In a few of my blogs, I mentioned the benefits of relaxing massage for dogs and how to rub a dog to calm him down.
You don’t have to be a massage therapist, and you still can help your dog manage his stress and calm him down with gentle petting and rubbing.
Physical touch increases the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two neurotransmitters help relieve stress and anxiety.
We all experienced it! If it is a hug from your loved one, holding hands, or relaxing massage.
In the same way, gentle petting and rubbing can help your dog to calm down.
Some dogs (usually rescue dogs with a bad experience or not socialised properly) may not like to be touched.. And then you have to work on the introduction of touch very slowly.
Many dogs have specific areas where they like to be touched and patted, like the base of the tail, chin, back of the neck. Most dogs are very comfortable when we stroke them on their chest and shoulders. But many don’t like to be touched on top of the head, their front legs, and feet, muzzle, ears… especially if they had a bad experience, like ear inflammation or injured paw pad.
Start slowly by petting, gently rubbing the areas your dog enjoys being touched. From this point, start slowly moving your hand, or just fingertips if you have a very small dog or a puppy, with the direction of hair growth.
Then you can progress to longer gentle strokes, starting from the head, moving alongside the spine towards the tail.
My dogs really enjoy skin rolling.
Skin rolling helps increase psychological relaxation and relieves muscle tension. Gently lift the skin and roll it between the fingers and thumbs of both hands. Slowly moving in the direction of hair growth. You can see me doing skin rolling in my YouTube video:
Once you start practicing relaxing massage regularly, you will come to the point when you may realise you stroke your dog differently.
Let me know when this happens!