New year, new opportunities: What to expect in the Year of the Dog

by Kathryn Wortley

Contributing Writer

Faithful, intelligent, warm and full of energy, the dog has long held its place as man’s best friend. That’s good news as we approach 2018, the Year of the Dog, because, according to the Chinese calendar, the next 12 months will be largely shaped by canine traits.

Bearing this in mind, we’ve sought insight from astronomical, spiritual and personal development perspectives to find out what lies ahead in 2018 in terms of life, work, love and health.

The astrologists

Following the Chinese calendar, which rotates in 60-year cycles based on 12 animal years and five element years — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. Earth is a stabilizing and conserving force, marking a significant shift from two consecutive years featuring the fire element — the years of the rooster (2017) and monkey (2016), which brought some disharmony and impulsiveness.

Highly perceptive, the Earth Dog is kind, efficient and skilled in communication. As earth produces metal in the zodiac cycle, 2018 is expected to bring prosperity, particularly to those who, like the dog, are proactive, work hard and communicate well. Moreover, experts predict that those who show generosity to others will reap the greatest benefits throughout the year.

This is because the notion of fair play and social justice is fundamental to the Year of the Dog. Historically respected in China as a work animal (albeit also as a backup food source) and for showing solidarity in a pack, the dog represents integrity and equality. Zodiac readers are therefore predicting a rise during 2018 in the number of citizens demanding change for themselves and others. Social awareness and action, for the many rather than the few, are expected to be the overarching themes of the year.

The dog’s role as protector of the home may also result in a shift geographically and politically from predominantly offensive positions to more defensive positions throughout the year. Chinese people also regard the dog as an auspicious animal that can bring peace.

While 2018 is expected to be a good year on the whole, the dog’s sensitivity to others and devotion to equality may bring nostalgia for yesteryear that could lead to feelings of sadness and fragility.

Chart readers warn those born in the Year of the Dog to pay attention to one
Chart readers warn those born in the Year of the Dog to pay attention to one’s health due to the risk of stress in 2018. | GETTY IMAGES

In personal terms, as the dog is full of energy, 2018 offers plentiful opportunities for business and to be sociable. With them, however, comes the risk of time-related pressures, stress, exhaustion and other health problems. Chart readers have warned that 2018, particularly for those born in the Year of the Dog, is a year to pay attention to your health due to the risk of burnout.

People born in the years of the dragon, sheep and rooster are also expected to have a difficult time in 2018, while those born in the Year of the Rabbit, who had a direct clash with the rooster last year, will have the best year, followed by those born in the Year of the Tiger and Year of the Horse. Thanks to the dog’s intelligence, training and discipline, experts say the Year of the Dog is a good time to try new business ventures or make lifestyle changes because it will be easy to consider their pros and cons.

The doggy traits of generosity and faithfulness are said to be good news for friendships and marriage in 2018, but family fallouts are to be expected. Ultimately, though, the dog’s unfailing loyalty is expected to bring positivity to relationships, both on an individual and group basis.

Psychic medium Laurier Tiernan
Psychic medium Laurier Tiernan | E.H. TIERNAN

The spiritualist

Fourth-generation psychic medium Laurier Tiernan, 44, agrees that 2018 will be a year in which people become more aware of imbalances of power and seek to adjust them. He is predicting more allegations of abuse coming to light, not only of men against women but also of women against women, but says this activity will be the result of a shift in the universe that began in 2015.

The Tokyo-based Canadian, who began to study spiritualism following a near-death experience in 2008, has in recent years welcomed new clients who “feel antsy” for no apparent reason as well as creative people who “sense the shift and seek help to navigate it.”

Tiernan admits that neither he nor his peers know the cause of the shift, with possible reasons being the acceleration of the Earth’s rotation, the movement of the Earth’s axis or the recent proximity of heavenly bodies, but says the shift is “possibly the biggest spiritually since the big bang.”

He believes it is this shift that is causing the Earth to evolve, resulting in dramatic changes worldwide, including many that people are finding difficult to accept.

“People see change around them and feel the world is going crazy but the world is just shifting,” Tiernan says. “As the world’s physics is shifting, so are relations between people. We are seeing the growing pains of the human race but, in general, the world is heading in a better direction.”

In broad terms, then, Tiernan says 2018 will be a year “of paradox, of unpleasant shocks and pleasant surprises in equal doses.” Based on his psychic readings, in which he enters a meditative state in order to “access information from the central server that we’re all connected to,” he says the new age movement’s concept of following your bliss to attain good things will be “almost undeniable” in 2018.

Although raised a strict Catholic, Tiernan has seen visions since he was a small child. At age 19, he began to explore Buddhism and tarot before receiving training from England’s Arthur Findlay College, a global leader in the fields of spiritualism and psychic sciences.

Today, he says he uses hypersensitivity inherited from his mother, who has read tea leaves professionally for decades, and his maternal great-grandfather, who once channeled information to solve crime as a police officer in northern Canada.

Tiernan channeled 2018 and received the image of two tarot cards: the Four of Pentacles and the Fool.

He says the former warns that people whose priority is maintaining the status quo “will feel like they are being destroyed in pretty much every aspect of their life (in 2018).” He advises people to “avoid feeling that what they have is as good as it can be.”

Rather than fear change, he says, we need to be open to things in 2018 because “our best possible reality might be something we can’t imagine”.

The dog
The dog’s unfailing loyalty is expected to bring positivity to relationships in 2018. | GETTY IMAGES

This idea manifests itself in numerology, too, which marks 2018 as a special year. When the numbers in 2018 are added together, the outcome is 11, one of only three master numbers in the science.

“The repeated digits are really rare,” Tiernan says. “And 11 is the number of the master who can make magic happen, so it is important that people go for gold more than ever before in 2018 in all aspects of their lives. The universe is asking us to ascend to that master consciousness of 11 as much as possible next year.”

Tiernan believes that because “our dreams come true most often when our timing matches the universe’s timing,” 2018 is a year in which our ideal lives can become a reality. All we need are opportunities, openness and drive, he says.

Similarly, those who follow the example of the Fool tarot card and follow their heart rather than their head are expected to ascend the ranks in many more areas than before. Being faithful to your heart is therefore one of the key lessons for the Year of the Dog, Tiernan says.

To “flow with the current of 2018 as easily as possible,” Tiernan recommends getting into a carefree state of consciousness and thinking of your wildest dreams in each part of your life. They may be general, such as a fulfilling job or healthy body, or something more specific — the key is simply listing them. Once that’s been done, set a timeline to achieve each item by Dec. 31, and look at that list every day.

Moreover, your state of mind when reading the list each morning is important. If the list is read following time spent on email and Facebook rather than meditation, you will be in a reactionary state rather than a creative one, which is more effective.

“Take out the list and visualize it, indicating to the universe that you are ready. Then go on with your day,” Tiernan suggests. “People who approach life like that will be surprised at how they feel support from the universe in 2018 — like they have a jetpack with fuel.”

A truism for the Year of the Dog, he concludes, is that sometimes we can discover opportunities by having a mindset that is open to possibilities.

Life coach Sarah Furuya
Life coach Sarah Furuya

The life coach

While Sarah Furuya’s thoughts on getting the best out of 2018 are among those she offers her clients over the long term, they are likely to be easier to remember during the Year of the Dog.

Her first tip is to practice devotion, a trait our four-legged friends are renowned for. Her second is to be “radically positive,” aiming for what Furuya describes as “tail-wagging goodness.”

The 46-year-old British life coach recommends that everyone chooses a word for the year, followed by a few additional related words and a phrase. Anything that falls outside of that is something we should say no to, in order to be completely devoted to our theme for the year.

She likens the idea to a target, around which are concentric rings according to level of importance or worthiness. Anything in the bullseye or first ring is a “yes,” the second ring might be a “maybe,” while the third ring is probably a “no.” Those ideas or activities outside the target should be considered for 2019 — if at all.

“Time is the only real currency we have,” she says, explaining that there are so many options on offer, particularly in Tokyo. People should therefore decide on their focus and what they want to devote themselves to, and remove the things that don’t contribute to it. The next step is considering who to be devoted to.

“Dogs are pack animals and understand hierarchies,” she says, “so you should know your mentors, cheerleaders, advocates and detractors — who can often help you with due diligence.”

According to Furuya, the focusing process can help “reduce noise” in our lives, while practicing devotion will boost general well-being. By thinking consciously about whether an invitation or activity deserves a “yes” or “no” according to your bigger life picture, she believes the “gray area” of not wanting to do something but doing it regardless starts to disappear.

“People feel scandalous saying no to things so they think of reasons not to do those things in the gray area, making people passive-aggressive and brittle,” she says. “But if you say no to things you are not devoted to, you will get lots of lovely things in life.”

Aside from having more time, benefits include an increase in joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in everyday life, she says, allowing people to say goodbye to the fear of missing out and feelings of obligation.

In her life, she says she is happier, kinder, less tired, more authentic and better off financially thanks to her method. Her clients, too, have reported feelings of excitement at being able to work smarter and enjoy more the things that matter most.

In love, Furuya says that starting to practice devotion will shine a light on what is wrong in a relationship and allow people to address it. Meanwhile, thoughtfully saying “yes” and “no” will make those who are uncoupled more happy, authentic and, therefore, attractive.

“Love yourself and be open and you will attract someone who likes the real you,” she says.

The Year of the Dog is also a time to take stock of your health and well-being, Furuya says. She advises honestly assessing your current situation, including where things are working and not working, and what the first action step could be to lighten or clear your mental load.

With the goal of achieving tail-wagging goodness in 2018, Furuya recommends we ask ourselves a question posed by U.S. physician and coach Sarah Bamford Seidelmann: “How good are you willing to let it get?”

“It’s a really confronting question and means there’s no moaning,” Furuya says. “Sometimes things are hard but when you wake up, you’re really willing to invest in the day. Be positive and open. Every time you have a mean thought, wear low-self-esteem clothes or have negativity, you are taking away from how good you are willing to let it get.”

For those who have experienced a difficult 2017 because of a bereavement or divorce, for example, she says the best to let it get might equate to an “average” 2018. Others who are content, however, might consider “How much magic can I inject to make my joy grow?”

Ultimately, though, Furuya says “will” is the important word in the question. She argues that every person should take 100 percent responsibility for what happens next in their life coaching journey, which begins with the individual.

“The most generous and loving people are not the kind of people who put themselves down,” she says. “Love yourself first and be willing to let your life be really good. Whatever you are willing to give someone, give also to yourself plus alpha. Expect it, ask for it and give it to the people you are devoted to.”

With kindness, loyalty and faithfulness expected to play a key role in the Year of the Dog, it sounds like solid advice.

Doggy treats for all

Although astrologists, spiritualists and coaches share different perspectives on what might lie ahead in 2018, all seem to agree that the Year of the Dog is set to offer opportunities aplenty for people who follow their heart, embrace positivity and are devoted to their goals.


Paws for thought

People born in the Year of the Dog are typically loyal, faithful and honest, and always stick to a firm code of ethics. That said, they rarely, if ever, trust others. Some notable personalities born in the Year of the Dog include:

  • Socrates
  • Winston Churchill
  • Mariah Carey
  • Elvis Presley
  • Madonna
  • Freddy Mercury
  • Liza Minelli
  • Lenin
  • Cher
  • Bill Clinton
  • George W. Bush
  • Mother Teresa
  • Prince William