By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Massage therapy is not just for people. It’s a great way to keep your companion animals healthy and well-balanced as well. Massage therapy helps to release fear, stress and anxiety at a deeper level and in a soothing way that creates relaxation, trust and overall well-being.

It also works in harmony, successfully, with behavioral modification too. It helps to create trust and a strong emotional bond, and ultimately teaches the dog to relax and to make the association to a more pleasant and inviting environment and in the process helping to eliminate fear.

As a trainer and canine specialist, I’ve recently had great success with an extremely excessively fearful shepherd mix through massage therapy, along with a program of behavioral modification. Her fear has greatly subsided as she made a positive association with a calmer and more relaxed state.

It works in conjunction with the process of behavioral training because she can now calmly begin to take direction and become much more focused to successfully begin her training and reconditioning sessions.

A dog should always learn new techniques, commands or new behaviors only in a calm and relaxed state.