THE TELLINGTON TTOUCH BODY WRAP FOR DOGS
By Barbara Janelle M.A.
The Tellington TTouch Body Wrap seems to act like another layer of connective tissue, sending messages through the body. It helps animals to remain breathing in difficult situations, and it connects parts of the body increasing physical balance and coordination. I call it as “a giant hug!”
THE BODY WRAP
Tellington TTouch was developed originally as a way of training horses through the use of bodywork, ground exercises and riding procedures. Very quickly, it was seen to have an impact on health as well as behavior and performance. One of the early TTEAM tools was a body wrap with a rope to teach the animal about the connection between front and hind ends. This improved coordination and movement in dramatic ways.
When Tellington TTouch Practitioner Jan From began using elastic bandages instead of ropes, dramatic improvement in behavior as well as movement resulted. Similar improvement in behavior and movement was observed when the Body Wrap was used with dogs.
The elastic bandage may be put on in many different ways. A very simple wrap is a figure-8 around the chest, crossed over the back and around the hindend. Because dogs are so mobile and some have very slick coats, the bandage is generally secured by wrapping it comfortably around the hindlegs. The bandage is always checked to ensure that it is not too tight. In some cases, it may only be needed for a few minutes, while in others it may stay on for an hour or so.
THE BODY WRAP IMPROVES BEHAVIOUR
A basic understanding in Tellington TTouch is that when an animal is afraid, it will hold its breath and go into an instinctive behavioral response. That may take one or more of the following forms â€“ aggression, flight, freeze, faint, fooling around. If an animal stays breathing, it stays thinking and is able to cope with anything that comes its way.
The Tellington TTouch Body Wrap will keep an animal breathing and thus keep it thinking and confident. Some situations where it is helpful are:
- With dogs that are frightened of loud noises like thunder. A dog with the bandage on will continue to breathe and stay relaxed. In these cases, we add TTouch ear and bodywork to support overall relaxation and grounding.
- The Body Wrap builds confidence in dogs that are frightened of people, other animals or unfamiliar situations. We often find that wrapping an animal calms it for veterinary work (and blacksmithing too in the case of horses).
- Aggression is a fear response. When a bandage is put on an “aggressive” dog, the animal breathes and TTouch bodywork and ground work can then be done to teach it to cope with people, other animals, difficult situations and life in general.
- The Body Wrap helps overexcited dogs settle. One owner told me after I put the Body Wrap on her 4-year old Chocolate Lab that it was the first time the dog had ever sat quietly!
THE BODY WRAP HELPS PHYSICAL PROBLEMS
Another primary understanding in Tellington TTouch is that each cell in the physical body knows its job. Through TTouch, we can activate cellular memory and support the return of proper function. The Body Wrap has proven very helpful by providing connection between various parts of the body, acting almost like another layer of connective tissue.
The Body Wrap increases overall body awareness and improves movement, balance and coordination. Some examples where the Body Wrap has proven helpful are:
- Straightening movement, improving coordination and balance. It is also very helpful in supporting an animal’s confidence as it learns to maneuver over difficult obstacles, like some of the more challenging agility obstacles, or even negotiating big city sidewalk gratings. Tellington TTouch and Ground Exercises are usually added too.
- Keeping the body balanced and coordinated in recovery from surgery. For example, dogs that have undergone cruciate ligament surgery benefit greatly from TTouch work to speed healing and support the use of the leg. Then the Body Wrap can be used to rebalance the animal and prevent possible damage to another leg caused by it carrying more than normal weight (mechanical unloading) during healing process.
- The Body Wrap has proven to be a tremendous help for dogs who have had a leg amputated. It brings an overall body awareness that builds the animal’s confidence, balance and ability to move about easily once again. I will always remember the Saint Bernard in a Chicago workshop that had to be helped to stand and move. When TTouch work was done and the Wrap applied, the dog got up on its own and walked without help.
The Body Wrap is helpful in many more situations than just those listed here. While the Body Wrap is remarkable in its effects, it is also very helpful to combine Tellington TTouch and Ground Exercises with it in most situations.