MUSCLE HEALTH AND YOUR WORKING OR SPORTING DOG

Galen Myotherapy© can help to keep your working dog or canine athlete in optimum condition; it enhances their flexibility, promotes balance and an effective range of motion, mitigates stiffness and soreness and reduces the chance of injury.

When a dog’s muscles are tight or sore they restrict joint mobility and increase the risk of injury; seriously impacting on their speed, agility, drive and focus.

Extensive heel work or tracking and field work can impact on the muscles of the dog’s neck, shoulders and back; tension within these muscles can inhibit movement and motivation. Myotherapy can release muscular tension, restore flexibility and allow the dog to resume quick and flexible responses.

Participation in any canine sport or working with a dog in any capacity brings with it a risk of injury; myotherapy can limit this risk by enhancing your dog’s muscle health, reducing muscular tension and relieving subsequent compensatory issues the dog may develop. A dog with a strong, healthy musculoskeletal system is far less likely to suffer from muscle tears, strains and sprains.

Whatever the activity or dog; field trials, tracking, herding, retrieving, running, agility, fly-ball, canicross, obedience, working gundogs, SAR dogs, service dogs, sled dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs or show dogs; Galen Myotherapy© can play a vital role in contributing to your dog's performance, wellbeing and recovery.


Pre-event warms-ups

All athletes; human and canine benefit from warming up prior to competition, the strain placed on a muscle from cold without prior warm-up is immense, causing fibres to snap; most often at their site of insertion therefore consideration to muscle conditioning should be part of any pre-event preparation.  

A warm-up before an event, focussing on injury prevention increases a number of physiological and metabolic rates which translate into an increase in the dog’s overall performance, and a performance less prone to injury.  

 It increases heart and respiration rates, leading to elevated blood pressure therefore increased circulation. Flushing muscles with fresh blood and minerals ensures more efficient delivery of oxygen and energy to the muscles, preventing premature fatigue and removing and residual anaerobic by-products of previous muscle activity. The action of massage also effects the body’s venous return, which supports the blood flow around the body; not just to the muscles. 

It increases muscle and joint temperature, and reduces tension. Techniques support the dynamic warm up, increasing and distribute the body’s heat evenly throughout the dog’s body and muscle groups. A warm muscle is flexible and more efficient and when coupled with flexible joints, it allows for the full range of motion and function; particularly amongst tight muscle groups. 

Techniques mechanically soften the muscle fibres. By increasingmuscle fibre elasticity; fibres are able to extend further and respond faster, therefore work better.

 It is capable of repairing micro-trauma within the muscles fibres caused by previous exertion. Straightening and realigning fibres increases their ability to glide over each other and lengthen safely. More efficient action allows the associated joints to move unhindered, which decreases the chance of strains or other injuries. 

Myotherapy techniques prior to an event stimulate the dog’s nervous system. By influencing the sympathetic nervous system; the dog’s fight or flight response is triggered, leading to the production of adrenalin and cortisol, improved vision via the dilation of the pupils and the faster signalling of nerve impulses.

In the case of some highly driven dogs, a hands on warm up prior to competition or activity can contribute to a lowering of the heart rate and a calming of the dog, again leading to heightened focus yet a dog who is more receptive to commands. 

 Psychologically a pre-event massage can heighten a dog’s senses. An effective pre-event warm up can provide mental focus and a positive, at one bond between your dog and yourself.   

For information on pre and post event Galen Myotherapy© treatments for your dog, contact me here.

Post event treatment

A cool down after competition or an event encourages the dog’s blood to cleanse its muscles of the toxins and metabolic wastes generated from exertion and keeps the muscles supple, preventing stiffening and the onset of delayed muscle soreness.  

Post-event treatment provides an opportunity to gain hands-on information on the current condition of the dog’s muscles. Areas of abnormal heat or injury can be observed, as well as the chance to review any damage to your dog’ s claws and pads and check the dog for any contraindicative injury which would require veterinary advice instead of myotherapy treatment. 

Post-event routines not only warm down from the present event, but condition and prepare the dog for future competition, trials, races or activities. By preventing further muscle damage any long term injury-causing problems can be referred to a vet and their long term effects can be mitigated.

Post event treatment stimulate the dog’s nervous system. By influencing the parasympathetic nervous system, the dog’s rest and digest response is triggered. Techniques influence both venous and lymphatic return leading to a lowering of the body’s temperature and the redistribution of the body’s fluids; working to restore homeostasis in all body systems. 

Treatment stimulates receptors within the skin’s superficial layers, producing a relaxing response. Triggering the dog’s parasympathetic nervous system generates a soothing effect on the nerve endings and a calming effect on the body as a whole; promoting a state of relaxation serving to develop trust and positive communication. 

Treatment reduces muscular tension after exertion; promoting good circulation. Flushing tired muscles, cleansing and re-oxygenating tissues, replenishing nutrients and flushing metabolic wastes; the effects of muscular exertion leading to delayed muscle soreness are limited. The increased blood flow within the muscles assists in microtrauma repair, helping to reduce swelling and soreness due to inflammation.  

Treatment serves to realign muscle fibres. Techniques elongate muscle fibres to their resting state and encouraging good muscle function in preparation for future activity.

Psychologically, post-event treatment can serve to reinforce the connection and bond between both dog and handler. This can be particularly important to prevent a dog from picking up on negative signals from their handler.   


sporting dogs

Working dogs want to work, and Galen Myotherapy© treatment can prove extremely valuable in a preventative capacity whilst contributing to the extension of their working life.

Whilst individual, short pre and post event treatments will prove beneficial, they are not always practical. Treatment pre-season, during and post-season are an effective way of maintaining an otherwise healthy working dog in optimum condition for the shooting season.

To talk about maintenance Galen Myotherapy© treatment for your sporting dog, contact me here.


service dogs

Muscular tension impairs balance, decreasing a dog's ability or willingness to work as normal; activities such as climbing, jumping and descents depend on the dog's ability to control their descent and landing; all actions that depend on strong, responsive, healthy muscles.

A normally active dog who is reluctant to jump or hesitant to descend may be anticipating pain from a hard or unbalanced landing. Repetitive actions, from whatever the dogs working activity can cause major muscle dysfunction through repetitive strain; therefore creating difficulties for both dog and handler; reducing their work load and ultimately leading to secondary or compensatory issues.

Maintenance myotherapy treatment can provide relief from repetitive issues before they lead to secondary problems maintaining a healthy working dog in optimum condition. 

To talk about maintenance Galen Myotherapy© treatment for your service dog, contact me here.