TTouch Offers Canines New Pawsibilities

Swim Sessions Combined with the TTOUCH
METHOD™ offer Canines New Pawsibilities
By Pampered Paw SwimSpa


Injuries sustained by canines often leave a holding pattern of impaired function and pain in the injured area. These mal-adaptive responses are repetitively used because they are “programmed” as neural patterns which exist below the level of the dog’s awareness. In an effort to protect their body, the animal that is in pain will carry themselves in a way which is beneficial at the time. However long term, it can have a negative effect, causing movement patterns that cause more tension and pain. These patterns often block the use of that original affected body part and thereby create stress on distant areas of the body which must overwork to compensate. This chronic distress often affects the dog’s general health, mood, and behavior. The TTouch Method™ is used to bring these patterns to awareness. The benefits of aware functioning are an invitation for restoration of function following surgery or injury.. In this state of awareness daily processes are altered so that self healing is mobilized and a healthier homeostasis results.

The Tellington TTouch Method™ finds areas in the canine’s body that indicate discomfort, fear of contact, pain and tension. The TTouch Method™ has been used extensively to speed healing and recovery from injuries, illness and surgeries in all animal species as well as humans. TTouch™ is NOT a variation of massage. TTouch™ is useful to “retrain a number of physiological responses in ways which promote recovery and health. The intent of the TTouch™ is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence. TTouch™ helps to release tension and increase body awareness by using a combination of touches, lifts and movement exercises. This TTouch™ awakens the neurological system at the cellular level so that the animal actually learns a different way to relate to his world.

Canine swimming and TTouch™ practitioner, Tonita Fernandez offers combinations of TTouch™ and hydrothermal exercise to create an invitation for the canine body to re pattern and re balance. At Pampered Paw Swim Spa, LLC in Enumclaw WA we incorporate the TTouch Method™ in the canine swim sessions. For many clients we also set up follow-up TTouch™ sessions outside of the water. Tonita has developed a first of its kind swim session for canines using tools, and equipment as the dog is immersed in the comfort of warm water. “I am really excited about bringing TTouch™ to the world of Canine hydrotherapy”. “By combining swim sessions and TTouch™ it offers non-invasive ways to work with gait irregularities, injury, illness, arthritis, hip dysplasia, aging and surgery recovery. It reduces stress as well as brings about more body awareness which creates an invitation for better physical and emotional function and balance.

The Tellington TTouch Method™ is comprised of three components that work independent of each other, but are designed to work most efficiently when the three components of the work are combined for maximum effect.

The first of the three components works on the neurological level, while the second one uses equipment and tools to influence the self confidence and the balance of the animal. The third component uses grounding exercises to increase self confidence, coordination, focus and body awareness.

TTouch™ can be used on the animal in the comfort of water as well as outside of the water, with equally great results. The few minutes spent before the dog enters the pool or spa can be used to offer TTouches that take little time and can be used parallel to other methods or hydrothermal exercises. In its simplest form the only tools needed are a pair of hands. TTouch™ offers the dog non-habitual touches and movement. The effects are lasting. TTouch™ is known as the touch that teaches. As we apply it, TTouch™ teaches the dog to use its mental and physical resources to reorganize its programmed responses.

Tonita plans to offer Canine Hydrothermal TTouch™ workshops in the fall 2006 at Pampered at Paw Swim Spa. TTouch™ is known as the touch that teaches. During a warm water swim session TTouch™ can be used as a way of offering the dog help in cases of excessive barking, aggressive behavior, extreme fear and shyness, excitability and nervousness, problems with aging, surgery recovery, as well as a multitude of physical and emotional issues. Sessions outside of the pool will help a dog to build confidence as well as bring about more body awareness, helping a dog to recover from injury and illness, or just enhance the quality of the animal’s life. Dog guardians as well as veterinary staff and all water workers will learn ways to help dogs live up to their full potential. Some topics that we will visit are:

  • Calming the nervous dog or a first time swimmer.
  • Specific TTouches to use for helping an incision to heal.
  • How to use a leash to offer the dog with physical issues a way to rebalance
    its body, promoting optimum balance.
  • TTouches and tools to make the most of a dogs swim session.
  • Minimizing counterproductive stress responses during a swim session.

Watch Tonita’s website for more information:



(shown at right)

Depending on the dog, his behavior, or physical impairment, different wraps may be applied. “The wrap pictured is one I most frequently use. It is easy to put on the dog and very effective.” Place the middle of the wrap across the dog’s chest and cross the ends once on the back. Then take both ends (without crossing them) back along the outside of the thighs. Place each end over the hind end and bring the ends of the wrap up under the legs and over the back.


Connect the Wrap by tying it off to one side of the dogs spine. If left loose, it may not be effective and, if too tight, it can interfere with the dog’s movement especially when swimming. Some dog’s coats and activity level don’t allow the wrap to be of benefit during a swim session. However, the wrap can be applied for just five minutes or so in the beginning of a session as you introduce the dog to the water and spend some time connecting with him. It can then be removed before he actually swims. Ace bandages are inexpensive and easy to apply on a dog. Pampered Paw Swim Spa stocks Ace bandages for home use. Large breed dogs may need two or three Ace bandages sewn together to function as a full Body Wrap. Tonita likes to send the client home with tips, and TTouches to use at home. The more involved the dog guardian is in the health and well being of the dog the faster we see positive results. After the Body Wrap is on the dog Tonita uses variations of TTouches to increase the dog’s circulation and activate the neural impulses in the legs.



(shown at left)

The Body Wrap enhances the dog’s sense of his own body. It is a TTouch aid, that Tonita incorporates into most swim sessions. ” I often use the Body Wrap to address issues that effect a dog on an emotional as well as physical level. It is a great aid, that helps to improve a dog’s mobility. It is especially helpful for the dog that is hyperactive, afraid of loud noises or nervous in general.

The Body Wrap is also useful for injured or recovering dogs. It works wonderful for older, stiff and arthritic dogs.” TTouches can be offered to the dog before, during or after the use of the Body Wrap. Veterinary techs, canine water workers and animal massage practitioners can also incorporate the TTouch Body Wrap aid into their swim sessions, as well as before or after a session. Just wearing the Body Wrap for five to ten minutes can bring more body awareness to an animal. “There are several versions of wrapping. When using a wrap in the water, I use a waterproof material.” At Pampered Paw Swim Spa, Tonita teaches the dogs’ guardians to use simple ace bandages as a wrap to offer more information to the dog at home or to calm the dog before coming for a swim session. The dog who is healing from a knee or hip surgery or one who is pre-op with issues in these areas often do remarkably well when body wraps are applied. Pictured at right, Tonita uses wraps to work with a dog that is very hyperactive, nervous and vocal. “Upon arrival I apply a body wrap on this dog and he is able to calm down and relax and be more focused and aware of his body, getting the most out of his swim session.”


(shown at right)

Using this gentle circular TTouch™ on the dogs mouth affects both physical and emotional responses and improves the dog’s focus and ability to learn. This TTouch™ method is very helpful for barking, stress, shyness, chewing, dental work, hyperactivity, fear and maintaining health and well-being. Pictured at left, Tonita Fernandez of Pampered Paw Swim Spa is sitting behind the dogs head supporting the muzzle or chin softly with one hand, being careful not to squeeze or restrain.


She uses gentle TTouches on the outside of the mouth and tiny touches on the upper and lower gums and lip areas, that can be done for just one minute or less with great results. If the mouth is dry, wet fingers work better. This should be done with obvious caution. ” I find that this mouth work is very effective for the dog who has emotional upset. It is great to use for dogs that are recovering from surgery who tend to lick or chew their wounds, continuously. It is also very beneficial for the animal that has a fear of veterinary offices.”