My Dog Doesn't Seem to Be Receptive to Hands-On Reiki Treatments

Ask An Animal Reiki Shaman

Woman Giving Reiki to Dog
Woman Giving Reiki to Dog. Mother Image / Getty Images

Reader Question: Is there a right/wrong way, or suggestions how to do Reiki on my dogs? I have been attuned in Reiki 1 (a few years ago) & Reiki 2 (in March). It occurred to me I hadn't done Reiki with my 2 dogs so I tried to do it. They don't want me to just hold my hands over them or in one spot as they want to be petted by my hands (of course -- they are dogs). So while stroking my dog, I made the master symbol just intended for the higher good; one itches a lot so I'm going to see if Reiki can help with that. But, my hands have to keep moving or he gets annoyed/confused. Any right or wrong way about this (in terms of keeping the movement versus stationary)? Or would it be more effective to do a distance healing?

Response from Rose: Dear Anne, congratulations on your recent completion of training in Reiki Level 2!

While it is easy to bypass many of the challenges you mention by simply sending the Reiki to your dog(s), I might use a combination of approaches instead.

I would suggest asking your dog to help you practice your new skills. Approach the session by stating (to yourself), "I ask that this Reiki be offered for your highest healing good, and that if you do not wish to receive it, I respect your desire." This enlists his support, shifts focus from your need to his, and releases your focus on "fixing" the issue.

Next I would tell him the steps that you intend to take. Imagine yourself going through the steps in your mind, with your hands being still--this will give your dog information about what to expect and how he could cooperate.

It sounds like you were trained to do Reiki hand positions above the body rather than making contact as I do.

If that is so I would suggest placing your hands directly on your dog since he will understand that better. However, it is not necessary to keep both hands still during a session for it to be effective. One hand can stay in the intended hand position while the other is involved with the expected petting.

I found your Reiki terminology for the symbol a bit confusing since I do not refer to any of the Level 2 symbols as the master symbol--what I call the Master symbol is not taught until Reiki Master Teacher level.

I think perhaps you might be referring to the first symbol, the Cho, which I call the workhorse symbol since it is used in every hand position from Reiki Level 2 on to activate the energy. In working with all species (people included) I find it beneficial to use the Sei, the emotional-spiritual symbol, in combination with the Cho for hand positions other than the emotional-spiritual one.

And you can also include your recent training in distance healing by sending Reiki to the situation (which is where you use all three symbols). By doing so you open up to the possibility of receiving support and/or insights that might further assist with the issue. Reiki is a wonderful healing modality, but it is not the answer to everything--no one approach is.

Which brings me to the issue of your dog's itchiness.

Unfortunately skin problems are becoming more common for dogs and cats. Evidenced by excessive scratching or chewing or licking of certain areas such as paws, itchiness can be the result of a variety of challenges, but diet is the most common.

I believe that the best approach to healing is a holistic one, and that means incorporating support on all levels: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Alleviating Your Pet's Itchy Skin can help you identify the cause and take steps to eliminate it. In the meantime Reiki can assist in reducing discomfort, promoting detoxification, and accelerating the healing process.

Best wishes to you and your canine family. Enjoy exploring and expanding your new Reiki skills!

Letting Go of Attachment to Outcome

Reader Question: I had the opportunity to work with a dog and cat this weekend who absolutely loved their Reiki session. Another dog that has Lymphoma and who I really wanted to work with would not stay still for even a minute. I had planned on sending her Reiki remotely but I am now wondering if her behaviour was basically telling me no and that I should refrain. Thoughts?

Response from Rose: Dear Holly, glad to hear that you are offering Reiki to animals, they enjoy it and the benefits can be profound.

In my experience there are few animals that truly do not want Reiki when it is offered in a way that suits their unique needs.

Animals are individuals, just like people, and some are more sensitive and aware of energy than others. I often scan or energetically run my hands above the animal's body not only to "sense" where there might be areas that need attention, but also to see how the animal responds. If the skin shudders, as though a fly were on it, then I know that I am working with an animal that may need above-the-body work or distance Reiki.

Another possible explanation of why the dog did not relax might be due to the flow of Reiki energy encountering blockages in the energetic pathways. Initially this can result in a feeling of movement and shifts, and this strange sensation may make the dog feel uncomfortable. A brief mental/verbal explanation to the client when beginning a session can help create trust and understanding, and an atmosphere of equal relationship.

Healing is essentially a dialogue between the energy and the client, with the practitioner being the intermediary. This means that we also need to pay special attention to the most difficult aspect of any form of healing--letting go of attachment to outcome. When we feel a desire to help we may also encounter our need to heal--to have a positive outcome manifest in the form of the animal getting, or feeling better--when instead, the energy may be needed by the recipient for quality of life and preparing body and spirit for the dying process. Essentially the client is in charge of the session, not the practitioner.

Keep up the good work that you are doing, and remember that the Reiki energy and the animals, make the best teachers. 

Natural Care VS Veterinary Medicine

Question: My cat, Kit, is a year and a half. He has been sick the past three days and has done nothing but sleep. I refuse to take him to the vet only because I believe there are more natural ways of healing. I know he is strong but it pains me to see him so weak. I want to help but I'm not even sure it is a physical illness. It feels to me as though he is emotionally sick and I was wondering if you had any advice for me. I love him so deeply and I want to help. Thank you.

Response from Rose: Dear Kathryn, while I appreciate your desire to let nature take its course, that is not necessarily what is meant by natural healing, which uses various methods to support the healing process. My suggested approach for nurturing Kit's healing process would be different.

My long-standing policy for my practice has been to require that the potential client has explored finding answers through a veterinary diagnosis. Until they have done so I will not do a session with their animal companion.

And I follow the same policy with my own animals, I keep a close eye on any changes in eating and other behaviors and if they do not return to normal within two meals I start considering my options, and one of those is definitely a vet visit.

My reasoning is quite simple--I believe in the best of both worlds. Western or allopathic medicine, whether for animals or people, has some very important features, such as trained observation, testing and diagnosis by process of elimination.

It is important to understand what you are dealing with, or what you are not, such as whether a change in behavior indicates a physical or emotional issue (most often it is physical). When you have a diagnosis you can support your companion with the best approaches, which could involve combinations from both worlds.

For example, sometimes the only answer, when there is deep infection, is the administration of an antibiotic. There are few remedies in nature whether energetic or herbal that can equal the infection-fighting benefits of antibiotics when they are truly needed, and none that I know of that can do it as quickly. And speed spares needless suffering.

Continuing with the example of infection as the diagnosis and antibiotics as the chosen western remedy, you can then offer additional support with appropriate complementary modalities such as Reiki or acupuncture to boost the immune system, and supplements such as probiotics to support the digestive system (antibiotics tend to eliminate the good, the bad, and the ugly bacteria).

Many vets are okay with the client asking questions--wanting to learn and to make the best choices possible--and if yours isn't I would suggest a new one. I have found that most non-holistic vets are usually open to the client's use of holistic supportive measures since they truly care about the well-being of their furry (or not so furry) patients, and simply want them to get well. Vets and western medicine are not the enemy, what is causing the illness, is.

By law I cannot diagnose nor offer remedies, but I can say that if Kit were my cat I would not wait any longer to take him in to the vet. Three days is a long time, especially at his young age, to be doing nothing but sleeping. And if he is not eating or drinking, is vomiting or having diarrhea, he may be seriously dehydrated. The longer you wait the more the risk increases that if it is something serious it may be more difficult to turn around.

Best wishes to you both for a positive outcome.

Disclaimer: Rose De Dan shares insights derived from spirit and through animal communication. Any advice she offers is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care.

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