Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I am Certifiable!

After 6 months of practicum and hours upon hours of studying and hands on experience ... I am now a Certified Canine Body Worker! The education continues, and I am by no means an expert. I do think I have a good natural feel and a good eye. Thanks to everyone who lent me your dogs to practice on, I have learned so much.

I see the benefits with my own dogs, as they usually get one full massage a week and/or usually 1 or 2 maintenance and/or recovery massages before and after an event. I am looking forward to continuing practicing and getting better, and most of all, helping dogs feel and perform better. Kaleb gets stiff after a heavy workout, with massage he recovers much better, and is ready to rock again. The dog is 9.5 and still going strong, still muscled and totally sound.

diving in the oldman river.

Gyp recovered from her Psoas injury, and I was proud that when she was first injured, I was able to identify the muscle groups that were protecting the area, and had an idea it could be Psoas based on that (my feel for Psoas group is not well developed as it is so deep) but I can tell the symptoms and the areas that tend to gaurd. I also learned a ton about rehabbing, conditioning and the massage complimented the whole process. I am still careful with her, but as you know, she is back better than ever.

splish splash :: 8/12 Gyp

Little jane benefits too ... she gets gentle relaxation massages, nothing too deep to increase too much blood flow, she loves it.

unconditional love :: 6/12 Jane

So what is a Body Worker? And how can I help?

Performance (athletes) Dogs

Dogs have been an integral part of human culture for all of their history. As our culture has changed, the role of canines has evolved to fit our modern lifestyles. There are three basic groups of athletic dogs, recreational, competitive, and working. Recreational athletes are dogs that chase squirrels, dig holes, play race and chase with their friends, swim, play ball and Frisbee, and/or hike with their owners. Competitive athletes participate in events such as conformation, obedience, tracking, agility, lure coursing, and fly ball. Working dogs are involved in service work with people who have disabilities or medical conditions, do search and rescue, police work, and farm work such as herding. It is important for these active dogs to be kept well conditioned and fit. They are more prone to repetitive stress conditions and injuries. Proper massage can aid in muscular recovery after an active day, reduce fatigue and stress, and increase muscle tone. Massage can be used before sporting events or exercise to warm muscles and prevent injuries. It is also an important component in treatment of injuries.

Increased Muscle Tone

In the wild, dogs are constantly on the move, running, jumping, stretching and as a result are usually maintain good muscle tone. In our domesticated situations, they are usually confined to an indoor situation and develop many of the problems that we do from being sedentary. Inactive dogs are prone to premature aging, stress and anxiety, weight gain, poor muscle tone, and serious medical conditions. Regular massage can decrease the effects of an inactive lifestyle by loosing tight, constricted muscles and increasing range of motion in joints.

Provide Comfort to Muscles Injuries

There are times you’ll be called in on an existing case under veterinarian supervision or as part of the rehabilitation process following an orthopedic type problem or actual muscle injury. After the appropriate time for healing, you find massage, stretching, and the proper exercise can help the process along by encouraging the scar tissue to lie down in better pattern. Reducing any amount of scar tissue as it adheres to healthy tissue can help restore the muscle to better returning function.

Evaluation and Assessment Benefits

When we work with a dog on a regular, systematic basis with massage, we become familiar with all aspects of their bodies. Sometimes owners are not aware of changes that occurred in their dogs until they are very serious. Swellings, lumps, masses can be found and diagnosed early. Problems such as hip, shoulder, or knee dysfunctions can be recognized in their early stages and properly treated with veterinary care and rehabilitation. The development of sensitive touch can allow the dog to “tell” you when something isn’t right.

Increase the Range of Motion

A dog that moves better is more efficient in his stride. There is less wear and tear on the joints, ligaments and tendons equating to a longer performance life.


Socialization is one of the most important aspects of raising a dog. It teaches them to feel comfortable with people, other animals, in new and different situations. It lays the foundation which allow them learn new behaviors, be calm and relaxed, and to interact with their environment. Massage can be a important component in a young dog’s socialization training and can serve as a therapeutic tool for dogs who have been abused or didn’t receive proper socialization.

Adjunct to Other Treatments

Massage can be used in conjunction with other therapies in a rehab situation. It can used to enhance post-operative recovery, as a catalyst from sickness, as an adjunct in cases of shock and severe debility. It is also effective in the reduction of anxiety – whether from storms, trips to the vets and groomers or to a boarding facility. It can be used with pets that are grieving from the loss of another animal companion or owner.

Assess the Physical Condition

It’s easy to feel tight muscles on a dog especially when it’s unilateral. Subtle changes in texture, temperature and tension can be detected with the hands. Often subclinical issues are hard to recognize, but earlier detection can mean permanent damage is lessened.


Massage is a very effective tool for communicating with dog. Because they communicate on a non-verbal way, massage is a very effective way to deepen the bond between humans and dogs.


As dogs age, they are more prone to muscle soreness and joint problems. Regular massage increases flexibility, range of motion, and warms and soothes achy muscles. Massage also gives older dogs more quality time and tenderness.

Massage is used along with conventional and complementary health care as well as proper training techniques enabling the dog to perform at an optimum level. By itself, it does not attempt to cure anything.

Taken from Caninology


Jessica said...

Congrats, Sarah. Your hard work is paying off.

Taryn said...

Wow! What an accomplishment! Congrats!

onecollie said...

hurray ! Congratulations!!!
I will be setting up appts. for my boys :)

Jules said...

Congratulations! I am very excited for you!

Judy said...

That is very interesting Sarah. Obviously a treatment from you will enhance many things for my dogs. Congrats for finishing your course!

Debbie said...

Congratulations - I've been following your blog for awhile. I'd be interested in finding out what organization you trained with as this is something I have been looking into myself.

andrea said...

your lucky dogs (both personal dogs and those who reap the enefits of your work!)