Tag Archives: dog massage

Quiet, please, I’m Fear Free!

Last weekend, my business took a stall at the Dogs Day Out – a dog-friendly event at a local heritage park which included an organised walk.  I love supporting dog-friendly events because we have so few of them (something, over time, I hope to change).

These events become a good way for local dog-related businesses to showcase their products and services in a way that is focused on the community and not profit-making (unlike some of the commercial pet expos).  These events are also a way for me to highlight my Fear Free certificaton as well as my approach to natural dog care.

Fear Free certified canine massage therapist

The Balanced Dog’s stall complete with Fear Free certified signage and helper, Leonie

At these events, exhibitors often have time to chat once we are all set up and before the public arrives in droves.  I enjoy seeing the range of products and services that are on show.

Unfortunately, this event also taught me how far we have to go in terms of veterinary professionals understanding fear free handling and interaction.  Fear Free is about managing fear, anxiety and stress in our animals by focusing entirely on their needs and responses.  You need to understand emotional health as well as physical health.

So imagine that the stall next to us was a veterinary practice which opted to use balloons as part of its decorations.  Towards the end of the event, as I was still massaging dogs and talking with members of the public – the stall next door was dismantling itself in preparations to leave.  Someone decided the best way to discard their balloons was to pop them one after the other in rapid succession – like a car backfiring.

Can you guess how many dogs responded negatively to these noises (including the one on my massage table)?

Fear Free is so much more than spraying Adaptil in your clinic and playing soft music.  It’s about being prepared to take it slow and work with the dogs at their pace.  So many dogs are stressed by loud noises like fireworks, it should be common sense that popping balloons is not acceptable.

As my mother has said many times, common sense isn’t common.

Ask me about Fear Free handling! I’d love to tell you more.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Love me, massage me

I have started a new campaign that will run through to the end of the year to help me promote the benefits of canine massage.  The Love Me, Massage Me campaign is fairly straightforward:  each of my customers will receive a  printed bandana like this one:

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Tamzin the Pug models her Love Me Massage Me bandana

And then they can post photos of their dogs onto my Facebook page and their own with the hashtag #lovememassageme.  There are no limits to the number of entries per dog.

The winner will receive a massage every 3 months during 2019; there’s also a second and third prize.

Since I teach owners to massage their dogs using a relaxation massage sequence incorporating acupressure points, I’m happy if the dogs are being massaged by their owners and not just me.

I think every dog should be massaged regularly to support health and wellness.

Wish me luck!  #lovememassageme

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

In odd circumstances…

Yesterday, I pulled into the service station to fill the tank.  I also asked for help because I was filling a gas canister for the first time and didn’t want the nasty stuff splashing all over me.

I have advertising on my car.  In fact, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Because of the advertising, I find myself in some odd circumstances explaining what I do.

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The Balanced Dog’s car

This time, it was the station attendant.  “I suppose they do that a lot in America,” he said as an opening statement.

I then replied with something of a stock-standard explanation, “for the same reasons people get massage, dogs benefit, too.  I work on dogs of all ages – those who have arthritis, some are recovering from surgery and injuries and I even help with dogs that are suffering from anxiety and stress.  Some of my clients are only young puppies to help them become calmer and used to handling.”

“Oh, I met a dog at my in-law’s holiday home who is afraid of men.  I only had to say something and the dog ran away.”

Me:  “That’s definitely a stress response.  I use massage combined with behavioral training techniques to work with dogs who have stress problems.  Last week, I started work with a puppy who gets so stressed at the thought of going in the car that she vomits.”

“Wow”

Wow indeed.

I consider every conversation an opportunity to educate people about the wellness impacts and multiple benefits of dog massage.  It isn’t just about ‘rehabbing’ from injuries – it’s a lot more!

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

Two french bulldogs and a pug

Today, I gave Aki, Haru, and Yuki their Christmas presents – relaxation massages paid for by their Dad.  I was booked up last week when he rang and couldn’t fit in 3 hours of massage before the holiday – luckily everyone was happy to wait.

All I knew was that I was going to meet “two french bulldogs and a pug.”  I was not disappointed; all three were charming.  Yuki is the oldest, and will be 8 years old in March; Aki is 5; Haru will be 2 in February.

Pug

Yuki the Pug

French Bulldog

Haru the French Bulldog

French Bulldog

Aki the French Bulldog

Massages for your dog make a wonderful gift; relaxation massage distributes the oils of the coat to support skin health, allows your dog to chill out and be the center of attention, and I report back on any lumps and bumps I find to ensure you have discussed these with your vet.

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

Seeing is believing

As the saying goes, “seeing is believing” and I have found that this holds true when educating people about the value of dog massage and complementary therapies.  My profession is not well known (yet) and so it’s important to me to help spread the word in a positive and enjoyable way.

Yesterday, I had a massage tent at the ASB Summer Starter, an annual fun run and walk where dogs are encouraged to participate.  This was my first year supporting the event (I tried last year but no one responded to my enquiry – so that’s progress!).

When people see how their dog responds to massage, even at a busy outdoor event like this one, it helps to open their eyes about complementary therapies.  Fit dogs can still have trigger points and knots, just like humans.  There was even a tripod on my table yesterday – healthy and happy – but a body that will need support going forward as the dog ages.

And I hate to think that people take exclusively the physio approach to their dog’s health – that is waiting until they are hurting or injured before seeking treatment. (Physiotherapy NZ’s definition of physio is ‘to help restore movement and function to anyone affected by an injury, disability or health condition’).

So yesterday was about showing people a taste of what massage and other therapies can do for their healthy dog.

Seeing is Believing.

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

Inspirations

Last month, I shared images of the inspiration cards that were given to me when I was working and studying at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.

Tonight I share an inspiration of a different kind.

Elesha, who was mum to Kenny who passed away in April 2016, contacted me because she had found these photos on her Instagram page.    She thought I’d like them (I do!).

 

Kathleen & KennyLooking at these photos, I realise how much time has passed since I worked with Kenny.  My practice has been re-branded from Canine Catering to The Balanced Dog.  I have new shirts with a new logo and even our dog treat labels have changed.  Progress.

But the inspiration is knowing that the work I did with Kenny is still appreciated, and that Elesha stays in touch.

Kenny was a great dog and I’m lucky to have worked with him and his family.

Inspirational!

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

Hank’s in-room massage

I love having sleepover dogs from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  When Hank (a Mastiff cross) stayed with me, I gave him an in-room relaxation massage.

At first he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he soon got into it.

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