Working and Sporting Dogs

A dog doesn’t have to have to be injured to benefit from massage. Working and sporting dogs need to be kept in excellent condition to perform at their best, and massage can help to identify any small areas of concern, long before your dog starts to show a drop in performance. 

Injuries often build up chronically over time rather than happening as a one off event. A minor strain can cause overcompensation from other muscles, eventually altering the way your dog moves and carries their body. Untreated this can lead to chronic muscular issues, pain and a drop in performance and yet may be almost unnoticeable in everyday life.

How might you see signs of injury?

Gun dogs

  • Shifting position often when static, unable to to hold a stand or down 
  • Reluctant to go through thick cover
  • Fatiguing quicker than usual
  • Dropping retrieves before being asked could indicate a neck issue
  • Lack of enthusiasm


  • Unable to hold a down stay
  • Tighter turns one way than the way other other
  • Sloppy positions or transitions between them
  • Drop in heelwork form - lowered head carriage, shortened or uneven stride
  • Poor retrieve

Show dogs

  • Lack of drive or reach
  • Roach or sway back
  • Coat changes
  • Unable to hold a stacked position
  • Uncomfortable with being examined


  • Stutter stepping or measuring 
  • Knocked poles
  • Avoiding jumps
  • Tighter turns one way than another
  • Weave issues with missed entries or popping out early
  • Missed contacts
  • Reduced speed
  • Broken start line wait
  • Displacement behaviours in the ring

All working and sporting dogs, not just those mentioned, can benefit from massage to pick up any problems early before their performance shows any significant drops and to keep them feeling at their very best.

Canine Massage Guild members often have stands at shows around the country offering free muscular health checks, do come and see us to find out whether your dog could benefit from massage.