In most cases, working with dogs on leash has a fairly uniform “look”, one handler with some sort of tether to the dog. For some dogs however, there are limitations to this common approach. Tellington TTouch works on a Feldenkrais principle that the nervous system pays more attention to something that is not habitual, ie. unfamiliar or different.
When dogs have very ingrained habits in their behavior, whether it be balance or reactivity, one of the fastest ways to change this habit is to interrupt it with a very different, non-habitual experience.
Feldenkrais is a human based method, developed by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1960’s that suggests that the nervous system can learn in one lesson if there is no pain, fear of pain and if it is done in a non-habitual way.
These principles are the basis for many of the Tellington TTouch Method leading exercises for all animals. To change a habit, we need to replace it with a more useful one by doing an exercise completely unfamiliar to our the and the subconscious. This is the principle behind many of our leading exercises using two handlers, since it asks the dogs to do an “easy” exercise that is completely unfamiliar—this requires the brain and nervous system to “pay attention”.
Under the umbrella of the “Homing Pigeon” leading exercises are:
The Half Butterfly is the cousin of the Butterfly. Exactly as it sounds, the Half Butterfly is essentially the Butterfly leading position with a single handler. The Half Butterfly stabilizes the harness and prevents any lateral movement.
It is not generally a Homing Pigeon exercise since it has one leader although it can be used with a second handler.
The lead length gives you ample room to allow the rope to slide some distance, especially helpful with large, pulley dogs.
Allowing the slide breaks up the Opposition Response so the dog has nothing to pull against, and comes back into balance.
The Half Butterfly is a good option when you are alone and want to give a strong dog more space or to work with a second person when coaching a client.