I have been experimenting with energy relating to dogs for a long time. I have come to the conclusion that there are five different types. In this note I will share with you what I have learned. You can use this information when working with your dog and actually see, in some cases, its effects on your dog.
So what do I mean when I say energy? The energy that I am referring to here is simply the output of your emotions. So when you feel a certain way, you emit energy that other people and animals can feel and read. This energy can be output with words, body language, touch, and in some cases smell. Energy is not some magical and mystical force, it is real and we use it everyday. When you know your spouse is sad, you are feeling his/her energy. When you know your dog is happy, you are feeling his/her energy.
Another persons energy can even make you feel a certain way. Your level of compassion determines this, but lets say that your best friend’s parents have been involved in a terrible accident and have passed away. Your best friend is distraught. You know she is distraught because she is crying uncontrollably. You have just read her body language and her energy. Of course she is conveying a very sad energy, and it’s probably static (you’ll read what static energy is in a minute) but because she is your best friend and you have lots of compassion for her, you feel sad too. You may even begin to cry with her. Her energy is strong enough to make you feel the same way she does.
Even though it is not talked about very often, and some people are never told about it, energy is a very powerful and common force. It connects us to each other and our animals. Our level of compassion increases or decreases it’s effects, but nun-the-less, we all use and feel energy. We even learn to use it with out even knowing what it is.
Here are the five types of energy described as best as I can in words. These forms of energy apply to all living things, but this is really geared more towards the human and dog relationship. This is subject to change, as I am still researching this subject. However, these five types seem the most prudent in my line of work.
Static Energy: Think of a ball of electricity. Unstable, sparks flying everywhere, and very unorganized. This is how I picture static energy. I picture it as floating around and shocking whatever is in it’s path. It can make you feel mad, upset, frustrated, and angry. Some people may even feel like the Incredible Hulk when conveying this energy. People, and dogs, that convey this type of energy are very unbalanced, have short tempers, generally have little patience, and are often edgy. These are the people, or dogs, that you feel you must “walk on eggshells” around. Static energy is chaos, and only contributes to more chaos. Example: Two dogs get into a fight, to break them up you stomp your feet, scream at the top of your lungs, and panic. You are conveying static energy, and it will only make things worse.
Free Flowing Energy: I picture this kind of energy as a strong and steady stream. If you get in it’s path, it will not hurt you, but it is very persistent and pushes past you. Free Flowing Energy is stable, calm, peaceful, and firm. It is generally easy going and always patient. This strong form of energy is what I teach my clients to gain control of their dogs. It is totally opposite from static energy. Buddhist monks are known for displaying this kind of energy when teaching new students. Jesus conveyed this energy to his disciples. It takes self-discipline to completely master and maintain this form of energy. Free flowing energy dominates other forms energy. It stems from confidence and assertiveness. Example: Your dog barks at you because he is not getting his way. You calmly and firmly use your body to block and correct him until he submits. Once he has submitted, you let it go and walk away.
Avoidant Energy: This form of energy is conveyed through avoidance. It can be as unstable as static energy, but is never as stable as free flowing energy. Dogs and people who are constantly giving off this form of energy usually have poor social skills and are typically bullied. They are considered easy targets because they usually will not fight back or stand up for themselves. They would rather avoid confrontation all together and are easily offended, but generally keep it to themselves. Prey animals often display this type of energy to predators. When people or dogs who commonly convey this type of energy are forced to react, they usually do so with static energy. They loose control and snap, or go into a fear response. Example: You take your dog to the dog park for the first time, only to discover that she will not interact with the other dogs. She simply follows you around and ignores everything else. She is not aggressive, or fearful, she simply doesn’t care to interact. She is weary, but not scared. When another dog begins to mount her and she can’t ignore it, she snaps at the other dog and retreats.
Anxious Energy: This type of energy comes from worry. People, and dogs, who cannot relax because they are worried or even paranoid display this type of energy. Dogs with separation anxiety often display this type of energy just before their owner leaves. After the owner leaves, they display static energy. Anxious energy is very unstable and chaotic. It stems from, fear, worry, and paranoia.
Passive Energy: I consider this form of energy just as balanced as free flowing energy, but not as firm. This is the energy you should feel from your dog. It conveys submission. Dogs and people that convey this energy are not scared, anxious, weary, or overly excited. They are generally calm and easy going. They look for someone to lead them, guide them, and direct them. They may have trouble making decisions for themselves, and almost always look up to someone. When confronted, people and dogs with this kind of energy will simply submit and try to please. People and especially dogs that convey this type of energy are generally very happy. Example: Your dog is laying in your path as you are walking somewhere. When he sees you, he happily gets up and moves out of your way. As you walk by, he gives you that look that seems to happily and gently ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Understanding the different forms of energy can help you not only relate better to your dogs, it can help you in life. Or at least, it has for me. It is important to note that no one is locked into any one form of energy. It is changeable. You simply need to practice another form. It’s not easy, however, because everything about you will tell you to react with a certain kind of energy, or in a certain way. You consciously have to decide to react with the energy you wish to project. In other words, if you feel as though your main energy output is usually anxious and you like to project free flowing energy, it is totally possible. Although you will have to get over your instinct to be anxious. You must make your self interact with a calm and firm energy. Anxious energy and an avoidant energy will be more difficult to change than static and passive. But this does not mean you shouldn’t try. Rehabilitating dogs is doing just this. Changing the core energy output from static, avoidant, anxious, and even free flowing on occasion to passive. A passive dog, is a happy dog and makes for a happy owner.
Also, you should be aware that it is possible to emit other emotions while within these five different core energy forms. For example, you can be excited and static, or excited and passive, or excited and free flowing, etc. A dog that is excited and static will be bounding off the walls, running around, barking, possibly biting and nipping at others, etc. While a dog that is excited and passive will have a low wagging tail, prancing feet, maybe the occasional half jump, etc. A dog that is excited and free flowing will have a mid to high quick tail wag and will be watching your every move. It is a calmer form of excitement. The dog may be assertive if you ignore his cues to play, dropping the ball in your lap, the occasional bark, pawing at you, etc.
When it comes to this type of energy, it can get quite confusing. Just try to remember the basics.
Free Flowing energy: Patient, calm, assertive, balanced.
Static Energy: Unbalanced, chaotic, unorganized, emotional.
Avoidant Energy: Unbalanced, stand offish, lame.
Anxious Energy: Nervous, fearful, unbalanced, paranoid.
Passive Energy: Balanced, calm, submissive, happy-go-lucky.
Examples of the five different core energy types are below. I’ve tried to include an example of different forms of each core energy type as well. As you will see, the core energy types are neither bad or good, but what each of the characters make them. However different each character emits their form of core energy, you’ll notice some common denominators:
Free Flowing: Jesus Christ, Buddhist monks, Spock (Star Trek), Gandhi, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), Fonzie (Happy Days), Shadow (Homeward Bound), President Obama
Static: Han Solo (Star Wars), The Joker (Batman), Chance (Homeward Bound), Mel Gibson
Avoidant: Brick (The Middle), Max (Parenthood), Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino), Sassy (Homeward Bound)
Anxious: Judas, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, Jesse Ventura, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Halloween)
Passive: Norman Bates (Psycho) (as himself, not as his mother), Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings), Lassie