TTouch for Dogs
Do you find yourself dreading what is supposed to be a relaxing walk with your dog?
Does your dog have separation concerns or anxiety in specific situations?
Do you have an older dog who you would like to keep healthy and comfortable?
We can help! The Tellington TTouch Method is a unique approach to animal training and care developed by internationally known trainer, teacher and author, Linda Tellington-Jones.
Based on understanding and respect for our animal friends, this gentle method promotes well-being and adaptive behaviour through an integrated approach that helps to reduce stress and build confidence. TTouch is more than a form of bodywork, it is an entire way of training, handling and understanding animals in a positive, non-threatening way and is comprised of several different components.
Attitude & Philosophy
One of the most important pieces that you will walk away with from a workshop is this tenant: “Change your mind, change your animal”. That is, how much our perception and labels affect how we deal with a specific animal or behaviour. We look at behaviour as a means of communication rather than being the dog’s innate personality or attitude. It is up to us to find the root cause of behaviour, because there is always a reason!
The Tellington TTouch Method looks at the connection between physical, mental, and emotional states and uses the variety of techniques to improve posture and physical balance. This, in turn, helps a dog feel safer, increasing self confidence and mental balance. When an dog has greater self-confidence they have better self-control and emotional balance. With better self-control, they can make better choices, acting rather than simply reacting. This means that the Tellington TTouch Method is not simply “training” a specific behaviour, but actually providing the dog with the education to adapt, cooperatively to different situations.
Observation & Awareness
Sometimes combined with the heading, “Attitude & Philosophy”, observation has been a key piece to the Method since its inception. As a way to understand behaviour, we use our powers of observation, visually and with our hands, to become “detectives” and work to understand underlying issues of behaviour from habitual patterns of tension and dysfunctional posture or limitations due to injury or loss of function.
This does not mean we seek to label or judge the dog, it simply provides feedback to what is being observed in that context, at that moment of time. Observation is not limited to our animals, but is used for ourselves as well as a road to self-awareness.
The foundation of the Tellington TTouch Method is a specific form of light circular touches and strokes known as TTouch®. Mindful and gentle, this form of touch induces a state of relaxation and increased body awareness in animals and people alike.
The combination of the TTouch body work with unique movement exercises improves focus and attention, allowing optimal learning to take place. By using a variety of other tools that also assist the dog to experience a sense of confidence in previously frightening or challenging situations, even the most difficult problems are often eliminated with just a few sessions. The Tellington TTouch Method also provides people with a wonderful means of deepening the bond they share with their canine companions.
Many techniques may resemble massage but the intention is not to directly manipulate the muscular-skeletal system. TTouch works with the nervous system to change physical patterns at some of the deepest levels through gentle, non-habitual movement. Many aspects of these techniques were inspired by the Feldenkrais Method.
Working on lead is one of the most important aspects of the Tellington TTouch work for dogs. Mindful work on the lead enables an animal to override habitual patterns of posture and movement and to learn without fear or force. Helping a dog come more into balance on lead reduces reactivity, lead pulling and many other “issues” without force. Many of the lead work exercises are unique to the Tellington TTouch Method and help create consistent, comfortable, loose-lead walking without corrections or distractions.
Changing postural patterns through movement helps retain the effectiveness of bodywork as well as change behavioural patterns associated with pain or tension. Tellington TTouch exercises in the “Confidence Course”, using a variety of elements (including labyrinth, ground poles and surfaces) result in improved self-control, focus, self-confidence, cooperation, balance and coordination.
Many different pieces of equipment are used to help enhance a dog's balance and overall body awareness. These are used in exercises to support and encourage a functional posture and healthy way of going – without force or restraint.
One of these tools are “Body Wraps”. Contrary to many people’s first thought, these are in no way restrictive or tight. They do not force the body into any position, rather they remind the nervous system about where it is in space and seems to “reset” or at least reveal habitual patterns or tension and bracing.
A great way to learn more is either by attending a TTouch Training for Companion Animals or a shorter 1 or 2 day hands-on workshop offered by many Tellington TTouch Practitioners.
Topics covered will include:
Philosophy and principles of the Tellington TTouch Method, as developed by Linda Tellington Jones.
Physiology of stress and the relationship to behaviour.
Observational skill building: posture, balance, conformation, gait, and interaction with the environment using objectivity.
Skill building in the techniques of TTouch bodywork.
Use of the TTouch Tools & Equipment.
Skill building in the Tellington TTouch Method of leading and groundwork.
Application of the Tellington TTouch Method to specific behavioural issues.
How can the Tellington TTouch Method help my dog?
TTouch offers positive solutions to common behavioural and wellbeing-related issues, including; inappropriate aggression, car sickness, separation anxiety, excessive barking, chewing, jumping up and lead-pulling in dogs, resistance to grooming, nervousness, shyness, fear of fireworks etc.
It compliments other types of training, especially positive reinforcement and can enhance performance in agility, showing, and other performance activities, improves general well-being and offers support of veterinary care.
In addition to all of the behavioural and physical benefits, TTouch also deepens the bond and understanding between people and animals.
Who uses the Tellington TTouch Method?
The Tellington TTouch Method is used by many animal professionals. The list includes groomers, dog walkers, trainers, animal behaviourists, shelter and rescue workers, breeders, vets, veterinary nurses and competitors in agility, obedience, tracking and many more.
Tellington TTouch Practitioners work with individual clients, deliver talks and demonstrations and teach one or two day workshops.
Of course, anyone who shares their life with animals can use the Tellington TTouch Method!