Just as warming up is an important part of working out with our puppies, so is relaxation. And what better way to relax and cool down than with a massage! In this lesson you’re going to learn a few canine massage techniques that are a great compliment to puppy yoga. We’ll also cover how to know when your puppy is ready to move out of the training phase and into conditioning as well as some ways for you to advance and challenge your pup’s workout regimine. This wrap up is going to be the longest of the 7 lessons, about 20 minutes, so be sure to allot enough time.

For this lesson’s warm up, I want you to do the opposite! Rather than energizing your puppy with movement or play, try to catch him or her in a relaxed state to begin with. Take a break from the yoga and just chill with your pup. Remember that in order for our puppies to know what the ‘settle’, ‘relax’, or ‘easy’ command means, we have to teach them what it feels like first. Asking your dog to simply lay down is great, but teaching them to regulate thier own energy bursts with massage, by putting it on cue, takes it to another level.

So, if you’ve already watched the lesson, you saw me demonstrate two techniques with Miss Eva. Eva was pushing the limits a bit, biting and wiggling around. This is normal and something you will most likely encounter with your pup. We always have to keep in mind that our puppies have a very short attention span so anytime we introduce the new, especially something like massage that involves different sensations over the body, we need to keep it short and sweet. Begin with 20-30 seconds at a time and work your way up. Pay attention to what your puppy enjoys and what they don’t. If they don’t like it, don’t do it! Massage should never be a forced activity. If your puppy wants to walk away, let them. You can wait until they return or just move on. If he or she is especially wiggly, try a potty break! Emptying the bladder makes a great difference in the comfortability factor.

For both the effleurage and pincement techniques demonstrated, it is important to remember this isn’t about pressure. We aren’t performing a deep tissue massage. Giving our puppies a massage is a very gentle laying of hand coupled with smooth easy strokes or, in the case of pincement, gentle lifting of the skin. Pay careful attention when going over joints and the spine. Support limbs under the joints with your opposite hand. Don’t force your puppy’s leg to stay in place. As I’ve already said, if they don’t like it, stop doing it. We want them to enjoy the process, not be in a constant state of anxiety about it. And the same goes for you as well. If you’re uncomfortable, frustrated, or stressed, that’s ok, just walk away or do something else for awhile. Don’t attempt to work on something that requires calm from you and your puppy when you’re feeling the opposite.

Advancing The Workout:

So you’re feeling your puppy is pretty proficient with the movements and is ready to move into the conditioning phase? Awesome! Below I’ve listed a few ‘routines’ to get you started with varying the workout. You will also find some other videos and information demonstrating the use of different platforms, pods, etc in the Facebook group, so please, check it out! If you come up with a new or different way to add to the workout, please let us know about that as well! We’d love to see how you’re doing and how amazing and empowered your puppy is!

Routine 1:

Mon, Wed, Fri-

Paws Up/All On- 4-5 reps

Paws Off/Reverse All On – 3-5 reps

Routine 2:

Tues, Thurs, Sat-

Neck Bends- 3-5 reps

Puppy Squats- 4-5 reps

Routine 3:

Incorporate a stability pod every other workout

Mon, Wed, Fri-

Paws Off/Reverse All On- 3-5 reps

Neck Bends- 3-5 reps

Routine 4:

Take the workout outdoors. Vary the substrate. Exercise on grass or dirt.

Tues, Thurs, Sat-

Puppy Squats- 3-5 reps

Paws Off/Reverse All On- 2-3 reps

Thank You

I’m so proud of you guys! Thank you so much for putting your trust in us to help empower your puppy’s physical fitness. I hope you’ve learned something new and are enjoying the workout times with your puppy. You’re going to see the benefits now and in the years to come. Dogs are amazing creatures that give us so much unconditionally and it’s such a great thing to be able to give back to them. Helping your puppy to realize his or her physical potential is an amazing gift. Please continue to join us in the Empowered Puppy School group. Check in, post updates, show off your successes and talk about your stressors. We want to help you and celebrate with you. Until next time guys, KEEP IT LOW AND SLOW, SHORT AND SWEET! 🙂