By Friday, June 9, 2023 2 No tags Permalink

I never heard of the Tellington TTouch for dogs until I participated in a training class for a small group of therapy teams selected to assist our Charleston Police Department…

Therapy teams from the Medical University of SC provide tail wagging therapeutic happiness to the CPD with –

  • regular precincts visits
  • roll calls at various stations
  • critical incident support

Of the three – lending support after Critical Incident calls requires the most of our canine therapists. I thought it prudent to provide training so handlers would know what to expect after officers have responded to a call that involved horrific crimes resulting in serious injuries and/or death.

Our dogs would be utilized during precinct meetings, roll calls, and debriefings on the days after…

But I was also concerned about the the dogs. They are magnets to emotions, and they need us to help them release and unwind.

Anyone I work with will tell you I am over the top as an animal advocate when it comes to the welfare of the working dog. #underdogstatement

I affectionately call the therapy dogs “Canine Therapists”, and their handlers “Uber Drivers” to gently remind the human component of the team that, once they enter the hospital – whom (of the two of them) is ultimately in charge #Ikidyounot

That said, it seemed only logical that a portion of this training address the mental and emotional well being of the working therapy dog…


sometimes for our therapy dogs. They’re not trained in various methods on how to reduce the stress they may be feeling. This is why it is so crucial for us to understand our working dog’s body language and help them to relax – especially if they are around humans who have just witnessed or experienced trauma…

I invited Shannon Fitzgerald, a colleague who uses our therapy teams in her practice, to speak at our training class because she is also a Veterinary Social Worker. #wetalkdogalldaylong

Shannon did a Doodle*tastic job presenting scenarios that we all could relate to, describing our dogs behaviors and giving great tips (with demonstrations) on how to balance that all out once we return home and our coworking pup becomes our family pet again.

She introduced a calming method called the Tellington TTouch, and for many of us, it has become a game changer.


It is a –

very simple light massage technique, in which a clockwise circular motion of the fingers are used on the skin of the patient.

VCA Hospitals

The TTouch was devised and popularized in 1978 by Linda Tellington Jones. Considered by many to be a powerful method to improve behavior, enhance performance and health and teach a dog to learn willingly. It also helps establish a deeper rapport and more effective connection and understanding between humans and their animals. 

At first glance it looked to me like a different or more practiced way to pet and/or massage your dog. But I quickly learned it is a method that uses bodywork and non-habitual movement to influence behavior and health. 

Jaxson was super willing to hop on the table and lend himself to Shannon’s demonstration…

Initially, he was more focused on his canine compadres sitting in the audience, but after Shannon started stroking his sides with the back of her hand in a circular motion, his posture changed, he became relaxed and more attentive to Shannon.

TTouch likely engages the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing muscle tension and allowing heart rate, blood pressure and circulation to slow, in effect bringing stress levels down. Bringing the stress level down may allow a dog (or person or horse) to have more body awareness, which can help if the body is compensating because of a past fear or pain.

Whole Dog Journal

In a very short period of time, Jax was clearly all about Shannon…… #gettinghisTTouchon

After observing Jaxson with Shannon, I have been researching as much as I can on this subject ever since. #fascinated

Some of the more common conditions treated with TTouch are –

  • Anxieties
  • Phobias
  • Fear aggression
  • Phobias
  • Aversion to touch


as awareness through movement!

Tellington-Jones writes that the goal of TTouch is to “stimulate the function and vitality of the cells in an animal’s body, and to activate unused neural pathways to the brain.”

She describes the effect of TTouch as “turning on the electric lights of the body,” but she acknowledges that no one really knows how or why TTouch works and believes the secret may simply be the mindfulness of the method.

We learned two techniques that day, and I have been practicing on both Harley and Jaxson at home. Hopefully, this will lead to a deeper connection and bond between us.

I plan to master this gentle method of touch with specific goals in mind. What a joy if I could help relax –

  • their anxiousness from the dreaded cannon during football season
  • Jaxson after a day at work
  • Harley a bit when his CCD (canine cognitive dysfunction) behavior becomes excessive.


Have you heard of the TTouch method before? Have you used it on your dog? Did it work? My inquiring mind would love to know 🙂

There is so much to read online, it makes no sense for me to copy links for this post. Grab a beverage and spend sometime with my man Greg Google and read up if your slightly interested. #youwontbesorry

Hope this was helpful to someone out there – thanks for reading!

My sunshine doesn’t come from the skies – it comes from the love that’s in my Doods eyes❤️

  • The Z Kids' Mama
    June 10, 2023

    I LOVE TTouch! I used to use it to help Ducky relax/feel better on days when Sam’s dementia demons were particularly stressful for her. Or, when Bogie’s natural puppy exuberance was a bit too much for her to handle.

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 11, 2023

      I didn’t know that! I used it on Jaxson last night because he was so fidgety and in minutes he was relaxed, uncurled, stretched out snoring ever so light at the foot of my bed. Amazing!