This is Penny. She is three years old. She is a rescue. She was once hit by a car and has a metal plate in her leg. Her person wanted me to help Penny choose not to swat at her person sometimes. I wondered if Penny swats because she is in pain. Penny says, “When you say ‘maybe she swats and bites because she is protecting her body’, I am thinking about that. I wonder if protecting my body is the reason, because sometimes, I am thinking I love you but don’t touch me. So, what do I do to feel better in my body?”
Animals often have behaviors that they are not conscious of. Two of the main reasons for aggression in animals are fear and pain in the body. We can help them become more conscious and aware of their feelings and behaviors by watching them closely while we are petting our animals and when they react. Then calmly and quietly point it out to them. Then tell them to hold in their nails or to just bump us with their nose. We want them to communicate with us where they feel uncomfortable, but we want to make sure we don’t get hurt in the process.