T Touch for Training and Relaxation

Recently, PAW volunteer Dolly Goldfarb helped save the life of a stray dog wandering on a major roadway. One of the ways she calmed the terrified animal was by using a form of touch therapy.

The Tellington Touch, also called T Touch, is a type of bodywork developed by Linda Tellington-Jones approximately two decades ago when she was trying to find a new way to address a horse's behavioral problems. Tellington-Jones had begun applying small circles of massage-like movements to the horse and noticed a remarkable calming effect.

Today, the technique, which involves massaging, stroking and skin lifting. TTouch is used to relax and calm animals, ease their pain, speed healing and improve behavior, from pulling on the leash to fear biting. One theory is that therapies such as TTouch alter the nervous system, which sends messages to the muscles. TTouch might enable the brain to engage rarely used or damaged portions of the body, which can lead to an improved mental state, as well as relieve some fear and lessen reactive behavior.

The touch technique can help reset an animal's brain and nervous system, enabling changes in movement and behavior. Bad behavors can be a result of an animal's pain and anxiety. When the animal was enabled to move in a new way, it was able to respond to environmental cues in a new way.

For example, Tellington-Jones has demonstrated that a dog agitated by the presence of other dogs can be calmed down in a relatively quick and very humane manner by a combination of special touches and a double leash halter and flat collar.

In another example, a cat fearful about going into a carrier is given light TTouches around his body. The practitioner pays special attention to the ears, which are considered a key target point for bodywork. Ear massage helps calm a nervous pet as well as aids respiratory and digestive problems. The practitioner will apply little circles on the animal's mouth and the front of his gums, which connect to the limbic system. Soon, the cat was relaxed and willing to enter the carrier.

By the way, rubbing the ears can also help reduce the chance of car sickness in animals and people.

TTouch is sometimes employed by vets before they begin to examine an animal.

Using TTouch helps forge a bond and communicate with the animal. The touches can also positively affect the body, helping diminish health problems; that is why it has been called "the healing touch."

The technique is not a cure in itself. The owner or handler of the animal must also address his or her own attitude towards the animals -- and how he or she communicates with the animal.

TTouch has been used successfully with animals who display behaviors such as fear of strangers or other animals, resistance to touch, excessive chewing and excessive barking.

For more information about TTouch, visit www.lindatellington-jones.com

For more Dog Tips and other information about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768