Many people these days have realized the importance of de-compressing from their busy lives through such means as doing Yoga, Thai Chi and Meditation. However, teaching our dogs to practice relaxation through similar means is still in it's infancy.
Dogs are so closely linked to our lives and so much a part of our family these days, that a busy and active home life is going to trickle down to them as well. Dogs are a different species then us of-course, however, they have become such an intrinsic part of our lives that the inter species relationship at times appears to be a seamless merger.
This is rather cool when you think about it, but... it also has it's flaws. Dogs are so very adept at adapting to our needs and lifestyle that often times, their needs and who they are as a canine species gets put aside or forgotten.
And usually their needs and/or doggedness does not get noticed unless it becomes an annoyance or interferes negatively on out lives.
To our human credit, we are becoming more and more aware of the needs of our canine companions on their level, but there is still a long road to travel in this area.
Canine relaxation is one of the areas that we still need some work on. Many folks find the idea of canine relaxation and meditation pretty foolish, however, left to their own devices, animals are much better at allowing themselves down time, and such things as relaxing in sunbeams. They are also not ashamed in any way of allowing themselves an afternoon nap.
For those dogs though, who don't have the opportunity to have enough down time because of their busy lives attending classes, daycare, competitions or just living in a really busy household, it is important to take the time to help them take part in relaxation sessions.
Teaching your dog to have quiet sessions with you, where you actually lower the lights, play relaxing (meditation) music and practice deep breathing, will not only benefit your dog, but it will benefit you as well.
Touching your dog or doing light massage and energy work will help your dog to learn to come down from a stressful episode or a busy day. And you can even teach your dog to associate a name, such as "settle" to the gentle ear tip massage or cheek circles you apply. And these cue names can be used at times when you know your dog is going to be in a stimulating environment (such as at the Vet office), to help them feel some relaxation.
Energy work can go by many names such as therapeutic touch, healing touch, reiki and more.
Although most energy work is applied in a similar fashion, I have been trained in Animal Reiki and this therefore this is what I teach my students to apply to their dogs.
Reiki is a natural form of healing and assisting with over-all balance and peace of mind. Reiki is performed by placing hands on or near the dog and the practitioner allowing the energy around us to flow through their hands. A practised hand can sense the areas on the dog where the energy is cluttered and not flowing well and can help these areas become untangled and flow smoothly, as they should.
Even an un-practised hand can help with energy flow however, as we all can transfer energy and help our dogs with light touch and massage. Most dogs who have not had a traumatic experience with touch, love to be petted and touched and most people enjoy touching dogs as well. Both parties generally benefit greatly from calm times together giving and receiving touch.
So even if your dog does not live a busy lifestyle, or compete in sports, the benefits of touch and massage and smooth flowing energy are still amazingly beneficial to them.
And for the dog who is suffering from emotional or physical trauma, or high anxiety episodes - the healing benefits of down time, energy work, and touch & massage are crucial to therapy and eventual well being.
~ Let Our Dogs Have Their Peace ~
© Copyright 2015 Jackie McGowan St. Croix