Tellington TTouch. Does it really work?

Dennis Fehling and His friend for life Meika

Hello again everyone.  This is the very same question I asked myself about four years ago when I was looking for another way of expanding my knowledge of dog training.  I had heard or Tellington TTouch almost 6 years ago when I had a client who just raved about it and told me how this magical thing that Linda Tellington Jones had discovered really worked on her horses.  This client had been to a couple of workshops that were in Central Oregon and was really impressed at how  calm her horses were.  I kind of dismissed it as soon as she said magical and didn’t really think about it much for the next couple of years until I was at a crossroads as far as my training and education was heading.  I have always been a positive reinforcement trainer and I had a choice of to different programs and directions.  One was the Karen Pryor Academy and the other was the Tellington TTouch two year practitioner training program.

I researched both programs very carefully and made my decision and went with the TTouch program and I have to say it was the best decision I could have made.  I attended my first 6 day training in Portland Oregon at the Oregon humane society.  At my first training I discovered that this was definitely going to be a very different training experience.  I was the only guy at this course which seemed to attract women from all different walks of life.  Some were professional trainers already and like me were looking to add something different to their “trainers tool box” Quote stolen from another great trainer Terry Ryan.  Some were professional women from other fields, lawyers, doctors, writers, Gardner’s, you name it and they were there.  This is when I first met Kathy Cascade the person whom inspired me to continue with the program.  Kathy is a Tellington TTouch instructor and a gifted teacher who in the first week convinced me that this is where I belonged.

So began my journey with the Tellington TTouch program.  The program consist of 6 week long training’s and does take quite a time commitment over a two year period.  As practitioners in training you are required to complete 15 case studies of animals that you have worked with as well as complete all of the training’s. During the course we also learned the business side of promoting yourself through demonstrations that we did in front of our class mates.  This was a blast because we did these little 15 minute presentations of why our program should be included in places like prisons, humane societies and other animal welfare groups.  I had the honor of working with some of the nicest people and developed life long friendships.

At the end of the week long training we would have a little get together at a restaurant and just sit around a talk about our animals and lives back home.  Then on the final day when the training would wrap up we had a little pow wow and it was not unusual for people just to start crying(me included) because of the dramatic changes we had seen and the positive changes we had made in the lives of the dogs and people we worked with.  After your third training you actually got to work with clients and their dogs and it was pretty amazing what an hour long session could do for both dog and human.  Sometimes it would just be recommending a no pull harness for a pulling dog or with more serious behavior issues we would work with the client to form a treatment plan.  I remember one lady and her dog who really touched me when she wrote me about our session and said what a difference TTouch had made in her and her dogs life.

This is a letter I had received from a woman I had told about TTouch and had told her I had been to four training’s.  My wife Pam and I were going to be at the coast and were only a few miles from where her and her dog Bobby and husband lived.  She asked me if I could meet with her and teach her some TTouch techniques.

Dennis Fehling takes an integrated approach to enriching canine/human friendships and behaviors. Dennis helped my 4-year old Aussie “Bobby” and myself to achieve an easy, fun, responsible and respectful relationship. During our work together Dennis drew from his years of knowledge and experience, carefully observing and considering, and then suggesting a combination of techniques that might work for us.

 

His “hands on” approach really worked as we learned TTouch (halter, gentle lead, and body work with focus on the ears) and other techniques including the use of verbal commands, body language and distraction as an attention grabber (touch to treat). The touch to treat trick when used in conjunction with smooth and simple avoidance techniques has almost completely eliminated the threats we were experiencing from aggressive dogs or pushy humans while playing on the Oregon beaches. We are now “as one” walking the beaches, calm, relaxed, aware, confident and happy.

 

Dennis is a an excellent teacher and mentor – a real professional! He has a way of making you enjoy yourself so you don’t worry about learning the “right way” or lose focus on the moment by feeling guilty about the wrong ways of the past. He presents a holistic approach and communicates his understanding of animals in a clear and non-demeaning manner. After our work with Dennis Bobby and I were highly inspired, encouraged and excited about learning more. We use TTouch and the other training methods daily. My husband Steve cannot believe the transformation that has occurred and our friends and family have commented on how wonderful Bobby is to be around. Bobby sets up and bats his eyes at all of the compliments he receives.

 

Kathy and Bobby Minta

Newport, Oregon

Kathy Minta and her friends

I had already been a professional dog trainer for years but I felt that the addition of TTouch really made the difference and added another component to my skills as a dog and human trainer. I saw Kathy a year later a a week long training and her and Bobby were doing just great and adopted another friend for Bobby to play with.  She was certain that Bobby could never have had a playmate.  Bobby is the one on the right with his new friend.

 

Tellington TTouch training in Vernon BC with Beau my wonder dog and friends

I completed the two year Tellington TTouch program in Nov 2010.  along the way met some of the best trainers and people in the world.  I learned a very valuable skill and another way of interacting with not only the dogs I work with but the people also.  It was an incredible journey and still is a large part of who I am as a trainer.  We combine TTouch into all of our training at our dog training facility  in Redmond Oregon.  So the answer to the original question “does TTouch work?” I have to say yes it does and it works very well.  What it has taught me the most is to be more patient in my interactions with dog’s, respect the choices they make and not judge them for those choices.  TTouch teaches respect for all living things.  If you have ever even thought about attending a training then think no more and just do it because you will not regret it.  I want to thank my teachers Kathy Cascade, Edie Jane Eaton, Debbie Potts, Lauren McCall, Lori Stevens, Robyn Hood and Linda Tellington Jones for bringing this incredible work to life for us.

Sincerely,

 

Dennis Fehling