This blog is the first in a series of relaxation techniques that Canine Comprehension teach to students. To be able to do these at home your dogs needs to be able to hold a drop command under distraction.
We want our students to be aware of not just what they are staying to each other, but how they are saying it. Our words, our body language and our tone of voice all contribute to our communication. When we run group classes we often discuss communication and mindfulness. To be aware of good communication, you first have to be aware. Relaxation techniques allow our students to live in the moment and be more mindful of the world around them and their contribution to it.
One relaxation exercise that you can do with your dog is a simple one called: Matching Breaths.
First put both your hands on the dog and feel their ribs moving up and down. Try and watch your hands moving up and down with the dog’s chest. Try and match your breathing to the dogs breathing. Match your breath with theirs and count ten breaths.
Now take your hands away from the dog and take 10 deep breaths in and out. Start by breathing in and out slowly. One cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body. Take 10 of these breaths. Now place your hands back on the dog’s body, and using your relaxed state of mind let the dog feel your breathing and your body relax through your hands.
With your hands on the dog take 10 more slow breaths.
Let go of your thoughts for a minute. Let go of all of the concerns, all of the things you have to do...all of your daily thoughts. Simply let yourself be still for one minute. Purposefully watch your dogs breath, focusing your senses on its pathway as it enters the dogs body and fills them with life, and then watch it work its way up and out of their mouth as its energy dissipates into the world.
Now take your hands off the dog and enjoy the feeling of being relaxed.
Release your dog from the drop position, give them a hug and enjoy feeling calmer.
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