There are more than two dozen TTouches, each has a slightly different effect on your dog. The intent of TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and enhance cellular communication. TTouch can release pain and fear. By doing so, TTouch builds confidence, instills cooperation via clear communication between you and your dog and develops an ability to learn. It teaches a dog to think rather than simply react. It teaches a dog to make good choices.
There are 9 elements of TTouch. I am going to cover the first three today. They include:
1) The Basic Circle – The touch is not to slide your hand over an area on the dog, but rather to move the skin over the muscle. Think of the face of a clock when you make the circle. Start at the bottom, or 6 o’clock and move in a clockwise direction through 12, 3 and 6 and continue on to 9 o’clock. This circle and a quarter is the basic touch.
2) The Pressure Scale – Most important for you to understand is that these touches are not massage! The pressure scale for dogs is between 1 and 4. To get a sense of this, please lay your right hand – finger tips only, on your left arm. Generally, this pressure is a 3. So, keep it light but still moving the skin over the muscle tissue.
3) Tempo This is the amount of time it takes to complete the basic touch. 1-second circles help activate a dog; 2-second circles help settle or bring focus for the dog.
One of my favorite ‘go to’ touches is called the Abalone. This touch uses the entire hand which provides warmth and security and is good for the sensitive dog. It helps a nervous dog calm down and relax. Dogs who are sensitive to touch or are wary of any kind of physical contact can overcome their fear and resistance with this touch. Use your whole hand with a 3 pressure, gently moving the skin over the muscle in the basic circle and a quarter movement. After one touch you can slide to another area or pick your hand up and place it on another area and repeat the touch. After three or four touches, pause for just a moment and allow the nervous system to integrate the touches. This will be a new experience for you and your dog.
Use the other hand to support the dog and provide some balance in the event he moves in any direction. A few touches a day will begin to change how your dog thinks and behaves. I suggest to my clients to substitute these mindful, deliberate touches in place of the more generalized petting that we often do with our pets.