I’ve been thinking a lot about asking animals permission lately. In my Facebook group, and when I’m teaching people Animal Communication, I routinely remind them to ask the horse permission before going any further with a healing or communication.

Listen to the audio version here:

It’s more than just good manners – when we are doing something as intimate as connecting with an animal on an energetic level, we need to be mindful of what that energy feels like. It would defeat the whole purpose of our intention to help, if we just barged on in with no consideration of whether the animal even wants our help, or wants to talk to us.

I have a friend who is a dog trainer and Tellington Companion Animal Practitioner. She wrote this post on her Facebook page, about consent for dogs.

I’m sure that those of us with anxious dogs or horses (or even yourself if you are shy or an empath) can relate. There’s nothing worse than a strange person or animal coming right into their space.

With dogs and horses, there are easy ways to approach them in a non threatening, gentle way.

Just slowing down, not making direct eye contact, turning your body slightly away, can feel much more acceptable to them.

This morning however, I got a lesson from my kitten.

We’ve had her for about 3 months now and I love her to bits. She’s quite smoochy – loves morning cuddles, and is partial to getting under the covers with me!

But this morning, as I petted her, I suddenly thought, ‘I didn’t ask her permission’.

This kitten is so cute…. she’s soft and silky, and so…. well gorgeously cat like. Delicate, agile, adorable. How can I resist touching her all the time?! And, generally speaking, she doesn’t move away – so she must be ok with it, right?


When she joined me in my office this morning, of course I wanted to say hello and stroke her. She sat quietly, didn’t move away from me – but suddenly I ‘knew‘ that actually she didn’t really want to be touched right then. She wanted to have a wash then a snooze.

In my mind, I asked, ‘Can I stroke you?’, and got a very clear ‘No’. Oops…

It got me thinking, obviously, about how little of the time we actually ask our animals permission to touch or connect with them.

Does it matter?

Do you ask your cat, dog, horse permission to touch them, before you do?

Or, like most of us, do you just touch them as and when you want or need to?

With dogs especially, it’s usually much more obvious when they do want to be touched – mine tend to get right in my face. And horses will put the area that they really want you to scratch right in front of you.

There can be clear signs when we’ve overstepped the mark – the animal moving away, the horse pinning its ears or swishing its tail, or even nudging or nipping if you really weren’t paying attention.

So, should we ask permission every time we want or need to touch them?

There will be times when we just need to do what we need to do – in an emergency, maybe there isn’t time to ask permission before acting.

How about the rest of the time?

Here’s your challenge.

  • Pause before you touch.
  • If the animal belongs to someone else, ask their permission first.
  • Be mindful of your body language and how you approach.
  • Ask the animal’s permission, either in your mind or out loud, and notice what answer you get from them. You might see an obvious yes or no, or hear something, you might just get a feel. Pay attention – and only proceed if you definitely feel it was a ‘yes’.

Do you think this matters?

Should we be asking animals permission before touching, or working with them?

Do they get a say, an opinion?

For me, they should. I want a relationship with the animals in my life, not a dictatorship. Mine aren’t here to serve me, they are my companions.

If you want to increase your animal communication skills, listening to what they are already telling you is a great place to start.

And here’s the thing – when we start giving them a say, when we listen to what they tell us, our relationship with them gets better and better.

I’m off out now to practice what I preach, and see what my horses have to say today!

I’d love to hear your comments or experiences around asking animals permission.

Are you worried about your horse, but can’t quite put your finger on what’s going on? Have a look at my 6 page pdf,What’s Wrong With My Horse, for my insights and advice.

Keep connecting with your animals,

Trisha x

About Trisha

Trisha Wren has been an equine professional for most of her adult life.  She rode, competed, and taught Western Riding for 15 years in Scotland, then horse and rider bio-mechanics in New Zealand and Australia for 10 years.  She’s been a full time horse communicator and healer since April 2016. Find out more about Trisha here and sign up for her self paced Animal Communication course here.