Good Dog, Bad Dog: Why Our Dog’s Behavior Might Reflect Our Own Trauma


Polarized behavior modification is the tired belief that a dog is bad or good, dark or light, and the idea of socially acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The same mentality of raising our dogs with “good boy or bad boy reward and punishment” causes an interior split, where the angel on the left shoulder and the devil on the right are born.

What if our dogs are not good or bad, angels or devils, pets or killers?

Why did we pick our angel or devil dog?

In early 2008 I recognized that I attracted clients that had similar trauma to me.

Their dogs showed similiar live-experience patterns.

Family abuse, neglect, torture, domestic violence, to name a few.

I wondered if they picked their dogs so that the could heal from their own trauma, or maybe it wasn’t their own physical trauma in this life time but a past life?

What if it’s the trauma of their ancestors that they are called to heal?

I observed that most aggressive behaviors in dogs are fear-based.

Fear of losing resources became resource guarding, but when I looked into the dog’s timeline there was no confirmation of a trauma.


I remember in one particular case. I client cslked me about  a cute little dog’s depression (photo above) and crate aggression towards the other family dog and humans.

When i arrived I saw a happy dancing dog, friendly and attentive.  I asked the dog in my mind, “who is responsible for your behavior?” The dog turned his head to the fireplace that was decorated with photos of a young person. I asked the dog three times the same questions.

Then I asked intuitively the dog, “who needs help in this family?” I thought the dog would turn to the photos, but no! He turned to the owner ( I thought).

The one who called me was not the actual owner but the mother of the person of the photos. The dog was her sons dog who died in combat few months before.

She was in grief and a denial phase,  but she hired me because she thought her dog was depressed and aggressive.

That was a wake up call!

Was there a way to identify whether the client needed help first or the dog?

How could I convey to the owner that her dog was mirroring her emotions and  mimicking her shadows that needed healing?

According to Carl Jung, the shadow side can be classified as “the hidden, repressed, and for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious’’ (cited in Diamond, p. 96).

WOW 😮 that would explain a lot, right?



The more we reject this aspect, project and avoid, the more this bad ego builds and eventually shows up at our front door, coming around to bite us in the ass when we least expect it.

Unfortunately our dogs see this energy and want us to be safe.

Energetically it feels we are afraid of another person, so the dog looks out for that dangerous person.



In the dog’s mind, usually strangers come through the front door. Our excitement confirms their thought. Our stress from the dog’s barking, or our embarrassment triggers the dog’s aggression towards the “bad intruder”.


We need to become aware of this. Instead of always blaming the dog, check in with ourselves.


This alter ego, if not integrated, has consequences at an individual and collective level and can be what we consider the “self-destructive” aspect of our consciousness.


Our energetic and internal emotional environment affects the ones closest to us.


Our beloved dogs, our kids, and our partner.


Can you see now the potential of your dog being able to help with your shadow work?


Are you curious to learn how to make your dog your best shadow work partner?

Learn More


Roman Gottfried is an internationally renowned Holistic Dog Training, Behavior Expert, and Reiki Master. He works with dog parents worldwide to help their dogs reach their full potential, by teaching them the holistic philosophy of dog training. He sees clients online and in-person.