Animal guides can help you in many areas of you life whether they are of the physical or astral plane. They can help focus and raise the energy of a ritual or magickal circle. They can protect you in your dreams, meditations and quests, as well as in the real world. They can teach you how to take on their abilities through
shapeshifting. They can help you learn to take yourself less seriously (or more so if needed). A guide can be your friend, confidant, sister, brother, teacher... They can be playful, loving, protective and supportive. They will change and grow with you throughout your life.
You work with spirit guides the same way you work with anyone else, ask them for help, advice, or support, whatever you need. They will decide if they will do what you ask. If it is for the best they will almost always help.
To talk with a guide, do a visualization in which you call to them. They will come if they choose. If they do not, try again later or try to work out the problem on your own. If your guide is a physical one just talk with it. (See the talking with animals page) It will help if it chooses.
Talk with your guide. Ask it to teach you. Get to know your guide as you would get to know any close friend. Spend time with it. You will learn how to work with it as you get to know each other, as you learn to become a team and understand each others needs. Just remember to always, always, treat your guide with respect and gratitude for the help it gives.