Second of the four most common body regions in dogs where stress is found

2. Shoulders and Forelegs
‘A strong flexible shoulder and foreleg is essential for proper athletic movement. Good muscle power at the shoulder joint will ensure a high level of performance. This is demonstrated during a dog jumping. As the dog uses its shoulder and stretches its leg up in from of its body during the jumping action’. (Hourdebaight, 2004)

Some activities that may cause stress on the shoulder and foreleg muscles are: ball chasing, racing, hunting, herding, pulling a cart/sled, tracking, flyball competition, agility.

Some of the muscles that often show tension are:
Latissimus dorsii
Biceps brachii
Supraspinatus and infraspinatus of the Scapula
Flexor and extensor muscles of lower forelegs

As a dog massage therapist – I evaluate the dog’s physical activity and any reactive behaviour the dog may show during the palpation phase. I then apply several massage techniques to elevate tightness on the main tight and surrounding muscles.
‘If their is tension in any of the shoulder and foreleg muscles, the dog loses the flexibility in shoulder movement which results in reduced range of movement, coordination and power’. (Hourdebaight, 2004)

(J.P Hourdebaigt, L.M.T, Canine Massage – A Complete Reference Manual, 2nd edition, Dogwise Publishing, Wenatchee, Washington, USA, 2004, Pages 121, 128)