Sporting Dogs

Has your dog slowed down? Do they hesitate before a jump? Or have they become reluctant to weave? All of these things might indicate discomfort or chronic pain. Chronic pain indicators are often subtle at first and they can go unnoticed until a dog goes lame. The high impact and repetitive nature of many dog sports can lead to muscle tension which in turn can restrict movement and cause discomfort if left untreated.

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Dog sports often involve repetitive movements, high impact activities or both. Whether you participate for fun or actively compete at a high level in sports like agility, flyball, canicross or other sled dog sports, regular Myotherapy treatments can help to reduce the risk of injury by maximising your dog’s muscular health.

 

 

Regular sports massage combined with a dedicated training plan for a human athlete will enhance results. Likewise, a good quality training plan combined with regular canine Myotherapy treatments to help release muscular tension and restore flexibility will optimise your dog’s performance.

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Dogs with a strong, healthy musculoskeletal system are less likely to suffer from injury like muscle tears, strains, and sprains, therefore keeping your dog fitter and stronger for longer.

Treatments

As well as regular Myotherapy treatments as part of a structured training plan, a pre-event warm-up and post event cool-down can help to increase your dog’s performance and reduce the injury risk.

Pre-event warm up

Carried out approximately 10 –15 minutes before an event.

Stimulatory massage invigorates & helps create a positive mindset of ‘readiness’ which can have an enormously positive effect on performance.

By increasing circulation and warming muscle tissue ready for exercise the risk of soft tissue injury is reduced. It also prepares the dog mentally as well as physically and helps to improve the connection between the dog and handler.

Physiological effect of Pre-event warm-up massage

  1. Increases circulation and blood flow to heart ready for exercise.

  2. Easing of myofascial connections.

  3. Enhances vasodilation, Increases blood flow (and nutrients) to the muscle.

  4. Increases circulation and blood flow to heart ready for exercise increases blood flow (and nutrients) to the muscle.

  5. Increases blood flow to warm up (raise the temperature) of the muscle tissue.

  6. Stimulates the nervous system.

  7. Increases lymph flow.

  8. Passive movement techniques remind the dog of the full natural range of movement and give the opportunity to assess and maintain range of movement through improving production and function of synovial fluid.

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Psychological effect

  1. Creates a state of alertness due to increasing blood flow to the brain.

  2. Faster tempo massage awakens and stimulates nervous system to link muscle and brain ready for exercise.

  3. Creates/enhances a physical connection and bond between dog and handler – e.g., the dog is more ready to listen and engage with handler/ more focussed.

  4. Enables more mental focus -the dog is more mentally alert.

  5. Physical touch can also reassure a nervous /over stimulated dogs in a competitive environment.

Post Event Cool Down

It is recommended that post-event cool down massage is carried out about an hour after the event or training session, once your dog has fully recovered.

The purpose of post event cool down massage is to detect for any heat and assess for injury, realign muscle fibres, remove toxins from the muscles and reduce stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. It also helps to re-establish the bond between dog and handler and re -focus the dog.

Physiological effect

  1. To influence the venous return vein by massaging down the forelimbs.

  2. Encourage venous and lymphatic return to eliminate waste from the muscles.

  3. Smooth and realign muscle fibres to minimise lactic acid build up/ muscular soreness.

  4. Improve flexibility.

  5. Prevent blood pooling.

  6. Calm the dog to help them relax and 'switch off' after competition /fast or intense exercise.​

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Psychological effect

  1. Bring about a calm state.

  2. Re-focus back on owner/ handler to re-establish positive bond in calm setting.

  3. Ease any pain perception.

  4. Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

  5. Establish a positive feeling about the event.