Canine Massage Foundations (Purcellville, Virginia)


  • October 13-15 & October 20-22 (6-Day class) | open enrollment

The Canine Massage Foundations program is ideal 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 participants with the basics of canine massage and beyond. Through this program, participants 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 person’s technique can be assessed for correctness on an on-going basis. Consistent feedback and guidance from instructors allow participants 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.

The following topics are included in Canine Massage Foundations:

  • 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
  • Common canine musculoskeletal conditions
  • Complementary modalities
  • Basic business practices

Additionally, participants have the opportunity to:

  • Access a wide array of study materials and anatomy tools to reinforce learning.
  • Learn anatomical structures by applying concepts to live dogs and skeletal models.
  • 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.

Purcellville, Virginia
Times: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Cost: $1,800
Deposit: $600 – Non-refundable. 

Additional locations during the program include, but are not limited to:

  • Chicago School of Canine Massage: Purcellville, Va
  • Friends of Homeless Animals: 39710 Goodpuppy Ln, Aldie, Va. 20105
  • Heeling House: 43760 Trade Center Pl #130, Sterling, VA 20166

**Additional book fees not included. Entire program cost must be paid in full 2 weeks prior to the first day of class. A deposit is required to reserve spot in the program and is applied to the full cost. *Times may vary as additional observation hours, anatomy lab, and other educational opportunities may be arranged. Participants are required to complete all program work within six months of class start date to receive certification. An established due date will be provided on your program schedule. All materials submitted after due date will be classified as incomplete. A student who receive an incomplete will be required to retake a CSCM program for certification status.

For more information, please review the Enrollment Process

**Required books for this program include:

  • Dog Anatomy: A Coloring Atlas. Robert Kainer and Thomas O. McCracken, 2003.
  • Stress in Dogs. Martina Scholz and Clarissa von Reinhardt, 2007.
  • On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. Turid Rugaas, 2006.

About Sara May

Sara May is a graduate of the Chicago School of Canine Massage and has been certified in Canine Massage Therapy since 2011.  In 2012, she achieved national certification in canine massage through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM).  At the same time, she became an instructor in the 200-hour and 300-hour career training programs at the Chicago School of Canine Massage.  She continues to learn and seek educational opportunities to expand her knowledge and experience.  Currently, she is working toward her national certification in Small Animal Acupressure.

Sara enjoyed a thriving canine massage therapy practice in Illinois, and since moving to Leesburg, Virginia, in 2014, her practice has been growing by leaps and bounds.  Sara is experienced in a wide variety of massage therapy techniques and touch techniques, including relaxation and wellness massage, trigger point and myofascial techniques, palliative care and massage for geriatric dogs, pre- and post-surgical massage, and sports massage for the canine athlete.  She also works with touch-sensitive dogs to help them learn that gentle touch is ok and can feel good.

As a former college English instructor, Sara is a strong advocate for education.  One of the favorite parts of her work is teaching massage classes to pet parents and prospective therapists.  Through education, she believes that the value and importance of canine massage can be understood, shared, and appreciated by an ever-increasing audience.