I forgot to update about Chimera's visit to a new canine chiropractor on March 22nd. We saw Dr Wendy Wallace at Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital. I was quite impressed by how gentle and attentive Dr Wallace was. She gently ran her hands over Cai's neck, back, shoulders, and hips, and used very subtle pressure to shift things around. He was in so much pain at the base of his neck, at his left shoulder, and at the base of his tail that he growled and tried to snap at her. I had to hold his head still so that she could fix him up. Apparently he could immediately feel the improvement because when she was done, he still presented his back to her and let her pet him.
That night he was already back to his prompt response to cues to sit and lie down. (I only tested them once each!) Over the next three weeks I still only sparingly asked for those behaviors, but he was back to offering his default downs when he wanted something. But within the last week he started getting snippy while I was brushing him. Fortunately yesterday was our recheck.
Dr. Wallace wasn't surprised that he had started regressing, as it was a normal timeline for things to start getting tensed up again after an initial adjustment. Cai was doing better along his neck and above his tail, but still had pain around his shoulders
We had been practicing the Bucket Game in the meantime. I brought Cai's bowl and high value treats to our appointment. Before the doctor came in, I put him up on the exam table and we played the game until she came in. I explained how it work and she immediately took a liking to it. She agreed to wait until he was looking at his bowl before doing any adjustments, and would stop if he looked away. (She had already been this gentle and was watching for stress the first time we came, but she liked that this was an operant behavior that helped him focus.) We did have to put the bowl away and I held his head when she worked on his shoulders. On the bright side, there was less growling and snapping than last time, and I was able to use much less force to keep him still.
She asked us to come back in another 3-4 weeks, but she's booked up for the next 6 weeks! We're on the call list in case someone cancels.