A Dog Lovers Guide To Canine Massage

People are extremely fond of animals as they want to keep some of them as pets with the most prominent being cats and dogs where the latter wins by a huge margin of popular votes as it is classified as man’s best friend where you have breeds as varied as the German shepherd, Labrador, black golden doodle, Chihuahua and many others to choose from.

If you have read my earlier post on 10 Benefits of Therapeutic Canine Massage you’d know that I’m a strong advocate for canine massage. Of course there are more than just those 10 benefits I listed, less comprehensive to what Linda Jackson, one of the authors of A Dog Lover’s Guide to Canine Massage, has listed in her book.

Unlike most canine massage books which usually filled with long text and/or illustrations, this book is rather thin—109 pages long but not in any way lack of quality or pertinent content. Personally, I think manual book such as canine massage should be concise with easy-to-follow steps and explanations, and that’s what the authors did. It is a no fluff book and can be put to immediate use after an hour read.

Although the book clearly states it is a guide book, it’s more than that—a quarter of it is workbook, consists about two to six questions each related to the topic that just covered. Some of the questions are not targeted to the massage experience with your dog per se, rather it questions your massage experience on yourself. For example on the chapter on strokes: vibration,

Practice on your thigh by starting with a compression stroke. Hold briefly and then begin to let your hand tremble. Imagine that you are tricking the muscle into relaxation! How did it feel?

For most of us, inexperience dog owners/therapists, may not know how much pressure should be employed when working on our dogs; so by doing on ourselves we have the first-hand experience of our own “medicine” and also to gauge the comfortability of different pressure and stroke.

One of my favorite sections of the book is chapter eight: Common Dog Group: Their history, stress areas and massage emphasis (seen on the right). It a brief overview of what are the common injuries (stress areas) of 77 dog breeds and the antidotes (massage emphasis) to decrease the chances of injury should the dog perform more intense and strenuous activities than his normal routines.

I understand perfectly why this section may not be of a greater value to owners with only one dog—or a few dogs of the same breed—where the dog’s daily routine is confined to four-walls activities with bare minimum physical exertion. The least you could get out of this 7-pages is a better understanding of your dog breed’s stress areas (that if you haven’t know it yet) and the massage emphasis for him to enjoy the many benefits of massage therapy even if he is a couch potato.

As to why I like this section isn’t because I have two different breeds under my care rather I see it as an added benefit for my clients. Of course, not all the dogs that come for their regular grooming session are performance dogs but I’m certain 60% of them are doing some sort of moderate exercises daily. So it wouldn’t hurt to give all of them (almost…as some of dogs aren’t accustomed to being touched in a structured and rhythmic movement) a 3-minutes massage therapy as a thank-you service.

Regardless, this book is a must-have for any dog owner (be it canine performance enthusiast or laid back pet parent) who is into holistic therapeutic treatment of a stressed or “sick” dog.

I would like to leave you with this beautiful phrase extracted from Linda’s bio.

The truth is, my dogs don’t know the meaning of petting because all touch has become massage. My dogs continue to teach me about temperament, strokes, timing, ambience and scents as well as when or where to stretch them.

I couldn’t agree more, the true teacher is our dogs. This book is the fundamental guide to canine massage. With regular practices and attentive awareness to our dogs’ responses, only then we can fully appreciate the art of canine massage.

On the same note, Linda has an audio book (Giving Back: A Guided Canine Massage) that is pretty much similar to the book. When I received the complimentary copies of the book and CD, both were sold in Amazon. The CD was sold in a downloaded MP3 format at $0.99 (which I think it was a steal), lasts about 27 minutes.

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