Essential oils in behavior training

A growing number of dog owners are reluctant to use behavior medications on their dogs because of the time involved in figuring out the right dosage, and the related levels of sedation that often accompany treatment. In moderate cases, a successful incremental change in behavior may be achieved using essential oils combined with a behavior modification training treatment plan.

According to Dr Joie Power – a retired board-certified neuropsychologist with experience in the olfactory and limbic systems of the brain, and a student of aromatherapy and herbal medicine – aromatherapy was found to be a useful adjunctive intervention in cases of chronic stress and/or depression in humans. The bond between odor and memory can be useful in psycho-therapeutic settings. Practitioners may be able to facilitate recall of an event by presenting aromas linked with the event.

Research also shows different live botanical essential oils produce consistently different brain wave patterns on EEGs, even when subjects report little to no perceived change in their mood.

Findings suggest aromas can have unconscious effects on human mental states. Could they do the same with dogs?


Aromahead Institute, Aromatherapy Certification online studies

AshiTherapy, Small Animal Aromatherapy Practitioner Certification online studies

Association of Professional Dog Trainers (, Online Educational Course: “Canine Hormones: From Molecules to Behavior” by Jessica Heckman, DVM, MS

”Psychoneuroimmunology and Aromatherapy: A Neuropsychologist’s Perspective” and “Aromatherpay and Emotions”, by Dr. Joie Power, PhD