Holos means ‘Whole’. A holistic approach to dog care services means we consider the ‘whole’ picture for both us and our dogs. This way has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Medicine. These disciplines believe that in order for health / wellness to exist within an individual all aspects of their life need to be in balance. There is much focus on prevention rather than cure and exercise for mind, body and soul is part of a daily routine e.g. meditation, massage, tai chi, and yoga.
This is stark contrast to Western Medicine, which tends to treat the body as a machine. It gets fixed with pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. Like a car when it is broke, it gets fixed at the garage. How many of us forget to maintain our vehicles with regular servicing, oil and water checks and tyre pressure measuring. As a former Complementary Therapist & Lecturer, I believe that in order to achieve a holistic approach to healthcare we must utilise the best of both worlds. Complementary Therapies & Western Medicine sit well alongside each other. I am not an advocate of Alternative Medicine and any Complementary Therapy must be just that a complement to modern medicine.
I believe a holistic approach relates equally well to our dogs, both for healthcare and education purposes. I think this involves looking at all aspects of a dog’s behaviour to reveal how the dog best learns. It has several unique components to it and we can remember these by considering the WALK, TRAIN, PLAY, BEHAVE & STAY programme.
- A holistic approach helps meet our dogs’ basic needs within a secure atmosphere.
- Respect our environment and all things around us, whether this is people and other animals around us or simply the path we walk on.
- Support our dog’s well-being by providing a nurturing environment for them to live in.
- Create opportunities to be part of a happy, well-adjusted member of their community.
- Help 'ground' our dogs so they feel a solid foundation from which to be a happy, healthy dog.
- A holistic approach enables us to channel our energy into the world to achieve our desired outcomes
- Provide environments that help our dogs stay emotionally balanced, calm and stable.
- Channel our dogs' natural behaviour into working with us to achieve the best results.
- Develop a clear understanding of what drives our dog, what they like and dislike
- Set boundaries by teaching them what we want them to do and reward them with food or games when they do it.
- Punitive methods create fear in our dogs, when our dogs are in a 'flight or fright' state they are unable to learn.
- When we reinforce the good behaviour it becomes more likely to occur in the future.
- A holistic approach teaches us to have clear communication and to move with our dogs.
- Taking time to play with our dogs helps fix learning in their minds
- Using positive, kind, science-based training methods promote understanding in both dog and guardian.
- Clear communication strengthens the bond between our dogs and ourselves
- Wellness is strengthened through a regime of movement.
- We can create constructive learning that is fun, enjoyable and rewarding
- All learning experiences become play.
- A holistic approach provides a framework that develops controlled emotions
- Life is perpetually changing and we are always learning
- Different life stages require different lessons - puppies, adolescents, middle aged, older dogs have different needs.
- Continually develop our relationships with our dogs, so as they grow so do we.
- Develop our own and our dog’s intellect and creates forward thinking and a thirst for new ideas.
- Channel our dog’s emotions into the right behaviour.
- Teach them specific skills that develop excellent temperaments and their emotional intelligence.
- Inspire confidence and resilience in our dogs.
- A holistic approach provides a complete safe framework to create wellness
- Develop our dogs’ sense of self and allows us and our dogs to be all that we can be.
- Many religions and lots of modern day gurus teach us to ‘stay’ in the moment and connect to our hearts.
- All animals are individuals and are a unique, complexity of energy systems.
- We all have different mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
- When a dog has a vibrant, strong energy they are a happy and confident individual.
- Vibrational therapies can help recovery time for dogs that have had traumatic experiences