HealthyPet - TTouch: A Holistic Approach to Animal Training
Tellington Touch (or TTouch) is a massage-like technique that reduces tension and offers positive solutions to common behavioral issues, helps with health related problems and may improve recovery from illness or injury. The modality, developed by LindaTellington-Jones, a horse trainer and competitive rider, uses circular touches to enhance traditional training methods and complement medical treatments.
Knowing that each cell of the body has its own intelligence, Tellington-Jones realized that touch could stimulate this intelligence and quickly “turn on” and repattern the corresponding brain cells. She instinctively chose to work with circles of all sizes with a fingertip or whole hand. Practitioners do the circles all over the animal’s body and adapt the pressure, speed and size of the circle for each animal.
TTouch can help with excessive barking, chewing, leash-pulling and resistance to grooming. It can also aide in recovery from surgery and shock, stress related issues, car sickness, separation and noise anxiety. Animals with age related issues, such as arthritis, may be comforted as well.
“TTouch is a positive, no-force approach to training that builds mutual trust and respect,” says Christina Natichioni, a Level II TTouch Practitioner who holds workshops and sees private clients throughout the greater Charlotte area.
By using gentle bodywork, wraps and/or thundershirts and leading animals through the "playground for higher learning," TTouch also helps companion animals with jumping up, fear-biting, timidity and shyness, hyperactivity and more. Natichioni says it is a good way to start out new puppies or dogs that have been rescued and are having trouble adjusting.
"I sought out Tellington TTouch to ease my dog's anxieties about going to the vet and dealing with thunderstorms,” says Carrie, of Charlotte. “My dog has become less stressed and more confident as a result."
Natichioni says TTouch is easy to learn, but there are many layers to it. Training is a two-part system that includes bodywork, which uses the hands or special equipment designed especially for TTouch that communicate better with more difficult animals in a very gentle way.
The ground work is much like an agility field but everything is on the ground or close to the ground. Leashed dogs or leadable animals (lamas, horses, goats, cows) are walked through it in a slow and deliberate way, thus connecting them on a deeper level to their bodies and their owners.
Natichioni has witnessed many improvements in animals in her eleven years as a practitioner. “We use all of these things to establish trust and bond with the animals we work with so they can experience learning in whatever way they need to,” she concludes.