Who I Am

Why I started practicing canine massage

This massage table is well over 20 years old. My Dad bought it for me when he saw how much passion I had for bodywork when it came to dogs.

I first started reading about massage when I was around 16, looking for ways to make my dog feel better. I read more, and more, took classes, talked to anyone I could, and quickly learned this was something I wanted to do.

Back then there were very few “distance learning” options for anything dog sport related, let alone massage. But I enrolled in every class that I could find, human, canine, equine. I knew I didn’t want to pursue human massage, but I was allowed to sit in on classes and study at a school in Idaho.  

From there I have read just about every book that has been published on massage, acupressure, chiropractic, meridian therapy, ligament therapy, cold laser, and more.  I continued enrolling in classes, finishing my certification for canine massage at three different schools, acupressure certifications, MLT certification (manual ligament therapy), cold laser certifications, as well as nutrition and herbology classes.

When Dad died I felt like I lost some of my passion for bodywork. He was always in my corner supporting anything I wanted to do, and helping me any way he could.  

I eventually stopped having a booth at NADAC Championships, stopped offering bodywork at trials, and the massage table got packed away in storage.

And then in 2019, Nargles had a career ending injury and my good friend offered to help her with her MagnaWave PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) machine. And something stirred in me again, I started researching the PEMF machine, started reading again, and felt that passion start to slowly come back.

 I went into deep research on PEMF machines and how massage could combine with it to really help dogs.  I enrolled in an online class the next year, working on friends dogs here and there. And then I just felt the need to start doing bodywork again. I finally bought the PEMF machine I had been researching, and I unpacked the table from storage.

20 years old, It has some wear, but that table has been with me from the beginning. So many memories of so many dogs on that table. And so many memories of my Dad, sitting at my booth at NADAC Champs, so happy to see me pursing something that made me so happy.  

For the first time in years at a NADAC trial in April and one in May of this year, I offered bodywork sessions on my table, having dogs on it again brought a feeling of fulfillment and happiness I haven’t felt in a long time. 

I am currently enrolling in another massage class to keep me up to date, and my skills honed. I also plan on getting my certification for Craniosacral therapy, another cold laser certification, and Myofascial Release. I am also researching the best way to combine massage & cold laser with the PEMF therapy sessions for performance dogs. I would like to also continue my canine nutrition certification, buts that on a bit of a back burner, as well as maybe certifying in equine massage, but haven’t fully committed to that yet…. 🙂 

There are so many inspirational quotes and memes that all say “don’t give up on your dreams” or “follow your passion”. I never really took those to heart until now.

If something ignites your soul, chase it.

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Published by Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson is well known for her distance handling skills, and she has been traveling the country and teaching seminars for 20+ years. She has traveled around the world to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, England, Switzerland and the Philippines teaching all levels of agility, with nearly all dog breeds. Amanda focuses on teaching teamwork as well as how to create a strong connection between dog and handler. She works with all styles of handling, from running with your dog to distance handling. Amanda tailors each training session, large or small, to the dog and handler to help bring out the best in the team. Her training techniques consist of a large amounts of targeting, food rewards, and toy rewards. Creating a fun learning environment for the dog encourages a fast, fun, and motivated dog in the agility ring. Amanda uses a combination of Upper Body Cues, Lower Body Cues, and Verbal Cues. This system was derived from the natural cues that most dogs read and pick up quickly. Handlers are taught how to use all of these cues, together, to create a customized handling system that can be tailored to their unique dog. All of these techniques have resulted in Amanda earning numerous titles with her dogs including the MOD SQUAD award, Purple Achievement Cup, and over 40 NADAC Championship titles. She has won the NADAC Championships multiple times, including winning the Super Stakes and Starter Stakes division. She has also been Top Bonus Dog, Top Purple Dog, and Top Dog of the Year several times in NADAC.

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