Tellington Touch (or simply “TTouch”) is a training method that goes far beyond the Sits, Stays, and Downs of basic canine manners classes. In fact, my own dog had lovely manners and a reliable set of basic skills when it became clear to me that something “deeper” was missing. Yep, even the dog who lived with the dog trainer and attended group training classes, agility classes, and weekly private AKC tracking lessons had missed perhaps the most fundamental “trick” of all: feeling calm, confident, and comfortable in her own skin. When a trainer-friend of mine mentioned something called “TTouch,” I was intrigued — and began the two-year journey to become a Certified TTouch Practitioner.
Here are five of the top reasons you might want to add some TTouch skills to your dog-training toolbox:
- TTouch helps our dogs stay calm and focused — even in distracting, highly stimulating, unpredictable situations. I’ve seen TTouch help countless dogs make great strides in their ability to cope with everything from competitions (such as dog shows) to life in a shelter (where calm behavior can literally be the difference between adoption and, well, not adoption).
- TTouch helps puppies retain their natural curiosity and their sense of the world as a great, fun, happy place to explore. While those of you who currently live with a puppy might wish your furry little buddy were somewhat less curious about the garbage, dirty laundry, and what’s under your prized peony, believe me when I tell you this is infinitely preferable to living with a puppy—or a grown dog—who’s too afraid to leave the house (or ride in the car, be nice to your mother, cooperate with the vet, or come out from under the bed).
- TTouch helps dogs replace habits that don’t serve them well with habits that work a whole lot better. For example, we can help dogs learn to stop pulling on the leash or favoring a long-ago-injured limb and walk on a loose leash, in balance. We can also help a dog figure out that the neighbor’s dog isn’t actually worth getting so upset about, after all.
- TTouch helps us keep our beloved older dogs engaged and interested in life for as long as possible. It also provides us with new ways of responding to our dogs’ changing needs over their entire lifetime.
- TTouch helps us celebrate and connect with our dog as a unique individual. Even dogs from the same litter are individuals, just as we are not our siblings. TTouch helps us discover what makes our dog “one of a kind” in ways we love as well as ways that might frustrate us. Then, it gives us tools to address the challenges in an effective and respectful way that strengthens our sense of connection and partnership with our dogs — no matter what other positive training activities we pursue.
- (Bonus!) You can get a great introduction to TTouch in a single, two-hour workshop through AnimalSense, and leave with everything you need to share this method with any of the dogs in your life, regardless of breed, age, personality, or how much training they’ve had. Please join us at a class this spring!
Betsy Lane will be teaching TTouch for Dogs on April 22 at Glenview Animal Hospital, on April 28 at Central Bark in Chicago, and on May 3 at Pet Vets Animal Hospital in Oak Park.