The benefi ts of massage are well known

How to Massage Your Dog
A DVD featuring Maria Duthie
By Martha Faulk
The benefits of massage are well known
to human athletes. Lance Armstrong
reportedly had a massage at the finish of
each day’s competition in the grueling
Tour de France. Even if you’re not an
athlete, you may have experienced the
heightened feeling of well-being after a
massage. You might have even enjoyed
a massage at an agility trial. Here in
Colorado, massage professionals offer
massage for both handlers and their dogs
right at ringside—they just change the
sheet and give both members of the team
a relaxing and healing session.
After experiencing the beneficial effects
of a massage yourself, you’ll want to learn
how to massage your canine companion
and athlete. “Dogs are athletes every
day of their lives,” according to “How to
Massage Your Dog: A Hands-On Guide to
Health & Wellness.” This DVD, produced
by Annisage® Inc. and featuring Maria
Duthie, gives a substantial overview of
canine massage and encourages the viewer
throughout by illustrating specific massage
techniques and routines. Although this
visual guide won’t make you a massage
expert, it will give you an introduction
into dog massage.
Maria Duthie, animal massage practitioner,
teaches monthly classes in “How to
Massage Your Own Dog.” She holds
the title of Reiki Master, specializing in
animals. Through her work as a zookeeper
in the U.S. and with exotic animals in
eastern Kenya, she was inspired to study
various forms of healing touch and its
relation to behavior modification. She is
a graduate of the Optissage program in
Circleville, Ohio.
In the introductory section of the DVD’s
menu, you’ll find “10 Good Reasons to
October 05
Clean Run
Massage Your Dog.” We learn that
massage warms tissue, reduces
tension, stimulates circulation,
reduces swelling, increases range
of motion, and has many other
beneficial effects on the dog’s body
and mind. Equally important as all dog
owners know, is the bonding process
that goes with touching and stroking
your dog. It’s a way to “return the dog’s
unconditional love with the touch of
your hands,” says Duthie.
Also included in the introductory section
of the menu is a very important section
on when not to massage your dog. Duthie
emphasizes that if you have any concerns
We learn that massage warms tissue, reduces tension,
stimulates circulation, reduces swelling, increases range of motion, and
has many other beneficial effects on the dog’s body and mind.
about your dog’s health, you should
always consult your veterinarian. Do not
massage, she warns, if your dog is in shock,
bleeding, has a fever, an open wound, or
any kidney problems. If your dog has
cancer, you’ll want to make sure massage
is not contraindicated because the massage
could release toxins into the body.
Over the years, all of my dogs have been the
recipients of professional canine massage
from Joanne Lang of the Lang Institute
for Canine Massage, Inc. in Loveland,
Colorado. I asked her what she thought
about owners and handlers learning to do
their own massage work. She believes that
“massaging your own dog is a very good
idea. But you’ll want to be certain your
dog does not have any health problems
that could be made worse by massage.”
She adds that “You’ll need to learn as much
as possible about both the muscular and
skeletal systems of the dog. As you begin
to work on your dog, it’s important to pay
attention to what your dog is telling you
through his body movements.”
To aid in learning, the Annisage DVD has
an easy-to-navigate menu which provides
information on massage techniques such
as effleurage, digital circles, compression,
passive touch, and many other traditional
hand placements and movements. The
techniques are described as a combination
of Swedish and sports massage. Viewers
are asked to practice these movements on
themselves or a friend before practicing
on a dog. In addition to descriptions and
demonstrations of massage techniques,
the DVD also shows massage routines
performed on various parts of the
dog’s body such as the head, the shoulder,
and the leg.
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I found these sections on massage techniques and routines most
helpful. I would have liked more information about the dog’s
muscular system, however. The DVD does present schematic
drawings of both individual muscles and muscle groups. More
extensive narration describing exactly where these muscles are
found on a live dog’s body as it is being massaged would have
been useful. Also, drawings and explanations of the dog’s skeletal
system in relation to the muscular system could have been
included, especially since the importance of the skeletal system
was emphasized in the introductory portion of the DVD.
This massage DVD is well organized and easy to follow. I
particularly liked the actual demonstrations of massage techniques
on individual dogs. These demo dogs appear so relaxed and
content while Maria’s hands move expertly over their bodies that
I’m inspired to try massage on my own dogs. Just as the DVD
suggests, I’ll take a deep breath, ask my dog’s permission, and use
a light touch and both hands. If I need more help, I can review
individual sections easily located on the menu.
It’s a lucky dog who receives gentle and positive hands-on touch
from his person, and we agility enthusiasts are fortunate to have
“How to Massage Your Dog: A Hands-On Guide to Health &
Wellness” to show us how to do it. The DVD is available from as well as Annisage Inc. D
Martha Faulk is a lawyer and author who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She is
Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for the Larimer Humane Society and
teaches agility there. Martha trains an Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian
Shepherd that she adopted from the shelter and also runs a Border Terrier in
agility. Martha may be reached at [email protected]
Kate and Blair Kelly
From your many Friends and Admirers
in the Sport of Agility and
your local Chesapeake Norwich
and Norfolk Terrier Club
CH MACH Jerusalem Katerina Minola B CD
The First Norwich Terrier to earn the MACH title,
becoming the first Norwich AKC dual-champion.
Her MACH was awarded on 6/19/05 in Frederick, MD at the Am. Belgian Tervuren’s Club Trial.
She was bred by Dr. Phyllis Pullen and is owned and handled by Blair Kelly.
Clean Run
October 05