Back to All Events

Level 1: Canine Massage Foundations (Virginia)

  • Friends Of Homeless Animals 39710 Goodpuppy Ln Aldie, VA 20105 (map)

SEPTEMBER 11TH - OCTOBER 23RD (SUNDAYS ONLY)
9:00AM - 6:00PM

The Chicago School of Canine Massage is excited to announce that we're offering a Level 1: Canine Massage Foundations class in Aldie, Virginia. This course will be on Sundays for 7 weeks at the Friends of Homeless Animals.

This Canine Massage Foundations program is ideal for students who live in or around the Virginia/Maryland/D.C. area. Our students are 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.

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.
  • 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.

Click here to register.

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.  

About Friends of Homeless Animals

Located in Northern Virginia, Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) has been serving the Washington metropolitan area since 1973. They are a non-profit 501(c)(3) no-kill shelter dedicated to saving abandoned and abused dogs and cats. They provide rescue, medical care, rehabilitation, and adoption services in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC metropolitan areas.

FOHA typically houses more than 100 dogs of all ages, shapes, and sizes. They also provide shelter for up to 60 cats and kittens in their catteries plus many others in foster homes. FOHA is the only no-kill shelter of its size in the area.  They work to find qualified adoptive homes for all the animals in their care, while keeping the commitment to providing a safe and healthy haven for as long as may be necessary. Approximately 500 dogs and cats per year have found permanent, loving homes.

Upcoming Classes

Level 2: Canine Massage 7/25 - 7/31  Click to learn more!

Level 1: Canine Massage Foundations 8/8 - 8/14  Click to learn more!

Post-Surgical Massage and Edema Management for Veterinary Professionals 10/22 - 10/23 Click to learn more!  

Level 2: Canine Massage 10/31 - 11/6  Click to learn more!