Friday, May 18, 2012

TTouch: Calming elastics

Still eager for any tactics that will get me off the hook for implementing management techniques to ease Fozzie and Lamar's tensions, I have been experimenting with Pam's suggestion to use a calming elastic on both my dogs to see if they can relax more around each other. 

Vets and groomers will tell you that a muzzle is useful not just for its intended purpose of keeping a dog from biting, but also because it seems to calm them down. 

What I've learned from TTouch is that the area in contact with the muzzle--especially the base of the nose right under the eyes--is an area that releases endorphins when stimulated.

So along with lots of TTouch around the nose and mouth, a great complementary tool is the calming band or face elastic. According to Unlock your Dog's Potential by Sarah Fisher, the purpose of the calming band is to enable the dog to become aware of himself, and to release tension through the muzzle. As a result the calming band or face elastic can quickly settle and quieten a hyperactive or excessively barking dog. They also help increase confidence and can encourage a dog to accept and enjoy contact around the face and mouth.
To use a face elastic, just take a piece of sewing elastic and place the middle of it over the dogs nose. Cross it under his jaw, then tie it around his neck, just behind his ears. Tie it just tight enough that it creates a bit of pressure.

I have been using a calming elastic on both my dogs at night, as we explore different ways to manage our tense bedtime relations. With his calming elastic on, Lamar does seem to be calmer and more receptive as I do TTouch circles all around his face. A little less tense if Fozzie comes close, and more tolerant even of our new little foster pup. 

The boys are both still big barkers, and Fozzie is mouthy as ever. I am curious to find out how much headway we can make by working and elasti-fying those mouths and noses!


  1. This is the first time I've ever seen this. Amazing. Somewhat related to the calming cap and the thunder shirt?

    I didn't know about the area under the eyes releasing endorphins but Georgia does enjoy being gently massaged there, around her eye sockets and along her muzzle. Now I know why. Live and learn :)

  2. We have been using a Gentle Leader on Fred for a while to calm him when the grandkids are around. It works great and we are now at the point where we can take it off after about 5 minutes. I guess it's the same idea as the elastic. Have a great weekend!

  3. Nose elastics to help with barking? That's really cool, and I hope that it works! People are always looking for a barking "fix", and that would be a great thing to recommend to get them into "better" training and handling methods (TTouch as opposed to, say, bark collars)

  4. Hi Kirsten, it looks like you're onto something. Another option is the Thundershirt that helps with anxiety, stress and fear. Here's a link

  5. I've heard of this but never seen it in practice. So glad you've found another technique to help you keep Lamar calm!

  6. T-Touch is pretty amazing, but I have never seen some of this being implemented. Very interesting!

  7. Very interesting... I've never heard of a calming elastic before but I do know my dog seems to enjoy when I gently rub the area under her eyes. I could see how this would work. We never had much luck with a thundershirt but perhaps something like this is worth a go to help with her separation anxiety. I am so glad you have had so much success with Lamar!

  8. hmmmm, interesting.We have a feeling it will have the opposite effect with us
    Benny & Lily

  9. Talk about something I have never seen before. Interesting!
    Also, way unrelated a long time ago on a post of mine you asked if we have lots of pit mixes in AZ. And the answer is YES YES YES. All the shelters are full of them. However, they also label an unknown dog "pit mix" even when they clearly aren't so some of that is skewed. The alarming amount of unwanted pit bulls here is part of what made me realize I couldn't imagine having any other type of dog. You know that and the fact that I think they're the most amazing dogs ever. ;)

  10. I'm very interested to see you trying this. TTouch is somewhat mysterious to me but it's hard to argue with the success some have found with it. I hope you see some relaxing of tension in both dogs.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.