journey and the challenges I face with my present dog provide me with ongoing guidance as to what unresolved aspects of my being are calling out for attention.

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