As the only Tellington Touch practitioner for miles (and miles and miles) around, I am used to people asking me about what TTouch is and how it can help their dogs. In case you’re curious, too—maybe you’ve seen my workshops on the AnimalSense website, or a dog-training friend mentioned it—here are my Top 3 TTouch FAQs (and their answers, of course)!
A: Yes and no. Unlike canine massage, TTouch works at the skin level rather than the muscle level. We are trying to engage the dog’s nervous system by working at the nerve (skin) level—our touches are lighter, more varied, and not as deep as typical canine massage techniques. In addition, we can choose from dozens of different TTouches, and modify them as needed, to help all types of dogs with a wide variety of issues or concerns. Finally, TTouch also incorporates many techniques other than the touches, such as body wraps and groundwork exercises in the Confidence Course.
A: TTouch body wraps are simply Ace bandages that we use in various ways to increase a dog’s sense of proprioception (where their body is in space) and help them focus and stay calm and centered. The theory behind the wraps is that constant, gentle pressure is calming. This is the same concept behind both swaddling a baby and the “squeeze machine” developed by Temple Grandin (a world-renowned scientist who, in spite of her own autism, holds a PhD in animal science). My clients and workshop participants know that I dye my wraps; this doesn’t make them any more or less effective, but it does make them look less medical, more fun, and infinitely more fashion-forward!
A: The Confidence Course is a great tool for—you guessed it—building a dog’s confidence! The course looks a little like an agility course, in that it is comprised of various stations where the dogs are engaged in a physical (groundwork) exercise. Unlike agility, though, we ask dogs in the Confidence Course to slow down rather than speed up, and a key goal is for them to get better at focusing on the task at hand (or at paw) and move through each station calmly and with self control. Stations include various surfaces for the dog to walk across, flat ladders or other objects requiring precise placement of paws, wobbly or slightly elevated surfaces, and/or a flat labyrinth. Working in the Confidence Course helps dogs become more mindful and less reactive to stimuli that would normally set them off.
I encourage you to attend a TTouch workshop—we are planning additional introductory workshops, an additional class for those ready to learn more, and a humans-only class designed to help those of you with dogs not quite ready to participate in group trainings.
Sign up for our next workshop in Oak Park on Wednesday, February 22 from 7pm-9pm here.
Guild Certified Tellington TTouch Practitioner for Companion Animals