A Community of Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Lovers

Hello Doodle Family
Wondering if anyone out there knows anything about the Chicago School of Canine Massage. I have been looking at maybe taking a course there to develop a small business /hobby for when I retire. I am very familiar with the many benefits of massage for humans like myself and I have been really impressed reading about all the avenues that are open to use massage to help our fur babies with sports injuries, aging, arthritis, even palliative care. Elliott has had his paws massaged almost every day of his life, especially at bedtime. Spencer calms completely with a little massage, but I want to know how to do it professionally, and what techniques are best for different problems.
If any of you have experience or information to share I would love to hear it. No education courses available here in Canada for this. This school in Chicago really impresses me online, but it is quite pricey. I want to do my homework. I have to admit I am also swayed a little by the direct flight available from my home city to Chicago. Want to consider all options.
Thanks everyone.

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Comment by Kathy, Elliott & Spencer on September 4, 2015 at 12:02pm
For sure important not to lump the 2 together. Big difference in what they can do and education required.
Comment by Beverly and Eli on September 4, 2015 at 11:20am

Kathy, this sounds great. Chiropractic and massage, however, are not the same thing. If a dog needs an adjustment then a chiropractor is the ticket. But what you're exploring, massage, is good for maintaining healthy and relaxed muscles which support that spine! My massage therapist says we hold lots of memory in muscles and emotions. A good massage could help a stressed dog for sure. Good Luck and let us know what you decide!

Comment by DonMarie & Picco on September 2, 2015 at 9:41am

I was just looking at this last month thinking it would be a great retirement business too! There are alot of schools out there.  I wonder if you could contact a few people in the business to get some feedback on schools.

Comment by Jan, Lily & Nessy on August 31, 2015 at 10:13pm

Sounds like some of what's being discussed involves chiropractic manipulation.  A quick search reveals that one needs to be a licensed Vet or Chiropractor to even take the advanced courses required for certification as a Veterinary Chiropractor, which I read somewhere is the law in some places before one can do such work...

All very confusing when looking at massage therapy.  Agree that it seems the certifying agencies are tied to the schools teaching it.  It's the wild west.

Good luck figuring it all out, my head spins as I follow the various leads sprinkled all over the internet. ;)

Comment by Pedro & Alessandra on August 31, 2015 at 4:09pm

P.S. If you do find a course here in Vancouver, you have free lodging available to you! Pedro would love to see you again! ;)

Comment by Pedro & Alessandra on August 31, 2015 at 4:08pm

Hi Kathy, I think it's so great you're looking into this.

And I found this website:

I had heard about chiro and massage therapy for animals practitioners here in Vancouver, since we're such a dog-loving (more like spoiling) city, but as a believer in the benefits of both treatments for myself and other humans, I've always thought that if Pedro ever needed it, I would definitely look into it (plus I think our pet insurance covers it at least partially). 

I know this might not be helpful from the point of view of location, but I thought you may be able to reach out to the practitioner at this clinic to find out more and it does say that she belongs to the BC Association of Animal Massage and Bodyworks Professionals, they may have an Ontario counterpart?

Best of lucks, keep us posted! And loving paws and hugs to Dr. Spencer and Prince Elliott!

Comment by Kathy, Elliott & Spencer on August 31, 2015 at 3:33pm

Hi again.

Yes, very interesting. In most areas of medicine there are many similarities between dogs and humans in their treatments. 

The education for the program seemed fairly comprehensive and I have bought the required texts just to make sure they are what I would hope and expect. There is a required hands-on practical component as well, but there is a portion that is completed after the classroom hours and I don't know how it is evaluated yet. Most recognized massage education programs for people have many hours of in-class, directly supervised, hands-on practise. Not so with any of the programs I have found for dogs. Except for one which I thick I would need to remortgage my home to pay for!

The truly difficult part is that there is no regulatory body for any of these complementary therapies or specific requirements for education content if they pertain to animals. The "certification" is done by the organization that teaches the program. Then you do get into the area of "wanna be's" - like the massage therapist who watched an "adjustment" by a chiropractor and thought why not? The whole scope of practice is a bit grey. Without regulation there are inconsistencies from program to program and who knows what any individual might feel competent to do. Lois, that was probably ultrasound which chiros and physios use a lot. I have never had a massage therapist use that on me. 

There are also some distance learning courses where you submit videos for evaluation. Gotta question that one. I would not want any of my care providers to treat me unless they had hands-on training in a recognized and regulated program.

I have a lot of respect for self-directed learning. But what I have read begs the question of why don't I just go through the course content in the texts and become certified that way? Otherwise how did these people running the courses get started? 

I really want to do this. But there must be more information out there somewhere.

Comment by Lois - Izzi on August 31, 2015 at 3:00pm

I should add the education needs to be more than just a massage..  You'll need to 'fix' that simple adjustment to vertebral column. or shoulder and hip.    I do not know what certifications are needed, without it becoming cost prohibitive ....     I personal watched a smooth hair dog move from a short gait to long full straight with a 'simple adjustment'.    (I mention short hair, because the demonstration is easier to see whereas the longer, curly hair is not easy to see.;  the relief is noticeable with the naked eye.)  I do not know what qualifications she has, but will add that she had a hand held , small machine that I assumed registered heat along the back.  

Comment by Lois - Izzi on August 31, 2015 at 1:23pm

I've become a great believer...    Dogs can be in pain and the owner might not see the issue.  

Comment by Lorie & Piper on August 31, 2015 at 12:36pm

interesting stuff!!!  my chiropractor takes thursdays off, to go around our area to adjust horses or other animals...we live in a rural farming community...if he was doing your horse & you needed an adjustment, he will do you great is that!!!  best chiropractor ever...when my daughter was in high school & i would take her in for an adjustment, he would ask me how i feel & then do me too...he would charge us maybe $15 total.  He believes animals def benefit from massage & chiropractic (:

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