Six Different Massage Techniques for Your Agility Dog

dog massageWe have talked about the benefits of dog massage especially for our competing athletes and our retirees. But massage is also great for bonding with new a new dog and for a special time with the family pet.  There are different techniques for almost every issue you could have with your dog.  Whether it be a daily massage, massage to relieve stress, for warming up before exercise or to help reduce joint stiffness massage is the answer.  We are going to look at six different techniques that are used in massage. Keep in mind the deep massage techniques should not be done without expert direction.

Passive Touch (Laying on of hands) is the holding or resting of the hands on an area of the dog’s body without pressure or movement.  This would be used in sensitive areas like sore muscles or painful joints.  Your hands are warming the area and underlying tissues while the touch helps to increase circulation to the area.

Effleurage is the use of gliding strokes and is applied at the beginning and ending of a massage.  Again, this helps to warm the area, relax the dog and increase circulation before deeper massage is used.  It also benefits the dog by increasing the removal of toxins with the increase in blood flow and oxygen to the area.

Petrissage is the kneading motion to the soft tissue that resembles working with dough.  You gently lift, roll and squeeze the skin and soft tissue.  Again, this helps increase circulation, the removal of toxins and even releases spasms.  It also helps with the drainage of the lymphatic system.

Friction is the use of small deep movements in a specific area of the body that creates heat to the deeper tissues when the tissue is moved across tissue by pressing it into the bone.  This helps soften and stretch the fascia and break up scar tissue and adhesions which are formed when there is strain or tears to the muscle or the result of surgery.

Tapotement is done with your hands cupped and stimulates the respiratory system with tapping motions.  It is for stimulating the muscles and increasing the circulation near the surface of the skin.  It is also another way to help clear toxins and phlegm inside the lungs.  Only to be used on the rib cage and NEVER over the kidneys located behind the ribcage on both sides of the spine.

Compression is the downward pressing on the muscle into the bony parts beneath them which helps to spread out the muscle fibers.  This action acts like a pump flushing capillaries, relieving muscle spasms, and softening the fascia and tissue.  When used with slow rhythmic strokes it has a relaxing effect on the dog while more vigorous, rapid strokes gets the dog excited physically and emotionally and is great for preparing for an event.

So how do you work this into your dog agility routine?  You can get your dog ready for the event with massage to stimulate, loosen and warm the body with rapid strokes using effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, and compression.  Then help your dog to relax and release tired muscles with massage that flushes toxins out of the body with passive touch, effleurage, and compression.  And don’t forget stretches for both you and your dog.