Dr. Schmidt’s teachings cover the following steps.
Learning what the stance of a relaxed animal should be your first goal is Step Number 1. To learn this skill takes watching many animals while they are walking, running, grazing or standing. Watch them, learn what normal looks like. The observations will give you a starting point as to where you need to be paying very close attention.
Treatment is Step Number 2. To palpate the animal you have to work with an extremely light touch to feel the variations of bone and soft tissue and to feel the adjustment. Pressing hard dulls your sense of palpation and will cause pain to an already sore animal that will elicit a pain response causing the patient to tighten more so you will not be able to do your job. You may have some results but in my opinion this is not fixing the problem or doing what you were hired to do. In order to feel the very subtle motions of the vertebrae or joints of the appendages and the soft tissue, you have to be relaxed and calm. You must learn how to palpate and adjust very lightly and this takes a tremendous amount of effort, time, dedication and practice.
Step Number 3 is knowing how to fix it. You can’t use the same adjustments every time. There will be times when the adjustment and/or treatment will have to be modified or changed depending on what you find on that particular treatment schedule. The change can be on the same animal with each treatment.
The body is dynamic, not static. You have to be able to change the treatment: i.e., the adjustment and/or the angle of the adjustment or soft tissue every time you adjust or treat that area. Again, this takes time and effort to learn what is normal and what is abnormal and how the vertebrae and soft tissue feel as it is improving and when it is at maximum improvement.
With chronic problems you have to be able to ascertain what can be fixed and what can’t be fixed and when to say there is maximum functional improvement as it relates to your treatment schedule. Understanding this, we will be able to fix the so-called unfixable that all of you will be hired to do at some point. Just because another AVCA Certified Doctor or a local veterinarian says the animal is unfixable or untreatable is not necessarily so. Learn to diagnose and trust your own diagnostic acumen.