Today’s post is on TTouch, a type of very light bodywork that helps animals with all kinds of problems, both physical and psychological.
I took a weekend workshop in TTouch for dogs at Bancroft School of Massage a few years ago (with Leea, who is our featured practitioner today), and I was really amazed at the effect it had on all the animals in the class.
I had just gotten my dog Sadie the week before, and we had had a bit of a rough first week with housetraining (even though she was 6 years old) and getting to know each other, but we really bonded during this class. I will never forget how, at the end of the second day, as Leea was wrapping things up and we were all sitting on the floor, Sadie came over to me, stared at me for a while, then made a little content grunt, climbed up into my lap, curled up and went to sleep. I had been accepted as her new pack member!
While I was still working as an animal massage therapist, I used these techniques many times on fearful dogs that did not want me to do a “proper” massage, and it calmed them down immediately. I heard more than once from owners things like “oh wow, he/she usually never lets a stranger get that close.” TTouch definitely works.
What Is TTouch?
by Leea Foran
Tellington TTouch consists of light, non-invasive bodywork – circular, sliding and lifting strokes – guided movement exercises, and unique tools including the bodywrap and the Confidence Course. TTouch is a positive approach to training that affects the body’s nervous system, resulting in increased awareness and range of motion, tension and pain reduction, and a repatterning of habitual ways of holding the body – all of which can have a profound effect on behavior and wellness.
TTouch exercises improve an animal’s confidence, balance and focus, relieve stress and fear, and allow an animal to think before reacting, thus breaking the cycle of repetitive behavior patterns. TTouch is an effective way for pet owners and professionals to quickly build trust and deepen their relationship with their companions while solving challenging or frustrating problems.
Developed more than 30 years ago by internationally renowned equestrian trainer, Linda Tellington-Jones, Ph.D. (Hon), TTouch has been actively utilized in all areas of animal training, shelter and zoo enrichment programs, sports activities and health care. The TTouch method builds cooperation and respect between the animal and handler and the results have been shown effective for:
- Puppies and kittens who are very mouthy, lack focus or don’t like to
be handled or groomed
- Adolescent dogs who are over stimulated, rambunctious and hard
to control on leash
- Aggression issues in dogs, cats and birds
- Separation anxiety, noise sensitivity, shyness and other fears
- Motion sickness
- Excessive barking
- Service, show or athletic animals who underperform due to
nervousness or lack of confidence
- Animals who are recovering from injury or illness
- Issues related to aging… and much more.
Workshops and private consultations led by Certified Practitioners are available world-wide for anyone wishing to learn the basic TTouch methodology. Certification training programs are offered annually to become a Certified Tellington TTouch Practitioner. There are branches of the Tellington TTouch work for horses, companion animals and humans.
Meet Leea Foran
Today’s featured practitioner is Leea Foran, Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Certified Tellington TTouch Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator with the American Kennel Club, and an American Red Cross Pet First Aid Instructor.
Leea is the founder and owner of Foranimals in Lenox, MA, where she practices Reiki and TTouch and holds group and private classes in behavior, obedience, agility, pet first aid and TTouch. She also offers TTouch classes in other locations; upcoming events include May 2 at Bancroft in Worcester, MA and June 6 at the Monadnock Humane Society in West Swanzey, NH (for more, see the Classes & Workshops listings and Leea’s website).
I asked Leea what it was that drew her to her chosen career, and she said:
“I always intended to work with animals. As a child I found and mended stray animals routinely and I went to the Bronx Zoo every week and dreamed about becoming a zoo veterinarian. I got my BS in Zoology/Animal Behavior and was planning to attend vet school when life took me in an altogether different direction and I spent the next 20 years as a resident staff-founding member of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
Although there were no pets at Kripalu, I was never without a cat, dog, bird or some wild creature. My years at Kripalu taught me patience, compassion, a holistic view of life, and skillfulness in working with people, very necessary components for supporting animal guardians in their process with their dogs and cats.
After leaving Kripalu I headed straight back to my childhood passion and finding the Tellington TTouch Method was my first step. From this platform my training, consulting and assisting people and their companion animals has grown. And although I never became a veterinarian as I originally envisioned, I am quite content with the work I have created.”
Read my review of Getting In TTouch With Your Dog.