Canine Therapeutic Touch
How you choose to approach the dog and apply your initial therapeutic touch is very important for your success. Moving around in the clinical environment with care and mindfulness supports a positive therapeutic approach.
Try to approach the dog from the side in a balanced and thoughtful manner as you carefully evaluate the dog's behaviours to your approach. Respond to the canine feedback signals and evaluate your next step.
For example, for one dog you may use the lead the dog is wearing and introduce a "lead stroking technique" as a calming strategy and a way to use a non contact connection with the dog. However for another dog you may choose to introduce your first direct touch with the back of your hand or your relaxed finger pads.
Each situation is different and you modify your choices to ensure a positive interaction that is positive, focused, calm, considered and proprioceptively enriched.
Your first therapeutic touch opens the way to the dog working with you. Avoid your first direct touch being near the dog's known problem area. Usually most first therapeutic touches work well when applied at the forequarters such as the shoulder area, lateral aspect of the forelimb or the chest.
Introduce your therapeutic touch for a few seconds, then slowly move your hand away and interpret the dog's behaviours and signals to you. This will assist your clinical reasoning and judgement about when and where to apply your follow on Therapeutic Touch.
Over-handling may lead to the dog being confused and moving into evasive behaviours, as well as diminishing the therapeutic impact and effectiveness of your treatment.
Less is always more in canine therapy!
By analysing the dog's constant feedback signals towards your therapeutic intervention you can make your next choice. When you approach from the side, the dog may choose to move and you would aim to reposition yourself at their side. From this position you can observe the dog's feedback signals using your peripheral vision and adjust your body posture responsively.
Canine "Therapeutic Holds"
Canine Key Points of Control are influential body reference points which when used with Therapeutic Touch and Holds, can directly facilitate and encourage a particular posture or guided movement sequence.
These have developed from neurodevelopmental concepts used by therapists since the 1970's and are exceptionally useful treatment techniques for all dogs.
The sternal therapeutic hold is a major canine Key Point of Control to assist the dog in achieving a consciously mediated balanced stand. This therapeutic hold empowers the therapist to influence the dog's proprioceptive system and their innate behaviours by creating a therapeutic hand brake where the dog achieves a balanced stand directed by your combined touch and body posture.
This is not about power grips or holding firm, quite the opposite in fact. The considered hold is a hugely powerful technique and can be graded and modified by the therapist depending on the moment by moment feedback signals from the dog.
Gross tension holds where the collar, harness or lead is held to restrain a dog will take the dog out of their natural balance. This does not provide a positive or therapeutic experience to build that all important professional therapeutic connection of calm focus. Working in a calm, actively engaged and focused way has a huge proprioceptive value rating for the dog.
Canine Movement Shaping
Movement Shaping and Therapeutic Harness Holds provide the therapist with subtle and effective movement controls, leading to treatments that are hugely proprioceptively enriched. Generating corridor or channel shapes facilitates the dog to consciously mediate it's movement patterns in response to the therapists guidance.
This is achieved by linking meaningful and relevant canine motor sequences to the proprioceptive system via the the special proprioceptors in the eyes, vestibular apparatus and the dog's body map of receptors.
Movement Shaping is achieved by the careful transmission of Therapeutic Touch and Tensioning through the Y shaped harness. This integrates to the mindful use of a variety of different visual indicators (Clinic Enrichment combined with therapist body postures) the therapist can generate both on land and in water.
Therapeutic Handling (TH) techniques empowers the professional bond between the therapist and each dog, bringing all these elements together making a therapeutic partnership that matters and gets the best results.
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