Fall 2008 Newsletter
Tellington TTouch® ...Or The Next Pet Adventure
Do you have a dog who over-barks (this means until it drives you crazy)? Drags you down the street with his leash? Jumps on people? Has fear issues? Has pain from a chronic condition? Is hyperactive? Is resistant to the vet or to nail clipping?
Tellington TTouch® is helpful with all these situations and more. "Aha!" you say, "Tellington TTouch®," but you have never really heard of it before or have heard that it exists without really knowing what it is. This is not uncommon. Allow me to explain.
Tellington TTouch® is a way of working with animals (including human ones), all companion animals (including exotics) and horses. I tell my students that it works with any animal that has a cell and a nervous system. TTouch can be used from dogs to horses, birds to cats, snakes to lizards.
Developed by Linda Tellington-Jones about thirty years ago, TTouch has become internationally recognized. Linda was raised with animals, and as an adult took a training in The Feldenkrais Method®, a very gentle movement therapy for humans. One morning she realized Feldenkrais could apply to animals.and voila! Tellington TTouch® evolved.
Two tenets were borrowed directly from Feldenkrais: one, that our body learns more when it is moving slowly, and, two, that the body learns a great deal from non-habitual movement. For example, when I meet a dog, I notice which way his tail is naturally held. Then when I work with him, I often work the tail the other way, very softly, and give the dog the benefit of non-habitual movement, which is usually relaxing. I also move very slowly when I work with an animal; all the touches and lifts are done in a very relaxed way. If the animal dislikes something I do, I don't do it. Nothing is done without the animal's permission.
When I am working with an animal, I teach the animal's humans what I'm doing so that after I leave, they have the tools they need to continue working with their animal. Usually (but not always) I can help an animal in three visits, which I space so people can practice with their animals between visits.
I have seen both miraculous changes as well as subtle ones. The changes are so exciting that the animal's people are sometimes taken aback. One dog with whom I worked (and fell in love) had been found by her people following some brutal abuse. The people wouldn't tell me everything, but did say her tail had been burned about a third of the way down. Needless to say, this dog did not trust any people but hers. She went into the back yard and paced when I came into the house. I put her favorite treats into my hand and just sat at the kitchen table, which she could see from outside. Eventually she took the treats from my hand, I think on the fourth visit. About two more visits later, she let me touch her. I of course touched her as softly as I could, using TTouch circles. Soon she started to relax with me. One day when I walked through the front door, she JUMPED on me to say, "Hi, Old Gal." We rolled around on the floor for a while, and happy tears rolled down my face. Her man said he'd never have believed it if he hadn't seen it, or words to that effect. I stay in touch with those clients.
A woman and her partner in Taos had three little white dogs they just adored who had the habit of over- barking at guests and were a little high strung. These dogs are perfect for TTouch, which is extremely relaxing for the animal. The women drove from Taos to Albuquerque to work with me. We stopped the overbarking and relaxed the dogs while I taught the women how to work with their own dogs. They said all their friends noticed the changes in the dogs. I suppose not being barked to death would be pretty noticeable to their guests.
I have learned so much by working with all the animals I've touched and who have touched me. We have a system of knowing who specializes in what in the TTouch community, and I am a TTACT P1, which translates to TTouch Animal Companion Transition, Practitioner at the first level. I work with individual animals, and I teach classes, as many of us do, to small groups of people and their dogs. The goal of the class is similar the goal of my individual work, to teach the people the tools they need to work with their own animals. So I guess every time I work, I am trying to work myself out of a job.
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