Tellington TTouch Training

TTouch (tee’tuch) n. (from Tellington TTouch)

1. A gentle hands on technique for animals and people proven effective for health and well-being. - var. TTouches

2. Using your hand or fingers to lightly push the skin in a clockwise circle and a quarter to connect on a cellular level and with the nervous system, also includes lifting or sliding movements - uses of 1. to release fear and tension, promote healing, and alter behavioral patterns such as aggression or shyness. 2. enhance people's relationship with their animals. 3. optimize performance

3. The use of specific teaching tools and movement exercises to bring awareness, and increase confidence, focus and balance

What is Tellington TTouch Training?

One type of body wrap

One type of body wrap

TTouch includes the use of a specialized form of bodywork that looks a bit like massage but is much different in its effect. These very light movements on the skin work on a cellular level and with the nervous system to make long lasting or often permanent changes effecting health and behavior. The intent of the TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence - a little like "turning on the electric lights of the body."

Learning in the labyrinth

Learning in the labyrinth

TTouch also includes the use of various types of easy to use equipment, like the body wrap, and specific ways of using things like leashes, harnesses, leads, and halters to improve communication and balance. Body wraps are used for dogs, cats, horses, humans, and sometimes smaller animals like rabbits to increase body awareness, confidence and self control, and improve movement.

TTouch movement exercises help the person and/or the animal to carry over what they experience with TTouch bodywork into their everyday lives. Movement exercises are most frequently done with horses and dogs and often involve leading the animal though various obstacles in a slow and balanced way to educate the nervous system and improve balance, and coordination as well as increase trust and communication between the handler and animal.

TTouch is also a philosophy of working with animals and people as individuals, with compassion and understanding. As you begin to do TTouch, you will understand why so many people all over the world make TTouch part of their work for themselves and their animals.

Why TTouch?

  • Problem Solving – Many behavioral problems are caused by tension patterns in your animal’s body. Tension or pain in the body can increase undesirable behavior including reactivity. TTouch bodywork addresses the cause of problems rather than just “band aid” the symptoms. TTouch movement exercises, sometimes referred to as ground work, involves specific movement exercises that increase focus and self-control in dogs and horses. These exercises are an important part of solving problems. TTouch frequently results in permanent changes while building trust and a positive relationship.
  • Increased Results from Training – TTouch helps dogs and horses “learn how to learn”. TTouch bodywork and movement exercises reduce stress, increase confidence, improve performance and give you more value for your training time and money. TTouch makes training more fun.
  • Health Support – TTouch offers help for health related issues. TTouch reduces pain, accelerates recovery and provides comfort, knowing you have something safe and effective you can do instead of feeling helpless in these situations.
  • Because You Care – You don’t need a problem in order to share TTouch. This is something you can use with your animals or with people any time. It provides a wonderful way to connect on a deeper level and enjoy the mutual benefits of TTouch. You might find you both feel calmer and more comfortable - a great stress reducer!

Tellington TTouch Overall Goals – A Process for “Just Do The Work”

Whenever you are working with an animal, consider the following points.  Remember that we aren’t working to stop what we don’t want, we are helping the animal to be the best he can be and when we do that, all sorts of problems can be resolved.  Considering these points will be helpful in determining what Tellington TTouch® techniques to choose.  I am describing dogs in this example but the same points can be adapted for any animal.

  • Help the dog to be as comfortable in his body as possible – Can you remember a time when you had a stiff neck or your back was sore?  It probably made you less patient and more reactive to people around you.  Perhaps it was difficult to think or to do things, even things you otherwise enjoyed doing.  Like us, many dogs have tension patterns that influence their health, behavior and performance.  Pain, fear, or the even the anticipation of pain can be powerful influences in our dogs’ lives.   Our goal is not about relaxing, though that can be helpful.  It’s really about releasing tension.  TTouch can alleviate pain and tension which helps our dogs think and act rather than react instinctively.
  • Help the dog to be in the best physical, mental and emotional balance – Overall balance is a very important consideration for humans and animals.  Physical, mental and emotional balance are all connected and influence each other.  If a dog is pulling on the leash, he is out of balance physically and as a result we may find that he is also is more likely to be reactive and over-emotional.  Being able to address behavior from all of these perspectives is one of the reasons we can often help dogs that may not have been helped with other approaches.  There are many TTouch techniques to improve balance.
  • Help the dog to have self-control – Having self-control helps our dogs to be safer, calmer, and easier to work with.  As children we all had to learn to sit still and be quiet- even when we didn’t want to.   Our dogs have to learn the same things in order to live successfully in our culture and in our lives.  This is not the same as training; many dogs are very skilled at following obedience commands but don’t know what to do with themselves if they are not on a command.  Too many dogs spend too much time on a command or locked away from people because they are difficult to manage.  Many TTouch techniques, especially the ground work, helps dogs to develop the self-control to live a happy life with humans.
  • Communicate clearly – Sometimes we think we are communicating clearly when we are not.  Communicating can be difficult even when we speak the same language.  Clear communication comes from having a clear picture of what we want from the dog (not what we don’t want) and using tools and techniques that communicate that intent clearly.  It’s amazing how smart our dogs get when we are more clear!  It is also about understanding the communication you are receiving from your dog.  How do you know when the dog is not okay?  What is it specifically about her behavior that makes you think she is excited, happy, nervous, etc.?  Keep your mind open rather than being attached to your opinion.
  • Build a relationship of trust – All of the above points exist under the umbrella of developing a trusting relationship.  It is the most important part of the TTouch philosophy.  You can’t MAKE a dog trust you; it has to come as a result of what you DO.  We are working with the dog, not doing things to him.  Break things down, and think about what is reasonable.  Work to understand his point of view and consider the actions that you take as a consequence. TTouch creates a relationship of trust and respect that not only helps you to work with the dog in a way that is safer and easier, it also opens up the possibility of creating results and developing a relationship beyond what you might have thought possible.

You may also download this article, Tellington TTouch Overall Goals. (Note! This article is in PDF format. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. Get Acrobat Reader here.)

A Short History of TTouch

Debby and Lauren with TTouch founder, Linda Tellington Jones

Debby and Lauren with TTouch founder,
Linda Tellington Jones

Linda Tellington Jones, an internationally recognized animal expert, developed TTouch more nearly 40 years ago. Linda was a well-respected horsewoman who co-owned an international residential riding school. She felt there was something more she wanted to offer the world than her work with horses and moved on to learn the Feldenkrais Method for humans, realizing that if this technique worked for humans, it must work for animals too. She developed her own approach while exploring these applications, and then added the circular TTouch movements with amazing results. This early work has been expanded to include some two dozen different TTouches, various leading and movement exercises and a philosophy that helps to establish a deeper connection between humans and animals through increased understanding and more effective communication.

Linda began training others to do this work as well, resulting in our TTouch Practitioner Training Program. Linda’s passion is for spreading her message of understanding and compassion for animals and their people through her books, videos and certified TTouch teachers in more than 25 countries.

As you learn more about TTouch, you will understand why we are Changing the World, One TTouch at a Time.