Why Dogs Need to be Massaged.
Unfortunately for the dog some owners go wrong from the beginning; they don’t mean to, they just simply over estimate what a dog’s physical body is capable of and it doesn’t help when the puppy/dog is naturally keen to please. Dogs will perform for the owners to their own detriment.
We need to think about the dog’s capabilities before we force our modern lifestyle and expectancies onto them. We need to think about how our bodies react to being stressed, overworked or anxious – dogs share the same feelings as us. The part of their brain that holds their emotions is exactly the same as ours.
In a primal pack the den and local surrounding is not only home but also a school for the puppies. Older members of the pack bring all the teaching to the puppies – everything they will need to know for the future, developing their skills. Puppies do not take on any activity over and beyond their physical capability; food is even brought to them right up to when they are adolescents.
With a new puppy in our home body handling is easy and simple at first. The owners find it natural to spend a lot of time fusing and cuddling the puppy. As the puppy gets bigger the routine body handling is sometimes neglected. Teaching the puppy to lead walk, to sit and other commands, along with the need for their socialization takes precedent. The new owner also has a need – they want to get out and about with their new addition and often tire out the little bundles of energy!
However this is the exact time problems can start developing. We tend to forget what would be natural for the puppy and at only a few weeks old start training them to fit into our way of life. The puppy has already experienced stress when it was taken from its mother and litter mates and now we add even more!
Some puppies are taken everywhere, shown everything, handled by everyone and can be over stimulated and mentally exhausted. Whilst other puppies are left for long periods of time, unattended and unstimulated. This can cause stress to the puppy, the classic signs being yapping and howling. Dogs are a pack animal, alone and bored they can become disruptive as they need stimuli or company. Tension builds within the puppy and tension builds within the owner and again the puppy has experiences more stress through no fault of its own.
Some puppies are inappropriately exercised and perform physical exercise over and beyond their physical strength, for example in climbing up and down stairs, jumping on/off sofas and in/out of cars. Retrieving the thrown ball! The effect of these activities on soft immature joints and bones is profound. The skeleton and muscles of the puppy are being stressed, over worked or maybe even injured.
Another area of concern for puppies and all dogs is in the home. Laminated or slippery floors – are equivalent to them permanently walking on ice. They cannot stride out in their normal relaxed gait; they have to hold themselves tight and take shorter strides to enable them to keep a grip on the slippery floor. We often laugh when a dog comes skidding around the corner with legs splaying in all directions or bangs into the furniture unable to stop in time, it looks comical but we should be grimacing and thinking about the damage, the stress and strain that has just occurred inside the puppy’s soft young joints. They make light of it and unfortunately so do we.
If the effects of the above were immediate we may well act differently, but alas they do not appear until a dog is about 6 – 8 years old. It is the same with us. It’s not until later in life that old neglected injuries become apparent.
Another form of inappropriate exercise is when the puppy is constantly pulling on the lead or being pulled and tugged along. How would our neck muscles cope? Well, they would ‘knot up’ and become painful and stiff. We would have a headache too – just as the dog/puppy may. It is always best to ‘call your dog not pull your dog’.
Being made to walk to the speed and pace of the handler does not allow the puppy/dog to develop their own natural gait. A walk to us is like a double marathon to the dog when you gauge out our stride to that of a small dog. Walking on hot pavements or running along side of the owner who is either jogging or riding a bike means the dog/puppy has no choice but to keep up. Again the dog/puppy is willing to please the owner but through no fault of its own is being stressed mentally and physically.
Often it is said of the dog/puppy “he has always done it” but in reality the puppy has learnt to behave in that particular manner. Remember, dogs are only too pleased to please us; to perform for us and will make light of any pain or discomfort. To show pain in the wild pack is a sign of weakness and this prevalent in our domesticated dogs.
Canine massage is a recognised complementary therapy. Lezleigh not only treats dogs but also teaches owners the art of massaging their dogs in a series of one day workshops. The ethics behind the canine massage workshops is to prevent further injury and discomfort to the dog, whilst the owner learns a new skill that will last them a lifetime, bringing great benefit to them both. Bonding can start at any time but it needs to be nurtured to be successful and massage is one way forward for all dogs and owners.
Enjoy One to One time with your dog/puppy and learn a skill that could last a life time!