Over the the last few months I am really learning to pay attention to the little details. As some of you may know, I started this journey because of my old guy Fozzy. He has spondylosis in his lower back and some narrowing of the vertebrae, which makes movement hard for him some days. I wanted other options for him other then having to always resort to medications. Don't get me wrong, medication is definitely needed but I want to keep it at the lowest dose possible for the longest time. I researched and looked around and of course had some help from a friend, thanks Carolyn, I have pursued my goal and have become certified in canine bodywork.
As my journey continues, I am learning that every dog presents with something different and shows me many different ways of communicating. It is not always something that is so clear and hits you in the face. Sometimes it is something so subtle that you may miss it. My most recent experience with this is with my own dog, Anarchy. She has been my dud dog that will always be in need of physical therapy and different modalities. I am ok with that. She is a great dog and great learning tool for me.
We were at an agility trial in June and she was just being "strange", which is something that I have been dealing with for a little while now. I was taking all the steps that were needed to help move her past this "strangeness" but nothing was working. She just did not want to come off of the start line when we ran a class. It baffled me. This was something new and I was not sure what was happening. She looked worried so I was convinced that she just did not like the people being behind her. We worked through and carried on. The following week she had no issues. She was a firecracker in class and had no worries in the world. So I chopped it up to, she was worried about the people and it was yet another behavioural issue that I needed to deal with. Two weeks go by and I do not see the behaviour again so I move on. Then we were in a seminar and low and behold the behaviour strikes again. This time showing a little bit more. She was worried and not certain and then it became very clear when she avoided a piece of equipment, that she was in fact painful. I felt terrible. She was trying to tell me earlier that she was uncomfortable but being the dog that she is, she will do anything that I ask. Off to her rehab vet we went the next day and yup she was out of whack.
The moral of this really long post is, you need to pay attention to what the dogs are telling you. They can't say the words so it is our responsibility to pay attention to the actions and reactions that they provide us. Some dogs will go, go as long as you let them and others know their limits. Take the time to know what your dog is saying and know that if something is "off" then you should probably listen to that and take the next step.