Dog Anxiety & Acupressure
Acupressure & Massage
A Little Background
Acupressure was developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago. Acupressure is similar acupuncture, but rather than using needles, fingers are used to stimulate pressure points that connect to various parts of the body. This stimulates the body’s natural ability to cure itself. Acupressure is used to treat many illnesses and relieves stress-related issues. Massage is very relaxing for dogs. It enhances the bond between you and your dog and releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) for both you and your dog. The TTouch (Tellington Touch) is another method using touch. These techniques need to be done in a calm environment without distractions.
A dog cannot be jumping around. A session cannot be done right after exercise or eating. He needs to be in one place sitting or lying down. You must also be calm as dogs pick up your energy and you want to create a relaxing and secure environment. It might sound corney, but you need to have your FULL concentration on your dog. Your energy MUST be positive, calm, and relaxed.
Here are some important things to remember. To begin the session, have your dog lie down and give long steady strokes from the back of the neck, down his body to his ankles. This should be done with clean hands. Make sure your hands aren’t cold.
When applying your finger(s) to the pressure points, avoid using your fingernails. While applying pressure, keep your finger steady in place for 10 to 30 seconds (or up to 60 seconds if your dog is comfortable with it). If your dog isn’t comfortable for 10 seconds, but ok with 5, that’s ok too. You can work up to increase the time each session. Don’t force yourself onto your dog. This is supposed to be a pleasurable experience for both of you. The fingers used are the index, middle, and thumb. The pressure should be light enough so your dog will feel your finger, but firm enough to hold your finger in place. When you release your finger(s), life your fingers up in a slow, steady, and fluid motion. After treatment, allow your dog to rest for a few hours before rigorous exercise.
Example of the importance of focusing: Imagine a kid texting while you are discussing a critical issue. Need I say more?
Example of the importance of positive energy: If that doctor tells you bad news about a treatable issue and his voice and expression is nervous, that will probably make you nervous as well.
Example of the importance of a relaxing and secure environment: Imagine hearing people fighting in the background with music that you don’t like. That situation is likely to make you nervous.
Example of the importance of being calm: Imagine you are getting a massage. If the massage therapist has just run 10 miles and immediately begins to work on you, the massage is not going to be as therapeutic.
Now it’s not so corney anymore. The following video goes into detail of preparation, session opening techniques, some acupressure techniques, and session closing techniques. It demonstrates the full session for the beginner.
The first point I will discuss is a pressure point called the Yin Tang. There is a little divot located between the eyes. That point is known to induce calm. To find the spot, put your finger between the eyes where a dog might have “eyebrows.”
The following pressure points are used to relieve anxiety, fear, and promotes relaxation.
GV20: Located on the dorsal midline between the ears. There is usually a bump where the point is.
GB20: Located right behind the skull a finger measure off the spine on either side in the divots.
GV17: Located right behind the skull between the GB20 points. It is the Little divot under the bump.
KI3 and BL60: Located at the top of the hock thin skin your fingers will slide into it on either side it is kind of like our achilles this contains these two points which address fear. BL 60 is called the aspirin point and is good one to help with any kind of pain or irritation in the body as well. You grasp it on both sides so that the two points are stimulated at the same time.
ST36: From the front of the knee, slide your finger down into the little groove on the lateral side of each knee.
HT7 and PE7: HT7 (Spirit’s Gate): Located the outside back of the lower front leg. Bend the wrist and feel for the large, natural depression formed slightly above and behind the wrist crease. Those points are on either side and work well together.
PC6 (Inner Gate): Find the pad behind the wrist on the front leg. Move up the leg to the depression between two tendons that run up the back of the leg.
Closing the session:
Close the session with the long strokes that you used for opening the session. At this point, let your dog rest. After all, after a massage, would you want to be rushed up to do exercise?
The ears are another point. There are lots of nerve endings on the flaps of the ears. The thumb and index finger massage in tiny circular motions from the tips of the ears down to the base. Also massage the area by the base of the skull and behind the ears. Dogs love to be massaged there. It doesn’t make a difference if your dog is lying down or sitting.
Linda Tellington Jones created the TTouch (Tellington Touch) method which works well for dogs (and other animals). Like acupressure, the TTouch works through touch. It uses particular massaging techniques that stimulate pressure points to treat emotional and physical issues. The video below demonstrates the TTouch.
Abitbol, Ilona. “Acupressure.” Personal interview. 28 Jan. 2016. Licensed acupuncture and herbal medicine clinician in NY.
Dr. Jones’ Natural Animal Care Course. Web. 20 Jan. 2016. Lecture: Noise Anxiety. Section 5.
Nedra. “Is The 4th Of July Stressful For Your Pup? If So Here Are A Few Tips And Points That May Help | The Wellbeing of All Creatures.” Is The 4th Of July Stressful For Your Pup? If So Here Are A Few Tips And Points That May Help | The Wellbeing of All Creatures. http://www.reikiforallcreatures.com/blog/2014/06/26/is-the-4th-of-july-stressful-for-your-pup-if-so-here-are-a-few-tips-and-points-that-may-help/>. Image and information was kindly authorized.
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