Me and my ventura dog trainer mom received a Dear Inquisitive Canine dog behavior advice question from a blue heeler from South Africa. This inquisitive canine wrote in asking us about some dog behavior issues she is having at home. One of the treatments her mom and dad were using is something called Tellington T-Touch (Tellington Touch, named after it's founder Miss. Linda).
Tellington TTouch - is a specialized approach of massage and other tactile restorative methods for the care and training of companion animals. She uses a combination of specific touches, lifts, and movement exercises which aids in the release of tension while increasing body awareness. It's done by applying circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body, activating the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence - a little like "turning on the electric lights of the body."
Mom and I both like massage. Her friend and massage therapist Miss. Janice takes care of mom and her various aches and pains, while mom and dad take care of lil' ol' me. Whether they give me a rub down after a long day of running, or after taking on the agility course, it all feels good. Getting the blood circulating around, bringing nutrients to various body parts seems like a good idea.
But this inquisitive canine also knows there are some dogs out there that aren't too keen on being touched - at all, especially if they've had some sort of traumatic experience. I myself have had some issues with my hind quarters, long before mom and dad adopted me. I can't tell them the whole story, but I do know they've taken measures with massage and classical conditioning that have helped me.
The dog that wrote in may have had a not-so-pleasant experience with her ears. She's deaf. Her mom and dad aren't sure if she was born that way, which would mean she would have had her ears examined a lot, or if she was traumatized in some way that lead to her becoming deaf. Either way this sweet pup did state she had some issues with her ears being touched. My rockin' dog trainer mom has addressed some of this dogs concerns in our Dear Inquisitive Canine dog behavior advice column, while I take care of the topic of body handling and dogs.
The Plan for Body Handling: To help enjoy having your ears touched I would head down the path of classical conditioning. Have your mom gather tidbits of your absolute favorite edible item (my favorite is grilled salmon). Make sure it’s something you would do back flips over, and if possible, something you only get when you’re doing this training exercise.
Have your mom start with small steps:
- Touch under your chin, then you get a small treat.
- Touch your muzzle, treat.
- Touch the side of your face, treat.
- Progresses slowly up towards your ears, and that the order of events is: she touches your ear, then you get a treat.
- No ear touching, no treat.
- You’ll start to associate the ear touch with something wonderful, instead of being examined or something painful.
Since there are other reasons and situations other than belly rubs where dogs would be handled, such as going to the vet or to the groomer, the above steps are a few dog training tips that I'd pass along to make these times more fun and rewarding for any dog! Me included.Hmm, I wonder when I'm going to have my nails done again? Something for this inquisitive canine to ponder.