Canine Massage Guild

Enjoy the process

How many of us who are now working a second or third dog in a sport we love, can look back fondly on our first dog, thinking how lucky we were that despite our inexperience and lack of knowledge and iffy criteria our dog somehow made it round a course, maybe even progressing through the grades.

And how many of us look at our second dog, who is rather ‘challenging’ and think that we’re lucky this wasn’t our first dog otherwise we’d have quit! And we love them but we wonder when it will all come together. And there are moments of brilliance with stunning clears, but twice as many moments where we wonder whether our dog even noticed we’re in the ring with them. (Yes Finn, I am talking about you!)

What if the difference isn’t our challenging dog, or our dodgy handling? What if the difference is our expectations?

Why do I compete?

In life generally I’m an extremely competitive person. When I’m running in a group I’ll try and be at the front, when I play games against kids I still try my hardest to win even if it ends in tears, and at school I was proud to be in a hockey team that won the league every year.

But I don’t compete to win. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win, I like winning and I’m proud when we do well. But I don’t compete just because I enjoy winning.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is something I often end up chatting with owners about, especially as many of my clients are senior dogs. We all worry at various times about whether we are doing the best we can for our old dogs, and whether they truly do have a good quality of life. 

For me, determining quality of life is very much dependent on the dog and the lifestyle they’re used to. What is perfectly acceptable and enjoyable for one dog would be horrible for another dog. Some dogs would thrive with cuddles by the fire and lots of family attention, and just trips out to the garden. For others life wouldn’t be worth living without daily off lead walks in the countryside.

My Dog Hates Massage!

I really feel for owners whose dogs don’t enjoy massage and are either obviously just tolerating it or actively trying to escape. They get their dog treated to help them feel better, and end up feeling conflicted because their dog hasn’t enjoyed it and they wonder whether they are doing the right thing.

Well firstly let me confess - none of my three dogs enjoys a full massage treatment. And I would say it’s more common for me to treat a wriggly escape artist, at least on the first treatment, than it is a happy relaxed dog.

So why might your dog not be enjoying massage?

Managing Restricted Exercise

At some point unless your dog is extremely careful, bombproof or just plain lucky, they’re likely to have some kind of injury and need their exercise restricted. Managing restricted exercise comes with a number of challenges and considerations, which will vary slightly depending on your dog and their injury.

My Finn is currently recovering from a cruciate ligament sprain, which means very restricted exercise and a long recovery time. I’m not qualified to give exercise advice, that needs to come from a qualified physiotherapist, this is an owners perspective on managing restricted exercise and things to consider.