When you study to learn Reiki, you become obsessed with learning the correct hand movements, the right symbols to pronounce, the standard positions on the body. Yes, it is important to learn these in the beginning.
When I began teaching workshops about Reiki, I told those in attendance that in the beginning, you need these symbols and positions to focus on………Learning to be a channel for energy is a tall order. The focus on symbols and positions keeps you grounded and not full of oneself. Reiki energy workers do not heal…..we are only the channelers of Universal energy which has the capacity to free the body of negative energies causing harm.
Once you have been practicing Reiki for a time, the characters and positions become less influential in your sessions. Intuitively, the energy moves through you and guides you where it needs to be channeled.
Can you do Reiki on a pet without any formal teaching? I believe so. Reiki is intention, or prayer to some. Formal teaching and attunements do intensify your ability to be receptive to this energy and channel it more effectively. It teaches the energy centers or chakras to familiarize you about how energy flows and affects each part of all beings. If you are serious about learning it, then I would advise you to seek out a qualified teacher to learn and set off on the proper steps………from then on, the journey is yours. Of course, along that journey, might I suggest a good read 🙂