Head and Neck
“The head and neck play an important role in the dog’s movements. Good flexibility of both the head and neck is vital to performance. A dog uses his head and neck constantly to balance the rest of their body. This is obvious during running – the downward swing of the head will help lift the hind legs off the ground as the dog moves forward.
The head and neck are very active when the dog plays, for example when catching a ball, frisbee and especially when a dog plays ‘tug of war’, a tremendous amount of strain is put on the entire musculoskeletal system of the neck as well as the rest of the body”.
(J.P Hourdebaigt, L.M.T, Canine Massage – A Complete Reference Manual, 2nd edition, Dogwise Publishing, Wenatchee, Washington, USA, 2004, Pages 109, 118)
As a dog massage therapist – I evaluate the dog’s physical activity in conjunction with it’s neck flexibility and strength. I then palpate the neck muscles to ascertain the condition of the muscles. Depending on this, I then concentrate on the following muscles by applying several massage techniques to alleviate tightness.
The other 3 body regions will be discussed on future posts over the next couple of weeks.