The Importance of Canine Massage

When I first began working with my dogs, I raised an eyebrow at canine massage in general. I do not need massage. My dog CERTAINLY does not need massage. (oh, how wrong I was on both counts…)

I believed it was complex, and involved long downs and hours of rubbing, and to be honest I figured I’d wear the fur right off or at the very least turn it into felt!  I attended a beginners obedience class for my puppy, Quick, and every class started with massage and aromatherapy! I was skeptical. It was only an hour class, how were we supposed to do massage?  what kind of class required massage?

It was easy. We started with rubbing our dogs ears, just like I always do when I’m happy with them, except it followed a pattern of one ear, then the other.  Then we rubbed down our dogs shoulders, stroking down their front legs with both hands and playing with their feet and toes. Rub down the sides (Quick by now had stopped vibrating and was leaning against me, moaning happily), and then the back legs. And lastly, the instructor told us to rub our palms down their backs, starting at the back of the neck and all the way out the tail.

Five minutes, and we were done. The dogs were ten times more relaxed, all smelled the same (like lavender), which reduced meet & greet sniffing, and I now know my dogs’ baseline.

That might not sound like much, but it can be incredibly important in agility! If you touch your dog regularly, you know how they should feel. You’ll be able to find hot spots before they’re bald, cockleburs before they’re completely entrenched, and sore toes can be treated before your hard-core herder starts holding up his feet in pain.

Consider me converted to massage.