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I have been involved in dog sports for over 18 years and have seen many changes in many of the sports we compete in - they are becoming faster, more technical and popular. The different kinds of things we can experience with our dogs are expanding all the time!
I have worked for the past 19 years in a human physiotherapy office as an office manager. We have a physiotherapist, chiropractor and massage therapist on staff. An injury sidelined my agility dog a few years ago and got me involved in canine rehabilitation. It really interested me because of the benefits I see in our human clients! I decided at that time I would like to be more proactive with my own dogs and took a canine massage course in the US.
Massage is a manual therapy and I felt it was important to have hands on training. I did some research on schools that offered hands on therapy and attended PetMassage Training and Research Institute in Toledo, Ohio. They offer a five day Foundation Workshop as well as a five day Advanced Workshop. These workshops are in addition to at-home modules that have self-study and assignments that are a requirement before attending the in-class lessons. We were required to study Medical Terminology, Canine Physiology, Kinesiology and Pathology. After both workshops you are required to complete case studies before being issued your certificate and US designation. I also took a course through Caninology - Canine Anatomy and Behaviour.
I felt that it was important to have independent certification. Canada doesn't have a national certification process so I applied to sit for the US National exam. I am happy to report that I successfully completed this certification in the fall of 2014.
To qualify to sit for this exam there are certain requirements that must be met. Documented proof of attendance with an accredited course of study equaling a minimum of 200 hours broken down as follows:
50 hours of training in Anatomy & Physiology, Kinesiology (for massage) and Pathology
50 hours of supervised, in-class, hands-on work, which would include assessment and treatment, benefits of massage/acupressure, and practice guidelines
100 hours divided among classes such as Business, Ethics, Behavior, Safety, etc.
Hands-on classes such as Massage Techniques, Assessment, Acupoint and Meridian Locations must be taught in an in-class supervised setting
You are required to submit verification of school attendance and/or the equivalent of other training or experience.
I have special interest in sport dogs and feel that you can never stop learning. I have attended courses and seminars to facilitate understanding of the canine athlete. These include Trigger Point Therapy, Canine Fitness, a seminar on common agility injuries/ how to prevent them and the importance of keeping toenails trimmed from a rehab vet's point of view. I have been fortunate to spend a day in a rehab facility and see a number of dogs with a variety of issues and different methods of treatment.