When it comes to pet-training, there is no shortage of creative methods people use to improve the obedience and responsiveness of their pets. However, one unique method is called the Tellington TTouch training system. This mainly uses movement and randomized touch patterns to help animals connect with their pet owners, gain increased awareness, relaxation and social skills. The TTouch (pronounced Tee-Touch) technique was originally developed in the 1970’s by a Canadian horse-trainer named Linda Tellington-Jones. She studied with an Israeli physicist named Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais who used gradual and gentle body motions and massage to diminish pain, soothe nerves and increase movement.

After applying this method to her horse training, Tellington-Jones used circular movements with her fingertips and hand over the body to help horses relax mentally, and connect physically.  This approach, which she called the “TTouch” method is designed “stimulate the function and vitality of the cells in an animal’s body, and to activate neural pathways to the brain.”

How Does TTouch Work?

Based on a “mindfulness” approach, this way of soothing animals and connecting with them is begun slowly and based on the animal’s response.  By reading the dog’s body language through the finger tips, and sensing tensions, temperature, etc., the trainer works to break down stresses, and lower the dog’s heart rate, blood pressure and improve circulation. Some of the primary techniques include applying soft pressure and rubbing, stroking, or petting the dog in a circular motion, moving his limbs, straightening/carefully pulling the tail, or walking fingers down the spine, etc. These moves allow an animal to calm any anxiety, stress, or fear he might have about training and working with the human. Beyond that of simply using touch, the therapy also incorporates leading exercises, confidence course work, and body compression wraps.

What Is The Therapy Used For?

Some dog trainers use TTouch therapy to help pets center, calm down, and prepare or recover from a demanding or high-stress situation.  This might best occur before a visit to the vet, or after an eventful evening at the dog park, before a house party, or a new skill-training class. Aside from calming anxiety, increasing awareness for improved training, the TTouch method helps animals who struggle with the below behavioral issues:

  • Jumping up
  • Leashing yanking
  • Excessive barking
  • Aggressive Behaviors
  • Destructive Behaviors (such as chewing, foraging, scratching, and digging, etc.)
  • Shyness / Fear of other animals and people
  • Motion sicknessSocial anxieties, etc.

TTouch therapies are used not only by dog trainers, but also veterinarians, groomers, zoo staff, trained animal handlers, and breeders around the country.

For pet owners who have animals with problem behaviors, we would advise you to search for Tellington TTouch Method practitioners in your area.