Tag Archives: low stress handling

Doggy quote of the month for June

Sophia Yin was a pioneer and advocate for low-stress handling. She sadly took her own life in 2014; veterinarians around the world have high suicide rates – a combination of on-the-job stress and easy access to drugs. Please be kind to your veterinarian and others in your dog’s healthcare team.

Low stress handling and the use of food diversions

Heading dog with food diversion for dog massage

This is Bee, a young heading dog.  Yesterday, she had her third massage and, with each session, she’s getting better.

There’s nothing physically wrong with Bee; her Mum is training her for competitive agility and wants to keep her in top condition.  Since Bee is high-energy, the massage sessions are also to help her with focus and mindfulness.

During her first massage, Bee took a long time to settle.  At her second massage, I suggested that we introduce a toy and we used a braided rope tug toy.  Then I decided to try pushing some treats into the braids and we got almost instant results.  Bee became more relaxed and allowed more touch.  When I left, her Mum and I promised each other that next time, we’d use a food toy for the entire session.

So yesterday, her Mum was ready.  And how clever is she???  She purchased a silicone pot holder for only $2 from Kmart and spread it with peanut butter.  We had our best massage yet.

Low stress handling techniques are all about keeping the dog below threshold – no stress or anxiety.  Food diversion toys can help with this – and they don’t have to be fancy or expensive.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand