Friday, 31 May 2019

Seated massage for dogs

Wouldn’t it be good if every dog settled down to their massage session immediately? Of course, but that doesn’t happen. Some dogs get it straight away. We arrive. The massage mat goes down. They lie on it. And they’re away – lying down in the zone. Grins. Sighs. Snores. Others take a bit of time. They investigate the mat. They stay still for a few minutes then decide they need to get up and go for a walk coming back in a short time. This may go on for a while until, eventually, they ‘get it’ too. Trust building is important. 

We would never force a massage on a dog. Therapy is on their terms. After all, as well as being beneficial, massage should be enjoyable. What we do will feel different to dogs than petting, even those who get petted all the time. And initially, we are someone new – although we quickly seem to become their new bestie. 

We let the dog come into the massage space on their terms. It may be that in the first session, hands on therapy may only take half the time. But the dog is still experiencing its associated benefits. 

Equally importantly, we are adaptable and the massage techniques we employ are also adaptable. If a dog won’t lie down, we run a whole workshop full of techniques that can be performed on dogs who prefer to sit during their therapy. Seated massage is frequently performed on humans, it made sense for us to develop similar techniques for dogs. 

Even the dogs we have been visiting for a long time can display this pattern. I’ve been treating Ralph and Auntie Pearl since 2014. They are big solid dogs – Sussex Bulldogs. But with hearts of gold. When I arrive, I get squashed with affection and licks and paws and legs.  They love their massage. But the position they adopt has to suit them. 

Big Boy Ralph will happily sit right in my lap letting me work up and down his spine and over his shoulders but won’t lie down until he decides it is time. On the last session his front paws were slipping bit by bit down the mat until he went fully prone lying down. Now I could get to work on his hind legs and perform long myofascial moves. 

Auntie Pearl was the same, except she likes to start by facing me while being massaged – she loves a quick sneaky nose boop – mine, not hers. She slips down into my lap rather than out of it like Ralph. With her, I can start work on her rear legs and then get to her front when she’s lying in my lap. But then she turns around and copies her brother. 

By having a toolkit of massage techniques that can be performed with the dog sitting, standing or lying, both Ralph and Auntie Pearl receive the benefits of massage whichever way they decide to go. 

Don’t worry if you think your dog won’t like it or doesn’t settle down immediately, we adjust and adapt to suit your dog. 


Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Adapting the Adaptations

Whenever we visit a dog, we see if there are any simple adaptations that can be made to their house to help with their daily mobility. Things like rugs, mats or carpets over slippy floors. A raised food bowl so the dog doesn’t have to stoop down on already sore joints. Small steps over the door frames. Cushions beside a sofa or bed that they always use to jump on. And comfy beds – don’t forget them. Do the 30 minute Numb Bum test (if you can sit on your dog’s bed for 30 minutes without getting a Numb Bum then it’s likely that they are finding it supportive and comfy) 

But things change. And adaptations should change too. 

Our house has progressively become a Senior Dog Show Home. We have carpets and half steps everywhere. But our Sarah is beginning to drag her rear legs more, meaning Carpenter Chris has been building again. 

Most of the frames to the outdoors have small lips. These were becoming trippy lips. Now we have ramps. Two pieces of light, but strong, wood, hinged in the middle so we can put the ramps away when not in use, move them from door frame to door frame as necessary, with some rubber on top to protect paws even more. And Sarah loves then. Up she goes and down the other side with a big grin into the great outdoors. 

Then there’s Mr Sam. He likes to start the evening on my bed. He had a couple of memory foam mattresses to help him with the up and soften the down but they were giving a little and not helping his upwards propulsion. Now….he has his own step. Custom built to Mr Sam height with an added soft but thin mattress. He can easily stand up on the step and then take a further step onto the bed. Going down, the step is big enough so he can get completely on it, before taking the last step to the floor. No more crashing squishing noises. Just a couple of gentle steps. 

Follow your dog around your house for an hour or so, noting any areas where they may be struggling or tripping and think how you could minimise or relieve the hazard. Cheap, simple homemade solutions often work best as they can be tailored to your house and your dog. Give us a call if you need any advice or help. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

One of the many perks of what we do - smiling

We’re always putting up pictures of the dogs we work with after their therapy session where they are wearing big fat smiles.  But one of the many perks of what we do is that we get to smile too – a lot. Chris was over at Harry’s yesterday ( ) where Molly was staying for a long weekend. Both are AchyPaw maintenance dogs and both were due a therapy session.

As ever, the dog not being treated at that moment slept happily picking up the calmness of the other. And in this case, young Whoopi grabbed some chill vibes too and fell asleep although she was not even being treated. 

At the end, they all came up for their treats. First the two who had their massage and then Whoopi got in the mix too. Looking down at the three faces resulted in……a big grin from Chris. #bestmedicineever #dogsmakeyousmile 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Power of Touch even works by proxy

I had an emergency call-out for Lord Nelson. His Dad wrote that he was limping on the front left leg having probably over-done his exuberance on the beach over the weekend. 

He and his Spaniel brother, Mr Darcy are part of our Double Therapist maintenance programme. As active boys this helps them with their mobility as well as hydrotherapy, osteopathy and supplements which all contribute to their multi-faceted therapy regime.

This ‘emergency’ session, though, would be the first time in ages that his brother hasn’t had his massage at the same time. His Dad thought that Darcy might be a bit pushy-iny during the session, but we needn’t have worried. Mr Darcy simply sat on one side of the massage bed while Nelson sat on the other. 

Both then fell asleep on either side of the massage mat - for an hour. They even mirrored each other - when one rolled over so did the other. 

Mr Darcy had his relaxation therapy without even being touched - well.....he did get the occasional touch or two from me until Nelson noticed and pulled my hand back to him. 


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Relaxation massage - at the vets

Charley the Senior Lab is usually quite excitable when being taken to the vets. But this time his Mum sent a picture and wrote : 

“Charley is at the vets uncle Les. It’s very busy and very hot. Charley is having a massage and is the calmest doggie in the whole place!!” 

You don’t have to have a physical issue to benefit from massage. It is a great way to bring about calmness in your dog. Be more like Charley and his Mum and ask how to learn a massage routine appropriate to you and your dog.