TTouch for Cats: Calming Your Pet and Eliminating Negative Behavior

TTouch for catsNot all cats are going to be patient and sit still long enough for their owners or other people who come into contact with them to perform Tellington Touch (TTouch) on them. According to the research, though, this method of massage is worth a try for felines. More research has been conducted on horses and dogs regarding TTouch, however, it has been said that this method is “universal for all species”.

More About TTouch

TTouch-CatThe TTouch technique was created and perfected by Linda Tellington-Jones. It requires performing various, yet specific, methods of circular “touches”, or massage techniques, to the animal. TTouch has been proven to help with dogs, horses, and even humans to improve the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the person or pet receiving it, as well as increase communication between the human who is massaging the pet.

Shelter Animals – Creating More Adoptable Cats

According to this study, cats in shelters can benefit from TTouch in many ways. One of the most important benefits of TTouch is the increase in communication between humans and cats. The study reinforced why Linda Tellington-Jones promoted her method; it concluded that TTouch helped to build and deepen the bond between the shelter worker and the cat that they were massaging. More importantly, though, this massage method worked with the nervous system to help to release any fear or tension that the cats may have been experiencing in the shelter. This alone could be the key to making shelter cats more adoptable.

TTouch for Arthritis, Self-Confidence, and Altering Behavior

This case study used TTouch on several different cats with varying issues; however it uses TTouch by a different name. TTEAM (The Tellington Touch Every Animal Method) is the acronym that was developed because Linda Tellington-Touch originally called her technique the Tellington Jones Equine Awareness Method, and it was eventually found to work for all other animals. In the TTEAM for Cats – Communication Through Touch publication, Barbara Janelle outlined in detail how this method worked on cats in these case studies.

Wimsey, a cat with arthritis, was treated with the TTEAM technique and went from being unable to jump to climbing stairs and jumping on counters to running around the living room and becoming more active. After a few sessions, Wimsey was back to jumping on counters again. This elderly cat remained active throughout her life as she continued to receive TTEAM until she passed away.

Fudge, a rescued male wild cat, was reluctant of letting people touch him and would hide if anyone other than his rescuer and her son would try to pat him. He seemed to enjoy TTEAM, lying quietly and calmly while it was performed by his owner. The day after the TTEAM was performed; the owner took Fudge to a show-and-tell at her son’s third grade class, and was shocked to see him socializing with the children.

Magic Bailey did not have a lot of human contact as a kitten and was rescued at about 2 months old, as a very aggressive cat toward other cats, as well as humans. He would attack people’s ankles and chase the other household cat around. Additionally, his body was rigid and he was unable to jump on furniture, which added more fuel to his frustration and aggressive behavior. It took several sessions of TTEAM before Magic Bailey was jumping on a four foot tall bureau, the sink, the bed and the kitchen table.

Magic Bailey’s behavior started to change toward humans as his rescuer continued TTEAM work on him. His body started to become less rigid. He even sat quietly, right next to the other cat he had been chasing immediately after a joint TTEAM session where the rescuer and a friend performed TTEAM on both cats in the same room, close to each other.

Case after case, each study shows phenomenal changes in cats who are treated with TTouch or TTEAM. Cat owners who have been searching for a holistic treatment for their cats to improve their cat’s behavior, health, overall well-being and their relationship with their cat should check into TTEAM, the TTouch method for cats. The techniques for cats, including Clouded Leopard Circles, Raccoon Circles, and Tarantulas Pulling the Plow” are outlined here.

The Tellington Touch

Tellington Touch
Application of a TTouch technique on a dog’s head

Many of you have heard of the Tellington Touch (or the TTouch) being touted for assisting in training dogs, calming dogs, positively altering their unwanted behaviors, and ultimately improving their emotional and physical health. In Toni Shelbourne’s book, The Truth About Wolves and Dogs, Shelbourne says that she comes across many pet owners who have been advised to use punishment, harsh or inappropriate equipment, or other unsuitable methods to train their dogs or to eradicate unwanted behaviors.

While these methods may work immediately to stop the unwanted behavior, Shelbourne notes that the negative behavior will recur again at a later date. She advises that training that is proper and loving (such as TTouch) may take longer, but will be more effective and longer-lasting. While not many clinical trials have been conducted on this method to determine its effectiveness and ability to alter unwanted behaviors, this method has become quite popular in the U.K. and, more recently, in the U.S. for dogs.

What Is Tellington Touch (TTouch)?

TTouch for dogs includes specific types of touches and wraps that owners can apply to their dogs. This method was originated by Linda Tellington-Jones, who combined her wide-ranging knowledge of animals with the Feldenkrais Method (a somatic education system for humans). To watch a video of TTouch practitioners in action click here.

TTouch is broken down into two different categories: body work and ground work. The body work includes specific touches applied by the owner to the dog and body wraps. The body wraps aim to increase the dog’s consciousness and understanding of its body, as well as increase confidence in behavior and movement, while the touches are used to determine tension spots on the dog’s body, as well as relax the dog.

Tellington Touch wrap on a sheltie
Here is a sheltie with a caudal TTouch wrap

The ground work aspect of the TTouch method involves physical exercises, focusing on physically balancing the dog to increase self-control. Often, obstacle courses, which are also referred to as “confidence courses”, are created to specifically focus on building a dog’s confidence and coordination. Balance and focus are challenged with various obstacles that essentially require the dog to perform movements that are non-habitual; therefore they are encouraged to try different types of movements.

Dog Training – Puppies and Guide Dogs

TTouch has been incorporated into many puppy training and even guide dog training classes. In Integrating the Tellington TTouch Method into Guide Dog Training, the authors conclude that when this method is combined with traditional training for guide dogs, it not only helps the dogs learn their training better, it also assists in reducing stress that the dog might exhibit. Additionally, this method can also help owners to identify any potential problems and even prevent potential issues from occurring, consequently providing the owner and trainer a better understanding of the temperament and abilities of the particular dog.

Other Benefits of TTouch

In addition to the benefits already discussed, TTouch also provides a dog owner a delicate and loving way to build trust with their pet. Dogs enjoy being scratched and patted and touched, so what better way to increase trust but with loving, kind touch? This kind of touch creates a relationship that is harmonious between pet owner and dog, as opposed to scolding or punishing a dog. Beyond improving behavior, building confidence, reducing stress and establishing a bond, TTouch can also help to reduce pain and ultimately create emotional and physical balance for the dog.

TTouch for Sports and Agility Dogs

Dr. Farber talked about using TTouch for sports and agility dogs in her Sports Medicine for Dogs – Part 1: Prevention of Injury column. She says that her favorite way to start each session is to apply TTouch to the dog’s entire body, and that it gives competition dogs an advantage because it improves focus. She also notes that hyperactive dogs may be calmed with TTouch methods, but no matter what type of personality a dog has, the owner should be aware of how their touch is affecting the dog. Does he seem to be enjoying the massage? Is he moving away from the touch? Dr. Farber says that the key to successful outcomes with TTouch is to learn your dog by reading body language cues.

Some practitioners call the TTouch method “magical” because of the impact that it has on both the emotional and physical well-being of dogs. There are so many positive publications about Tellington Touch for dogs, and research has yet to turn up any negative conclusions about this method. Therefore, for dog owners who are interested in gaining a better understanding of their canine companion or increase their influence on the pet, TTouch may be worth a try.