Frequently Asked Questions

What is canine massage?

Canine massage is a therapeutic discipline that involves directly working with all of the soft tissues of a dog’s body in order to assist the dog in achieving relief from a variety of physical and emotional challenges, including muscular soreness, chronic stress, and more. 

What is the difference between massage for humans and massage for dogs?

Human massage therapists work only on humans and canine massage therapists work only on canines. The education and licensing are different.  A canine massage also looks different than a massage for humans because dogs don't usually stay still and in one position during their massage. 

Who can take Canis Bodyworks courses?

Everyone can take Canis Bodyworks courses! Our workshops are appropriate for beginners with no prior experience or training with dogs as well as for people who have a wide level of knowledge and hands-on experience. Pet parents, shelter staff and volunteers, veterinary and rehabilitation professionals, canine massage therapists seeking to continue learning in advanced techniques and applications, and anyone who works with dogs or in a dog-focused business will find a Canis Bodyworks workshop, or series of workshops, to meet their needs. 

Why should I take this program instead of one that is offered completely online?

Canis Bodyworks offers a combination of online coursework and hands-on workshops taught by leaders in the canine massage/bodywork, behavior, and vet rehabilitation communities. Hands-on experiences and personal, real-time attention and feedback are crucial when learning to communicate through touch and provide the correct application of techniques.  This work simply cannot be adequately or effectively taught in a fully online or distance format.

Why does your program consist of multiple 2 and 3 day hands-on courses rather than a single, longer course?

We schedule our hands-on classes in 2 or 3 day segments for several reasons:
  • Doing so enables our students to attend without having to take a large period off from their regular jobs.
  • Multiple, shorter courses and workshops make self-paced study easier to manage. 
  • The spreading out of study over a longer period enables solid integration of new information.
  • Shorter courses actually give us more time to cover each concept fully and allow us more opportunities for hands-on work with live dogs.
  • The cost of the entire program can be spread out over time rather than paid in one or two large chunks.

How does the cost of your program compare to others?

When you add up the cost of all the classes we require for certification, you'll find that the total is comparable, and in many cases, less expensive, than the cost of other canine massage certification programs currently available.  Please take the opportunity to compare other programs to ours -- not only in terms of cost, but in terms of content delivery, hands-on learning, access to personalized feedback, and ongoing support. We are proud of our program and feel confident that it provides dedicated students with all the tools necessary to become knowledgeable, skilled, and thoughtful practitioners. Any questions? Reach out to us at

Please note that all of our course fees are listed in US Dollars (USD).

Which courses should I take to become certified in canine massage?

The following Canis Bodyworks workshops make up our Canine Massage Therapy Certification program.

  • Trust and Relationship-Building with Dogs - Parts 1 & 2 
  • Canine Massage Fundamentals - Parts 1 & 2
  • Case Studies Practicum - 30 hours (Home Study)
  • The Physical Dog - Parts 1 & 2
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy & Orthopedic Friction
  • Lymphatic Massage: The Common Denominator
  • Canine First Aid Concepts & Pathology (Online)
  • The Business of Canine Massage and Bodywork (Online - ZOOM) 

This approach will provide you with more than the required 200 hours of education and training. Additionally, these workshops will help prepare you to take the national exam, and most importantly, prepare you to work competently in the field.

This particular series of workshops has been approved as an appropriate Canine Massage Therapy Certification Program by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). Additionally, all of our workshops (excluding the Case Studies Practicum) have been approved by NBCAAM for continuing education hours for animal bodyworkers.

Are there prerequisites for taking any of the courses?

We require that Part 1 and 2 of Trust and Relationship-Building with Dogs be taken before most of our other workshops because it offers an essential foundation of skills required by anyone who works with dogs in any capacity. Many of our workshops also require that Canine Massage Fundamentals be taken as a prerequisite as well.  Specific prerequisite details can be found in the course descriptions.

I'm not interested in getting certified in canine massage.  Can I still take Canis Bodyworks courses?

Yes! You don't have to take our courses with the goal of getting certified. Several of our courses have no prerequisites and can be taken for personal enrichment.

I have no experience or background working with dogs. Can I still take Canis Bodyworks courses?

Yes! The only requirements for working with dogs is that you have an empathetic heart, feel love and respect for all animals, and be willing to learn new skills.  

Are your courses approved for continuing education hours?

All of our courses, except our Case Studies Practicum, are approved by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM) for continuing education hours for animal bodyworkers.

Our Trust and Relationship-Building with Dogs and Canine Massage Fundamentals workshops are approved for human massage therapists through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).

Currently, five of our workshops can each provide hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognized RACE approval. The workshops are as follows:
  • Trust and Relationship-Building with Dogs (24 CEs)
  • Canine Massage Fundamentals (24 CEs)
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy & Orthopedic Friction (24 CEs)
  • Lymphatic Massage: The Common Denominator (16 CEs)
  • Applied Acupressure Fundamentals (16 CEs)

What qualifications do I need if I want to become a canine massage therapist? Do I need a license?

The primary qualification is to be trained in all aspects of the discipline, such as animal behavior, anatomy and physiology, massage techniques, and more. You do not need any qualifications to start taking the Canis Bodyworks workshops.

A license is not required to practice canine massage. However, if you'd like to become certified in canine massage therapy, we strongly recommend that you earn your certification through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage ( Earning this certification is an important way to demonstrate to pet parents and the veterinary community that you’re a qualified therapist who has achieved a high level of education and expertise, and that you have the necessary skill to work effectively and safely with dogs.

With 200 hours of education and training, you can sit for the NBCAAM national certification exam.

I am already a veterinary professional or massage therapist for humans.  Will I be adequately challenged by your courses?

Yes. Although some of the material in our courses may be familiar, most of the content will be different and have a different application.  

Can I bring my own dog to the hands-on classes?

We are not able to allow student dogs to attend classes at our St. Louis location.  In special cases, we do allow student dogs to attend classes in Chicago, Virginia, and Canada, but we must be notified first to be sure it will be an appropriate situation.  

In all of our locations, participants will be provided with a wide variety of dogs to work with during the hands-on courses. If you have any questions, please contact us at 

When can I start working on animals?

Unless you are working on your own pets or practicing your techniques with shelter/rescue dogs, we recommend that you achieve national certification through NBCAAM before venturing out and providing canine massage therapy services professionally. Participants must have had 200 hours of coursework before they are eligible to take the national certification exam. 

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

If Canis Bodyworks Cancels a Course or Workshop…

Workshops are subject to cancellation by Canis Bodyworks LLC due to limited enrollment one week prior to the start date. If a course or workshop is cancelled by Canis Bodyworks LLC, students are subject to a full refund or can choose to enroll in a future course or workshop.

Canis Bodyworks LLC reserves the right to cancel a course or workshop up to 24 hours before the start date due to act of nature, natural disasters, act of war, contagious pathological outbreaks (both human and canine), or other if deemed appropriate by the Canis Bodyworks LLC administration.

If a Student Cannot Attend Their Registered Course or Workshop…

Students unable to attend the course or workshop for which they have registered may apply their payment to a future course or workshop if they notify Canis Bodyworks of the cancellation before the first day of class.

Failure to contact Canis Bodyworks for cancellation before the first day of class, or failure to show up to the course or workshop, will result in forfeiture of payment.

Students who prefer a refund rather than applying a payment to a future course or workshop can be refunded the full payment, minus a 5% administration fee, if the course curriculum has not already been sent out to students. Once the course or workshop curriculum has been sent to students, the course fee is non-refundable.

Online Courses...

Because students receive immediate access to course content after registering, online courses are not refundable.

Do you have a question not addressed on this page?

Contact us at  We are happy to help with additional questions!
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