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Addressing Stress In Service Dogs

Can you imagine…the frustration of a puppy that is not able to run and play with the others when he sees them having fun? Restricted “in harness” hours at a time? Limited to strict behavior? Required to be focused, alert, and at attention in highstress situations for long periods of time? Can’t eliminate when he needs to? Drink when he’s thirsty? Or sleep when he is exhausted?

Now…Imagine a 4 year old child living through this experience. Because, that is the mental equivalent of a canine. And THIS is the life of a service dog.

Given, these dogs are trained to endure to go above and beyond for their owners. But it does not mean these canines do not experience the stress (and related health conditions) that accompany the demands of their career in service. What some do not realize is that dogs, especially service dogs, experience mental and emotional stress just like humans do.

There are a variety of therapies that have been scientifically proven to promote balance of the nervous system and immune system, therefore, addressing stress. These therapies include: Acupuncture, Medical Massage, Bowen Therapy, Osteopathic Manipulation, and Trigger Point.

What some do not realize is that dogs, especially service dogs, experience mental and emotional stress just like humans do.

Canine AcuTouch (CAT) is a unique “Unified Therapy” combining three of these validated therapies Acupoint, Trigger Point, & Bowen Therapy adapted to canine anatomy. Utilizing the fact that all three of these therapies intersect at key release points in the body, Canine AcuTouch harnesses the experience of 1000 years in a single touch addressing physical, emotional, mental, and physiological issues at their “core”. Conditions related to pain response, stress, trauma, anxiety, inflammation, recovery time, and more are addressed by this safe and gentle, yet effective therapy. CAT is a holistic health and wellness program that complements regular veterinary care.

Having introduced Canine AcuTouch to some of the “Guide Dogs for the Blind” puppy raisers, trainers, and service dog recipients the benefits of this therapy have been acknowledged as an asset in the health and welfare of a career service dog.

So, what better way to honor these canines than to address their “unseen” challenges with the  “Shared Vision Project”. It is all about raising awareness of stress in service dogs. I invite you to join me in support of this worthwhile cause that will provide Wellness Workshops to educate and “train the trainers” to assist the dogs we depend on so much. Help me reach as many service dog organizations, owners, and handlers as possible calling attention to this very important issue. Just being aware of the many ways that these dogs who “work for a living” can be better able to cope is essential to their lives, and to the lives of those they serve. It is about GIVING BACK to those courageous canines who dedicate their lives to service.   

For more information on how you can help raise awareness through the Shared Vision Project or to find out more about the Canine AcuTouch program, contact: Barb@Cat4Dogs.com, or see our website: CanineAcuTouch.com. Be sure to mention you are a Pet Lover’s Guide reader!


Barb Ahern has been a Holistic Health Practitioner in Northern and Central California for 16+ years, currently sharing her practice between Cameron Park and Carmel, CA.