This week’s message is all about getting touchy-feely with your furkid and is brought to you with its very own soundtrack for your listening pleasure.
Tellington Touch (TTouch) is a type of mindful petting for dawgs developed in the 1970’s. I’d heard about it before in various contexts and had never explored it myself because nobody could explain it to me….
Friends, let me tell you—it’s wonderful and you should try it, like yesterday.
Why I think it’s so cool…
First practiced with horses, TTouch targets vitality at the cellular level and awakens dormant or ignored neurological pathways. When administered appropriately, furcreatures show relaxed muscles and significant decreases in both heart rate and blood pressure, which are all characteristics directly linked to stress. The Biofeedback Institute (located in our own backyard of Boulder, CO) observed dawgs’ brain activity before, during, and after TTouch, discovering two insanely cool things: a. brain activity during TTouch is significantly different from activity during regular petting, and b. TTouch simultaneously relaxes the body while inducing an alert mind. For those of us with in love with rescue dawgs, one of the most wonderful things we can offer our furkids is just even ten minutes of calm, to weaken the anxious response pathways in their brain that are otherwise reinforced over and over and over again.
Why it works…
The more I read, the more I realized that nobody has explained it to me because we don’t know the answer to this. Pretty much everyone can agree, though, that most dawg behavior problems are the result of deeply routed fears that now trigger nearly automatic anxious or aggressive responses. This might be a fear of thunder or solidarity, turning a well-behaved pup into a destructive one. Or maybe your furkid is afraid of the leash and now growls at everything that moves when out for a walk. Incorporating TTouch into these terrifying experiences calms the physical reaction to the stressor, allowing you to communicate more directly with the dawg’s brain, and not his stressed out body.
How to use it to help your dawg…
Whether you want to help your dawg with a fear problem or you just want to enhance the relationship between you two, TTouch is a relatively simple technique that will
undoubtedly provide benefits to the both of you. It simply involves massaging in circles with your fingers/hands all over the dawg’s body. There are different specific touches and techniques that might be helpful for different presenting problems and a trained practitioner will know the best strategies for you. Beyond that, though, is an emphasis on the entire process being collaborative between you and your furkid. It is essential to acknowledge what you are feeling with each movement and what the dawg is telling you. More often than not, you’ll probably find yourself talking out loud to the dawg and that’s okay too!
For more information, to read success stories, and to find a practitioner or training event visit TTouch.com. There are also lots of great videos on basic practices you can start at home on YouTube.
Good luck! Don’t forget to comment back and let us know how it goes for you and your pup!