Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here, of course
When dealing with a dog hat has a sore leg/muscle always remember to target the opposite end/side of the dog as well. Say a front paw/leg is acting up and the dog is unwilling to put weight on said leg. That extra weight has to be offset by either the other front leg or the rear legs. Massage the crap outta the good legs and get the dog nice and relaxed, THEN start a gentle session with the offending area. It will help soothe the overworked areas and put the dog into a state that will allow you to see what hurts when you manipulate the hurt area. Watch the breathing and ears, any change and it's time to back off.
As to the technique, I just rub with an open palm and bear down some at first. Once I've hit the majority of the easy to access muscles I use my index, middle and thumb to make a big pinching/circular motion and bear down a bit more. Careful of thin areas directly over bone, goes from good feeling to painful quickly in those spots.
My dogs know the phrase "wanna massage?" and pretty much go into limp noodle mode. They have learned to roll over onto their backs as I approach centerline chest too. A quick push sends them over onto their other side(I honestly think I could rub their bellies all day long and they would be okay with that). It's great for them physically, they just feel great, it's outlandishly good for them mentally(calms and builds trust ++) and for the human involved it's rather zen-like. I think of nothing besides what my hands are doing, my heart rate slows and I often find that I am much calmer.
Never cook bacon while naked.