Scan The Body
Getting a general feel for where your pet is holding his tension and stress.
We know from science that we hold emotional issues in the cellular receptors of our body. Animals do the same! Try an experiment with your pet and see if you can tell where he/she is holding his tension and issues.
Do some long steady strokes over every part of your pet's body. Start at the top of the head and run your hand down to the tip of the tail, the bottom of the feet. Is there any area where you can't touch? Or that your pet gives an indication that he might be concerned or uncomfortable?
The signs you might get include:
- Moving away
- Sitting: especially when you get to the tail and hindquarter area
- Turning around to look at what you're doing
- A calming signal [see Turid Rugaas' book] such as yawning, licking of lips, scratching, chewing sniffing, etc.
- Fooling around! He's trying to distract you!
- Growl or try to bite! Please be careful and pay attention to the information your pet is giving you.
And what does this tell you? It could be several things:
- Your animal could have pain in that part of his body. I.e. if he has arthritis or HD
- He might have a memory of pain. Ever clipped a toenail too short and tried to go back again later? Or have a pet that was injured in the past but is still wary of that part of his body?
- Your pet could be holding emotional issues in this part of the body.
Make sure you work from the mouth [including inside], to the ears, down the legs into the feet and toes and go all the way back to the butt and the length of the tail. If you know how to do the circles then try that as well! If you're getting reaction in a certain area, try a softer pressure or a flatter touch.
See the Basic Circular Touch below. Sometimes the reaction will be very subtle and sometimes quite dramatic. Just know that this is the area where your pet feels unsafe and what we want to do is give him a NEW experience of this part of his body. You might gently try going into these areas more frequently until he is more comfortable with touch. Good luck and let us know how you do!
Doing the Tellington TTouch
Although the descriptions often refer to dogs, all touches can be used on any animal, including horses.
The TTouch pressures range on a scale from one to nine. To learn the scale, begin with the "one pressure" as a guideline. To establish this criterion, place your thumb against your cheek. With the tip of your middle finger push the skin on your eyelid in a circle and a quarter with the lightest possible contact. Make sure you move the skin, not just sliding over it. Take your finger away and repeat this movement on your forearm, to get a sense of the pressure. Observe how little of an indentation you make in the skin. This is what we call a "one pressure" TTOUCH.
To discover a "three pressure," make several circles on your eyelid as firm as feels safe and comfortable. Repeat the circles on your forearm, noting the depth and pressure of the indentation. It should still be very light. This is a "three pressure."
To discover a "six pressure" press twice as deep. We rarely use more than a "six pressure" on dogs and cats. On horses (and humans), we occasionally go as high as nine. Instead of pressing three times deeper than the "three pressure," we tip the first joints of the fingers so that the fingernails are pointing directly into the muscle and apply three times the pressure. (See the Bear and Tiger TTouch cards.) This TTouch is more comfortable for the person doing the touch, and the animal or human gets a much deeper connection than simply applying pressure.
Experiment with the pressure until you click into the one that is "right" for the animal you are working on. Small creatures call only for the lightest pressures. Larger or heavily muscled animals may be more responsive to the deeper pressures, but not always. If there is pain or inflammation in the body, you may have to begin the touch with a two or three pressure, and then establish the right level to work at.
As you become familiar with the various TTouches, you will intuitively know which to use. If your animal friend is not comfortable with one TTouch, choose another. With practice, you will find both you and your animal will benefit from this experience.
There are many different touches, but numerous ones are based on a clockwise circular motion. The Clouded Leopard is the first one we teach because the techniques and principles used are basic to all TTouches.
The Clouded Leopard Touch
- The hand is held in a slightly curved position. The fingers are together.
- Rest your hand gently on the body.
- Place the other hand on the animal for support and balance and use the first hand to make the circle.
- The tips of the fingers should be at about a 45% angle to what you’re touching. This is about halfway onto the tips of the fingers.
- Now visualize the face of the clock.
- We want to make a circle and a quarter ONLY, in a clockwise movement.
- With your hand resting lightly on the animal, place your thumb a few centimetres from your fingers for support, and start your fingers at the 6 o'clock position, move around the clock by pushing (or pulling) the skin in a clockwise motion until you've done one complete circle and a quarter, which will land you up at 9 o'clock.
- As the dog is usually below you, you’ll start by pulling the skin up towards your wrist.
- Remember to move the skin and not slide over it and always start your 6 o'clock from the ground upwards. It really feels different to end in upward motion rather than down! The idea is to move the skin in the direction is moves easiest, which is usually against gravity!
- Do ONLY ONE circle in a spot, and then move on to another.
- Keep your fingers and knuckles soft and flexible. If there is tension in your hand or wrist, that tension will go directly into the animal.
- Keep your pressure very light until you know how comfortable the animal is with the touch. Remember that you’re activating the nervous system, so you don’t need to go into muscle.
- Keep your hand as an extension on your arm to avoid getting into an awkward position.
- While you concentrate, don’t forget to Breathe!
- Try doing connected circles down the body, keeping them small. This means circle, pause, slide down to the next spot, circle, pause, etc.
- Afterwards do a long steady stroke to integrate the circles.
Try these circles on yourself and friends and see how they feel!!! Attempt to keep the circles even and with the same pressure.
Do this anywhere on the body of your pet. You might do some randomly or work your way down the body. There is no right or wrong way. Just pay attention to the reaction you get. GOOD LUCK!!
Cats really enjoy that spot on the nose just below the eyes! There is actually a pressure point there for feeling good! I like to do a circle and a slide up between the eyes to the forehead. It’s the fastest way to get a cat settled that I know.