Most people don’t even consider getting a massage for themselves, so why on earth should you consider getting a massage for your dog?
As a certified dog trainer I spend most of my time analysing why dogs do what they do. When it comes to highly strung, anxious or reactive dogs, I like to identify the layers of stress within their lives that may be contributing to placing them over their threshold. For example, I explore environmental factors such as lifestyle, the health of the dog and any other things that may contribute to the dog tipping over the edge and displaying unwanted behaviours such as barking and reactivity.
How Can Our Stress Affect Our Dogs?
Just like us humans, our dogs have bad days. They also have days where they feel soreness and can experience higher levels of stress then others, particularly if we as owners are feeling stressed ourselves. In a study conducted in by the University of Naples, to obtain whether dogs could sniff out human emotions by smell alone. The study suggested that owners can inadvertently hijack their dogs’ emotions by releasing smells in which their could be affected by behaviourally.
I am sure most people can agree that when you get a massage you feel relaxed? Well this is no different to our dogs. According to Pet Nuture:
“Massage Therapy is one of the most ancient forms of Natural Therapy since touch produces healing. Hands are a great ‘tool’ to accurately locate and assess abnormalities, soreness, tension, adhesions and any deviation that might not be visible on an X-ray. Massage can also aid illness, injury or surgery recovery through stress reduction and enhance tissue healing. Massage enables muscle tissue to relax, extend and maintain a heathy tone by increasing circulation of blood and lymph to the skin and underlying muscles.”
Massage is a great way to destress your dog and possibly release areas of tension in their body.
After a particularly busy and stressful few months with a booked-out day care service, my dogs needed a break. Having a private day care run from my home means that there are always unfamiliar dogs around. It can be super taxing for my dogs to be on their best behaviour and navigate through all different types of breeds and temperaments. Because of this, my dog’s health ALWAYS comes first. I am always ensuring that my own dogs get down time where they can relax and have space away from the other dogs.
Down time is fantastic for dogs, I truly believe they need it, as do us humans, however I wanted that little bit more. I contacted Jayne from Paws and Unwind on the Gold Coast to come out and give each of my dogs a remedial massage, and an assessment on their gait.
What Was My Experience?
It was awesome! I watched my dogs one by one lay down for Jayne in their home environment, they all let out the biggest sighs as she worked their known tension areas. Pepsi my Labrador, wagged her tail the ENTIRE time, and all three girls at one point fell into a deep sleep. Gidget my cat even tried to lay on the mat for Jayne to get in line for her turn.
Seeing this reaction and knowing the exact feeling I have when I get massage to relieve stress, made me realise that this type of destressing treatment is going to be a regular monthly activity in our house (Hopefully for me and the dogs!).
After their sessions, I noticed increased levels of mobility and calm energy from Yogi and Pepsi, and Binti, my pessimistic Shetland Sheepdog appeared to be more adventurous in play with the other dogs. I believe this to be due to the reduction of tension in her body.
Why You Should Consider Massage?
You may not run a day care from your house, or train in a dog sport, but there is no doubt that you probably feel stress from time to time. In moments of stress our dogs definitely feel it. It can be these stresses that contribute to our dogs reacting to things they don’t normally. Or perhaps contributing to the ongoing stress that contribute to reactivity and anxiety.
For more health and wellbeing tips for your pets, check out my blog.