Flower Essences and Autism in Dogs – Case Study

This is the second part of the “flower essences and canine autism” mini-series. Make sure to also read the first part, “Treating Autism In Dogs With Flower Essences” by Caroline Thomas.

Bibi’s Story
By Dr Petra Dance

Bibi and Tinx

Bibi and his little sister Tinx

I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback male, now 4 years old with Asperger’s-like symptoms. He is a highly intelligent dog; training that typically take some time, he gets immediately by just doing exercises once and it stays in place. He is also the most obedient dog imaginable in every aspect.

That said, he cannot cope with change and sudden movements, indoors and outdoors. If I put a floor vase in a different spot, he keeps barking at it until it’s back in its proper place. If he suddenly sees a person or dog, he feels threatened wanting to chase them away. Given the chance to watch them for 10-15 minutes, he can cope and remains calm. Any visitors to the house need to be re-introduced if they only as much as go to the toilet or pop out to their car. He forgets who they are and that they mean him no harm. He is unable to cope with eye contact or being stroked by anyone other than us, his family. It is literally groundhog day over and over. No matter how much I desensitise, train, bribe, beg, pray!!! It’s not happening. He just doesn’t get it. I have tried and done everything, not shy of selling my body, to sort this out. So the question was, am I incapable at dog training, though all other dogs are perfect or is there something wrong with my dog.

Autism in dogs


For quite a while I saw the similarities between my Bibi and autistic spectrum patients in my own practice. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it can’t be sorted out and started to explore Canine Autism Syndrome, initially not even sure if there is such a condition in dogs. I have since learned that it very much seems to exist in the canine world. It is also important to note, that Bibi’s unusual behaviour developed straight after his first annual vaccination!

Nick Thompson, one of the leading British homeopathic vets, is currently preparing to present a paper on Canine Autism and it’s linkage to vaccine damage for the Homeopathic Research Institute (http://www.homeoinst.org). using homeopathic autism reversal treatment based on Tinus Smits’ CEASE therapy approach.

Bibi has made great improvements since he is on the trial remedies, most noticeable he regained emotional carefreeness (rather than carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders), retaining memory and cognitive abilities. Visitors to the house are now able to use the toilet without having to be re-introduced to my dog.

In desperation to help Bibi, I eventually consulted Caroline Thomas. I had little knowledge about Bach Flower remedies, my only knowledge being my trust in nature and all things natural. The consultation was an eye opener as it became very evident that the consultant not only had huge knowledge in her field but also about animal behaviourism. With that combination, Caroline instantly recognised the areas that needed special attention. Here is an excerpt of her report:

“His loss of control in a single moment. When startled he can snap at any moment and lose control such as ‘nip bite’. The remedy ‘Dog Rose of the Wild Forces’ – Bush Flowers will offer a security blanket for him being able to cope. The positive attributes of this Flower Essence is that it promotes calmness and serenity.

I feel that Bibi is a very sensitive dog and has boundary issues, and looking through my essences I was very drawn to an Alaskan Essence: One-Sided Wintergreen. You felt that Bibi connects through energy and is strongly influenced by other people’s or animal energies. This essence will provide support and protection for him as he is a highly sensitive being. It will help to strengthen his boundary issues and will help foster harmony with other people and animals. He is highly reactive to other energies that he does not know or is unsure of.

Although I only wanted to choose two essences, I wanted to address Bibi’s fear issue, so I have also chosen Dog Rose – Bush Flower as it will address his fear and his timidness by allowing him to gain courage and belief.”

Bibi and Tinx

Bibi and Tinx

We started Bibi on the Bach flower remedy on or around the 6th of March and needed the first refill beginning of May. It took around 3 weeks to see first signs of progress. Improvements were subtle and could only be measured in nuances, rather than sledgehammer changes, but were nevertheless noticeable in all three areas. It is very difficult to extricate single occurrences of improvements as they were very intricate and interwoven, influencing his overall behaviour. Bibi became calmer, less timid, more confident and less reactive in certain circumstances.

Bibi and Idefix

Bibi and Idefix

Another interesting observation was the changing, slightly reverting picture when the initial remedy bottle neared its end and the further uptake of positive signs and improvements in his behaviour when the fresh remedy (first refill) was used.

Bach flower essences certainly has not only fulfilled but exceeded my expectations and proved to be a powerful additional tool in dealing with autism as evidenced by the changes in my dog. In my case it is used as supportive therapy, though I feel that it’s achievements as ‘stand alone’ therapy would be just as successful.

I would like to add that Caroline’s Bach flower remedies also helped my (non autistic) 17 year old, blind, deaf and 3-legged West Highland Terrier to spend the last few months on this earth feeling calmer, more self-assured and less confused. In this case the Bach flower remedy was used as a ‘stand alone’ therapy.

Dr P Dance
Great Britain


  1. says

    It just occurred to me that dogs could very well have autism, just as humans can. I began to look it up and was amazed to find concurrence on this. I am going to try to flower essences, but I was also wondering if operant conditioning might be effective. My Otis is 18 months. I got him at 4 months with the breeder describing him as timid. I noticed immediately that he would become very stiff when I held him. A vet told me, “It’s just who he is.” I’ve had dogs for too many decades to know when something is amiss. Since I have an M.S. in Special Edu., with autism my main interest, the signs just became unmistakable. Otis is very motivated by food and does show emotion via excitement over mealtime. I wonder if I gave him tiny treats while holding him (at which time he stiffens and stares straight ahead) if he would generalize the joy of the treats with being held, even though it’s a sensory issue, I realize.

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