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Dog Behaviour – Bach Flower Remedies / Behaviour Case Study

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Dog Behaviour:

Murphy – Bach Flower Remedies / Behaviour Case Study

Welcome to the series of free articles on dog and horse behaviour.

Please feel free to share the articles with others who might benefit … all we ask is that you include our website details so others can consider becoming a Natural Animal Centre Equine or Canine Behaviourist or a Bach Animal Counsellor.

At the Natural Animal Centre we have one simple goal in life …

… positively influencing the wellbeing of animals worldwide …


Help us to benefit animals as an Animal Behaviourist or Bach Flower Remedies Animal Counsellor (qualify via our Distance Learning Programmes) or simply by spreading the word by referring others to our website / blog –


Here at the Natural Animal Centre we often use Complementary Therapies to help animals with behavioural problems and without doubt, the Bach Flower Remedies are both the simplest to administer and often the most helpful in times of emotional need.  It is for this reason that they are such a useful part of our ‘toolbox’ as behaviourists working with dogs.

Whether your interest is in helping animals or are perhaps already a NAC Behaviourist  the Bach Animal Counsellor (Distance Learning) Programme will further your intention to make a difference in animals’ lives.  It’s a simple, stand-alone qualification providing both the essential animal behaviour and the knowledge of the remedies.  The course covers dogs, horses, cats, farm animals & many more species … and right now it’s on special offer at half price (£245 + postage).  For all the detail on the course … Bach Distance Learning


Working with the Bach Flower Remedies

There is at least one remedy for every behaviour problem because when Dr Bach, a medical physician, first discovered them, he proved that there was an essence for every human personality.   Needless to say, we have learnt through years of experience, that there is a remedy that suits every dog too.  Even though we have now been working professionally with the remedies for many years, it never ceases to be a source of wonderment to us, that regardless of the reason the dog comes to the Natural Animal Centre for help, there is always a remedy that can support him in his hour of need.

When two new dogs joined the Natural Animal Centre – 7 month old Murphy and 18 month old Sam – we watched as they adjusted and coped and of course, observed how the remedies supported them in each new challenge they faced.  It was like learning about the remedies all over again.  We wanted to share the learning gained from helping Murphy’s as his was a huge journey.


Murphy came from a loving home but he had been spending an awfully long time in his house crate because of his previous owner’s pressures of work.  So although on the face of it, he appeared like a normal bouncy, outgoing German Shepherd youngster, there were emotional and psychological scars concerning spending long hours alone in a crate in what was tantamount to social isolation.  No dog can cope easily with being on its own but for a young puppy growing up, this is particularly difficult as dogs, as members of the canid group, rely so much on the caring input of both parents and other adult dogs that will act as both baby-sitters and playmates.

We often think when we hear owners talking about their dog’s behavioural problems that much of what they are talking about can often be sourced back to what originally happened to the dog when it was so very young.  So how Murphy had struggled to cope had affected his overall outlook on life but his personality being what it was, had taught him to be very brave and uncomplaining.

But there had been a cost to this approach.  When behaviourists try to measure poor welfare in animals – from cows to pigs to dogs – they always try to make assessments about costs that animals pay when they try to cope.

NAC Behaviourists will be familiar with the models of Adaptive Expendability – take the time to revise the concepts surrounding welfare assessment in your study group.

It’s easy to become one of our qualified Canine or Equine Behaviourists.

Here’s the link for all the detail to make your decision …  Animal Behaviour Distance Learning

Putting a brave face on it

Murphy’s ‘brave front’ in life meant that his immune system had been under pressure (we know that psychological stress can have a knock-on adverse affect on health).  He had not grown as large as he should for his age and was a little underweight as well (more on this in our Behaviour Programmes).  But the biggest indicator of his stress lay in his diarrhoea and in fact, Murphy was suffering from mild colitis, a condition often linked to stress.

Murphy’s key remedy in the Bach system was Agrimony, the remedy Dr Bach said was exactly for Murphy’s personality type – the kind of brash, jokey personality that always hides behind a brave face.  It was this idea of ‘hiding’ that Dr Bach believed was the cost element in this sort of personality.  Have you ever met anyone who is always the life and soul of the party, the one who always tells the most jokes – but inside, they can sometimes be crying for help.

Murphy was just like this too.  If there was a game to be had or if there were lots of people around, then Murphy would always been right in the thick of this, bouncing around as though he did not have a care in the world.  But ask him to remain still for a few minutes and he would become very uncomfortable and he showed his discomfort by wriggling on the spot and sometimes, even whimpering.  It was not that be was untrainable, far from it, but it was obvious that being asked to do something that required stillness was very difficult for him to do.

This type of avoidance of peace and quiet (avoidance of reflection on the self) is exactly what Dr Bach saw in human Agrimony types.  These people will do anything to seek out a party, games, a good night out – anything, but quietly face their emotional problems.  And just as we had learnt from Murphy, this approach, in the long run, can even have bad affects, on their health.

As a NAC Behaviourist you will immediately see the problem of how to implement the NAC Relaxation Programme© with a dog like Murphy – if the concept of ‘Relaxed, Steady & Attentive’ is not available how do you access the benefits of the programme!  The Bach Remedies can give you this base of emotional calmness allowing you to access the core benefits of the programme faster.

If you’re not familiar with the NAC Relaxation Programme© – it’s a simple but extremely effective behaviour modification programme which teaches lasting calmness in animals.  It’s part of all of our practically orientated Behaviour Distance Learning Programmes.

Living in a crate for most of a dog’s waking life can undoubtedly cause psychological problems and dogs can take a variety of routes in their attempts to cope, from becoming anxious about being alone to perhaps even exhibiting a kind of out-of-control hysteria every time they are confined.  Murphy’s character, however, was to try to be brave – without really being so.

When he came to live at the Natural Animal Centre, this false front of bravery was something we wanted to assist him with straight away.  We wanted Murphy to know from the very first day that he would not be crated again and that he had the freedom of our farm to roam with our other dogs.  We introduced him to the many animals that live here – chickens, tortoises, horses, cats, goats – and he responded really well, learning from the outset that he was to be calm in their presence.  By simultaneously giving him the Bach remedy Agrimony every day, Murphy started to calm down little by little.  Dr Bach said that the taking of Agrimony would balance the individual so that he or she would reach a state of genuine carefreeness and a removal of the inner torture.

As the days went by, Murphy began to show signs that the Agrimony was helping him in the sense that he was much calmer generally but Dr Bach had said that one of the key indicators that Agrimony had played its role, was that the sufferer moves from one who always needs companionship – an approach of ‘anyone will do!’ – to actually becoming a calm, still companion in their own right; someone who others would actively seek out themselves.  Murphy had not yet reached this stage of being a balanced companion – he was still very needy in terms of company and continued to struggle if he was on his own for any reason.

Protection from the environment

One of the joys about the Bach Flower Remedies, is that you can add more than one remedy to a treatment, generally-speaking, we say up to three or four remedies when we treat animals.  So we believed that Murphy needed the support of additional remedies with Walnut being the most obvious.  Walnut is one of the most useful remedies in dog behaviour because it is the remedy that deals with protection from outside influences.  So dogs that become easily over-excitable or fearful when they meet another dog, when they see sheep, when they hear a noise, in fact, anything, to do with influences from the external environment that causes a negative reaction in the dog.

Murphy needed Walnut because his personality type meant that he continued to react to things from the environment but old patterns always caused him to ‘put on a front  of bravery’ first.  In other words, he was still too sensitive to distractions from the environment and the idea of ‘any old excuse’ to do something else rather than be calm was a primary motivator.

By administering the Walnut and the Agrimony together, Murphy suddenly moved into a different league in terms of more balanced emotions.  Instead of always running around, he started to come into the lounge or the office and lie down calmly and, joy of joys!, sometimes even go to sleep!  The next thing we noticed was that he seemed to be content with gentler games; before, all he had wanted was ‘further, faster, higher’!  Moreover, his diarrhoea now ceased, a key indicator that he was gaining strength in terms of his health.

Murphy progressed from strength to strength and we kept assisting him with remedies throughout his life.  He was a great teacher for everyone at the NAC (Star of Bethlehem was an obvious choice for the after effects of shock).  Some of the stressful events from his past took a really long time to disappear altogether.  Being alone and confined at a crucial stage of early development carves a very big scar on a young dog indeed.  But the Bach Flower remedies work to balance out bad feelings no matter how deeply entrenched they may be and Murphy literally changed into a happier, calmer personality.

If you’re already a NAC Bach Flower Remedy Counsellor you can use this as a case study to consider other remedies which might be applicable to Murphy.  And if you have success stories please share them on our Facebook page.

There’s no entry level requirement for the Bach Flower Remedies Animal Counsellor Programme and its all Distance Learning so you never need to leave home.  And it’s half price right now … NAC Bach Programme.


Whatever your interest in animals we hope we can persuade you to take action and go out and make a difference to animals’ lives.

… positively influencing the wellbeing of animals worldwide …


And for more information … (all of the following are available under the Buy Button on our website)

Teach Yourself Dog – provides simple to understand & implement applied canine behavioural science – simple, compassionate, practical solutions for your dog

Canine Behaviour Qualification – Distance Learning Programme. (25% discount available)

We’ve converted our residential Canine Behaviour Qualification course into a distance learning format and you can now qualify as a NAC Behaviourist through submitting the exercises/case studies set out in the programme … no exams!

If you want to really understand dogs, this is the solution … and if you want to consult as a NAC Canine Behaviourist you can qualify in as little as six months, but there are no deadlines so you can take it at your own pace.  Our intention is to get you out in the world helping animals so we make qualifying as simple as possible.

 Teach Yourself Horse Volumes 1 & 2 – provides the simple to understand, applied science of Equine Behaviour – simple, compassionate, practical solutions for your horse.

Meeting the Needs of your Horse – all the applied science distilled down into the Natural Animal Centre Triangle of Needs – everything your horse would love you to implement to satisfy his needs.

Equine Behaviour Qualification – Distance Learning Programme.

We’ve converted our residential equine behaviour qualification into a distance learning format and you can now qualify as a NAC Behaviourist through submitting the exercises/case studies set out in the course … no exams!

If you want to really understand your horse, this is the course and you can be consulting as a NAC Equine Behaviourist in as little as six months, but there are no deadlines so you can take it at your own pace.  Our intention is to get you out in the world helping animals so we make qualifying as simple as possible.

 And now you have even more knowledge, so we ask you to … 

  • Share this article with one person who might make a positive change for one animal
  • If you are fascinated think about the Canine Behaviour Distance Learning Programme and change the lives of many dogs yourself.


… positively influencing the wellbeing of animals worldwide …

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