Tellington Touch, or “Ttouch” was developed by animal expert Linda Tellington Jones, who received an honorary doctorate for her work with animals. It was originally a method of training meant for horses but was adapted in the 1980’s for other animals – including our dogs. It’s now used in over 23 countries in homes, training facilities, zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers, and gets incredible results for those who know how to use it!
The Tellington Touch method is meant to strengthen the bond between human and pet while improving behavior and encouraging a willingness to learn in your dog. Though there’s more to the practice than just touch, massage is considered an important tool in achieving the desired results: a bond based on love and trust between you and your pet, and a dog who is confident, eager to learn, and loves to make his human happy! Gentle pressure, when applied correctly, can help you find a calmer, happier dog. If you’d like to try it out with your pet, you can get started trying some of the massages below.
Clouded Leopard Touch
Keep the name of this touch in mind as you practice it. It’s meant to relieve stress and improve your dog’s awareness and confidence. Your hand should rest “as light as a cloud” on your dog’s body, with the fingers slightly curved – like a leopard’s paw. With the weight of your hand in the pads of your fingers, make clockwise circles along your dog’s body.
The Ear Touches are great for calming your dog – in fact, it’s effective in humans, too! Use one hand to support your dog’s head, and place the other thumb on top of your dogs ear, with the rest of your hand underneath. With gentle pressure, slide your thumb from the base of the ear to the tip. You should cover the whole ear in one or two slides. You can also use clockwise, circular motions with your thumb all over the ear, making one-and-a-quarter circles before moving your thumb.
The body wrap is another tool used by Ttouch practitioners, but you may know it as the “half-wrap.” This is another method, similar to the Thundershirt, that is known to calm anxious dogs. You can learn more about the body wrap and how to do it yourself by clicking here.
Remember, that some dogs have “no-go” areas where they don’t tolerate touch well. Behaviors like snapping or whining when you touch your dog may also mean that he’s experiencing pain in that area, so you should check for signs of inflammation or wounds.
If you’re interested in learning more about Tellington Touch, or finding a certified practitioner near you, check out the Tellington Touch website.