Friday, 27 April 2012

Raining Collies

It’s been a week of Collies. These dogs are so intelligent I can see them thinking. They are brilliant at chaining things together, some times getting themselves into trouble. Sensitive and mentally astute they need lots of the right stimulation and direction or they will go self employed. My favourite quote of the week from a really fantastic owner about her collie, ‘The problem is he’s more intelligent than I am’. By the end of the session I figured it wasn’t just her he was brighter than. This dog would look you right in the eye with a ‘Is that all you’ve got’ type of look. It really did make me laugh. He really enjoyed the TTouch ground work we did with him and had an expression of joy and engagement on his face. After being in my company for a couple of hours he was so relaxed he just came and sat by me for more work, all this from a dog that can be wary of strangers. Tellington TTouch is amazing for building relationship and trust, it never stops surprising me.

I’ve also been up the farm this week teaching some river studies days with children. Bea my rescue dog came out on the dry day with us and had a great time. It was wonderful watching her playing and running around the water meadows. She was even brave enough to interact with a few of the teachers and children. When I first met Bea, to encourage her to interact, I taught her to touch my hand. She now does this routinely with strangers she meets and likes. If she sniffs your hand and touches it you are, to her, a friend. She might not want you to stroke her, but a nose touch is a big step forward.

I’ve written another article this week. It’s about a spinal injury case I worked with jointly with a physiotherapist I know. The idea has been rattling around in my head for so long; it felt a little strange to finally have it down on paper. I’ve sent it off to Karl Jones so he can add his bit then we will see what to do with it.

I’m still getting phone calls from people I met at the All About Dogs Show the other weekend. It’s always nice to know you have helped people and their dogs in such a short time. It’s another busy period next week so I’m looking forward to a chilled weekend. Just one more dog to see this, then its spending time with Bea, I need to finish clipping her nails, a job that gets easier each time we do it.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cats, Dogs and Shows

After a few days off over Easter it was back to a busy week. I ran a Tellington TTouch workshop for cats at the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre (DBARC). I had a fantastic group of people who really embraced the work and did a fantastic job working with the rescue cats. In the morning several pens had bumps under blankets. These nervous cats don’t show well and it can take a while to re-home them. Imagine our delight when in the afternoon beautiful cats emerged from under the blankets. So many cats and dogs need forever homes right now. It seems madness to me that people breed un-necessarily or buy pedigree animals. If you have the time and patience, a rescue animal can be so rewarding.
The weekend took me to Newbury Showground for the All About Dogs Show. Many thanks to Alex and Matt from Xtra Dog who are such great supporters of TTouch. Xtra Dog has worked closely with Marie Miller a fellow TTouch Practitioner, and have designed a harness which incorporates the TTouch principles. The fleece harnesses have a ring at the front on the chest as well as over the shoulder. Having two points of contact can really balance a dog effectively and quickly, turning habitual pullers into mild mannered, easy to lead pooches. We had a TTouch ring beside the stand where Marie and I worked with many dogs whose owners asked for help. Lots of the dogs where anxious or scared of something and it was great to be able to give advise and see how simple techniques could quickly start to have an effect. For as many dogs we could help I personally noticed just as many whose owners shouted at or pulled them around as the dogs bucked against tight grips and inappropriate equipment. Some dogs were obviously over faced with the whole experience and in my opinion would have preferred a quiet day at home. On Sunday I had to take my rescue lab Bea with me. She would have found being out and about around the show too much but coped well in the car behind the stand with my Mum sitting with her. She came out once, very briefly for a quick toilet break and then back in the car with a tasty treat. I know her limits and there is no reason to make her ‘cope’ with this, what she thinks, is a scary situation. It would undermine our relationship and destroy her trust I me.

I was over at the Newbury Dogs Trust on Wednesday doing some staff training. I’m invited a few times a year and I’m able to pass on tips to help the staff work with the dogs in their care. They have so much work and so little time to work with the dogs. That makes TTouch perfect as just a few minutes a day can have a profound effect and can really help turn these sticky dogs around. Dogs Trust use TTouch in lots of their centres and at their STAR unit which rehabs the most challenging dogs in their care. I love watching the staff work and come up with ideas on how this ttouch or that body wrap etc. would work with a certain dog.

After a busy couple of weeks I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, (Only one dog to see on Saturday). I know the garden needs tidying but I might just have to chill out with my lovely dog and take her on some long walks in the countryside. Bliss.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Mum's, Pups, Ewes and more

It has been a while since my last blog. I’ve been busy with my other passion which is teaching children about farming and the environment. We have just finished six long weeks of lambing. If you are interested in learning more about the education programme which runs out of Rushall Organic Farm have a look at  Over this period we saw about 4000 children and this year are on target for 1300 lambs. It was whilst in the lambing shed over the Mothers Day period that I came to the stare realisation that ewes get better care than the poor bitches in puppy farms. We often talk about the puppies which are visible due to their being in our world, often sickly, but the mothers live in a perpetual hell. If you can take a few minutes and support that would be great. I understand the physical and emotion issues these ex-breeders go through as my little rescue was used in this way and will bare the scars both externally and internally forever.

On a lighter note recently I’ve run workshops and talks for some fabulous organisations in the past few weeks. I’m exhausted and looking forward to my Easter break but it’s been loads of fun teaching a one day workshop for Cara Dog Training in Sway down in the New Forrest and giving a talk and demo for the Southern Golden Retriever Society in Woldingham. Such lovely people and dogs,  it’s been so much fun. It is great when you and the TTouch work get such an enthusiastic reception.

So it’s chill out time over the holiday weekend but then back in full swing next week with a TTouch cat workshop at Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue and then the All About Dogs Show at Newbury Showground the following weekend. If you are going, see you at the Xtra Dog Stand.