Interview with TTouch trainer Elaine Garley « Cassidy's Journey

Cassidy's Journey

A dog's journey from a kill shelter to a loving family.

Interview with TTouch trainer Elaine Garley

Written By: MimiRosen - Aug• 09•13

Elaine1Elaine Garley, the owner of Animal Bridges: Connecting People and Their Pets, brings out the best in your pet by calming fears, soothing pain, building confidence, and hearing what he says with loving and healing techniques.

For years, Elaine dreamed of combining her love of pets and her relationship-building skills into a career. Her dog, Boomer, lead her to become an animal communicator and a certified Tellington TTouch® Training practitioner. She is also a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. With these gentle, loving skills, Elaine helps you and your pet (all species) with your pet’s challenges including behavior, stress and fears, confidence, aging, injuries and pain, and more!

With this knowledge and her love of people and animals, Elaine looks forward to helping you build a deeper relationship with your pet.

 Q & A with Elaine. 

1) When working with rescues in general, how does TTouch help dogs through fearfulness?

TTouch helps the rescues in many ways. First, the people working with the dogs, cats, or any animal, learn the philosophy of TTouch.

Most rescues come with stories and many of these stories are not great. I find it is a wonderful time for guardians of rescues to use the TTouch philosophy of “change your mind, change your dog.” I always ask the new fosters/guardians, “What do you love about your pet?” It is so easy to focus on the fear, barking, and other unwanted behaviors. Instead focus and image what behavior you want! For me this shift was life changing! My dog and I became stronger partners without force or fear. Our trust for each other grew.

Second, the rescues learn new ways of carrying their body (posture) and become more aware of their body. How does this happen?  With TTouches to her tail, a fearful dog whose tail is tucked tightly between her legs, learns a new way of holding her tail. After the TTouches, her tail is relaxed away from the body and maybe wagging. She just learned a new way of holding her tail. Her posture changed and it affects her behavior.

Overall TTouch teaches a dog confidence, new body awareness, and there are choices to life’s activities instead of reactions.

2)During our session you had suggested using the mouth and ear TTouches for reducing Ripple’s insecurities, but she is head-sensitive and does not like having her mouth touched. What are ways that I can help her to get used to this interaction?

I suggested these TTouches because Ripple maybe holding tension in these areas. Often dogs with fear, barking, chewing, and other oral issues, hold tension in these areas. Ripple displays a reaction I often see in dogs. She doesn’t want these areas touched!

There are several ways you can help her. Be sure you are relaxed. Exhale and breathe. Soften your eyes and your entire body.

Now slowly start the gentle, slow touches on her shoulder or wherever she lets you. Then slowly move up her neck. Take a break. Then start again maybe on her neck with a few touches moving towards the top of her head. Stop the session. Yes, the session can be only a few minutes.

The next session maybe 15 minutes later or several hours/days later, you maybe able to start on her neck and move towards her ears. Very little TTouch gives lots of information to Ripple’s body and mind. Your touches are communicating at a cellular level to Ripple’s entire body. She needs time to assimilate it.

Remember to give her a choice. If she decides to walk away or move away, let her. Part of the TTouch philosophy is full cooperation and respect. This means giving Ripple a choice and not forcing her. This was a huge learning for me.

3) Referencing Turid Rugass’ Calming Signals. If Ripple licks her lips or yawns during TTouch, what does that indicate? Why is it important to be aware of such gestures?

Dogs communicate to each other with body language. Turid Rugass states dogs give signals to calm. I don’t know if they are calming themselves or trying to calm others.

For example, as a stranger walks up to you and Ripple, Ripple may yawn and look away from the person. You know she isn’t tired because she slept all morning. She may also start sniffing the ground for no reason.   Ripple is using calming signals to say either “I’m a little nervous and am trying to calm myself” or “I’m okay.” The calming signals need to be observed in the current situation. For example, Ripple sniffing all of a sudden may be because you just walked by a area with great smells, or it may be a calming signal.

So how does this apply when you are doing TTouch to Ripple? If Ripple starts licking her lips, turning away from you, lifting a paw, or giving any of the calming signals, it may be time to give her a break. Or maybe more to an area of her body that is more comfortable for her. Also exhale (my favorite advice)! Remember you may be concentrating so hard on doing the touches that you are staring at her and making her uncomfortable and also holding your breathe. Then everyone needs a small break.

A session can last 5 minutes and provide lots of information for the dog to process. So please watch for the calming signals.

4) How can TTouch be used to counter Ripple’s excitement when guest come to call?

Since you started using TTouch on Ripple, each of these sessions helps her be calmer when company comes. Be sure you have a picture of how you want her to behave before the company comes. Remind Ripple with the word “easy” instead of saying “no jump.” Maybe before the company arrives, accessorize her with a TTouch Body Wrap or ThunderShirt and give her a wonderful toy to chew. Even a gentle stroke down her back with “easy” can help her be more confident and less hyperactive.

5) Can TTouch be used to help Ripple become less fearful of unfamiliar dogs? If so how?

Yes, TTouch is a wonderful method to help Ripple be less fearful of unfamiliar dogs. All the techniques we reviewed in the session are very helpful.

When you first see the other dog, quietly talk to her. Reassure her that she is safe. Give her lots of distance when she sees other dogs. This may mean crossing the street or turning around to move away from the other dog. Be sure you are relaxed and exhale. Quietly talk with her as you first see the dog. Reassure her that she is safe. I recommend the two points of contact method used in TTouch. The Freedom Harness uses the two points of contact and is available with great directions.  Most importantly walk with Ripple at your side with a loose leash, and be calm.

There are several different TTouch techniques to help dogs to walk confidently using two points of contact including the Freedom Harness. Another arrangement includes a head collar and a harness. The set-up depends on each dog’s individual needs.

If you have a TTouch practitioner in your area, she can take you through the process of using the TTouch labyrinth. The practitioner would mindfully walk Ripple through the labyrinth. Then the practitioner would introduce another calm dog labyrinth using a specific method. It is important that the process is done at Ripple’s comfort level. She should never become excited.

6) Is there anything else would like to add?

Tellington TTouch is a wonderful method of working with animals that changed my life and my relationships with all animals — even humans! Linda Tellington-Jones developed TTouch with horses and started applying it to all species companion animals to animals kept in captivity. Now TTouch being used for people! It helps with fear, pain, builds confidence, and body awareness.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions of how I can help you and your pet live their best life! For a free 10-minute consult, email me with the best times to call you and your phone number.

Animal Bridges

Freedom Harness  link

Elaine’s email [email protected]

Tellington TTouch website


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  1. ielenberg says:

    thanks for the tips for working with my dogs :)

    • MimiRosen says:

      Thanks you for being so wonderful and reading my posts. TTtouch would actually be good for them. It’s helped Ripple, who I believe has sensory things going, in addition to just being Ripple.

      • ielenberg says:

        where’s the 8/16 post? did i miss it or are u slowing down :)

        • MimiRosen says:

          Hey Irv -

          I’ve decided to take a break from blogging and focus on finishing my book. Thank you so much for being such a big support for my effort. Love you very much.


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