She has that special `TTouch’ |

She has that special `TTouch’

Sarah S. Chung

If your pet has been acting up, Annie Tierney has the touch that could make a world of difference.

It’s called the Tellington Touch, or “TTouch” for short. It’s based on the premise that fear is often the source of bad behavior – fear that is activated by neurological patterns. What TTouch does is create alternative neural pathways to the brain by manipulating the nervous system in the skin.

“There are a lot of different relationships between people and pets but when pets start acting up, that relationship deteriorates,” said Tierney, who is the only certified TTouch practitioner on the Western Slope. “[TTouch] makes it easier to be around the animals and that really enhances a relationship. It brings an animal back into balance in a very non-invasive way.”

This method of therapy is often likened to massage, but there are key differences between the two, said Tierney. The main difference is that TTouch works with the skin, not the muscles.

“It’s not about releasing stress from muscles, like through a massage, but rather encouraging new habitual patterns and giving animals more options than just reacting out of sheer habit,” Tierney explained.

She became interested in TTouch as a result of her own dog’s fear of loud noises like thunder or fireworks.

“She used to be so afraid, she’d go crazy and try to get between the mattress and the box spring. There was no way of comforting her,” Tierney said.

When she heard about TTouch and saw the results it had for other pets, she signed up for a two-year certification course.

Tierney has been practicing for about a year. Her success stories, she said, include calming dogs of their fear of loud noises, helping to curb incessant barking, and helping dogs break the habit of jumping up on people.

“It’s really about improving the quality of life for your pet. They get to go more places and owners are more open to them because they like being around their pets more,” Tierney said. “I know that for some people, pets are a part of their family – a large part of their lives.”

Although TTouch has been around since the 1970s, a growing acceptance of this form of therapy has been fairly recent. Veterinarians are seeing the benefits of TTouch after a pet has recovered from an injury, according to Tierney.

She reports real success in helping pets overcome a tendency to continue overcompensating for an injury that has healed.

In addition, there are significant differences between TTouch sessions and traditional dog-training classes, according to Tierney.

“Dog training is essentially based on a reward system, usually with food. With TTouch, there’s more cooperation with the animal than dominance by the owner,” Tierney said. “Also, with training there’s an endless repetition involved whereas TTouch puts the body in a learning state and there’s the capability of learning with one application.”

House calls for a TTouch session with Tierney are $55 and regular sessions are $45. There are group rate specials and Tierney is also offering a Fourth of July fireworks-phobia mini-session on loud noises for $25. For more information call 948-1792.

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