We are pleased to incorporate Galen Myotherapy’s blog into this article about Julia Robertson’s latest book which takes a look at optimising the fundamental support you can give your puppy in order for he or she to grow into a healthy adult dog.

The book would make a wonderful Christmas present for someone with or thinking of getting a puppy.

“It is not enough to be educated as a trainer or behaviourist. If you want to do the best job possible, you need also to have some knowledge of the physical side of the dog and be able to see when physical help and treatment is necessary. Then we can at least send the dog to the right specialist. Following this revelation, I asked Julia to write a book about her work, giving people more tools for helping dogs, and in many ways changing the way we train and handle them.”

Turid Rugaas – International dog trainer and author of On Talking Terms with dogs: Calming Signals

This new puppy-centred book fills a gap in the market by:

  • Demonstrating the need to enable the correct physical attributes of a puppy to develop properly
  • Avoiding the pitfalls conferred by incorrect exercise or inadvertently providing environments (such as slippery floors) that can do more harm than good for a growing puppy

Building our puppy’s bodies correctly is vital for their health, it is just as important as developing their social skills and emotional cognition. And like puppy socialisation, building a puppy’s body correctly, has a limited window of opportunity”.

This is one of the key messages from the new puppy exercise book by Julia Robertson of Galen Myotherapy.

How much exercise?

The book also answers the question ‘how much exercise does my puppy need?’ The long awaited answer to this much asked question is given clarity and explanation, along with a full easy to follow plan called the ‘Galen Myotherapy Puppy Physical Development Programme’ addressing why this is so vital for our developing puppies and adolescents.

Do puppies really fit into our lifestyle?

The book explains the impact of bringing puppies into an environment and lifestyle that they are not designed for. How their bodies, or anatomy, are not built:

  • For living in our houses, for example with stairs and slippery floors
  • The cars and furniture which we expect them to jump in and out of or on and off
  • The type of exercise we give
  • Even some of the equipment we use

As our homes and way of life do not offer a ‘natural’ environment, we have to compromise and help nature along – this is absolutely what we need to do with our puppy development.

The list of detrimental activities featured could look daunting to anyone with a puppy or looking to have one, but this book shows you how this can be negated by making some simple, cost effective, environmental changes and adaptations which will ensure the muscular health of your new family member.

Mimicking what would happen in nature

The book explains in easy to read detail, how for a body to grow securely and to be robust, all its component parts, such as the skeleton, muscles, nerves (and other connective anatomy that holds everything together), require specific stimulation, at specific times. This is so much more likely to happen if a puppy was living a natural life.

Lessons from the past

Dog’s anatomy has hardly changed, above a 18,000 year old Russian puppy, named ‘Dogor’ found preserved in a layer of permafrost in Siberia. Found by Russian scientists in 2019. Copyright Dr Sergey Feborov, North-Easter Federal University.

It also takes us on a brief history of humans and canines cohabiting, discussing how our living environments and lifestyles have changed so much in the last 50 years. Also how so many of our current practices, both living and environment have changed, raising the question about whether it is these elements that are having such a negative impact on our puppies’ formative months and their healthy futures?


As well as her work with renowned trainer, Turid Rugaas, the inspiration to write this book was primarily drawn from Julia Robertson’s extensive experience as a therapist of treating dogs for 20 years; and when she started she was literally the only practitioner (that either she, or google knew about!) specialising in treating chronic muscular issues in dogs, using clinical massage techniques. Now of course there are literally thousands of therapists and although it is wonderful that dogs have a myriad of different treatment modalities, isn’t it sad that there is such a recent exponential demand?

Where does Galen Myotherapy fit within the writing of this book?

Galen Myotherapy specialises in treating dogs, but is also passionate about prevention, because prevention is always better than cure. One of the most common problems the therapists see, and have seen over the years, are dogs with muscle imbalance. Meaning that their muscles are not working together properly, to create not just strength and speed, but something that is possibly even more important, which is muscle stability.

Different muscles have different roles, some are power muscles, for running and jumping, and some hold the joints securely during actions. This could be referred to as correct muscle activation and patterning. It takes specific formative exercises to activate the muscles that hold the joints securely and these, in Galen therapists’ experience and opinion, are commonly not working in the dogs they treat as well as sporting and working dogs.

This pattern of movement creating functional myofascial connections must be encouraged and developed in our puppies’ formative development, and this is what the book describes, both the how and the why.

Monty the Magnificent being treated by his owner and Galen Myotherapist, Sue MacLennan

Galen Myotherapy has been built from sound scientific knowledge, and ongoing observations of thousands of dogs; I am a practical person, and need practical, natural and dog-choice derived solutions that are easy to implement in my busy life. I felt that from my experience, if we could improve and change the culture of how we develop our puppies, it would have a hugely positive impact on dogs now and in the future. These are the foundations and rationale behind the How to Build your Puppy book”

Julia Robertson

What others have said about the book

“Dog behaviour consultants, instructors and dog owners are crying out for this information. For instance, people frequently ask ‘how much exercise should I give my puppy?’ and this book not only answers that but shows that there are other better ways to exercise a dog than walking in a straight line”.

Foyles synopsis and review

“I have trained, observed and solved problems for tens of thousands of dogs during my 55 years as a dog trainer. In the beginning we did not think much about what impact training could have on the dogs’ bodies, and vice versa. Yet observing dogs and their movements, and how they felt, we understood that we had to look at that aspect as well. Since then, thanks to new technology, recent years of studies have given us more knowledge about physiology, anatomy and neurology. It has been a real awakening. Practical and well explained, Julia’s love for dogs shines through every page. I believe it will have a huge impact on our work with dogs in the future. “

Turid Rugaas – International dog trainer and author of On Talking Terms with dogs: Calming Signals

“Using her world-renowned Galen Myotherapy knowledge and approach, Robertson suggests and explains in detail how small, profoundly important but easy to implement changes can improve the way we not only look after and develop our puppies but also how maintenance of this easy programme continues your puppy’s journey through into healthy adolescence and maturity”.

Amazon book review

“Should be standard reading for all dog owners, dog instructors, dog behaviour consultants, dog shelters, veterinarian students, veterinarians, and all other education’s and organisations that have to do with dogs in our society”.

Foyles synopsis and review

Buy the book

Useful links

Galen Myotherapy blogs

Puppy blogs

Galen Myotherapy

Galen Myotherapy is a unique and highly specialised manual and exercise management therapy for dogs. It uses appropriate, effective and targeted massage techniques and exercise to manage chronic muscular pain, reduce inflammation and to maximise muscle function. 

It was founded by Julia Robertson in 2002 . They were the first in the field to develop a choice-led treatment for dogs. They recognise dogs as sentient beings, who lead rich emotional lives and can experience pain. This in depth understanding of canine behaviour led to the development of their science based Positive PACT® treatment protocol. As such their therapists never use forced restraint and treatment will always take place at a low level where a dog is most comfortable.

There’s more information here

Special offer:

Introduction to Canine Massage and Visual Assessment

This specialist distance learning course is designed to help you to assess your dog’s physical appearance and give you the skills to support their long term musculoskeletal health at home. Galen Myotherapy has very kindly offered our supporters and exclusive 10% discount using the code MA4A10 at the checkout. Find out more here.

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This blog may also contain an element of consumer opinionWhilst CAM4animals welcomes positive recommendations for holistic healthcare products, we don’t necessarily endorse the product or the author’s opinion. We acknowledge that each animal is an individual and may react differently to the highlighted product/s. There may also be other products available that produce similarly positive results.

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website