Know Your Pooch
Try meditation with your pet
Sounds incredible, but it does work! It works because dogs are keen observers and they try to mimic the owner in many ways. When the owner cuddles his dog and tries to snooze, dog follows him in no time. You just need to understand what is going on inside his brain and once you understand, it becomes easy to alleviate many of his pains and behaviour problems. What is discussed here is a well tried formula, and personally I have experienced that it does work after a bit of practice and patience.
Ever thought what goes inside the brain of your dog? Like you, he also faces several stress situations all day. In fact the loud music on MTV may be an entertainment for you, but for your dog it is a trauma. Thus, what may be perfectly normal situation for you may cause lots of mental agony to the dog! Since he is a living being, he too is prone to physical ailments. There could be situations when he has a headache or even body ache. Poor creature cannot express. Stress is such an issue that often it is difficult to gauge even in the humans. In case of dumb animals it is all the more difficult to judge whether the dog is stressed or not? A dog left alone, may chew your costly shoes or dig your sofa to shred all the foam to bits. For you he is a nuisance, cannot remain quiet when left alone, etc. But try to visualise the stress he undergoes, when alone.
Recent researches in medical science have proved that meditation helps to overcome stress. It also helps in lowering the High Blood Pressure. Same way meditation and touch therapy helps a lot in curing a neurotic dog or even curing minor ailments. Dr MW Fox, a canine behaviour specialist, advocates use of this technique as a routine to make the dog’s life better at home. The method is simple. From the very beginning the dog should be used to touch of your fingers and palm on his body. Regular caressing of his body develops a bond of affection with the mankind. He should accept your hand as an object of love and affection rather than an instrument for thrashing.
Meditation on dogs should not be practiced at an early age. Two years is the ideal age to start with. However, as already said, a daily caress with hands is necessary from puppy-hood. Take the dog to a quiet room of the house. Make yourself comfortable either on a mattress on the floor or in a chair, depending upon the size of the dog. A small sized dog can be taken on the lap, while you sit on a chair. Start with gently scratching his forehead with your fingertips. Dog takes some time to settle down. Initially he may try to lick your face or even try to invite you for a game of ‘catch me if you can.’ As he settles and begins to like the touch, start whispering soothing words to him. Soon he will snuggle close to you. Gradually, stroke his forehead and back and then place you palm on his chest.
At the beginning you will feel his heartbeat almost racing, though he may have become quiet. Go on whispering sweet nothings to him and soon you will find that his heartbeat becomes a gentle rhythm. Dogs have very powerful hearing mechanism. While you are trying to pacify and make him lie still he might hear an exciting sound. He may not try to get up because your touch may be very soothing, but you will notice his heartbeat begins to race. But in between if he is relaxed even for a minute, you have made a good beginning.
Once you reach a stage of almost perfection, you will notice that if you sit with your eyes closed, your heart will almost be beating in rhythm with his. This is a kind of bliss which both of you will enjoy. As you practice it daily, you will soon notice that that quiet one minute increases to two and more. At that stage, increase the session to 15 minutes a day. The best time for such sessions is after he had his food and bout of play and been out for his ‘job.’ At this stage start giving a gentle body massage to your dog before starting the meditation session. Soon dog is able to connect the two and learns to enjoy well. Please note that a massage of the lower back especially relives an old dog from many arthritic pains.
In case you have a hyperactive dog then you have all the reason to start a meditative cure. Naturally it will take longer for you to teach meditation to such a dog. There will be moments when you will lose your patience and give up in despair. But always remember that you are dealing with a dog not a human being. If he is hyperactive he has his own reasons for being so. Try to understand the reason for his nature and cure him. In all probability the dog needs more play and attention. Give him all the opportunity for that and thereafter restart the meditation. You will find a positive change in his behaviour. In fact, curing a neurotic or hyperactive dog is not difficult but most of the times owners of such dogs have no time to go in to the details. Once they understand each other’s needs the problem is taken care of.
Canine meditation does help a lot and I have experienced that intelligent and active breed like dachshund responds very well. My dachshund’s personality was totally changed once she started to enjoy the meditation sessions. Similar was the experience with my shy, frisky and perky Miniature Pincher. She lost her shyness with sessions of meditation. May be the day is not far when you and your dog will be in a state of ‘trance’ every day for a few minutes. It will do well for both. Try it!