TTouch

The Tellington TTouch is a kind and respectful way of working with animals to help them overcome a variety of health and behavioural issues.  It was developed over 30 years ago by Linda Tellington Jones and is now widely used around the world by trainers, shelter workers, vets, physiotherapists, behaviour counsellors, veterinary nurses, competition riders, riding instructors and animal owners.

                        Linda forelock

TTouch recognises an inextricable link between posture and behaviour and uses body work, ground work exercises (where appropriate) and specific equipment to release tension and to promote a feeling of calm and well being.  This in turn helps animals develop self confidence and self control and enables them to move beyond their instinctive and, often fearful, responses. 

A dog that suffers from noise sensitivity or noise phobia for example is likely to carry tension through the hindquarters and tail and may dislike contact on or around his paws.  His lower legs, tail and ears may also feel cold.  The non invasive body movements (TTouches) can be used to improve circulation thus warming up cold extremities, relax tight muscles and release habitual patterns of bracing. They can also induce calm and change the dog’s expectation of what contact around his paws may mean.  Stroking the ears using Ear Slides helps to lower heart rate and respiration and putting a body wrap, or T-Shirt on the dog can help to give a noise sensitive dog a sense of security, often reducing his need to den.  As behaviours are usually linked, dogs with this pattern of tension through the body may also be nervous in new situations, be wary of strangers and find car travel difficult.  TTouch can help them to become more confident in all areas of their life without the need to address the individual concerns.

Contrary to out dated beliefs, handling a fearful, defensive or reactive animal in a positive, mindful, calm way does not reward, and therefore reinforce, that behaviour. It can change it. The Tellington TTouch has a profound and potent effect on the nervous system and has a powerful influence on responses and mood. Even well established patterns of behaviour often alter within a very short space of time and the Tellington TTouch has even saved the lives of many animals whose behaviour has been deemed to be out of control.

Observations are an important part of the TTouch work.  Practitioners note the animal’s responses to stimuli, the posture, balance, movement and muscle development, heart rate and respiration, the texture and appearance of the coat and so on.  They feel for temperature changes, coarse or dry hair, tension in the tail, ears, legs and the mobility of the skin.  They also pay close attention to the animal’s responses to contact on the body and his ability to negotiate the ground work exercises and adapt the sessions accordingly.  The focus is always on what the animal can achieve rather than what he can’t achieve and the aim is to work below the threshold at which the animal has to react, particularly when handling animals that are nervous and/or defensive.

 

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