What a day this was! Ninety-six people signed up for the dog seminar including folks from Croatia and Italy and one woman who drove all the way from Denmark with her two dogs just for the day. It was perfect weather – about 74 degrees. Andrea built wooden stands with three tiers so there was excellent viewing for everyone under a 66′ x 80′ steel-framed tent. A soft breeze wafting through the surrounding woods kept everyone comfortable.
I worked with 6 dogs. Misa, a 25 pound terrier/cocker mix who is afraid of loud noises, lacked self-confidence and was sometimes startled by her own shadow. Tina had been advised to ignore the behavior, so Misa didn’t have a lot of support or guidance. It was a pleasure working with them and we sent her home with TTouches and tips.
Zara, a large, black Great Dane bitch, was the second dog. Tereza got her at 2 months old last March and immediately enrolled her in Play School. But it was play with Tereza, not other dogs, and she had no chance to interact with other dogs because she was just too big for them. Tereza had attempted to take her to puppy kindergarten but something had always interfered – a flood of the school or bad weather, and as Zara grew she began to snarl back at other dogs apparently snarled at her because of her size. Tereza was advised to shout at Zara when she snarled, but had not done so because it didn’t make sense to her. With a Halti she could turn Zara away and keep her from jumping at other dogs, but felt a lot of stress because so many people were afraid of her size.
Because she had only a line to the Halti it was too close to her eyes and Zara’s head was pulled to one side most of the time. It was not a comfortable situation. I put the super balance on her and started in a 4-meter long labyrinth in Homing Pigeon, with the first little dog, Misa, who was very friendly with other dogs, being the neutral dog. Twice Zara made an attempt to “jump” in the direction of Misa. It was an odd half-hearted move but I could see why it concerned Tereza. With Zara sitting from time to time, and Misa working behind and in front and lots of TTouches and Ear work between, Zara and Tereza both began to relax. I took the Halti off and Zara immediately lowered her head and noticeably relaxed and she was easy to direct. I planned to work her with Leon, Darjs’s massive and super-friendly Anatolian Shepherd but the time did not allow for it.
Lunch was a tasty vegetarian soup, hardy bread and delicious Slovenian home-made cheese cake, and 120 people were fed and back into the arena within the allotted hour.
The first activity after lunch was TTouch for the whole class. They gathered around me in a half circle, each with a partner. I stood above the crowd on what looked like an elephant stand in a circus so everyone could follow my TTouches. I demonstrated on a volunteer.
Several times I mingled among the participants showing the difference between a 2 and 4 pressure and accepting their TTouches on me. At least 90% were spot-on with a 2 or 4 pressure and I was surprised how round and precise many were.
My 3rd dog was a very athletic Malinois belonging to Maja Oresnik, the leading agility trainer in Slovenia. Rick is 7 years old and after surgery for a ruptured cruciform ligament two years ago Maja said he tends to “save” the leg. I was impressed with how well he does and how tactful his trot is. I suggested she begin to appreciate the degree of his healing and how well he moves and stands — That she practice the philosophy of seeing the cup half full instead of half empty. She said she had still been thinking of Rick as a cripple. I told her about Rupert Sheldrake’s study of how dogs pick up our pictures and the idea of “seeing the perfection”. It’s a challenge often, to see our animals as they are now, and not as they were after injury.
Slovenian veterinarian Kristine Porenta met TTouch Practitioner Shawn Gross at a conference on the east coast of the U.S. last month and wrote to Shawn to say that I was coming to Slovenia. She has a client with a 15-month-old Swiss Mountain dog and was hoping that TTouch might offer some help for the dog. I had to tell her that TTouch is not magic and perhaps she could help to a small degree to reduce some of her pain, but I recommend that the dog be fitted with a cart before her joints give out and create more pain. She was apparently on a lot of pain medication, which can cause her to overuse herself in my opinion. The webs of her front feet were widely spread and her body was twisted in an attempt to hold her weight on her left hind leg. The kindest thing in my opinion would be to allow her to pass into Doggy heaven, but that is such a difficult decision for many dog owners to make, and the veterinarian cannot make it for them. When I asked for any further input one of the experienced dog people in the seminar also recommended that they get a cart as soon as possible and before she suffers any more breakdowns.
© Linda Tellington-Jones 2008