Dogs and their people are happier and healthier with PetMassage

That light in the tunnel.

By Jonathan Rudinger | January 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

That light in the tunnel.

That light in the tunnel is not an oncoming train. It’s sunshine. Canine massage may very well be in your future. Register for the PetMassage Foundation Level Program and initiate the plan for your leave taking from your corporate nightmare.

I had an uncomfortable conversation about life in the corporate world. Competent and enthusiastic people who, having been passed over for promotions, felt deflated. They described their feelings as being “betrayed.”

These were people who always showed up. They excelled in their work. Enthusiastically attended extra training. Handled additional responsibilities not included in their job descriptions. Performed their duties, plus. But because of conflicting management agendas, the employees were crosschecked. Redirected from the career tracts they were on. Shunted like empty railroad box cars onto side tracks.

It’s a helpless feeling of being stuck even though in your eyes you’ve done everything right. Now, there’s less incentive to show up, to put in the extra effort. And, even though they were thrilled to be so on purpose doing what they were doing a week ago, now, to preserve self-esteem they are considering making some radical career decisions.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this story. Big corporations are complex mixes of people, personalities, agendas, behind the scenes maneuvering, intrigue, et al. I have swum in those seas. Lived and breathed the management drama. Felt the pleasure and the pain. Experienced the elation and the despair. It was exhausting. Stressful. Addictive. Unhealthy.

We can reboot and default back to tracking our own bliss. We can manifest joy, contentment, and self-appreciation working on personal growth and our original goals, helping dogs.

I am so happy to be out of that corporate life. I live and work and revel and prosper in the small business world of the independent canine massage entrepreneur and teacher. I, with my small group of like-minded, like intentioned colleagues, make my own rules, set my own hours, make my own decisions, am able to work true to my own scope of ethical behavior toward my clients and with each other. I get to do what I am passionate about; and that is helping dogs and their owners, teaching others how to professionally massage dogs, and practicing my creativity producing videos and writing books and these blogs.

Does this sound like the life that you would like? Canine massage can be in your future. You can start now. Register for the PetMassage Foundation Level Program to learn and practice dry canine massage and/or the Canine Aquatic Massage PetMassage WaterWork Program to learn canine massage in a heated swimming pools. And we can arrange a monthly payment plan for you.  Decide now to initiate your leave-taking from your corporate nightmare. That light in the tunnel is not an oncoming train. It’s sunshine. Or better yet, it’s the glow reflected from the tapetum lucidum membrane in dogs eyes.


My new career is PetMassage. My work is now emotionally fulfilling.

By Anastasia Rudinger | January 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

PetMassage for Active and Athletic Dogs

By Jonathan Rudinger | January 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

PetMassage for Active and Athletic Dogs

Optimizing function is the name of the game. That’s what canine massage does. The dogs appreciate what we do. Their owners, handlers, trainers, and vets do, too.

PetMassage is an appropriate and beneficial therapeutic practice for Active and sport dogs. These athletes have had tremendous success when they the get dry massage and canine aquatic massage, a non-weight bearing experience. Massage is an exquisite complement to veterinary, chiropractic, and orthopedic care.

The first people to recognize value of canine massage were the trainers and handlers of agility dogs. Their dogs were getting injured, going lame, missing jumps, missing times. Someone, who got massage themselves intuited that their dogs would get similar benefits. Soon, word spread. Trainers throughout the agility world saw how valuable massage is for their dogs and sought out people who could help their dogs both on site at events and between training sessions.

Sport dogs, by definition, include dogs performing in timed and judged events, like agility, fly ball, hunting, and racing. These athletes get sore, bruised, fatigued, tight, tied up, lame, overstimulated, and sometimes, like human athletes, soured, bored, apathetic, and not trying their hardest.

In my practice I see a lot of pet dogs that play too hard at doggie day cares who get injured racing about at dog parks. These are the sport dogs with whom I have the most experience.

These canine athletes are prone to injury. They trip. They step in holes. They get blindsided and T-boned by other dogs. When they play out of their league with the big kids, or beyond their conditioning, muscles get strained; ligaments get sprained. Often, injuries do not show up right away. They may take awhile to be symptomatic. Like realizing a neck injury the day after an accident.

By the time their owners bring them in for massage, they are limping or bobbing their heads. Top lines may be rounded. Hips or shoulders may be misaligned. Paws, not pointing straight forward. Eyes sad, ears flattened, coat dull, tail tucked under. They look broken.

In their massage I identify areas that have meaningful variations in temperature, texture, shapes, and reactivity. And then I work them so they are more flexible and comfortable. Muscle groups and movement are revitalized and restored.

The goal with canine sports massage is to reestablish flexibility, comfort, strength, and confident movement.

Ilaria is our dog. She’s a young, social, healthy boxer. A couple of weeks ago, at the dog park, she was dashing about, racing and hurdling over the other dogs. She was in her glory having the best time ever! At the far end of the field she paused for a moment and looked down. When she moved off, her stride was uneven. I called to her, and she was ready to leave. It was her left forepaw. She held it aloft. She winced when I poked around with my fingers to check it and pulled it away. A thin smear of blood coated my thumbnail. The inner border of one of her toe pads had a tiny laceration. Fortunately it was caked in mud. Clean mud. Mud has antiseptic qualities. That’s what my mom used to tell me, so it must be true!

I cleansed it thoroughly when we got home. Then I watched as, for the rest of the evening, she self-medicated her paw with dog lick.

The next day I massaged Ilaria. Included in her full body massage was work to her injured foreleg. I wanted to increase circulation to the injury. Fresh cleansing blood flow assists healing from the inside. It brought new blood in and flushed the old blood out. My effleurage directed blood flow away from the paw toward the heart and then, toward the area. I did not massage directly on the wound itself because that would have interrupted the healing process.

Her wellness restoration regimen included massage, icing, restricted activity, and rest. This is how she progressed: Ilaria limped for a couple of days, walked gingerly for a couple more, and within 10 days, was back to running full out.

Even without injuries, sport dog Ilaria still benefits with massage. For her, the goal is to maintain flexibility, strength, and support her effervescent joie de vivre. We retain her muscle tone with kneading, scratching, positional release, and stretches. That’s what works for her.

At events, athletic dogs often get massages before their runs, after their runs, when their times are slower than expected, and if something shows up in their gait. It’s the same as humans at their competitions. Massage helps them perform at their optimum capacity.

Each dog is different. The canine massage practitioner observes their gait and any extraordinary movement. Our training in dog anatomy and physiology helps us visualize what is happening beneath the coat between our hands, how it ought to feel, move, and be positioned. The focus is on enhancing flexibility, joint mobility and ease of movement.

We have had tremendous success helping active and athletic dogs with dry massage and canine aquatic massage, a non-weight bearing experience in a heated swimming pool. Massage, as you can see, is an exquisite complement to veterinary, chiropractic, and orthopedic care.

Call to Action:

Learn canine sports massage and ways to help canine athletes in these programs: PetMassage Foundation Level and Canine Aquatic Massage, PetMassage WaterWork . 

Also, please check out this YouTube video and see super-sweetie Ilaria in action: 

The dogs appreciate the compassion and dedication I infuse into their massages.

By Anastasia Rudinger | January 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Lateral breathing in dogs

By Jonathan Rudinger | January 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

Lateral breathing in dogs

Lateral breathing is often not included when we talk about breathing. We think of mouth breathing and nose breathing; chest breathing and diaphragmatic – belly – breathing. I use palmar breathing; and that’s demonstrated at

Lateral breathing includes the functioning of the structures on the sides of the dog: the ribs, the flank, the obliques, etc. the whole body breathes; not just the lungs and ribs. When there are restrictions in any of these areas, dogs cannot get enough air for their bodies to work.

This is especially significant with dogs that are obese. We can see the strain all that extra weight puts on the joints. There’s strain on the spine supporting the weight from above, and also restricted movement of the packed in diaphragm. Visualize the mass of the belly bulk pressing into the fascia holding the thorocolumbar region of fascia. The fascia clamps against the thorax. We can readily see that any excess in padding reduces lateral breathing.

Canine massage and bodywork address the physical and emotional restrictions that impact the inability of the dog’s body to access and process breath.

I recently attended a workshop in which I was instructed to focus on my lateral breathing. This was a new exercise for me. I immediately noticed restrictions and severe discomfort in my left side rib cage. Spontaneously, I recalled a trauma that I had forgotten. I was swimming my horse across a river and as he kicked out one time, his hoof caught me in the ribs. The wind was knocked out of me and I needed to cling to his neck to make it to shore.

That was over 30 years ago. The memory of that accident was still in my intercostals! That evening and the next day I was very sore. On the second day, my lateral breathing was full and complete. I needed to be guided in my breath work. And now, I am finally healed from that experience.

Dogs, whether they are obese or have lived full, active, trauma-inclusive lives, need to be able to breath fully and easily. Some, like me, are not aware that their breathing has been restricted. They have learned to adapt. Cope. Compensate or deduce expectations. Repress.

This is the perfect venue to use Positional Release. Positional Release is a massage technique that helps dogs identify and resolve restrictions. It’s a way to facilitate them in their resolution of physical and energetic traumas.

During your canine massage, observe the movements of the dog’s rib cage and flank both visually and through palpation. You are both in this together, so pay attention to your rib cage and flank, as well. Notice if you feel restrictions, pain, openness, or comfort. If you feel discomfort in your sides or back, stretch and rub the sore areas with the backs of your fists.

The two of you can work together and recover your breath.

Call to Action:

Learn more about lateral breathing in the PetMassage Foundation Level and WaterWork, Canine Water Massage Programs.

My breathing is easy and full. Each breath is a healing breath.

By Anastasia Rudinger | January 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

Choose the PetMassage Home-Study Courses

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Choose the PetMassage Home-Study Courses that best align with your needs and aspirations. Take advantage of the PetMassage Happy Holiday Sale with 20% Off and FREE Shipping (in the US).

The 8 Home Study Course offerings from PetMassage:

Basic Anatomy of the Dog

The “Basic Anatomy of the Dog” PetMassage™ Home Study Course was specially formulated to meet the practical needs of the beginning dog massage / canine massage practitioner.

While administering a canine massage, it is imperative that you know enough about canine anatomy that you are able to visualize the anatomical structures beneath your hands. You need to know their shapes, how they move, and what they do.

When you complete this course, you will have a good fundamental understanding and working knowledge of dog / canine anatomy.


Medical Terminology, Canine Physiology, Kinesiology and Pathology for the Canine Massage

This home study course is designed to enhance your comprehension and working knowledge of the medical terminology, its etymology and definitions, physiology, and the basic functions within the body that are applicable to canine / dog massage.

Learn about kinesiology, movement (bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons used), and the significant concepts you need to know of the pathology, common veterinary tests, treatments and medications that your canine clients may be experiencing.

This certificate is a credential that sets a new standard for knowledge competency in the field of canine massage and bodywork care.


Confident Dog Handling for the Canine Massage Practitioner

If you are unable to attend this on-site PetMassage™ workshop, this Home Study Course is the next best way to learn these essential dog handling techniques.

For the entire time during a massage session with the dog, you need to establish and maintain your role as the pack leader. In our need to please and placate, we sometimes give up our power, ceding it to the dog. This can put you in an ineffective position, and if you do not recognize or use the correct signals, it can be dangerous.

This course will shift your understanding and relationship with dogs. This course gives you the insights and tools so that you and your dog client will be safe and comfortable in each other’s presence.


Transitions: PetMassage™ Energy Work for the Aging and Dying Dog

This is one of the most essential aspects of the entire practice of PetMassage™. TRANSITIONS: PetMassage™ Energy Work for the Aging & Dying Dog is a means of empowering pet care professionals and individual caregivers to help their dogs and pet owners during any transition in their dogs’ lives and life-styles. This is especially helpful during end-of-life care.

When a dog is in the final stage of life, for the pet owner, it is often a time of confusion, sadness, anger, and denial. Death and dying are uncomfortable. Unknown and unknowable. Often, a dying or already transitioned pet will trigger old issues of previously unresolved loss, fear, and trust.

This powerful course helps you learn to facilitate the unraveling physical bond between owner and dog and initiate the loving conversation around loss, grieving, and acceptance.


PetMassage™ Energy Work with Dogs

This Course enhances your understanding and use of bodywork energy concepts. You will learn body and energy mechanics, as well as the application of them with specific techniques used in the PetMassage™ Advanced Level Program.

Everything is energy. In this course, you learn to enhance the energetic quality of your life, the lives of your dogs, the lives of your canine / dog clients, and their pet parents / owners. Follow the written and audio text, PetMassage™ Energy Work with Dogs, Accessing the Magnificent Body Language and Body Wisdom of the Dog, and grow, chapter by chapter, developing greater insight into the entire canine massage and bodywork process.


Creating and Marketing Your Canine Massage Business

Create and launch your uniquely personal business plan for near and long-term success and personal growth.

This is a how-to-market course unlike any other you’ve seen. It teaches a gentle, supportive, encouraging course for you to develop the first stages of your animal massage business and lay out a strategy for longer term goals. Here, you find a synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches; current business strategies and PetMassage™ theory all based on practical experience.

Combined with your entrepreneurial spirit and persistence, this course will help you to generate prosperity in your business and your life. This Home Study Course is a step-by-step guide to creating your successful canine massage business.


Independent Study/Research (LMTs earn CE credits)

3 hour/ 3 CEU case studies

10 hour/10 CEU in-depth studies

The intention of this course is for you to be an SME, Subject Matter Expert on the topic assigned to you. It will be published on the website and made available for peer review.

In this 3-hour or 10-hour CEC/CEU course, you’ll focus your attention on a single topic. PetMassage™ Instructor, Jonathan Rudinger, will assign or agree to your choice of topic, and guide you as you explore your topic in depth. These are short studies. The length of your paper will also be short: only a minimum of 3 pages.

Completing a research project will enhance your practice by enhancing the depth of your knowledge. If you are an LMT, these are the continuing ed credits that you can use to fulfill your licensing requirements.


The human and canine critters of PetMassage

Host the hands-on training workshop for the PetMassage Foundation Level PetMassage Program.

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

Host the hands-on training workshop for the PetMassage Foundation Level PetMassage Program.

Would you like to host the hands-on training workshop for the Foundation Level PetMassage Program?

The PetMassage School will come to you.

As host, we request that you provide a room for lecture, and hands-on teaching and arrange for the dogs that we will require for hands-on instruction.

If you have an indoor facility that is large enough to accommodate this program, – 1000 square feet – and a grassy outdoor area for the dogs, we can together, provide a great canine massage workshop experience. Students may bring their own dogs. We do not encourage students to massage dogs on the floor, especially while they are learning. So, we will also require a sturdy grooming table for each student. They may bring their own table, as well.

Host provides

  • Indoor space
  • Grassy area
  • Dogs
  • Tables for students
  • Team up with PetMassage for Networking and Promotion

The workshop is 5 days. The classes are over an extended weekend, Thursday through Monday. Class sizes are 6-20 students. The course fees are $2000/attendee. For your promotion and the use of your facilities, your fee will be waived and in addition, you will earn 20% commission on registrants’ fees.

So, in addition to learning canine massage and developing a reputation for hosting significant seminars, this is an income opportunity.

Student credentialing. After they have completed the rest of the Program requirements: home study courses, a short research paper, documentations of their practice canine massage sessions, and a couple of videos, they are certified by our School as PetMassage Practitioners.

We have been teaching this PetMassage vocational training workshop in our school in Toledo, Ohio since 1997. PetMassage is acknowledged around the world as a pioneer and leader in the field of canine massage instruction. It is also recognized by the holistic veterinary community. Jonathan Rudinger, the PetMassage Training and Research Institute founder and instructor, is also President of the IAAMB/ACWT, The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork/ Association of Canine Water Therapy.

Find out more about hosting your hands-on workshop for the PetMassage Foundation Level Program. Contact: or call 800-779-1001. Outside the US: 1-419-475-3539.

Choose the PetMassage for Dogs Workshops that best fit your needs and aspirations.

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Choose the PetMassage for Dogs Workshops that best fit your needs and aspirations.

PetMassage Programs are vocational training. They include on-site, one-on-one, hands-on training and home study modules. 

Programs with Workshops On-site at The PetMassage Training and Research Institute, Toledo, OH                

PetMassage for Dogs Foundation Level Program/ Certified Practitioner

This is hands-on, one-on-one instruction in a 5-day on-site workshop intensive at PetMassage. The PetMassage Foundation Level Program gives you the training to create a successful canine massage practice, business and career. The skills you learn in this program will prepare you for providing massage for house pets, service dogs, sport dogs, dogs in a veterinary setting, and dogs in rehab.

This program includes massage skills specifically for dogs, dog handling in the context of a massage session, body mechanics (for you), basic dog anatomy, and a guide/marketing course to create your canine massage business. While some parts of your training can be completed at home, the hands-on-dogs instruction needs to be personalized for you, optimizing your intuitive abilities and personal style.

Upon completion of the PetMassage Foundation Level Program, you will be a Certified PetMassage Practitioner. The PetMassage™ Foundation Level Program earns 100 CEUs.

PetMassage Advanced Level Program/ Certified Advanced Practitioner

Prerequisite: completion of the PetMassage™ Foundation Level Program.

The on-site hands-on workshop is 6-days and runs Sunday through Friday

This workshop focuses on expanding your canine massage practice with instruction in the

  • Energy systems of dogs: indications and applications of balancing and aligning
  • Advanced myofascial release
  • Neural positional release
  • Positional release of significant trigger points
  • Stretching
  • Palliative care
  • Functional medical terminology vocabulary to work with veterinarians
  • Functional pathology for a more comprehensive private practice and veterinary rehabilitation support
  • Business and marketing support to enhance your private practice

Includes 2 Home Study Courses:

  • Medical Terminology, Canine Physiology, Kinesiology and Pathology for the Canine Massage Practitioner
  • PetMassage™ Energy Work with Dogs


  • Upon completion of the PetMassage Advanced Level Program, you will be a Certified Advanced PetMassage Practitioner. The PetMassage™ Advanced Level Program earns 100 CEUs.
  • Combined with the Foundation Level’s 100 CEUs, you have the requisite hours to sit for the NBCAAM exam for National Certification.

Confident Dog Handling for the Canine Massage Practitioner

4 Hour workshop on-site. Note: This workshop is during each Foundation Level Workshop.

Learn safe and appropriate ways to interact with dogs, whether they are compliant, fearful, anxious, willful, reactive, threatening, in discomfort, stiff, overweight, or just big, during each phase of a PetMassage™ session.

The concepts and dog handling skills in this course will enable you to be more confident working with many dog breeds, temperaments, and situations. From the beginning of a dog massage session, you must develop an understanding with the dog so that both of you feel safe and heard.

Body and Gait Mechanics for the PetMassage Practitioner 

4 Hour on-site workshop. Note: This workshop is held during each Foundation Level Workshop.

The Body Mechanics workshop will help you transform the way you move. When you move more comfortably you will interact with dogs with increased balance, stability and confidence.

Our dogs are very aware of how we are feeling. Any limp, slouch, and imbalance in your gait signals them that you are not completely available for them. When you move in balance and ease, you feel more alive. Moreover, your dog will be relieved to know that you are well and happy. The dogs will entrain with your improved posture, gait and breathing.

New concepts in neural- and vestibular brain science will get your body moving in grace and comfort.

  • Identify where your balance and gait may need some modifications
  • Learn science-based drills to get “back in balance.”

Off-site Workshops

PetMassage™ WaterWork Workshops (canine aquatic massage) at the Dog Dive, Kalamazoo, MI/ Credential: Certified PetMassage™ WaterWork Practitioner

Canine Aquatic Massage, PetMassage WaterWork™ – 1

Days 1-4:  Monday through Thursday

Working in water is very unlike dry PetMassage. The skills are different. The water and the warmth magnify and exaggerate the therapeutic value of every movement. The pool environment offers possibilities unlike any other water or dry modality. Each session becomes a joyous dance of wellness and fun.


  • massage and movement skills
  • body mechanics
  • safe movement in water with dogs
  • pool selection, construction, operation

Imagine yourself shoulder deep in a large heated pool, holding a dog, suspended in water. You guide the

Motivation From Daily Hands-on Inspiration

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Motivation From Daily Hands-on Inspiration

You’ve heard or read about how I started PetMassage.  I’ve described it in my books and it’s on our website. [ ] It’s been a passion of mine for over 20 years. Every week of every year, I either teach a workshop, council students, write books and blogs, produce videos, manage the PetMassage School, and massage dogs. It’s an enchanted life.

What is it about PetMassage that keeps me interested and motivated?

I love dogs. I love being able to help them and, by extension, their owners. I love what I’m doing. I feel very blessed to have discovered this vocation. And even more appreciative that it is providing me a comfortable income and quality of lifestyle. I get new inspiration every time I’m massaging dogs. Every massage is an inspiration; an event that is life changing. Enhancing the dog’s life and my life. My job description is very cool. I get to listen to my intuition and creatively follow its guidance. I visualize it as getting to connect with my angelic guides. My higher selves. The work I do is far too complex to rely on just one mentor.

What’s more, as an instructor and writer, I’m in the position to help and influence others so they can discover and develop their paths; especially when those paths are canine massage.

In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks writes this affirmation, “I expand in abundance, success, and love, as I inspire those around me to do the same.”

Are you part of the narrow slice of humanity that pledges their minds, bodies, and spirits to help dogs? Is this your passion, too?

Call to Action: 

I write this so that I may attract the attention of a like-minded, like-intentioned dog-loving person who would like to experience a similar joy. If this is you, please contact me to learn about how to train, own, and teach canine massage in your own PetMassage Franchise School.