Basics of Bodywork: The TTouches

Tellington TTouch relaxes a dog

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the purpose of TTouch Bodywork.
  • Identify the four categories of TTouches.
  • Describe the pressure scale used with TTouch.
  • Identify the nine elements of TTouch.

The bodywork component of the Tellington TTouch is comprised of a series of touches, many circular, made with the hands and fingers, intended to activate cellular function and to further deepen understanding and communication be‐ tween animal and human.

For each TTouch, hands and fingers are held in different positions and applied with varying pressures, dependent on the response of the animal, as well as the desired effect”.

TTouch is a non‐verbal communication with your hands, and a way to connect to other species. TTouch gives a level of connecting, of being with an animal, that goes beyond words and is intensified by contact with the fingers.  Although TTouch may resemble massage, our primary intention is not to work with muscles, but to actually work with the nervous system, activating neural pathways and improving the function of the cells.

Kathy Cascade does TTouch on a dog

TTouch also affects the fascia, the sheets of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.

TTouches make a connection to the limbic system and to the emotions. This work provides ongoing activation of both hemispheres of the brain, the intuitive and the logical.

TTouch differs from energy work as well. Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and other energy systems bring the life force into the being where TTouch affects the function of the cells; reminding the body of its perfect function.    That is to say, its function prior to dysfunctional tension patterns and postural habits that result from injury, poor handling, and simply life.  It works with the cells to help them function most effectively, giving the being the opportunity to awaken at a new level.

TTouch is done working with the animal, as opposed to working on the animal. Therefore the intent of the person doing the touching is very important.

The person gives information to the cells, providing the body awareness of different places on itself. TTouch gives animal’s new information to deal with a situation instead of punishing them for not dealing with the situation in a way the human deems inappropriate. At the same time, the person receives information from the skin. In addition to the response of the skin, you are able to feel tension and relaxation in the animal’s body, enabling you to adjust what you are doing while continuing to “dance” with the animal.


The TTouches all have animal names. There are multiple reasons for this: it honors the animals, it makes the TTouches easier to remember, and it brings an attitude of lightness and fun to the work. Another important reason for using animal names is that while the specific details and clock image of how to do the TTouches activates the Left hemisphere of our brains, the whimsical and creative image of animals activates the Right hemisphere of our brains.

TTouch consists of a variety of light pressure touches and slides performed on the skin surface with mindfulness and focused attention as well as non‐habitual exercises with the extremi‐ ties. When doing TTouch we give the dog new information (experiences) by engaging the sen‐ sory aspect of the nervous system.

The various TTouch bodywork techniques are organized into 4 “Families” of TTouches:


  • Circles


  • Lifts


  • Sides


  • Extremities


There are over 30 different TTouches, each providing a different sensation to the dog’s

body. The majority are named after animals, which helps us activate the right side of the brain and makes them easier to remember and visualize.

TTouches can be done all over the body but some are specific to particular areas or more suited to specific body parts. The intent of TTouch is to stimulate the body’s potential to heal and learn.

The level or pressure used and tempo, in addition to the animal names makes the TTouches easy to learn. Even though skills are refined with practice, an approximation of the technique will yield a positive response.

TTouches can be done all over the body but some are specific to particular areas or more suited to specific body parts. The intent of TTouch is to stimulate the body’s potential to relax, heal and learn.