May 2024 Canine Newsletter

Message from Jim:

Hello all,

This month we’re talking about R&R. For humans R&R usually means Rest and Relaxation, or maybe in more serious situations, Rest and Recuperation. 

With May 20th being National Rescue Dog Day, and May 16th being Horse Rescue Day, we might look at R&R as it applies to dogs and horses (OK… we’ll include cats too) as often meaning Rescue and Rehabilitation.

In the photo below, Popper is on the Rest and Relaxation type R&R.

Rescue and Rehabilitation brings a couple of thoughts to mind.

One is about Rescue. If you’re looking to get a dog (or cat) there are plenty out there ready to be rescued, either from a center or from an owner looking to find a new home for their… pet : ). 

Many of us have our favorite types or breeds of dog, and with the internet these days we have a huge menu to choose from. And the cool thing is that you can choose a specific meal (breed), or a combo meal (mixed breed, or mutt).

When it comes to dogs, I personally prefer the combo with a little bit of the herding type on the side. I find that they usually make sensible, owner-oriented farm dogs, as long as there isn’t anything too exotic hiding in there. 

My wife on the other hand is drawn to the intelligence of the poodle, and almost always seems to be able to find one who comes without the yipping gene. I don’t know how she does it, but she is also somehow able to turn them into sensible farm dogs. I don’t know how much of that has to do with nature vs nurture, but that would be N&N, which is a topic for a different newsletter.

You don’t have to shop at expensive restaurants to find a fancy dog either. With Facebook, or Dog-Face-Book (I made that up), or Why-the-Long-Face-Book (horses), you can often find what you’re looking for nearby.

The other thought is about Rehab. This can mean emotional rehab as well as physical rehab. Most dogs in rescue facilities are there because their owners weren’t able to keep or care for them, or because they were rescued from bad situations. These latter dogs can often need some type of emotional rehab. A new owner, a better situation, and time, can often take care of it. But if you can add some simple Read and Release (another R&R!) techniques into the mix it might provide further help for a dog that has trust issues. And in the process your dog may give you some insight into where he or she may be holding physical tension in the body. The technique itself (the Bladder Meridian technique) is so simple, easy to learn, and free. And it’s on the menu!

In the video below, I talk about using the Bladder Meridian technique on some shelter dogs I practiced on, when I first started working on the Beyond Dog Massage book.

I’ve been lucky that all of the dogs that have come into my life have been looking for a home at the time. When I was nine my first puppy waddled into our yard out of an orange grove in southern California. Probably a drop-off. As my parents already had eight kids running around, they didn’t notice a puppy in the mix for weeks.

That’s not true. : ) They fell in love with Cleo right away, plus she was a cheap baby-sitter.

We found our spotted dog Nellie at a local dog rescue. They said she was most likely dropped off on the side of the road. We were looking for a herding-type mix and Conley found her online. She adjusted well with time and trust, but where the bodywork really came in handy was to help her release muscle tension that built up as a result of her using only two gears: high and sleep.

She didn’t even have much of an eat gear, probably because it’s difficult to eat while running or sleeping. But she was our aussie Popper’s little sister and constant companion until Popper passed away last Fall. 

Nellie in high gear!

Nellie in winter

Nellie now has a little brother; a soon-to-be farm Poodle named Jupiter who is taking over the high speed position. 

Jupiter in High Gear!

I guess the message here - besides life goes on - is that it’s good to rescue and rehab your canine partners whenever possible.

And that it’s good to rest and relax together.

Until next month,


Restless or Relaxed?

Last month we asked the question on social media ‘When you do Masterson Method with your dog, is he fidgety?’.

The votes are in and it seems lots of dogs out there have trouble keeping still as 84% of you voted "Yes, in some spots he is" and only 16% of you said "No, he's a puddle!" (not a poodle! Although it's okay if he/she IS a poodle!...oops, better quit while we're ahead).

It’s also important to remember that fidgeting can be part of the process and a sign that you’ve brought your dog’s attention to something they might have been blocking out, or that is making them feel uncomfortable.

If you’re practicing the Search, Response, Stay, Release techniques, a fidget during Search could indicate this. If they start to fidget when you’re on the Stay, it could also be a signal that they’re about to Release. The more you practice on your dog, the more you’ll get to understand them and interpret their body language. And if you’re not sure what a fidget is, it could include:

- Looking away from you (or giving you a side eye!)

- Fussing in any way

- Wanting to move or walk away

- Scratching, stretching or flexing the body

What to do with a Fidgety Dog?

Read and Release Course Instructor Valissa Willwerth has some great tips here for a Dog on the Move. (Valissa is also an Equine MMCP and Concert Violinist!)

Wait for it...wait for it....oh, so satisfying!

Read and Release Courses!

Don't be in the Dog House - join the Zoom Room.

We've got you covered for the next 3 months - sign up and join the fun.

Ready for live instruction:

Tuesdays 4:00 pm CT: May 7, 14, 21, 28 with Kalin Finsand

Thursdays 12:00 pm CT: June 6, 13, 20, 27 with Coralie Hughes

Tuesdays, 5:00 pm CT: July 2, 9, 16, 23 with Valissa Willwerth

Course Information

Nellie getting some Rest and Recuperation type R&R

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  YouTube