Dog massage etiquette – the therapist

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about dog massage etiquette lately.  That’s because I pride myself on running a professional practice; I have committed to ongoing professional development, and I want my clients to value professional canine massage.

Lucy relaxed at massage

Here is what clients can expect from me:

  • I will be prepared to focus on your dog and his/her issues; this includes listening carefully to what you have to say
  • I will operate only within my scope of practice
  • I will keep notes that, on request, can be sent to your dog’s veterinarian or any other practitioner you choose as part of your healthcare team
  • I encourage and endorse regular veterinary care; I often say that your dog’s vet is its GP (General Practitioner or, in United States terms, ‘The Primary Care Physician’)
  • I will turn up on time and manage my appointments so that clients are not kept waiting and, when I am running late (which happens as a mobile practitioner), I will call you
  • If I ever use an assistant, and they are not fully qualified to the level that I am, you will be told you are seeing an assistant and have the option to opt out and reschedule with me personally if you prefer.  If you agree to use the assistant, you can expect to be charged a lower hourly rate
  • I will always offer suggestions with the best interest of the dog in mind; the decision to take up my suggestions rests with you as the dog’s owner
  • I will keep your records private (your dog’s records are a form of private information under the Privacy Act)
  • Clients often chat to me when I’m working and I appreciate their trust.  Anything you tell me will be kept in confidence.  If I write about a case, it will be described in generic terms to preserve privacy.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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