Canine Massage; Q&A with Dr. Erica Boling

 For anyone who follows the CRT protocol, they understand the value and importance of not only resistance training through CRT, but the continuous strive for inclusion of proper warm ups, cool downs,  and added active recovery and rest days.

Canine Massage is one of the most valuable therapies that we can provide to our dogs on their active recovery days. Not only does it promote the dog/handler bond, but its primary function within our CRT program is to aide in the lactic acid removal, therefore speeding up the recovery process. To help clients understand why incorporating canine massage into their CRT routines, and why I chose to make it crucial to the CRT progrm, Dr. Erica Boling of Northeast Canine Conditioning, LLC, contributed her advice and offered some insightful answers to the most common questions surrounding massage and active recovery days. Take a look below for some of the interview questions:


1. Q. "Thank you Erica, for taking time to sit down and answer some of these questions in regards to the CRT Program and the inclusion of canine massage. As a certified canine massage therapist, a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer, and a FitPaws Master Trainer,  surely you know the benefits to canine massage with you dog. Part of the requirement for my clients who do the CRT program is to allow a cool down/rubdown period, following their designated sessions.  From your experiences when working with canine athletes, what are the most profound benefits of canine massage to a dog who is exercising regularly?"

A. One of my favorite reasons to do massage is that it really helps put me in touch with my dogs. While massaging them, I'll do a full body check from nose to tail. I get the opportunity to detect any soreness, stiffness and pain. There are a number of times when I found issues that were very subtle and would have been missed if I had left it up to the naked eye. I also love combining massage with stretching to enhancing flexibility.


2. Q. "How often do you recommend doing canine massage for your dogs who engage in resistance training sessions 2-3 times a week?"

A. I recommend doing it within 24 to 48 hours of these training sessions. Not only will your dog benefit physically from having the massages, but this is an excellent time to check your dog over and make sure there are no signs of pain or soreness after your session. At a bare minimum, I would recommend giving a massage 2-3 times a week if that's the number of times you're doing resistance training. It doesn't have to be a long massage. There are huge benefits just for having this one-on-one contact time with your dog.


3. Q. "The CRT program utilizes low level resistance training, that has been founded off of many models of human and strength and conditioning programs, while taking into account the collaborative efforts between myself and several physical therapists and rehab professionals to ensure the safety of the dogs that we are working with. How important do you think it is for anyone interested in getting started to utilize a structured program?"

A. I think it's extremely important and essential if you hope to see any gains and improvement over time. If you don't do a structured program, you don't have the solid data that is needed to confirm that what you are doing is working. How do you know when to increase intensity? How do you know when to increase duration? How do you when when you've spent too long doing the same thing and your dog is showing no gains? You really can't know for sure and can't make accurate and educated decisions for moving forward unless if you have a structured program where training sessions build upon one another. You also have to be able to document your progress (or lack of progress) so that you can tell if what you're doing is working. Without having a structured program, how are you going to achieve this? How are you going to be confident that you are making decisions that are in the best interest of your dog? 


As evidenced by her answers to those questions, active recovery days are JUST as important as your training sessions. Don't miss those moments to not only enhance you and your dog's bond, but also to aide in their recovery for better success on their CRT sessions. A huge thank you to Dr. Erica Boling of Northeast Canine Conditioning, LLC for providing us with excellent information. Check out Erica's impressive bio below!

About Erica:

"Erica C. Boling, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Education at Rutger's University and the owner and founder of Northeast K9 Conditioning, LLC and Northeast K9 Conditioning Academy. Through her online academy, Erica helps canine professionals stand out within their industry and succeed financially by teaching them how to create and sell innovative profitable programs. Additionally, she helps sport and working dog handlers create peak performance, canine athletes by teaching them how to integrate canine fitness into their training programs. Erica is a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT), Certified Canine Massage Provider, member of the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports (USFSS) and a member of their USA National Team. Currently, she also provides instruction on canine fitness to officers at the Atlantic County " John Sonny Burke" K-9 Academy."


For more information or to get in touch with Erica about learning more about specific details surrounding how to perform canine massage, please send an email to 













Ashley SculacComment