My dog was looking at me for guidance in a world where what he believed was that we would leave him.
I love to give massages to my husband, though I admit I haven’t been great at doing that lately. Although I have never been a fan at receiving massages, I know that the benefits are amazing and can help reduce anxiety.
I started giving massages because my husband (then boyfriend) loved receiving them. As a girlfriend who wanted to impress her boyfriend, I wanted to learn how to give him a great massage – which he is so grateful for now!
If you have read my previous post, The Rescue Dog That Changed It All, my husband and I adopted a dog a year ago. Although we do not know his life story because he was originally from a high kill shelter, he was somewhat traumatized when he came home to us. He would pee on my things in particular – including my pillow, my seat on the couch, and even my clothes that I left laying on the floor when I took a shower! Not only that, he would chew up things, cry every time we left, and would chew threw his leashes or harnesses whenever we would sit him in the back seat of the car.
He was always so upset whenever I left him, and it took him a long time to be able to trust us to not leave him – even though he still has these tendencies today.
Because of these issues, I realized I had to find ways to calm him down. Let’s just say, I was definitely not a Calm Cassie when we first got my dog. I was also an anxious and worrisome person – which I realized would have to change if I wanted my dog to be able to calm down himself.
Without showing my dog how to rid himself of anxiety, he would still be nervous and would continue to act in the same way.
So, I decided it may be a good idea to start giving him a massage. Since my husband and I moved out of our homes and made our way to the U.S., I had forgotten about massages and how not only did I make someone else feel good, it made me feel good as well. When you give a massage, you focus solely on what you are doing and block out your own worries. The music you put to calm the recipient of the massage also calms you down. Along with the smells of the oil or the candle, the giver of the massage also receives similar benefits.
So I gave Piter a massage.
Let’s just say he loved it!
You cannot be so rough with a dog’s body, especially a little one, but it is easy to find their body lines. I find with my dog, long strokes along the muscle (gently!) works very well. You can also knead some muscles such as the back/upper shoulders. My dog also loves when I use my thumbs to make circles on his temples and at the front base of his ears.
You know you have done well when they begin to roll over so you can reach other places or – even better – they fall asleep!
If you are considering trying to give your dog a massage:
1) You can put music on, though make it really low!
Because dogs have really good hearing, higher volumes are more likely to stress them out! There are some dog music playlists on Spotify you may like to test out on your own dog. There are also some playlists on Youtube you may like to try also. In a future post I will share my favorite playlists that I use with my dog!
2) Take Smell Into Consideration
Although you may light a candle for your significant other – avoid doing so with your pup! Not only are dogs’ noses more sensitive, the smells most appeasing to us may not be appeasing to your dog! In a study, it was found that your dog’s brain is more activated when they smell a familiar human – meaning that your smell will probably be their favorite!
3) Be Aware of Trigger Spots for your Dog!
As with you, there may be certain spots on your dog’s body where he hates being touched. This could be his ears, tail, paws, and butt.
Always start with a neutral zone – like your dog’s back – so that your dog can get comfortable. If your dog shows any sign of distress about where you are touching them – stop! This is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for your dog. You may be able to build up that trust with them, and maybe you will not. Respect your dog, and your dog will respect you!
You also do NOT want to get bitten!
Let me know if you guys try massaging your dog, and how it goes! I love to hear from all of you!
Have you ever tried giving your dog a massage? What did you think?
As always, feel free to subscribe and comment with any questions! I also have several other posts that you may be interested in reading, such as Humans and Dogs Can Communicate Together – A re-post from my other blog, Muttitation – How I meditate with my dog, and Self-Help through a Dog? Can it be?
Until next time, and thank you for reading The Pack Heals!