Your SAR, sporting, or athletic service dog needs to be a finely tuned machine capable of bursts of speed, hairpin turns, and working on and navigating between uneven surfaces. Your dog needs to be ready to deploy at any time and may be asked to perform in extreme conditions.
Injury is heartbreaking and results in costly setbacks.
Massage is an essential tool in your training and conditioning program to keep your dog and team operating at peak performance.
Peak condition: Short, stimulating massages before and after intense exercise, as well as regular, longer maintenance massage can help keep your dog in that peak condition you need when deploying or attending that sporting event.
Reducing injury: Keeping the muscles and connective tissues toned and flexible helps prevent injuries from occurring. Additionally, it can help speed recovery and reduce the likelihood of a recurring injury.
Reduced inflammation: When your dog does overexert, research has shown that massage after exercise reduces delayed onset muscle soreness and reduces the painful part of inflammation, while allowing the essential healing part of inflammation to continue.
Relaxation fosters good mental health & leads to team bonding. Another aspect of managing an energetic, high-drive dog is dealing with that energy level during downtime. Ideally, your dog should be able to relax when not training or at work. Massage can foster a relaxed state of being, as well as building a deeper bond with that essential member of your team.
The Road to Peak Performance
As an agility competitor on a national level, I believe that regular massage sessions are an integral part of maintaining the canine athlete. Many agility athletes perform the physically demanding sport with such enthusiasm that
sore muscles are inevitable. Constant soreness can lead to more serious injuries when a dog attempts to protect and compensate for aches in other parts of his/her body.
Regular sessions with Lisa help keep small soreness issues from becoming big injury issues and help my two Australian Shepherds perform at their physical peak. Lisa is also very flexible, providing in-home visits and a willingness to work around a busy schedule. She takes her time and works with your dog and both my dogs love her. - Susan Kraus
Twin Oaks Lil Jet Mirage and Twin Oaks Lil Surfer Girl
Conditioning and training the canine athlete only goes so far. After my Doberman Taz came up lame with a soft tissue strain and spent six
weeks on limited exercise, I was very concerned about possible injury, as he was entered to run two days/ four trials of Coursing Aptitude Tests.
He had an appointment with Lisa the night before to work out areas of tightness. He did great at his CATs and came home feeling good - no pulls/strains or re-injury of his accessory carpal area.
Massage allowed him to perform as a top athlete and come home feeling good and injury free.
- Kristine Sklenack, DVM