An Easy Way to Improve Your Dog's Well-Being and Deepen Your Bond #21

#canine #debono moves body awareness scan May 21, 2024

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Discover a simple, powerful hands-on technique to help your dog in body and mind while strengthening your bond.  The technique involves a gentle scan of the dog's body, stimulating specific receptors that process sensory information through the emotional part of the brain.

This leads to increased cooperation and bonding between the dog and their person.  The contact has the potential to help your dogg become more resilient to stress and improve communication by enhancing awareness of subtle changes in body language.

This gentle scan can be done with your dog in virtually any position, lying on the side, like a sphynx, sitting or even standing.

The slow, gentle movements encourage a deep connection and understanding of the dog's physical and emotional states.

Approaching the practice with fresh eyes and a beginner's mind can help develop a closer relationship with the dog and potentially identify health issues early on.

More information on how to do a body scan can be found in my book, "Grow Young with Your Dog."

Key Takeaways
- Mary Debono shares a hands-on technique for dogs' physical and emotional well-being
- The technique involves a gentle body scan to stimulate specific receptors
- Touch releases neurochemicals for bonding, cooperation, stress resilience, and communication
- Can be done anytime, dog lying down or sitting, focusing on small details
- Described greater detail in Mary Debono's book "Grow Young with Your Dog"
- Creates a deep connection and heartwarming experience for dog and owner


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All information is for general educational purposes ONLY and doesn't constitute medical or veterinary advice. Please consult a qualified healthcare provider if you or your dog are unwell or injured. 


Today's episode is going to be short and sweet. I'd like to share with you a simple, yet really powerful hands-on technique that can help you help your dog physically, emotionally, and deepen the bond between you two. So whether your dog is new to you, maybe you just adopted a dog, or maybe you're work, you know, have a, a very long time canine companion.

This little simple but powerful hands-on approach can be really helpful. So in case we're meeting for the first time, my name is Mary Debono and this is the Easier Movement, happier Dogs podcast. So this is actually, it's like surprisingly simple and surprisingly powerful to do this. And what it involves is finding a time of day when your dog is relaxed. So if you have a young active dog,

you know, you might wanna do this later in the day, maybe your dog is relaxed a lot. So it's easy to find a time, but make sure you set up the situation for success so that you and your dog can have a wonderful time doing this. So make sure your dog has been fed, exercised, and, you know, minimize the distractions.

And I, I find if you have a dog that is not as used to being touched very gently, you know, maybe they're just not used to that, that you be really mindful of, again, minimizing the distractions and doing it at a time of day where your dog is most likely to be as relaxed as possible. And then what, what the method involves is to just do what I call a scan.

Okay? So a scan is when you just very slowly and gently run your hands down your dog's body, down the back, down the sides, down the legs, you know, just explore. And you really, you'll, you'll bring in your curiosity. Okay? That is really important. 'cause we want to do it in a way that's not the same as petting your dog.

Nothing wrong with petting your dog, that's an awesome thing to do, but it's different. Your dog enjoys petting probably, and your, the dog's nervous system is used to that, enjoys it, but there's nothing really novel about it. What we're doing here is a scan is a little more intentional. So you wanna have the intention behind it, but not the intensity.

Okay? So do it kind of casually. You're just really curious about how your dog feels. And this is important. I find that it's helpful to, as you're running your hands down your dog, like, you know, be curious about what you're feeling like, oh, that feels like the shoulder blade. Can I, can I trace around the shoulder blade?

Right? And again, this work is very gentle, very light, and you only do what you and your dog are comfortable with, okay? So don't touch them in places where they don't want to be touched. But the important thing is to bring your sense of curiosity to the situation and to just be really mindful, like, oh, okay, this is what each toe feels like,

you know, this is what the, the elbows feel like. You know, just be really curious. It's like you can pretend you're a sculptor and you want to sculpt a statue of your dog, so you really need to know all the details of your dog's body. So do it with that level of attention, right? You're just really curious, but you do it slowly enough so that it's a very pleasant sensation for your dog.

And what this does, when you do slow, gentle touch like this, it actually stimulates a particular type of receptor in the dog's body called the ctms. And they're unique in that they process this sensory information. In other words, your, your touch through the emotional part of the brain, not where touch is normally processed. And the other really cool thing is that they found that when those receptors are stimulated by this type of contact,

it releases certain neurochemicals in the dog's body that increase the feelings of cooperation and bonding with you. So that's pretty cool. The other thing they found is that animals, and these, these were rodent studies that they did this, they found that animals that get this type of contact, this slow gentle contact that stimulate those particular receptors, they're more resilient to stress,

which is, again, very cool. The other thing it does is that it can help you improve your co communication with your dog because you start to become very aware of like small, subtle changes in your dog's body language. Yes, your dog might be lying down as you do this, but maybe there's changes around the eyes, the ears, you know what the tail is doing,

just the feeling in the body. So you start to really hone your attention, you start to really develop that ability to kind of read your dog. So now what if your dog doesn't want to lay, you know, lie on their side? That's okay if they're, if they're comfortable lying what they call sternly, like, like a sphinx, that's fine too.

If you wanna do this while your dog is sitting, you can even standing all after all, I do this with horses all the time, and they're generally standing when I do it. But the idea is that you just do it, you know, just running your hands very intentionally. And, but slowly and gently with that high degree of curiosity, you're really like,

like a newbie. Like now of course, maybe you've, you've touched your dog thousands of times over the years, but can you come with it with fresh eyes or fresh hands, I should say, and have that kind of beginner's mind, like, huh, I'm really curious what my dog feels like. And, you know, maybe gently trace down the line of your dog's spine.

What does that feel like? You feel a little changes in the shape of it. You know, you'll start to be much more in tune with things, and then you'll notice if things change over time. And so you can talk to your vet earlier, like, in other words, before it becomes a problem. So, really nice to do for so many reasons.

So again, it's to help your dog physically, because again, we know that stimulating those ltms help the dog physically. It also helps you both emotionally, right? Because you start to get this really deep connection, you're in tune with each other. It just feels so good. You also learn to read your dog better, you know? So it's a,

it's a really wonderful thing to do. And it can be quite literally, I found heartwarming. In other words, you get that warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest when you're just relaxing like this together and doing something that's different than just scratching behind the ears or rubbing the tummy. Nothing wrong with those things, of course, but this is different. It gets the attention of the nervous system in a different way.

The nervous system recognize, okay, this is different. What we're doing right now is different. And so again, then it takes advantage of those neurochemical changes, things like that, that can add value to you and your dog's life. So try it. Let me know how it goes for you. I talk about this a little more in depth in chapter two of my book,

grow Young with Your Dog. And we do a whole exercise about this, about finding different skeletal landmarks on your dog by doing a scan. So you might wanna check that out if you have my book. And if not, it's always available anywhere books are sold. And in the meantime, you don't, if you don't have the book, just simply go very slowly,

gently, remember to breathe and just think of all the wonderful loving energy that you and your dog are sharing. And when you do this, it's a really beautiful feeling. So go Have fun with it. Let me know if you have any questions or if you're dealing with a different kind of challenge. Also, please let me know. You can email me Mary at mary Debono dot com.

And in the meantime, have a wonderful day and I look forward to talking to you again soon. Bye for now.