Communication is an extraordinary thing. We use it so often that we probably don’t even think about it much. However, communication between animals and people is different. Although our pets don’t communicate like we do using spoken words, sign language, the written word, etc, they definitely communicate! Our pets vocalize in a variety of ways, some pets point, others may pull on their leash, some may hide when scared, just to name a few communication efforts.
Communication During A Massage
There are numerous ways your pet may communicate during his/her massage session. Communication may be as obvious as moving away or toward me, a vocalization, and/or moving the body position; or it may be as subtle as a look, a slight body shift, a slight he ad movement. or a sigh. I also watch your pet for communication signals such as yawning, scratching the ground, looking away, and others. As a pet massage therapist, I am trained to look for any type of communication effort your pet may display.
The Amazing Body
Your pet’s body itself is another type of communication I rely upon. I look at and feel your pets body itself to tell me what is going on. Is your pet favoring a certain leg or side? Are there areas of heat or cold on the body? Are there any areas of tightness? Are there any muscle twitches or spasms? All of these physical qualities give me clues as to what may be occurring with your pet, and since your pet cannot tell me, it is up to me to figure it out.
All of the above are great examples of how pets may communicate during a session. The next step for me is to learn each individual animal’s communication meaning(s). A bit more tricky! For example, some dogs are talkers so it could be completely normal for one dog to make a vocalization (growly sound) as I massage, vs. the vocalization being a warning from another dog. My own dog is a big talker, so what might sound scary to someone else I know to be just him. Another example is your pet getting up and walking around during the massage. Often this is simply your pet assimilating the massage into his/her body. However. it may be because he/she is guarding an area, or it could simply be your pet wanting to change position.
Recently one of my regular clients, Eddy, came to see me. Eddy, an 11 year-old large muscular guy, came jogging in to his session wagging his tail. Typically, Eddy will lie down once he has greeted me. On this day, he did not. Hmmmm….interesting. His owner asked Eddy to lie down a number of times, but he would not. Good communication, but now I had to figure out why. As I ran my hands down Eddy’s back, I felt a raised tight area. After I worked on this area to loosen and relax it, I expected Eddy to lie down, but he still would not. Again, hmmm….As I ran my hand over his right shoulder blade (scapula), Eddy whimpered. Aha! I gently palpated this area and the muscles around it, but did not feel anything unusual. Eddy continued to whimper, but stayed by me, so I continued to gently palpate and massage the area. Finally a knot emerged. The knot must have been deeply embedded in the muscles and took a bit of coaxing to come to the surface. Eddy allowed my to work on it to loosen it, and then he laid down! Tada! Thank you Eddy!
I never cease to be amazed at how effectively our pets communicate with us! And while all pets are different, they all communicate. It’s just up to us to figure out what they are saying!