Just because we’ve made Cooper a permanent resident around here doesn’t mean we’re about to slack off on his training. Our job as Cooper’s People is to help him be the absolute best Cooper he can be. Let’s catch up, shall we?
As you may remember, Cooper has anxiety. He had über separation anxiety when he first joined our household, thankfully that’s subsided substantially – I would even say completely, if I didn’t believe in jinxing myself. Cooper also has anxiety about the vacuum cleaner, the blender, the paper shredder, the lawn mower, the mailman, and the guy who walks past our house on the way to the bus at the exact same time every single day. Those things would be manageable enough, but the main issue of Cooper’s anxiety lays with two Very Scary Things: other dogs and children.
Cooper has been through Basic Obedience, Relaxed Rovers (twice) and even Agility classes. The idea was to give Cooper confidence as well as to give Dad and I tools to help Cooper trust us and learn that when he gets nervous, there’s no need to freak out, the People have everything under control.
Recently we added a new weapon in our arsenal to battle Cooper’s anxiety: Tellington TTouch. Linda Tellington-Jones developed TTouch in the 1970′s while working with horses. Since then, the technique has been found to be helpful on companion animals as well. According to their website, TTouch has been known to help in cases of:
- Excessive Barking and Chewing
- Leash Pulling
- Jumping Up
- aggressive Behavior
- Extreme Fear and Shyness
- Resistance to Grooming
- Excitability and Nervousness
- Car Sickness
- Problems Associated With Aging
There are hundreds of certified TTouch practitioners all over the world, and one of them is right here in Nashville. Miss Penny is an animal lover and Agape Animal Rescue volunteer and foster mom. She’s donated her time to help other Agape foster dogs, like Operation Freedom veteran Angel, overcome their demons. When Miss Penny heard that Cooper was having a hard time learning to relax, she though that TTouch might be the perfect thing to help him figure it out.
Think of TTouch as focused doggy massage. Miss Penny works with Cooper rubbing his muscles in specific spots and targeting pressure points with light repetitive touches and circular motions. An important aspect of TTouch is for Miss Penny to build trust between her and Cooper – she encourages Cooper to engage with her, but she never forces the relationship. If Cooper wants to take a break, he’s allowed to walk away.
Now I’ve only recently heard of TTouch so I’m no expert – I don’t know what’s going on inside Cooper’s little body and mind when he’s working with Miss Penny, but I DO know that Cooper has never looked more relaxed in all the time I’ve known him than when he’s under her healing hands.
Miss Penny has been involved in TTouch since 1982. She says, “Through decades of exploring healing practices, I have never found a single modality as powerful and effective as Tellington TTouch. Simple, gentle touches and movements affect the receiver on mental, physical and emotional levels. TT reduces pain, speeds physical healing, promotes soundness, releases anxiety, changes behavior, leads to self confidence, improves bonding…so many things. With such a long list of benefits, it can sound like snake oil, but like good nutrition, TT affects every aspect of an animal.”
Cooper has now had about half a dozen TTouch sessions with Miss Penny and every time she leaves, he’s diminished to a big pile of Cooper-mush for the rest of the day. Is it helping with his anxiety? It’s hard to say. Time, training, and practice will tell. What I can tell you is this – Cooper has now made it through two entire episodes of Pit Bulls and Parolees without going berserk at barking dogs on TV. That, my friends – is growth.
Have any of you worked with TTouch? Has it helped your pets? Please share your experiences below!