Linda Tellington-Jones is the creator and driving force behind the Tellington T-Touch. She originally started by performing massage on horses. She saw the profound effect it had on their behavior and eventually expanded the training to encompass dogs, then formalized it to the t-touch method used today.
I personally have been successful in using specific t-touch methods in order to calm dogs when they are overly stressed. I have seen the calming power of a touch or a massage in the right place at the right time.
This book starts with a brief history of T-Touch and how it was developed. Then talks about the writer’s philosophy and how they understand T-Touch to work. There is much discussion about how this process affects the dog’s body and mind.
About one quarter of the book is dedicated to success stories about T-Touch. About half the book is dedicated to describing how to perform various types of T-Touch and what they are good for. Then follows a discussion on “The Playground for Higher Learning”.
What I Liked:
I really thought the descriptions of the various forms of T-Touch was well written. They were described with diagrams and detailed discussion of their effectiveness in various situations. I also enjoyed the bits about the Playground for Higher Learning. There’s not much else to say here. These parts were well designed, easy to read and easy to follow.
Areas for Improvement:
The first part of the book is all about how Linda Tellington-Jones discovered and designed the T-Touch method. However, it reads like a book on mysticism. Quite often she says that she works on intuition and guesswork to figure it out. While there are biological reasons for these things to work, Linda seems to not really understand how that works and writes some gibberish that sounds scientific but really isn’t. This leads me to believe she doesn’t understand how it all works and was just filling space.
The second part of the book is a series of success stories. This part frustrated me because it read a lot like those late night infomercials where everyone is telling you unbelievable stories about how wonderful a product is. This is basically a sales pitch for the T-Touch method.
The final part of the book is about the Playground for Higher Learning. This is a watered down version of Parkour or Agility. There is a lot of use of harness and double leashes. These are supposed to help the dogs feel more comfortable and safe. I’m not sure this actually works as advertised. From my own experience and much other reading I have done, allowing the dog to choose what they are doing and having them offer behavior that gets reinforced with a food or toy will have the same impact and will help the dog to learn faster.
I’m somewhat torn on this one. I really like the third section of the book, which has the T-Touch descriptions and how to perform them. And I have personal experience that T-Touch can work to calm a dog. However, I don’t think sections 1, 2 or 4 are very useful. Actually, they take away from the effectivity of section 3. So maybe skim section 1, skip section 2 and 4, and read section 3.