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Canine Massage Foundations – Level 1 – 100 Hours

The Canine Massage Foundations program is ideal for students who live outside of the Chicagoland area, or for animal lovers, pet parents, canine professionals, and those who would like to add another service to their existing dog-focused business. The foundation program is completely hands-on and provides students with the basics of canine massage and beyond. Through this program, students receive a solid and intensive introduction to canine massage, with an emphasis on relaxation, wellness, and sports massage.


Why is a completely hands-on approach to learning so important? Becoming a skilled practitioner takes time and a vast amount of hands-on practice. Many of the fundamental elements of canine massage – such as proper massage technique and understanding canine behavior, to name just two – can only be taught and learned in real-life situations. Palpation and massage techniques are learned best when each student’s technique can be assessed for correctness on an on-going basis. Consistent feedback and guidance from instructors allow students to grow in skill and confidence. In terms of behavior, the only way to learn how to work effectively with dogs that are fearful, anxious, poorly socialized, touch reactive, cognitively dysfunctional, or in pain is to experience them first-hand in a safe and controlled learning environment.


Our foundations curriculum includes the following topics:

  • Canine massage overview
  • History of massage
  • Canine ethology
  • Canine physical and social development
  • Canine behavior and low stress handling
  • Understanding and working with stress, anxiety, and fear in dogs
  • Palpation and assessment
  • Fundamental massage techniques
  • Basic canine anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology
  • Working with shelter dogs
  • Pre-event, post-event, and maintenance massage for canine athletes
  • Introduction to trigger point therapy
  • Introduction to Passive Range of Motion (PROM) and stretching techniques
  • Gait observation
  • Common canine musculoskeletal conditions
  • Complementary modalities
  • Basic business practices

Additionally, our hands-on curriculum provides students with 3-dimensional learning experiences.

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Access a wide array of study materials and anatomy tools to reinforce in-class learning;
  • Learn anatomical structures by applying concepts to live dogs and skeletal models;
  • Learn musculoskeletal anatomy by working with clay to build anatomical structures;
  • Meet and interact with guest lecturers who are among the top people in the field;
  • Work with real clients in real-life situations – the ultimate learning experience.

This program consists of 60 hours of in-class lecture and hands-on learning experiences, and 40 hours of out-of-class learning. Students are required to document observation and lab hours, arrange independent clients for case studies, and complete internship hours providing canine massage therapy services.


We keep our classes very small (4-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio) to ensure that every student’s learning needs can be met throughout the duration of the program. Additionally, students receive continued support following the 7 days of in-class time to facilitate completion of program requirements. Graduates and past students are also welcome to access study tools and attend the anatomy lab at no additional charge.

NEXT PROGRAMS: June 8-14, 2015

Location: For Your K9, 3312 Bloomingdale, Melrose Park, IL
Times: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Cost: $1,600 – Includes class manual / Additional book fees not included
Deposit: $400 – Non-refundable. Due by April 1, 2015.  

Entire tuition due by June 1, 2015. 

To apply, complete the application form. For more information, please review the Enrollment Process


If you would like to have Chicago School of Canine Massage come to you, Contact Denise about setting up a group certification in your town.

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