WHO IS TAKING WHOM FOR A WALK?
by Laurie Patterson, Certified Tellington TTouch Practitioner
Once there was a hissing, growling, attacking “cat from hell”, a hyperactive dog who could not settle down and pulled her human companion down the street, a traumatized mama guinea pig who broke her kit’s leg, a boot-biting Scotty and a cat that went crazy in the car. These are a few examples of animal behaviors that were changed by the gentle mindful body work of the TTouches and techniques of the Tellington Method.
The Tellington Method was developed by the internationally known animal expert Linda Tellington-Jones, who became a Feldenkrais professional trainer under Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. She adapted the Feldenkrais Method for the human nervous system to her work with horses in 1975. She intuitively developed the technique of circular TTouches in 1983.
TTouches are based upon circular movements, lifts and strokes all over the body. They provide a gentle way to instill harmony, positive behavior changes and well-being, thereby enhancing the quality of animals’ lives. The basic touch is done with the hand slightly cupped, fingertips together moving the animal’s skin in a one-and-one-quarter clockwise circle, starting at 6 on the clock, going once around the circle ending at the 8. These soft touches work on a cellular level to release fear and tension and to activate the regenerative potential and cellular intelligence of the body. The cellular and neural activity of non-habitual movement promotes optimal health and behavior so the animal can go beyond instinct and learn in a new way. TTouch methods can transform fear, trauma, stress and aggression into confidence and relaxation.
Skeeter, the “cat from hell”, was left abandoned in an empty house after her owner died. She was terrified of everything and was rarely seen by her rescuer. Since the cat was so frightened, two wands were used as hand extensions. One wand attracted Skeeter’s attention in play while the other quickly stroked her back, tail, and legs. She’d run and hide only to re-appear for a few more strokes and circular touches with the wand. This went on for half an hour or so. A week later, the rescuer called to say Skeeter would actually sit briefly in her lap!
After a few TTouch sessions supplemented by 5-10 minutes of daily maintenance TTouches by her human, Jasmine, the cat who was terrified of riding in a vehicle, now goes quietly and willingly into her cage for trips to the vet. She also sits on her person’s lap, and they have become more bonded.
TTouch can alleviate problems like barking, leash pulling, fear of loud noises, biting and chewing. In addition to the touches, dogs are encouraged to learn without fear or force using ground work exercises Linda calls the playground of higher learning. This provides increased body awareness and self-image as exemplified by Wendy and Max.
Wendy, the bouncy, hyperactive Golden mix, who pulled on the leash and just couldn’t settle down, became much calmer, balanced and more confident, as exhibited by walking with, not pulling, her human companion down the street. Her person says, “The circles really do calm Wendy down in about 30 seconds.”
Max was unfocused, jumped up, barked inappropriately, and bit the shoes of newcomers at the front door even to the extent of ruining a delivery person’s pair of boots. After six TTouch sessions and regular touches from his people, Max became more focused. Folks come to the door without their feet being attacked, golfers go in peace past Max’s yard, and he no longer barks or snarls at the children playing on the other side of the wall. He is also calmer at the vet’s office.
The Tellington Techniques support animals recovering from surgery or accident as well as aging. A group of traumatized rescued guinea pigs ran frantically around their cages until TTouches were done on them first with a chopstick, then hands. Some even purred within minutes! Many are now adopted. Beatrix, the untouchable frantic mama who accidentally broke her baby’s leg, is now calm enough to bathe lying on her back under a running tap in the sink. The vet said that Dora, a two-month-old dumpster rescue, had little chance of living. However, with regular tiny TTouches, and supporting veterinary care, Dora is healthy and adjusted. Her people do daily TTouches on their pigs and teach the TTouches to those who adopt their piggies.
The Tellington Method can also help improve the performance of service, show or competitive animals as well as assist both sexes in breeding, pregnancy and birth.
You are invited to participate in a learning experience that will effectively change your relationship with your companion animals. Private sessions, workshops and classes are offered by Laurie Patterson 505-771-8428 or cell: 505-235-6395 or by my cohort Johanna Peterson 505-255-0779.