An animal can sense what a person thinks, so if you are agitated with the animal, they will show agitation in their behavior as well.
Rose Reese, a certified dog trainer, explained to members of the Carbon County Animal Response Team during the group's monthly meeting on Tuesday, that the simple act of touching can help an animal relax, heal and learn actions.
The method she illustrated was Linda Tellington-Jones' TTouch system, which uses the power of touch to connect with an animal, make them feel at ease, and provide a healing touch.
Reese, who is currently working toward becoming a certified TTouch practitioner, showed the group, which works with abused and neglected animals, what she learned during her recent training seminar with Tellington-Jones. She brought along Mickey, a 6-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, who showed he enjoyed the TTouch system by providing signals, such as licking his lips, yawning, and laying down.
"The animal learns through the touch of your hand," she said. "The touch will stimulate the cells and help show how the dog should react to different behaviors."
At the beginning of her presentation, Reese explained that she became interested in the TTouch system many years ago after reading an article in a magazine. The system, originally used on horses, was created by Tellington in the 1970s.
According to the TTouch website, "The Tellington Method was first created four decades ago as a system of animal training, healing and communication that allows people to relate to animals in a deeper, more compassionate way a way that furthers inter-species connection and honors the body, mind and spirit of both animals and their people."
It was later expanded to include all animals.
Reese showed the group a variety of touches, including the clouded leopard, orangutan, heart hug, bear claw, and raccoon touch.
These touches, she explained, will help with excessive barking, chewing, dog aggression, fear biting, hip dysplasia, allergies, and more.
To do a TTouch, a person must place the dog sideways. Reese said never to face the animals head on because it could agitate them.
The person must then visualize what the touch will accomplish. Using their hand, in various positions, the person goes over the dog's coat in circular motions. The dog may squirm at first, but if done correctly, it will start to show signs of calming and will begin to trust the touch. The speed and pressure of the circular motion is dependent on the animal.
Reese said that she has worked with a few dogs, such as a rescue Labrador named Winnie, who responded well to the method.
When Reese met Winnie, who was part of a 101 Labrador rescue in Franklin Township last year, it was thought that Winnie would have be euthanized because she was fear aggressive. But after numerous training sessions using the TTouch method, and a security body wrap, Winnie was able to be adopted.
Kelly Hook, a member of the CART team who rescued a Bassett Hound named Martha, also credited the TTouch system for helping Martha become less fearful of her new surroundings.
The Tellington TTouch Method or TTouch system, is currently practiced in over 30 countries. It is used in zoos, shelters, and even on humans, to help provide a calming feeling and stimulate healing.
For more information on the TTouch system, visit http://www.ttouch.com.
The next meeting of the CART team will be held at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 27, at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning. Anyone interested in learning about the group is welcome to attend. New members are always welcome.