Ttouch in a nutshell
(scroll down for a video)
Tellington Ttouch is a gentle, non-invasive method to work with animals. It has many, many and some more layers to it. It mainly consists of two parts; body work and ground work. When we apply the Ttouch method to our work, we tap into the animal’s nervous system, and can influence many areas, for example:
- Pain relief (arthritis, post-surgery, allergy skin conditions, fractures, muscle ache, etc.)
- Desensitisation to touch sensitivity
- Emotional reactions to situations and/or stimuli
- Establishing a two-way ‘conversation’ of trust and understanding
- Increase focus for training
- Create a mindset for learning
- Body awareness
- Walking (leash and harness) skills
Ttouch is a wonderful way of spending time with your animal. The mindfulness of it makes communication with the animal so much clearer, they will tell you what they need and what they do not need in the way they react to the exercises. Observation skills and knowledge of their body language is key and you become better at it with practice.
If you pick up that the animal is not enjoying what you are doing, change it or give the animal a break to process it while you take some time to think about what to do instead, or perhaps to stop. We call these breaks mindful pauses. In Ttouch, the breaks in between sessions are just as important as the sessions themselves. Sessions can be as short as 5-seconds and as long as 10-minutes, depending on the animal’s comfort level.
This method can be applied to many different species of animals (humans too), in fact, that is how most of the touches got their names. They python lift was an improvised touch done on a python and so was the Llama touch, every touch has a story and a function.
The groundwork consists of many working stations with labyrinths, ground poles, different textures, teeter-totters, ramps, etc. These setups are called the playground of higher learning and exercises assist dogs with spatial awareness, posture, leg awareness and coordination. It might look like an agility set up, but the goal is not to race through it and rather to mindfully walk through it and adjust exercises the animal finds difficult. It is surprising how many animals are nervous about walking in between two poles on the ground, those animals usually have issues with being restrained as well.
Applying the Ttouch method when working with our guests at Best Friends Pet Lodge, goes a long way with regards to mental release as well as relaxation and feeling safer while they are outside their comfort zone. Many of the exercises can be included in their walks as well, so the walk becomes much more than just a walk. With a bit of mindfulness, every interaction becomes an opportunity for learning, easing anxiety or fear, or loosening up a stiff joint.