Thank you subscribers for taking the time to share your thoughts on my Dog Bite blogs. Here are some of the comments we received.
Thank you for this. Looking forward to next weeks. I find myself overly cautious/fearful at times after a very bad bite several years ago.
Tamarie P. (PetMassage Foundation and Advanced 2014)
Working in kennels, shelters, and doggie daycare I have been bitten multiple times. Most bites have occurred while breaking up dog fights. I found that petting known safe dogs is a good starting point. I am always shaky at first but the more strokes my hand does the more the fears start to dissipate. I also remind myself they are going through something that made them strike out. I then start feeling for the dog that bit me. When those feelings of “poor doggy” are entering my mind all the fear is gone. I always had to quickly be back with dogs so this method had me back to work immediately. Oh and breathe, do big deep calming belly breaths and feel the air moving throughout your body healing you. I exhale twice as long as I inhaled releasing the trauma. In with the butterflies and out with the bees.
Thanks for the excellent posts on dog bites & PTSD. Here are my thoughts as a graduate of another animal massage school & canine water therapy classes, & as a working stockdog handler (my Border Collies & I compete in sheep herding trials & help at a sheep farm & I also have Australian Shepherds.) If an Aussie snaps for whatever reason, people tend to conclude that it’s herding instinct, & sometimes it is, but not necessarily–as a training mentor impressed upon me, dogs don’t generalize, so nipping at a sheep’s hocks is different than a warning snap at a massage practitioner. And when my older Border Collie was younger & her breeder was doing a TV sheep herding demo & the TV cameraman stuck his big, scary camera in her face & she bit him, that wasn’t herding instinct; it was fear on dog’s part & poor judgment on the cameraman’s part. And then, to illustrate how irrationally emotionally people can react, her breeder was so angry at her for making her look bad on TV that for the next 6 months she witheld affection from this very loving dog. Afterwards, her breeder realized how irrational that was & felt terrible for having responded that way, but it was a very human response & I hate to think about how many people won’t work to rebuild their relationship with a dog who has bitten.
The one time I was bitten was when 2 of my dogs were fighting & I reached for their collars to pull them apart. I knew I was risking getting bitten & decided to anyway because although I’ve heard of other ways to break up a dog fight none of the trainers I know who recommend them have actually tried them, such as grabbing rear legs & backing both dogs up wheelbarrow style, but there was only one of me & 2 of them, & besides, grabbing hind legs seemed likely to make a dog turn around & bite the person grabbing. Both dogs were ok & my hand healed. Yes I was afraid they might fight again & that I might get bitten again, & time & focusing on building positive feelings between my dogs by feeding them treats around each other, walking them together etc. helped put my fears to rest, as did the fact that my dogs weren’t on edge around each other after the fight, so I worked on staying relaxed too, breathing & visualizing them getting along well together, which, happily, they did.
Reiki may also be very beneficial to recovery. A reiki treatment is great. Even better is learning level 1 where you learn self treatment. It’s also very beneficial to help one get quiet, focused and centered before giving a massage.
I have only been bitten once and I definitely learned from the experience. I missed a very subtle cue from the dog and since the foster saw it and told me, I was able to learn from my mistake. This helped me tremendously. I was very fortunate that the bite was not serious.
This was well written and detailed and yes I feel so responsible when my dog acts out and as you said dogs will be dogs. Look forward to part 2!
I really appreciate this post… I find myself since motherhood being overly fearful around the aggressive dogs I prided myself in being of service to… May be being pushed in a different niche as my energy is evolving..
I’d like to share I did a session with an Australian shepherd back in February on my table; he was a bit nervous but I saw a really positive response! I was not invited to continue treatment after that first session. I was visiting the other day with my son & I didnt even want to walk in the house! I felt like the dog (who is overly dominant) is not favorable of me as I put him out of his comfort zone.. I now am being guided to sell packages versus just one session.
Jonathan Rudinger/ PetMassage Instructor.
If you missed the two blogs we are referring to or would like to reread them, these and all my Helpful Hints are cashed on the website, www.PetMassage.com, https://petmassage.com/category/petmassage-blog/jonathans-helpful-hints/.
Please continue to share your experiences with me. Your story is important. Your words may enable others to overcome their fears. I’d especially like to learn about how you resolved the trauma of a dog bite and how you were able to move on and pursue your passion to help dogs practicing canine massage.