Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doga in Real Life

Knowing how to calm your dogi down when they are stressed is helpful and important.

I took Honey and Gus into Petco to get their nails trimmed last weekend. Gus was fine with it, but Honey was acting stressed out. The groomer was really nice and very gentle, but Honey kept trying to pull her paws away. Here's what I did:

First of all, dogs are keen observers, so if you're stressed they pick up on it. I wasn't stressed on this day, but the groomers were very busy, so her sensitive soul was probably picking up on their stress. I always try to keep my face relaxed so the dogs will not note stress in my facial expressions, like I said, dogs are keen observers.

Anyway, Honey was stressed so I began to stroke her muzzle with my finger tips. I've heard that a dog's limbic system is connected to the mouth. The limbic system is directly related to things like fear so stroking the muzzle by someone they trust can have calming results. It worked! Honey almost immediately settled down and allowed her nails to be trimmed.

We do this muzzle stroke in doga class sometimes, but this was the big test, real life out of the classroom. I've had students tell me they've tried other calming techniques they've learned in doga class also with positive results. I love that, taking doga off the mat and applying it to life outside of the classroom. Cool and fabulous...


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