Helping Your Performance Dog                                

Tellington TTouch provides you with ways of working WITH your dogs that can make life easier for you and for them, which leads to having more fun with your special buddy or buddies.  Isn’t that why most of us got into performance in the first place?  We started with a dog that was special.  Then we learned about some particular activities we could do with our dog.  One thing quickly leads to another and soon we became “dog people.”   Whether our interest is conformation, obedience, agility, rally, or other performance work, we're always looking for ways to improve our dog's competitive edge.  If we can do this and make it all more enjoyable, we're all for it.  Tellington TTouch can provide this possibility!

There are two aspects of Tellington Touch: body work and ground work.  Body work superficially resembles massage in that it can be relaxing or stimulating, and is “hands on.” Massage typically works with muscles---  Tellington Touch is usually a much lighter touch and its focus is to stimulate the skin, largest organ of the body.  Every day brings additional and more in-depth scientific validation of the far-reaching benefits of touch for all types of beings. 

Groundwork involves a number of leading exercises done slowly and mindfully, with a focus on the sensations and bodily information that the dog is receiving. When you ride a bicycle at speed, you are usually not very aware of your balance and what you must do to maintain it.  Riding slowly gives you an acute awareness of what you do to balance.  Results show  that moving slowly, with focus, also gives an animal a heightened awareness.  Bodywork and groundwork each, in a different way, provide us with a way to help our performance dogs to, using the Army slogan, “Be all that you can be!”

The effective, gentle, holistic Tellington Touch method helps  performance dogs maximize their potential. It focuses on balance, using  the interrelationship of self-confidence, self-carriage and self-control to help animals  function optimally.  Relying on the wisdom of the nervous system, and helping the body and brain to use new neural pathways, Tellington Touch uses somatic education to help not only our canines, but all animals, to function as well as they can.

Tellington TTouch is becoming better known, and more and more breeders, exhibitors and trainers are discovering how effective it is to use it with dogs that perform in the ring and on the field.  TTouch is used to improve confidence, attitude, precision, focus, movement and other skills needed by these canine athletes.

Conformation

TTouch helps dogs who have great conformation, but a poor attitude about showing.  We’ve all seen (and many of us have lived with) those dogs who hate the show ring and who make that obvious to even the most casual observer by their posture and attitude. Shifting that posture with TTouch, shifting that attitude, changes their behavior!

TTouch can also help those dogs who think the show ring is a grand place to be, and they are so happy they are flinging their legs all over as they are supposed to be showing their splendid movement, or they are dancing around when they are supposed to be  stacked and displaying their lovely profiles.  With some TTouch, these dogs remain happy, while being able to increase their focus and concentration, giving a settled and sparkling performance in the ring.

Then there are the dogs who appear to have lovely structure, BUT, whose  movement does not live up to that structural promise.  TTouch, dealing with possibility rather than limitation, has ways to help the animal find an awareness of a more efficient way to move.  Then the nervous system, in all its brilliance, begins to use that way.

We had a homebred with very nice conformation, who hated the show ring.  When she was with us, we did bodywork and did groundwork on the confidence course. Her co-owners would put a body wrap on her, which she wore on her way to the shows. Though not taken out often, she finished readily, winning over nice competition. She was not campaigned, and went to only a show or two after finishing.  In 1998 we took her to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America National Specialty.  Just before the specials went into the ring, we did leg circles, a little tail work, and Tarantulas Pulling the Plow along either side of her spine.  Hattie (Ch. Dhu Mohr Elena Tess Algonkian) went into the ring, and breeder/owner handled, went on to take Best in Specialty Show!

Obedience and Agility…

Positive Trainers in both disciplines are incorporating TTouch, as they see its effectiveness in both casual and competition work.  Clicker Trainers like Karen Pryor and Morgan Spector are using TTouch to help their dogs learn.  Spector has even paired particular TTouches with the training of different obedience exercise in addition to using them for overall benefits, stating: “These touches give you a number of ways to intervene physically for your dog’s well being in a variety of circumstances.  I often use TTouch before going into the ring to calm both me and the dog.” (Clicker Training for Obedience, P.6)

Fieldwork, Herding, Lure Coursing:

These activities include some training to make use of innate breed/group behavior and fine tune it to the specifics of the activity. Tellington Touch, with its focus on balance and awareness, speeds this fine tuning.

Those of us who work and play with performance dogs are already used to observing them carefully and responding to the information we receive from them.  Couple this with Tellington Touch, which is also dependent on an observant human paying careful attention to an animal—noticing and responding to cues from the animal, as well as offering cues. In addition to helping you train more effectively, it offers a wonderful way to be emotionally in tune with your dogs as you work together. Not only does your dog perform better, you and your dog have more fun.

To Learn More…

Watch the videos:

  • “Unleash Your Dog’s Potential, Getting in TTouch with Your Canine Friend.”
  • “TTouch of Magic for Dogs”

Read the books:

  • Getting in TTouch with Your Dog: a Gentle Approach to Influencing Behavior, Health, and Performance  
  • The Tellington-Touch: a Breakthrough Technique to Train and Care for Your Favorite Animal

Let Wendy and Frances help you and your dog (or, as is the case with many of us, dogs)!   For interactive, in-depth  learning, designed especially for you and your dog(s), have a private session or attend a workshop with them.   Based in the Rochester NY area, they have private sessions with local clients.   Often as they travel they do private sessions before and after workshops.   They hold about six workshops annually in the Rochester area.   They also travel the continent to present workshops sponsored by individuals and Dog Clubs.

Who are Wendy and Frances?

Wendy and Frances each have over 40 years of experience in the dog world: showing, breeding, and training.  They have bred Scottish Deerhounds under the Dhu Mohr prefix for over 35 years, have shown nationwide and in Europe, have bred/co-bred dogs that won the National Specialty 5 times (the last time being 1999), and have trained dogs in both obedience and conformation. 

To become TTouch practitioners, they completed a rigorous two year training and certification program developed and led by the renowned Linda Tellington-Jones, founder of TTEAM and Tellington Touch.  Since certification, Wendy and Frances have traveled across the U.S. and Canada, working with animals and their owners to help them achieve new levels of understanding and awareness and to help with behavioral and well-being issues of all kinds. With additional training they have achieved the top level of TTouch certification.  For information on the TTouch training programs, click here.

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© Frances Smith 2012