Level 1: Canine Massage Foundations (Virginia)

April 3-9, 2017

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

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 hours and arrange independent clients for case studies. Other opportunities for hands-on learning and practice will be made available following the program.

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