Linda Tellington Jones made the connection between the posture and the behaviour of an animal over 30 years ago. Understanding this inextricable link is a fundamental part of the TTouch technique and Practitioners use their observational skills to identify areas of tension in the animal’s body that often trigger a variety of unwanted behaviours. The TTouch body TTouches, ground work and specialised equipment all combine to lower stress, improve movement and release tension from the body thus improving behaviour without the need to ‘train’ each undesirable behaviour out of the animal.
Animals that carry tension in the neck, back and hindquarters are more unfocused and more likely to respond with the instinctive responses of flight and/or fight than an animal that is flexible through the body and moving in true self carriage. Many quadrupeds carry tension through the right hind leg giving rise to issues when handled/groomed in this area and reducing the ability to move in balance.
Physical balance has an effect on emotional and mental balance and many animals that exhibit difficult behaviours find it hard to walk calmly on a lead line or leash. They may rush, spin, be reluctant to walk forward and become increasingly difficult to handle as confinement caused by tension on the lead line or leash escalates the feeling of fear and takes the animal further out of balance.
Tension in the back is common in many animals and can limit an animal’s ability to accept contact and to settle whether at home, in the field or in the stable. Even if the animal has trust in its guardian, the presence of tension in the body may inhibit its ability to extend that trust to strangers whether human or animal. It will also influence how the animal is able to cope with novel or stressful situations and can heighten sensitivity to visual and aural stimuli.
An animal that has tension in the body will respond to the effects that this tension has on the nervous system and this will influence how the animal is able to process information and to learn. Tension triggers more instinctive stress responses such as resource guarding, suspicion, reactive behaviours, nervousness, over excitability, mouthing and biting, sensitivity to contact, fear, increased vocalisation, timidity, reluctance to socialise and so on. This tension will also have a direct effect on performance and many riders and dog handlers/trainers note that the animal becomes happier, more willing, more co-operative and more consistent in his work when TTouch techniques are introduced into the day to day handling, training and care of that animal.
The gentle TTouch approach offers owners and animal carers many tools to be proactive in helping their animal overcome his fears and concerns and can help an animal to learn. In many instances it may look as though a miracle has occurred as this seemingly simple approach can bring about a dramatic change in both mood and behaviour by the potent effect the TTouches, ground work and equipment have on the nervous system.
In our experience there is no such thing as an animal that is unpredictable. There is a pattern to all behaviours and many overlap. With experience it is possible to assess the likely behaviour of an animal based on how the animal moves (or can’t!), the pattern of the coat, muscle development, tension in the body, the appearance and set of the ears and tail, the eye, and the body language (or lack of it).
TTouch offers a kind, respectful and successful approach for all behavioural concerns and has saved the lives of countless animals whose behaviour has been deemed to be out of control.
Feedback from a client with a noise sensitive dogAt the age of 3 years, our dog Jasper began responding to loud noises - thunder, gun shots, etc. He would go to the darkest corner of the house he could find, scratch and dig at the floor with his tail firmly tucked between his legs. For such a normally happy-go-lucky dog, this was miserable to see. It developed further to his exhibiting the same behaviour when the skies darkened (as if a storm was coming) or if the lights flickered. We tried several avenues to overcome this: cajoling, petting, even ignoring him, as well as using products but all to no avail.
Having seen TTouch on 'Talking to Animals' we felt we really were in a 'nothing to lose' situation. Margaret has visited Jasper twice - and even after her first visit we saw improvements. There have been one or two minor hiccups, but overall the change in him when there are gunshots is amazing - he still reacts but not as severely, and each time we use TTouch and within a very short time he yawns, relaxes and lays down to sleep. I have no doubt that as time goes on and we continue to use TTouch on a regular basis Jasper will regain his confidence!
Thank you Margaret!