Enhancing Dog Training with Acupressure
Pupper, doggo, woofer, or doggie — whatever you call them, we know they are special to you!
If you’re a new dog owner, a foster parent, or have had several pups in your life, you know the struggle and time it takes to train our favorite four-legged companions. While I can’t speed up training, or help you teach them new tricks, I can give you a great holistic tool to help your dog become calm, focused, and support their memory when in training.
Before we start, you should know a little about what we’re going to be discussing. The tools we are learning come from a technique called acupressure — if you know anything about acupuncture, then you know about acupressure! While acupuncture uses needles to stimulate a specific point, acupressure does not require needles! The “pressure” part of acupressure is that it only requires gentle pressure to those specific points. If you want to learn a little more about acupuncture vs. acupressure, click here. Acupressure has all the same benefits and same point locations as acupuncture. The cool thing about acupressure is that you can do it at home! You can use acupressure points before, during, and even after your training sessions. If you’re a trainer, you too, can use these points to help your students!
So, with that being said, let’s begin! These points will help our dogs prepare for their training session. Reference the photos below for the locations of the points.
Location: On the dorsal (top of the body) midline at the base of the neck, before the shoulder blades. If you know anatomy, it’s between the 7th cervical vertebrae and 1st thoracic vertebrae.
Benefit: Great for calming and helps clear the brain for optimal focusing.
Location: Located in the lumbosacral space. This is the area between the hips on the top of your dog’s back. This is the good scratchy space they love!
Benefit: Great for mental clarity, ability to concentrate and also helps support memory!
Location: Located on the outside of the front leg above the accessory carpal bone. You can find the accessory carpal bone above your pups’ wrist, where the small round pad is located.
Benefit: Great point for calming, focusing, and anxiety.
Location: Located on the inside of the front leg above the accessory carpal bone. This point is directly opposite of HT 7. You can hold both of these points at the same time with a light pinch of your fingers above that bone.
Benefit: Great for calming, trusting, and anxiety. It also can be used for irritability!
Hold these points lightly for 30 – 45 seconds each with the tips of your fingers. You can use two fingers, one finger, or even hold your palm up over the point if your dog is sensitive to touch. We are working with the dog’s chi and meridians in the body (learn more about chi here), so you don’t need to push deeply on these points! For the points on the wrist, hold the points on both legs (no need to hold the points on both legs at the same time). You can use these points the day before training to prepare your pup. You can also use these points every other day during training so your dog can continue benefitting from the points. Remember to only hold the points lightly!
Once you’ve learned these points, you can use them any time you need your doggie to be calm and/or focused. Here are some ideas on when to use these points for other occasions: before a vet visit, before/during a thunderstorm, before a grooming appointment, and before company comes over.
With 361 points on the dog, there are many more points that could be beneficial for training, but these are just the easiest for owners and trainers to find. If you’d like to learn more points for different conditions (digestive care, separation anxiety, active dog health and more), please follow our website or social media for future class events! Poll to Pastern teaches small group classes in Charlotte, North Carolina. The classes allow you to learn from a certified practitioner about acupressure and how to find the points on your own pet!
Poll to Pastern also provides individual acupressure and red light sessions that help support the animal further. Acupressure is preventative care that helps maintain the healthy lifestyle of your pet. It also provides great complementary care to any other modalities you might be using. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please reach out to us!
If your pet has any sudden change in behavior, call your vet first! Acupressure is supportive care to your vet's recommendations.