Last week I went to work with a difficult dog, wearing my Dog Whisperer hat.
The client, Maggie, called me about Earl, a large rat terrier, who is very intelligent but also very stubborn. She told me Earl is being "vicious" toward other dogs and the problem is getting worse.
Earl understood my corrections and quickly fell in line with what I was suggesting to him, which was to remain calm at all times, specially when he sees another dog.
I handed the leash to Maggie and I explained how to handle Earl while being calm and assertive. She did an excellent job and was able to give appropriate corrections that helped Earl remain calm in the face of other dogs. His behavior immediately changed for the better and we were both pleased.
We went back to the house and we worked on Earl's relationship with one of the cats in the home. The two don't get along, with the cat swatting Earl and Earl wanting to bite the cat. Worried that Earl will attack, Maggie does not allow them to be in the same room. We worked on calming Earl, using clear boundaries and hands-on techniques. The cat was more relaxed and Maggie could see and understand what she needed to do to create a better relationship between cat and dog.
While browsing my website Maggie had read about The Alexander Technique. She asked me if I thought I could help her older Australian Shepherd, Lilly, who has a hip problem on one side. I have often given Alexander Technique work to animals to loosen habitual tension in their joints, with great success. I said I would be happy to work with Lilly. Lilly was cautious and frightened at the start as she had experienced some rough work in the past, however my work is very gentle and soon she was relaxed. Lilly was able to let go of some tension around her hip, which is what I wanted.
Next Maggie asked me if I could help her sick duck! The duck had a "vent prolapse" that day, when trying to lay an egg. I was happy to use my Alexander hands on a duck!
I found the duck, Cousteau, in a shower stall, in a container with water at the bottom. I reached down and felt the underside of the duck. The Alexander Technique is based on releasing tension. As expected, because of the prolapse, there was no excessive tension that I could detect. However when I moved to the shoulder, back and wing areas of the duck I was surprised by how much tension there was! I spent about 10 minutes working on the duck. She had 2 big releases of tension, which was good news.
Maggie asked if I would try to feed Cousteau some peas and corn as she had not been eating earlier. To Maggie's delight Cousteau ate hungrily. And it was a lovely experience to feel her gently eating out of my hand!
The next day I received this email:
It was a pleasure meeting you and experiencing your work.
Lilly had a pretty dramatic change. Her tail usually hangs tight to her body then curves to her left like a letter "J". It stays that way walking or trotting. Today is the first time I ever remember her moving with her tail up off her body and in alignment with spine out to the tip, swinging naturally side to side. I believe we are on the right track. Thank you!
Cousteau laid her egg last night without recurrence of prolapse. I am keeping her separate in "sick bay". Her appetite is good, her eyes are bright and I am optimistic. Congratulations on your first duck client!
Earl continued to work well on our later walk.
I look forward to experiencing our progress together.
Have a great day!" Maggie, La Conchita, CA
I was thrilled!