We all love a good massage, right? But imagine if you are giving your dog a massage and she is not enjoying it? In this article I will give a few pointers on the benefits of massage and how to keep in tune with your dog’s comfort.
First and foremost, YOU need to make sure you are in the mood to massage your dog. They are so sensitive to our moods and it is no good trying to get them to relax and enjoy it when you are impatient, irritable, and not fully present.
The first thing you need to do is create the ambience. I use soft music, dim lights, and relaxing essential oils in the diffuser like Lavender. I make sure the diffuser is on the 5 min on and 5 min off function and I use only 1 drop of Lavender as they cannot leave the room while you are massaging like I recommend in the safety guidelines with diffusers. (for more info on this contact me for my next essential oils and animals’ class)
Your first approach of touch must be gentle with no massaging yet. Speak softly to her while you are busy as she may feel her space is being invaded. Because of this she needs to know you are there to part love and healing to her and this will develop trust between you with regards to massaging. Watch her body language as she will tell you if she is uncomfortable by lip licking, panting and generally looking tense. This process of developing trust for massaging must not be rushed and if you need to do only 5 minutes a day of just touch for a while, then do it. Remember the goal is that you are wanting to develop trust and a deeper relationship with your dog so that she will relax and enjoy a massage and this will only benefit both of you in the long run.
When you place your hands on her, your hands must be warm, as it is no good tensing her up with a freezing hand. Always keep one hand on her if you need to do something with the other hand, e.g. add oil to the massage (this is later). This constant touch keeps her relaxed because if you take your hands off her and then place them back on, it is like starting from the beginning again.
Part of your ‘dog sense’ is to learn to read her body language so that you can learn if you have pressed to hard, or she has sensitive area of pain etc. Take your lead in your massaging from your dogs’ cues as you keep speaking softly to her and learn to be sensitive to her body’s cues under your hands and fingers.
Sensitivity of the hands is important, and you need to learn to trust your hands and your fingertips to give your accurate feedback of the physiological state of the parts you are working on. A good way to develop your perception is to do the work with your eyes closed as this will help you focus on your fingertips and developing your tactility.
All of this is started straight away when you are just touching your dog in the beginning without even massaging yet.
If you wouId like a consultation with me or to find out when my next class is, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 76 941 4079