Some dogs work for a living. An abundance of evidence supports the use of massage and energy therapies on dogs that work in performance, sport, police, or service positions. The constant vigilance of remaining alert to the needs of those they assist can create tensions, emotional suppression, anxiety, or injury – no matter whether those stresses stem from chasing and subduing a suspect or simply from landing after catching a frisbee. The roster of therapeutic skills within the Total Balance Method curriculum will provide several layers of support for all these dogs and their owners. The vast majority of dogs are companions and live most of their lives close to home, or even on the couch. Perhaps this would lead many to the erroneous belief that there is little need to employ therapeutic techniques on companion dogs. Dogs, by nature, are gifted in the assimilation of daily joys and stresses from their owners. Whether they see it, hear it, or simply “feel” it, the connection to their owners is palpable. Frequently, dogs mirror the physical ailments of their owners. Massage techniques provide a release not only for the dogs, but often the owners, as they are concentrating on the dog, relieving themselves temporarily of subconscious stresses. When being massaged or stretched, many dogs experience better muscle resilience, providing a better platform for good chiropractic alignment. In addition, with the better understanding of dog conformation, it is much easier for the owner to detect soft tissue stresses, or irregular carriage which frequently transforms into arthritis. These are all conditions that, if found early, may respond to holistic therapies, allowing for more relief before pharmaceuticals become necessary.
Though beneficial, massage and stretching should be done with the consideration of the dog’s individual characteristics in mind. For instance, the therapies chosen for large dogs do not always translate in the same way to a small dog. The general techniques are the same, but how they are applied will vary not only by dog size or temperament, but also by the physical capability of the owner. Through personal mentoring from Dawn, the techniques are selected based on various factors of partnership between the dog and owner. The course curriculum is based on the single dog information that is submitted. However, due to the extensive work with a personal mentor, the students learn the cause and effect relationship between the therapies, so adapting the techniques to additional dogs is easily accomplished.