Sharing a message from one of the graduates of our PetMassage program.
One of my own rescued adult puppy mill dogs has just been diagnosed with luxating patellas – yep, both of them.
Immediately I thought of those research papers we all have to do. What a wealth of information!
Thank you so much for making us do those darn things!
One of the requirements for completing the PetMassage Foundation Level Program is researching and writing short paper on a topic that has to do with dog anatomy, pathology, physiology, behavior, training, and/or bodywork. All of the papers are available as a resource for our dogcare community on the website at https://petmassage.com/resources/research-papers-case-studies/
Full Title: Threshold Fears
Author: Codi Falley
Date of Publication: April 13, 2021
Research Paper Text:
When searching this topic online I discovered that the fear of walking through a doorway between rooms or in and out of the house is a real fear in dogs. They will hesitate, cower and flat out refuse to go through them. Owners are forced to push, drag and even carry their furry loved one in and out. Some accounts state that its a behavior a rescue dog came with, or dogs that have “suddenly for no reason” become fearful. While others still are of dogs that had a door close on them at one point with varying degrees of injury. Many owners feel helpless, responsible, and tend to treat the symptom and not the cause. By doing things like bribing their pet with treats, repetitive coercing, either nicely or negatively only reinforces the behavior. The primary advice from experts that seems to pop up on dog related blogs is the too general term Obedience Training. They suggest things to try like, going through to other room sitting and calling for them to follow, offering treats and even repeatedly walking back and forth. Obedience classes do provide the owner and the dog time to bond and speak to each other, but each individual case is different and there is no 100% answer. By treating the symptom you are often reinforcing the fear, or worse making the dog more afraid of you than the doorway.
My experience with being a dog parent over the last 25 years has been educational to say the least. Different dogs present different problems, which in turn require different answers. Some fixes have come easy, some have come with several mistakes and some have yet to be answered at all. Doesn’t mean I stop asking the questions. It all comes down to communication. You can’t find out if the problem is with you or the dog if you can’t ask your dog. So we need to learn to SPEAK DOG. One of my dogs of the past, a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepard mix named Latte-Chino was a very dominant, protective male. He grew up going to dog parks with his many step siblings. He came when called, he listened to his Mom most of the time. The problem presented itself “out of the blue” one day at the park he started a fight with a bigger dog. I of course reacted, separating the dogs and apologizing to the other owner and generally got emotional about it. Didn’t have any issues up until that day, but once he started he continued this behavior more and more often. I noticed that he would watch the gates and when a bigger dog would come in the park he would immediately walk up and show signs that he might want to dominate that dog. It didn’t always become a fight, sometimes he would just walk up, posture up, sniff, and walk away. Other times he would become obsessed with that dog and follow them until eventually I had to leash him and remove him to a different end of the park. This obviously upset me, I would be on edge and constantly be hyper vigilant. Many months passed, and many mini altercations, until I figured out it wasn’t a problem with Latte, it was a problem with me. He was just being an alpha dog, and he was picking up on my stress and acting as a leader protecting me. Once I understood what he was doing I could change what was wrong with my behavior to net the results I wanted from him. I am there to protect him not the other way around. When we were near the gates, I would observe him but keep myself calm, by breathing slowly and deliberately moving around the park he sensed my confidence and didn’t feel the need to protect me anymore. I didn’t know it at the time but I was reasserting my role as leader and thus changed his behavior.
Going back to the fear of the doorway. Regardless of the why or the how the dog became afraid of going between rooms, if you can gain the trust of the dog you will have a better chance of getting them to work through their fear. Dogs will follow their instincts to be pack animals. If you are in fact the leader in the house, the dog will trust you and be less fearful if you earn that trust through example. Own that leadership. A dog will follow you if they sense that you are leading them to things they need. Walk confidently through your home. Show them there is nothing to be afraid of. If you let them go into a room first they have no one to show them that it is ok. Dogs pick up on very subtle things like breathing and heart rate. If they sense that you are unsure they in turn will be hesitant. Verbal commands can come across to a dog as elevated stress because it is not how they communicate. Body language is more subtle and recognizable to them. Calm your breathing, slow your heart rate, confidently walk into the room and they will follow. If you turn and try to coerce them, call them, pull them or push them it is sending mixed signals. Some dogs will respond to one or the other but it’s not allowing them to conquer their fear, only know that they made it through that time. What about the next? That is what being a leader in the pack is, if you want to maintain that role you have to constantly reinforce that trust bond by repetitive demonstration. We want to be loved by these furry little children, we want them to know that we love them. We can tell them all we want but they don’t speak human. We have to show them, lead by example and they will follow. Knowing and understanding your dog and their needs is essential to creating a safe and loving environment for both human and canine.
Full Title: The Effects of Canine Massage and Phantom Limbs
Author: Hailey Fullerton
Date of Publication: April 13, 2021
Research Paper Text:
There are several reasons that dogs end up needing and undergoing a limb amputation. Cancer and trauma tend to be the most common. The majority of dogs get along well on three legs, otherwise known as tripods.
In most cases the entire limb will be amputated since the remaining bone will no longer serve a purpose.
The candidate for this research paper is a 6-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever named Ole. Ole was hit by a car around one year of age resulting in a full amputation of his front left leg and shoulder. Dogs carry 60% of their weight in the front-end making recovery slightly more challenging than a rear end amputation.
Initial visit with Ole I was able to see the direct affects the amputation had on him. Ole’s posture was dropped in the rear, never fully extending his rear limbs when standing. Ole was very excited about his massage and I was excited to see how all his muscles felt. We started on his left side, same side as his amputation. When I started to massage his phantom limb he nudged me to move on so I did. Everything felt pretty good on this side. He was a huge fan of the skin rolling. Moving over to the right side, most of Ole’s muscles were very tight in his shoulder and neck. I started by feeling my way around his shoulder, followed that with some gentle stretching and then focused on gentle compression down the leg and back up with frictioning around the joints. I then used the same technique used on the ribs on the neck starting at the spine and applying gentle pressure with my fingers and moving towards the chest. Ole was showing signs of being very relaxed with eyes closed and hardly any other movement. We finished the session and Ole happily went about his day exploring his yard outside. When I visited again a few weeks later his muscles were much more relaxed in his right shoulder. Ole nudged me away from his phantom limb during the second session as well. The beautiful thing about animals is they tend to not dwell on what they have lost. They are amazing creatures.
Even though massage can help amputee patients greatly, it was my experience in Ole’s case that massaging, or trying to massage his phantom limb didn’t seem to be of interest to the pet. Or was it. Did the attempt at massaging his phantom limb help with the healing process of his pulled muscles in the alternate shoulder? I truly believe assessing the whole animal is important, whether they nudge you to move on or not you have accepted the pet in their entirety.
Pendergrass, JoAnna, DVM. (2018, January 4). New Insights Into the Phantom Complex for Small Animals. Retrieved from https://www.dvm360.com/view/new-insights-into-the-phantom-complex-for-small-animals
Nelson, Jim. (2009, October 22). Tips for Managing Phantom Limb Pain in Dogs. Retrieved from https://downloads.tripawds.com/2009/10/22/tips-for-managing-phantom-limb-pain-in-dogs/m
IVAMP. (2021). Pets and Amputation. Retrieved from https://ivapm.org/pets-and-amputation/
Waves tracing patterns in the sand: what could be more inspirational! The water and wind flowing rhythmically along the shore aligns perfectly with the flowing dance of massage.
Whenever I stroll along a beach, I pause to experience the ebb and flow of the waves. I watch, close my eyes, and simply observe. The wind compressing my shirt against my chest, ballooning out behind me. The air’s smell and taste; so clean. I open and close my hands with my breath. I join into the grand immensity. there are messages there. I could decode them if I chose.
Initially, I witness encroachment, control, and retreat.
It’s the human condition. All the phases of life are represented: inception, youth, maturity, old age, and death. Each with its naïveté, hubris, wisdom, despair, and rebirth. It’s all there, in the water.
There’s always another wave. Always hope, as the oncoming wave erases, compounds, revises, and replaces what has come before. That’s a metaphor for massage!
I scheduled 2 massages, back to back. First the owner, then his dog. While applying MFR, Myofascial Release, to my human client’s back, I imagined the movement of waves at the beach.
My hands drifted up, paused, held the skin in gentle traction, and released, as it receded. Ebb and flow. In my mind, I imagined silhouettes of lacy sea foam. Tiny bubbles thinning to translucent, and disintegrating. I imagined millennia of memories de-gassing, discharging their contents.
Another wave rolls over them, flowing as high up onto the beach as its lifetime of inertia can push it. It too pauses, expresses itself, eviscerates its bubbles, and recedes.
Each wave marks the sand with its very individual impression. Each wave is an old memory and the creation of a new memory. It joins and supersedes what had been collected and carried for years!
The movement is:
- slide forward
- hold slowly releasing pressure
- tap with your fingertips to pop the energetic bubbles.
- While you tap, visualize the next wave rolling over your wrists.
- Allow it to carry your hands with it
- and repeat the sequence.
I can never be sure what my client was feeling. I just trusted that this massage was the right method to do. Just as I began to question myself, he sighed, and said “My pain just disappeared. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” So, I did.
When his massage was complete, I felt radiant! Invigorated! It was as if I had just spent an hour at the shore. I skipped to the canine massage room where his dog was waiting.
I soon found myself flowing with “the wave” again. I slid my hands into the dog’s undercoat, and flowed up his spine to his shoulder blades. There, I held, and slowly releasing the pressure, tapped the skin with my fingertips. Tiny bubbles popping on the sand.
The next wave dragged my hands back toward me. I lifted them as they moved, smoothing the surface hair with my palms. I felt the tug. My fingers dove back into the undercoat and flowed back toward the head. They again paused, released, tapped, and receded.
Slide, hold, release, tap, retreat. Slide, hold, release, tap, retreat. It had a pleasant rhythm. Up, pause, tap, and back. Under, over, and through.
I checked in on my monitors. How’s the dog responding? How does it feel in my body? It was right.
This dog normally maintains an anxious pant. He swallowed, closed his mouth, rested his muzzle on his paws, and released a great sigh. He was expressing his contentment. His body said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” So, I did.
Note of appreciation. Every once in a while, we get a note of appreciation for the work we are doing growing and teaching PetMassage. This is one we received last week.
“Dear Jonathan –
Thanks so much for contacting me. Because I’m fast approaching 80, I’m slowing down a bit. However, I want you to know that, of all the classes I took in my career, my favorite was your PetMassage. Through the years, I studied canine massage therapy classes from everyone who taught the subject.
“Without a doubt, your class was the best one! I loved those days in Toledo in your classroom. I loved every word and every class you taught.
I taught a lot of canine massage therapy classes and like to think there are many people out there who no longer “pet” their special companions.
Thanks for writing. I enjoyed hearing from you.
Thurman attended her PetMassage workshop way back in 2002. We’ve been teaching canine massage for a long time.
If you have the intent to create a canine massage and/or canine aquatic PetMassage business as a certified professional, and are deciding with whom to train, please consider PetMassage.
Notice how each particle moves,
Notice how everyone has just arrived here from a journey,
Notice how each wants a different food,
Notice how the stars vanish as the sun comes up,
and how all streams stream toward the ocean.
This applies to dogs too, especially while our senses are heightened during massage.
I’ve read that there are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary numbers and those who don’t.
I remember the moment I made a commitment to align myself with one group as opposed -and be opposed-to another. I was in college. This was back in the late 1960s. I’d been cutting across the Oval, a large grassy area in front of The Ohio State University library, to get to my next class. A fellow student was standing on a bench, addressing anyone who’d listen to him. Like a soapbox. I was intrigued. I paused to listen. He looked at me and challenged me. Could I, in good conscience, allow the status quo of war, deceit, and inequality to continue? The straps of my heavy canvas book bag dug into my shoulder. There, in the hot Spring sunshine, awkwardly, uncomfortably, I experienced introspection. Goosebumps. I searched my soul and found my answer, my compass, and my tribe.
There were a lot of us boomers that were awakening. We were young and impressionable. With our affluence and sense of open ended opportunity, we were learning who we were, what our options were, and striving to figure out what our purposes were in life.
We were for love, for social, racial, and gender equality, for religious freedom, free speech, and definitely jazz and rock and roll. Gleefully, we join peaceful sit-ins and rallies. Our goals were to change university policies and political agendas.
Mostly we wanted change. Sound familiar? There was a lot of uncertainty. Automation was replacing workers. Unions were shrinking. The manufacturing from overseas was newer, more efficient, and more competitive. The first early computers were beginning to be introduced into daily life. The Gold Standard was replaced with “faith.” We were still grieving the assassination of our leader, John F. Kennedy, and felt vulnerable. We felt betrayed by his successor, who represented old guard, not the young idealist we identified with so strongly. We were convinced he was entrenching us in the war more every day by only listening to advisors that were the military “hawks.”
Our looming concerns were the Viet Nam war and the Draft. Fiercely righteous, we were “anti-establishment” thinkers and activists.
We saw ourselves as proponents of justice, freedom, and peace. We wore our bell bottom jeans and T-shirts, puka beads, sandals (or Earth shoes), wire rimmed glasses, bandanas, and lots and lots of hair. We acknowledged our fellow tribespeople with a knowing smile and the 2 fingers up “peace sign” greeting. This was the group I identified with. There was us. And there was them, the “not us”.
Us and them. Black and white. Yin and yang. The “people” and the “man.” The Aquarian’s and the Troglodytes. Binary. You know: 10.
As we eventually matured and removed the garlands of daisies from our hair, we learned that life happens in the gray spaces; the dash between 01-10. Like the dash on tombstones that represent the life that happened between the year someone was born and the year they died.
As a population, we are now even more divided than we were in the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war protestations. This is not a new phenomenon.
Political stance has become identity. Each of the binary sides claims exclusive points of view and defends their positions against the other. Each claims their truth to be righteous. Each takes comfort and pride in belonging to the tribe of correct like-minded thinkers, the ones on the right side of history.
Both have painted themselves into a corner, fallen into the trap. Having demonized the “other” for their beliefs, they are committed to disrespect and non-cooperation. The camps are so separate, each has its own news sources and refutes any others as illegitimate. They cannot agree. It’s unreasonable.
Each side says it’s our way or nobody’s way. Agreement, conciliation may create a crack in the philosophical armor.
What we have done is created deep schisms in our families, communities, social networks, and country.
We are so estranged, is there any topic, anything at all, that we can agree on, rally around, to join with each other? Is there anything that we can rally ‘round that can reestablish trust, humanity, harmony, respect, and community? Anything?
If you were to create a Venn diagram, a chart showing overlapping circles to illustrate the similarities, differences, and relationships between our belief systems, and tribal identifications, you’d see an interesting intersection, or “platypode”.
You could identify as Red and Blue, Republican or Democrat. You could make your political statements by buying your paint at Home Depot or Lowe’s, your craft supplies at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, meet for lunch at a Chick-fil-A or a local coffee shop. We have our camps, our tribes.
Platypoding all these, there is one idea, one passion, that we all share. There is a singular conviction that unites us all: our passion for maintaining the health and wellbeing of our dogs.
If this pandemic experience has taught us anything, it’s demonstrated that dogs are essential in our lives. Besides the fact that dogs were instrumental in our human civilization developing in the first place (https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/257145/), they’ve been here for us now. During all the the lockdowns, social distancing, and imposed isolations of this pandemic, it has been our dogs, with their unflagging support and companionship, that have allowed us to keep it together; to maintain sanity and hope. They are one of our most valuable natural resources. More than ever, we realize that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect them.
Whether you are a practitioner in traditional veterinary medicine or TCM, use allopathic medicines or homeopathic tinctures, base your approach on physiology or energy-work, reach for the scalpel or with the palm, one idea that unites us all is the importance of touch. We all rely on using the physical connection to influence the flow of body fluids.
All caregivers of dogs know we need to touch dogs to affect change. Dogs need our touch for the change effect.
Another concept that I’d like to believe unites us is that thorough professional training is essential. The practice of canine massage develops and evolves. Each generation builds on the shared experiences of previous and current practitioners. There is no reason to feel you need to reinvent the wheel from your own resources.
Another, is credentialing. These 3 circles of intent intersect to distinguish professionals from amateurs, practitioners from hobbyists, and those who could inadvertently injure dogs from those who have learned how not to.
The programs we have developed to assist dogs include PetMassage, dry and Canine Aquatic PetMassage.
Contact PetMassage.com when you are ready to be trained to be a professional canine massage practitioner, and become certified/credentialed in canine massage. We will guide you to learn the skills you need to know. And because touch is a personal connection, our training is in person, in on-site vocational training workshops at our school in Toledo Ohio. This is where an instructor with practical canine massage experience works with you. This is the way to learn what professional PetMassage Practitioners say and do to create businesses that are fulfilling, legal, and successful.
During these times of apprehension about catching or passing the corona virus, please be assured that our workshops are safe havens for training.
- We have reduced class sizes, so that students are spaced 2 meters apart. -Masks and hand cleansing are mandatory.
- And the hotels and restaurants that we recommend are maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and service.
- Learn about workshops, home study programs, and original PetMassage books/DVDs (Christmas gifts) here: https://petmassage.com/shop/
It’s easy to find out more about PetMassage and each course and product offering. You don’t have to navigate a labyrinth to get the information you want. On our website nothing is hidden. You can even find Research Papers, previous Helpful Hints, and all of Anastasia’s Affirmations. Check out the extensive site map on the bottom of each page at www.PetMassage.com. It’s there for your convenience.