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About PetMassage

About PetMassage

PetMassage™ is a world renowned school that helps students learn a safe, gentle and energetically perceptive form of canine massage and to create successful businesses in their communities. Students who have attended our workshops have come from every state in the US, and many countries from all over the world.

PetMassage™ Training and Research Institute has many facets from training students the professional aspects of canine massage, to teaching dog owners to include PetMassage™ as part of the daily care of their pets, teaching children PetMassage™ animal handling and safety skills, and training and licensing instructors to operate satellite PetMassage™ schools.

PetMassage™ is a gentle effective system of canine massagePetMassage™ is a gentle effective system of canine massage that incorporates many of the techniques used by professional massage therapists, animal trainers, handlers, and animal behaviorists. The more we learn about dogs, the more we recognize the obvious need for canine massage. There is an exciting and fulfilling future for those who learn to practice canine PetMassage™ professionally.

PetMassage™ is "complementary," and integrates readily with all forms of canine healthcare. Many veterinarians include PetMassage™ as part of their rehabilitation programs for dogs and engage the services of our graduates, either as staff members or as independent contractors.

PetMassage™ books and DVDs are staples in PetMassage™ professional training workshops. They are produced and published by PetMassage™ Books.

PetMassage™ students from ages 17-75 transition their careers from occupations that include practically every vocation imaginable.

Everyone who shares their life with a dog knows the joy and pleasure of touching, petting, scratching and especially massaging their pet. The PetMassage™ for the Family Dog Program for Dog Guardians and Caregivers has empowered thousands of families to enhance their dog's lives with knowledgeable hands-on touch and massage.

The techniques of PetMassage™ will make the petting and massage you already do intuitively, more effective, more powerful, more of a health enhancing experience for your dog.

PetMassage™ has developed a means of empowering animal caregivers to help their dogs with end of life care and begin the conversation about loss and grieving with "Transitions, PetMassage™ Energy Work for the Aging and Dying Dog," book.

PetMassage™ is the only institution in the world that has created a program for children. They learn to massage their dogs and safely approach dogs incorporating PetMassage™ animal handling skills. The PetMassage for Kids™ program is endorsed by the Girl Scouts of America® and has curricula for educators and scout leaders to teach children grades 2-7 how to massage dogs using their stuffed dogs.

We welcome you to learn to provide the service of PetMassage™ for Dogs as a business, to PetMassage™ your own dogs, teach children PetMassage™, and now train to become a Licensed Instructor in your own PetMassage™ Satellite School.

Benefits of PetMassage™ Dogs

  • Enhances bonding in newly adopted dogs
  • Increases circulation
  • Increases flexibility
  • Develops and maintains muscles tone
  • Helps relieve the effects of stiffness and joint discomfort
  • Helps dogs rehabilitate after surgeries and other traumas
  • Helps dogs and their owners with end of life care, "Transitions"

-Healing Touch, Michael M. Fox, DVM

PetMassage, Ltd. Is a 5200 sq ft facility, easily accessible from expressways, metro parks, hotels and some of the best shopping in northwest Ohio. The 1000 sq ft classroom, equipped with PetMassage tables and conference area is large enough to easily accommodate our students and their dogs during workshops. There is also a retail area, a large indoor heated pool for PetMassage WaterWork workshops and an indoor labyrinth. In this facility we teach PetMassage workshops, provide individual teaching sessions in dry massage and conduct research on the effects of dry and PetMassage WaterWork (massaging dogs in water).


Our Certifications & Professional Associations

PetMassage LTD is approved by the:

  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as continuing education provider #285813-00
  • The Registry for Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Education (RAIVE)
  • The Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP)
  • The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork (IAAMB) as Preferred Educational Provider


Learn PetMassage™ and Change Careers

Greetings! We welcome the opportunity to share the PetMassage™ approach with you and to teach the gentle skills you will need to propel you toward your dynamic future. We welcome you to share your dreams with us.

The most exciting people in the world are drawn to our workshops. Our training is for people who would like to work either in veterinary offices as therapists and/or create productive, loving and prosperous businesses helping dogs and their guardians.

Our classes are not for everyone. We attract only those who are inclined to share our philosophies of touch, connection, service, and commitment. Our approach is holistic and spiritual. We are not entrenched in the physical therapy - medical massage mind-set. We see our practice as supporting the work of veterinarians and other animal health and wellness colleagues.

PetMassage™ teaches students to support the self-revelatory, self healing, intuitive abilities of dogs through the use of knowledgeable, compassionate touch, fascia releases, understanding and the use of open body-language communication. Our courses begin with anatomy and physiology to get a basic understanding of the canine body systems from a Western medical model. We incorporate concepts and practices of TCM in our massage theory and practice. Students then learn specific PetMassage™ theory and techniques hands-on, every day, with live dogs in the classroom and at a local humane society. We conclude with lively discussions about ethics, marketing, legal issues and scopes of practice.

We applaud the students who attend our workshops. You are the dreamers and the risk takers. You see the demand. You see the opportunity. You see the need to help dogs and their owners. You see the awesome potential of PetMassage™. There are no models to follow. Your business will be the results of your personal experiences, intuitive development, your charisma, your drive and persistence; it will be your journey. It will be totally and exclusively a reflection of you, your dream, and your commitment to market yourself and your service. You will be creating your business as you learn.

Our students transitioned themselves from occupations that include practically every vocation imaginable. Our students have put in their time and learned their life lessons. They have the people skills to help dogs and their owners develop better relationships with their pets and through this process enhance everyone’s quality of life. They are ready to give back to dogs some of the joy and love they’ve received. Over 90 percent of our students are women, most of whom are tired of working for someone else. They want to create new rewarding careers by expanding their skills and relationships with canines.

This testimonial arrived after this student completed her first workshop with us:

“I wanted to thank you all for inspiring me to do what I feel I was put here on Earth to do! My life is now clear and I am focused on a goal I know in my heart I will achieve. Thank you for helping me find myself! You’ve truly touched my life!” --Heather H.

This is an exciting time for you as you think about the next part of your life’s journey. We encourage you to assess all of the schools that offer instruction in animal massage. When you do, we are confident that you will discover that PetMassage™ offers an exceptional educational experience that will prepare you for beginning a rewarding career.

You know you can make a difference. Through massage and touch, with one dog and one dog owner at a time, you can, and will, change the world.


The Founder of PetMassage

The instructor and founder of PetMassage™ is Jonathan Rudinger, BFA, Ohio State University, RN (Registered Nurse), LMT (Massage Therapist) licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board and Certified Aquatics Leader through the Arthritis Foundation YMCA Aquatic Program, Founder and Instructor at the PetMassage™ Headquarters and Director of The PetMassage™ Research Institute.

Jonathan Rudinger,has been instrumental in developing the field of canine massage for people at home and at the professional level since the mid-1990s. He has facilitated over 200 week-long canine massage workshops at the PetMassage™, Ltd. in Toledo Ohio and created home-study courses that have provided instruction for thousands of dog owners.

Recognized as an authority on massage for dogs he has been interviewed on National Public Radio and many of the major television and cable networks. He has been featured in Whole Dog Journal, Dog Fancy Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Massage Magazine, Animal Wellness Magazine, Massage Today and Massage Therapy Journal. He has been quoted in national magazines as diverse as AARP and The Utne Reader.

PetMassage™ as a specific practice is included in the TouchAbilities Massage Therapy textbook.

Mr. Rudinger guest lectures at kennel clubs, dog-breed clubs, massage and dog training clubs and pet industry conventions. He has demonstrated and taught the PetMassage method at agility trials AKC, UKC shows, in the US, Canada and at the Crufts Show in the UK.

One of our goals is to increase public awareness of PetMassage™ and educate the public that it can be a successful and joyously gratifying vocation. Jonathan has recently represented the animal massage vocation as a speaker at the H. H. Backer Pet Industry Trade Shows in Chicago and Baltimore. He speaks internationally, as well. In 2010, he was a guest instructor for a workshop in Angers, France.

Contact Jonathan to speak to your group or club.

Jonathan is also the founder and president of the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, www.iaamb.org.


IAAMB: Where do you get your inspiration to massage dogs?
Rudinger: We know that each massage session is different; just as each massage recipient is different and specially unique. There is something in the animal's body or mind, or spirit that connects with us to let us know what to do and how to provide for his or her uniquely specific needs.

There is so much around us that we are not aware of. There are scents we don't smell. Flavors we don't taste. There are sights we don't see; sounds we don't hear; textures that we don't feel. There are signals we don't interpret.

IAAMB: How do you approach massage of animals?
Rudinger: We need to learn to enhance our internal awareness', which will allow us to be more aware of the needs, the responses and the integration of our therapy (healing). Your awareness, itself, will enhance the effectiveness of your work.

If, in massage, we were to work with animals, depending only on our five outward definable and measurable senses, our work would be severely limited. Of course, we start with what we can understand. We can observe the animal's gait, the symmetry of the body and the tonality of muscle tissue. We can feel knots in muscles; taut ligaments, and cool and warm areas on the coat or hide. We can hear the animals breathing and note whether it is labored or not. We can see hair patterns. We can see the sheen or dullness of the coat. We can feel and see the patches of raw skin and coat of partially healed wounds. We can smell the aromas emanating from dogs' ears, mouths, and other orifices. We can feel and hear the heartrending crunchiness when we pick up or flex old arthritic joints. We can feel the textures of all sorts of lumps, bumps, scars, layers of fat or bones protruding on emaciated bodies.

We take all these things into account when we begin our sessions with animals; but then, something, some other level of awareness takes over to guide our hands and our attention to specific parts of the animal's body. This super-awareness guides us to know where and how to touch, which directions to press the tissue, and when to stop our compressions to allow the tissue to unwind.

IAAMB: How did you know you wanted to teach animal massage?
Rudinger: I'd like to share a true story with you. It was an experience, though it lasted only a microsecond that profoundly changed the direction and motivation in my life. It made me aware that there is so much more available to us, if our awareness is open and ready.

In 1997, I was invited by a television station to give a demonstration of equine massage. As the shoot was ending, my interviewer brought an old yellow farm dog over to me, saying to the camera, "Dogs get stiff necks, too. Let's see what Jonathan can do."

Up until this time, I had never intentionally massaged a dog before! My focus had been on horses and humans. I cradled the dog's head in my hands and watched his tongue loll out to one side of his mouth. It was delightful! As his eyes rolled back into his head in bliss, I experienced a split-second, immediate, extraordinary and profound insight. An actual epiphany! I had the knowledge and the experience to produce courses that would enable pet owners, pet-care professionals and other massage therapists to connect with and help their dogs using the massage form I had developed. In that moment I saw the dogs, the students, the schools, the research, the covers of the books and videos (DVD or VHS) and much, much more. I knew that I had witnessed a burst of intuitive awareness that had the potential to create positive supportive waves for dogs and their guardians.

Following that split second plan that I witnessed, since then, we have created many videos (DVD), books, workshops, home study courses, health & fitness center for dogs and a research institute. We have gained local as well as international recognition and now draw students from all over the globe to our workshops.

IAAMB: Where does insight come from?
Rudinger: The word "insight" is the clue. It is "looking inward," at an extraordinary moment of excitement, expectancy and, well trepidation.. Fortunately, the openness and the insight occurred simultaneously.

I was able to observe a tiny crack in my normal sensory armoring that encases all of my daily experiences. Now I know that there is another entire universe of awareness and understanding that we cannot even acknowledge unless we experience it.

IAAMB: What else is out there that we cannot understand, or even know to look for?
Rudinger: Roger Carris, in his book, A Dog Is Listening, suggests that dogs may have as many as twenty senses. Along with enhanced versions of our paltry five, they use their abilities to track the sun, track magnetic and special arrangements, barometric pressures, sound waves, air currents, and vibrations in and above the earth.

We can interpret only what our senses are capable and willing to experience. We see only in a small segment of the full spectrum of light that continues to slower wavelengths and faster wavelengths. We hear only a small portion of the vibrations flowing around us. It is safe to say we are aware of only a thin slice of all of what is really going on around us. There are creatures miles deep below the surface of the ocean that have neither endo- nor exoskeletons that would be crushed by the extreme pressures. The only way they can be observed is by shining oblique light across them. Likewise, there are other creatures, high up in the stratospheres that, again, have neither endo- nor exoskeletons. These are not only unobservable; they are practically incomprehensible.

Occasionally, we get "lucky" and get a glimpse into aspects of our unknown worlds. Then, we realize how big and rich our lives can be. Our expanded world has much more depth, much more potential, more clarity, more wonder. Each time you connect with a dog you have a portal into his/her world. You can use it as a channel to lead you to discover yours.

IAAMB: What else is available to us, if we are open?
Rudinger: Our internal awareness is the sum total of all your temporal conscious and subconscious memories, and our cultural memories. These are encoded in our genes. Our cultural memories determine our hair and eye color, our body type, our unique potentials for personalities, talents and even the methodologies of our reasoning processes. Our dogs' memories are not the same as ours. They include their memories from birth. They include physical and behavioral factors that were engineered into their breeds. Dog's cultural memories extend way back before breed differentiation.

There is a theory that each of us, not limiting this to "man," but including all life forms, is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the universe. In other words, each of is a hologram of the whole; each of us has all of the parts, wisdom and memory of the universe. The trick is to become aware of the memories. In-sight.

We also know that our memories are not all confined within our heads. We have memories of specific emotional events held within our muscle tissue. Each of our muscles and tendons can be moved to its more relaxed or comfortable position.

And, if each cell can differentiate between comfortable and uncomfortable, then it stands that each has a memory of how either of these positions feel. Each of our cells is constantly doing trillions of jobs, from reproduction, to energy production, waste management, to maintenance of pH and hydration.

The spaces in the cells that make these decisions are called cellular memory. The memories are communicated to the rest of the body through muscle contraction or relaxation and … vibrations. It's the dog's presentation of his or her immediate version of "I am." Your dog's vibrations connect with your vibrations when the two of you come together. Your combining of your energies creates the unique relationship that you both experience.

Insight happens when both our inner-awareness' start vibrating together. Our memories connect to guide our hands to exactly the right places at exactly the right times, with the right pressures and intention. We find that the most effective sessions for clients are when we are so totally "in the zone," that our intellectual-take control parts of our brains, gets out of the line of communication to allow the wisdom of our hearts to lead our hands.

IAAMB: How can we use this awareness in our practice?
Rudinger: We can relate to the spark of life in the eyes, and level and movements of the tail and the rest of the body language. We sense the flow of energy and vitality in veins and meridians, and respond to the subtle resilient unwinding of the fascia.

Yes, opening our hearts opens our eyes. When our hearts and spirits joyously and playfully interact with the minds, hearts and spirits of our dogs, we become, on levels we can only begin to comprehend, more aware and responsive to their needs.