Tellington Touch Workshop
held April 9, 2006
- by Susan Simmons, DVM and Paul Chatterton -
The Tellington TTouch is a specialized approach to the care and training of our animal companions. Developed by internationally recognized animal expert, Linda Tellington-Jones, this method based on co-operation and respect, offers a positive approach to training, can improve performance and health and presents solutions to common behavioural and physical problems. It also helps establish a deeper rapport between humans and animals through increased understanding and more effective communication.
Using a combination of special touches, lifts, and movement exercises, Tellington TTouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness. The animal can then more easily learn new and more appropriate behaviours. By using the TTouch, balancing line, body wraps and the Confidence Course, you can assist your companion in developing more physical balance and focus. When your companion is in physical balance, it will be easier to achieve mental and emotional balance as well, even in previously frightening situations. This gives your companion an opportunity to think and make more appropriate choices in a situation, where she used to simply react.
As mastery of new skills develops, confidence increases. This can be effective in enhancing the performance of either fearful or aggressive dogs. It helps them to slow down, focus, breathe and manoeuvre through a course rather than plough through, or become distracted by their surroundings or other dogs. By reducing arousal and fear, animals are able to learn more effectively. By guiding them through a course, they start to look to you for direction and trust that you will lead them. By slowing down, helping them to breathe, enhancing their awareness of their body, they can more easily learn new responses, rather than relying on their fight or flight instincts. These skills can enhance their performance in whatever sport they engage in.
The TTouch can assist in recovery from illness or injury, or simply enhance the quality of your animal’s life. It will bring comfort to older animals and help develop self control in younger animals. The TTouch has been helpful in reducing excessive barking, leash pulling, jumping up, shyness, excitability, resistance to grooming, car sickness, poor balance, reactivity and lack of focus.
This training method reflects the belief that animals are intelligent and emotional creatures; that they can learn without threats, anxiety or pain. When we respect their limits and comfort level, they are more willing and able to respond to what we ask. The TTouches are a critical link in supporting the animal’s response. They ground the animal, enhance awareness of their bodies, allow them to move in new and more fluid ways and teach self control.
The Tellington TTouch training method is also unique in its emphasis on enhancing the process of learning as well as the outcome. Sometimes there is no direct correlation between a specific problem and a specific solution. It may become a journey of discovery that will help a particular animal to breathe better, slow down, become less anxious, balance better or focus better. In supporting this process, the animal then has an opportunity to learn more easily what you are trying to teach.
The groundwork exercises incorporate various pole configurations like the Labyrinth or Star, as well as a variety of ways to lead your animal. They increase co-ordination, self-confidence and self-control. They encourage the animal to explore non-habitual ways of moving. They improve focus, balance and posture. They can be challenging and fun for you and your companion. You will become a keener observer and learn to pay attention to more detail. You will also learn to “chunk it down”, to set your companion up for success and to appreciate that every animal needs time to progress at their own pace. Your companion will develop greater respect for your guidance. Your joy in their success will magnify the rapport you already have.
Please note : This gentle method has been taught at the University Of Vienna School of Veterinary Medicine in Austria and the University of Hanover in Germany, and is currently being used by animal owners, trainers, veterinarians, zoo personnel and shelter workers in several countries around the world. The Leonberger Club of Ontario was very privileged to have Dr. Susan Simmons and Paul Chatterton as our instructors for this workshop.
Page Last Updated
March 14, 2008
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