Tellington Method™
(Tellington TTouch Training™)

For all species - from hamsters to horses!

Edie Jane and JessieGeneral Description

TTouch is a gentle, positive teaching method that combines bodywork and ground exercises to improve co-ordination and balance. Good physical balance positively influences emotional and mental states, helping animals to be calmer, and improving their ability to focus. They become better able to develop self-control and self-confidence - the lack of which underlies most undesirable behaviours and interferes with the ability to learn.

TTouch offers many techniques to support veterinary care. It can help to speed recovery from injury or illness and reduce stress during treatment. It offers ways to help our animals remain stable and out of shock as we await veterinary care in emergencies. (see Ear Work ). TTouch has a Veterinary Advisory Board of nine international veterinarians, and has been taught at the University of Vienna School of Veterinary Medicine in Austria and at the University of Hannover in Germany.

Developing healthy minds in healthy bodies increases the well- being and contentedness of our animals. Added benefits are the development of a deeper rapport between human and animal through mutual understanding and communication, and improved interactions with animal professionals - vets, groomers, etc. - by easing handling and diminishing stress (for both!).

With TTouch we can give back to our animals some of the immeasurable gifts they give us throughout their lives, improve their comfort as they age, and eventually ease their passing. It can be a great comfort for us to have something useful to do at times when we may feel helpless.

TTouch is used around the world by shelter assistants, dog trainers, zookeepers, veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators, and therapists of many different modalities. It lends itself to many training and therapeutic modalities, and often learning and using just a few of the simple body TTouches and rebalancing exercises can make a huge difference to an animal's life.

There are over 600 certified practitioners in 32 countries.

Edie Jane with Tofu and PatchesA Bit of TTouch History

The Tellington TTouch is named after its originator, Linda Tellington-Jones. Linda grew up surrounded by animals of all kinds. She is particularly known and honoured worldwide as an innovative horsewoman, developing TTouch techniques initially with horses and later with companion animals.

TTouch grew out of Linda's extensive range of experience, combined with her study of the Feldenkrais Method, which is known to be successful in improving athletic ability and increasing function in cases of paralysis and chronic pain, and her recognition that the same principles could be applied to animals.

To date, Linda has made 24 training videos on working with horses, dogs and cats. She has written 13 books describing TTEAM (for horses) and TTouch in 12 languages.

Tellington TTouch consists of two basic techniques:

Bodywork consists of different ways of touching the animal: One type of touch is the circular Tellington TTouch, in which your fingers gently push the skin in a circle and a quarter. Other touches include strokes and slides, using your hands in different ways to provide different effects; and lifts, in which the tissue is lifted gently against gravity and supported as tensions release.

TTouch techniques help to increase awareness, speed healing and relieve tension. Mindful touching helps us to feel areas of tension, and become aware of where the animal has concerns about our touch. The significance of this is that there are consistent relationships between tension patterns and behaviour, and relieving the tension can change the behaviour.

Groundwork in the "Confidence Course": Leading techniques -- and there are many to choose from! -- are explored to find ways to help the dog or horse to walk in balance so they can fully experience the exercises. We observe them as they move in and around the elements of the confidence course, and with TTouches and other TTouch tools, help them to negotiate it easily and confidently. Their increased awareness of themselves, and the postural changes that come about, allow them a new experience of themselves and their environment that carries over into everyday life.

TTouch is useful in working with a number of situations, including:

Behaviour: There are many strategies of working around our animals' behavioural problems so they no longer interfere with our lives. However, though life may then be fine for us, these issues and the reasons they arise can have serious consequences for the animal. (see "Stress" below.)

With dogs, "bad" behaviours include barking, shyness, leash-pulling, hyperactivity, nipping, aggression, jumping-up, not listening, to name a few.

With cats: clawing, biting, litter box issues, feral qualities, night crying, aggression, etc.

With horses: bucking, rearing, aggression, fear, issues with trailering, tack, vet or farrier, etc.

TTouch recognizes that emotional, physical and mental states are interwoven, and that bringing one into balance does the same for the others. This is achieved through a combination of the bodywork and groundwork. Slow, gentle, powerful and profound, TTouch helps our animals gain confidence, develop a clear sense of themselves within their bodies, and learn how to focus.

Stress: Some behaviours caused by stress are familiar, including hyperactivity, withdrawal, inappropriate urination, separation anxiety, compulsive chewing, and so on. Less often, we realize that stress causes increased heart and respiration rates, compromises the immune system and interferes with normal digestive, respiratory, cardiac etc. function. Stress-related tensions can cause joint inflammation (arthritis) and pain, to the extent that the animal may be reluctant to be handled.

Insecurity: Insecurity may be reflected in separation anxiety, fear of thunder, timidity, "dependent, one-man-animal" behaviour, aggression, etc. We may not really be aware of the degree of insecurity if we provide predictably comfortable and safe routines and environment, and if we avoid "problem" situations. If the animal is not showing insecure behaviour, it doesn't necessarily mean he's not suffering from chronic stress and its associated physiological aspects.

Health: Tellington TTouch does not take the place of veterinary care, although there are many ways in which it can be used to promote recovery from injury, surgery and disease. Its profound ability to reduce stress and pain is a large part of this, and one sphere where this proves invaluable is in the rehabilitation of wild animals, which need to be handled and be calm, yet not be tamed.

Several veterinary surgical nurses use the ear work to help settle animals during examinations, and speed their recovery from anesthetic. TTouch is used in several veterinary practices during the physiotherapy following injury or surgery, to restore awareness and function to damaged areas. In animals whose mobility has been compromised, TTouch helps restore ease of movement without putting undue stress on other parts of the body.

In the San Diego and Zurich Zoos TTouch has been used to help animals cope with medical care. Tellington TTouch Training has a Veterinary Advisory Board of nine international veterinarians, whose support and input has been invaluable through the development of the work.

Training: Training and socialization are a big part of many solutions. Tellington TTouch can play a role in making both easier -- by reducing stress; teaching the animal to move beyond what is instinctive and to learn how to learn; and by helping to improve self-confidence, self-control and focus. A consequence of this is that they become better students -- for home schooling and the classroom!

TTouch Workshops and Workshop Information

To learn about workshops for companion animals, visit the TTouch for Companion Animals Workshops page. To learn about upcoming workshops for horses, visit the TTouch for Horses Workshops page.

TTouch Contact Information

More information about The Tellington TTouch Method – TTEAM and TTouch – and a list of practitioners can be found at www.TTouch.com and www.TTEAM-TTouch.ca.

A list of worldwide offices can be found at www.TTouch.com/contact.shtml.

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