Saturday, May 28, 2011

T-Touch Transformation

Tonight Your Dog's Friend hosted a TTouch seminar given by Linda Tellington-Jones, the founder of this transformative therapy for animals and humans.

I have been interested in TTouch for years and this seminar was a wonderful inspiration.
TTouch right in front of Lamar's ears starts to help him relax

This was not just learning new techniques of movement, training, touch, or behavior modification, this was learning an entire new way of thinking and approaching everything in our lives.

A few new thoughts/consciousnesses/
  • For a dog or person who is really in pain or shock, work on the ears. Place thumb behind ear, fingers in the depressed area just outside the inner ear. Rotate. Gently pull the ears outward and up.  For a dog, begin with the circle at the base of the ear, then stroke outward. 
  • To calm a hyper, on-the-move dog, hold down the tail with a flat hand over the butt.
  • Act as though animals understand everything you're saying, because they do.
  • The book Dogs That Know When their Owners are Coming Home by Rupert Sheldrake.
  • Dogs' minds work in pictures, so the pictures we project to them are important. This is only the most recent of the many times I have heard this.
Real-life applications. Lamar is on the bed, Fozzie is approaching, Lamar is beginning to snarl. We do small circles over Lamar's ears, visualize Lamar smiling and relaxing calmly as Fozzie approaches, and say "Lamar, thank you for protecting the bed. You are really an outstanding dog and are doing such a good job, but you don't need to anymore. We've got it covered." Meanwhile, with the other hand we are asking Fozzie to sit a bit farther away, and doing some circles on his ears as well. 

For so many of us, myself included, the growling lunging reactivity is so stress-inducing and the natural response is to tense up and react ourselves. Dog tenses up and growls, we tense up and imagine our dog tensing up and growling, dog tenses up even more and we yell at him or otherwise "correct" him. 
"Lamar, you are doing such a fantastic job!"
What if, instead, we train ourselves to respond to the growling by sending out a picture of our dog relaxed and happy? 

What if our immediate response to a growl is to smile, breathe, and tell our dog what a great job he's doing as we create relaxing circles on his ears and help manage the source of his stress (by, for example, asking Fozzie to sit farther away from the bed)? What if we imagine our dog calmly handling the situation just perfectly, with complete poise, confidence, and well-being?

It seems this would have the potential to transform not just our relationships with our dogs, but our entire way of moving through life, being with our families, dealing with small stresses as well as  existential terrors. 

Fozzie, bouncing all over the place a minute ago,
now so relaxed he can barely hold himself up
The proof is in the sensation of meeting the people who have fully embodied this way of thinking. I have felt it every time I have seen Pam Wanveer, who practices right here in Silver Spring and radiates calm knowingness, but with laughter and humility. It is impossible to feel stressed, or to avoid smiling, in her presence. And I felt it with Linda tonight. 

May my dogs--and my people--experience this same peaceful well-being and confidence in their own potential for transformation.