massaging your canine
Yesterday I had a fabulous massage at the spa; with all the photo shooting, sitting at the computer and lifting weights I was pretty knotted up. This of course got me to thinking about massaging our canine companions. I often massage my dogs and they definitely enjoy it; even Luke who can be a little unsure if you try something new on him. Most dogs love a good massage; but there are dogs who object to that degree of touching for some reason or other. A dog can be uncomfortable receiving that level of touch simply because they are not accustom to it; they may be unsure or they may have never learned to enjoy touching so much.
It is fairly simple to warm your dog up to being massaged using positive association. If you have a puppy then your work will be easy; puppy's are easily pliable and you can introduce new things to them that sometimes are difficult to introduce to an adult. Depending on the level of acceptance you have from your dog regarding touching will factor on how quickly you get to the actual massage. Using a favorite treat you will start with short touches; start with the most accepted area of touch to start off with and work your way to the "hot spots."
Most dogs have foot issues; you touch they pull away but with lots of repetition and gentle firm touches associated with really great treats you can even have a dog that loves to have their feet rubbed. Tilley has always loved to have her feet rubbed and after talking to her breeder; apparently Tilley's Mother loved it as well. If you have a very nervous dog then it may take you months to achieve a full body massage but stay persistent and keep it at baby steps to reach your goal. Never force a dog to accept touch, convince them that it is a great thing. Make sure that each session no matter how short; ends on a positive note.
Be confident when touching your dog; if you are unsure and apprehensive they will know it and become wary. A sure and steady hand helps to relieve any apprehension. Stay calm; zen like and your dog will follow suit. Massaging your dog is an amazing bond building exercise; total trust is required by both and when you achieve this, it's only up from there.