The bond between animals and their humans is strong, and it is even more so when it comes to assistance dogs and their owners. Together, the two form a team, each relying on the other for survival. Not every dog trained ultimately becomes a service dog, but the great need for these animals is dire. Training is time-consuming and hard work, for both dog and trainer, so when there is an issue with the dog that can be overcome, it’s critical to make it happen.
Healing Touch for Animals® practitioner Deb Bauer, from Cochranville, Pennsylvania, experienced this first-hand. Here is her story
I train service dogs to help people with various disabilities. One of the dogs in our program did not tolerate grooming very well. He was a breed that requires regular and extensive grooming, so this was an issue. His trainer worked with him religiously to teach him to be more tolerant. He was able to be groomed, but it was a struggle for even his trainer. We knew that his behavior would be difficult for someone with a disability to handle on a regular basis. So the dog was released from our program and we set about trying to find him a nice home as someone’s pet.
While we were waiting, his hair grew and grew. We needed to get him groomed to make him look good for people who wanted to come meet him. We called the vet to come sedate him so we could shave him and get him groomed in a stress-free manner. I was to be the person to shave him and get him groomed while he was sedated, so I waited with him for the vet to arrive.
As fate would have it, the vet was detained and was late showing up, and I knew I had other commitments later in the day. I started working with the dog with HTA techniques and I was able to turn on the clippers near him without upsetting him too much. More HTA: I ran the clippers over his body lightly without actually clipping his hair. More HTA: I was able to clip his body hair a little at a time. Interspersing HTA techniques in with the grooming, I had the dog almost completely clipped by the time the vet arrived.
Clipping his face would be the hardest and I saved it until last, hoping the vet would arrive by then. She had arrived, but because I was having such success, I decided to try it on my own.
Thanks to HTA techniques I was able to finish grooming the dog. We decided to give the dog another chance in our training program to see if he would continue to make progress with the grooming issues. He did. He can now be groomed and clipped regularly without any issues! He has been placed and is working as a service dog with his very own person, and he is always well-groomed and proudly wears his many fancy collars to show off his new haircuts
If you have a story about HTA techniques, we would love to hear about it. Please contact us!