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Understanding common ear problems

Ears are a vital part of the body – they not only help in hearing, they also maintain the balance. Hence, it is very important to take care of your
pooch’s ears.

Kritika Manchanda

Kritika Manchanda

The canine ear is divided into three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The most common ear problems in dogs are caused by parasites, foreign bodies, climatic conditions and allergies.
Causes of ear problems…
Parasites cause extreme irritation and itching in dogs. Fleas are havoc for pets and indirectly for pet parents. Some fleas live on the outside of a dog’s ear flap and cause tissue erosion, in addition to intense itchiness, which leads to scratching and self-inflicted wounds.
Mites, such as otodectic, demodectic and/or sarcoptic mange mites, have a special fondness for the ear of your pet. They thrive in the warm moist area where the air flow is restricted, usually in the ear canals. They feed on epidermal debris and ear wax. In most cases, these are visible to the naked eye in the form of dark reddish brown or black debris throughout the ear canal. Ear mite infections can be serious, if left untreated, resulting in damage to the ear canals and eardrums. In extreme conditions, it can lead to deformity of the ears and even deafness.
Some ear problems occur due to excessively high temperature and high level of humidity. The inside area of the ear proves to be a perfect setting for the growth of yeast and bacteria. This can cause a number of adverse symptoms, including ears that are itchy, swollen, smelly, sore and painful.
Other causes of canine ear inflammation/infection can be fly or other insect bites, wounds from animal fights, ticks, polyps, tumours of the wax-producing glands in the ear canal or other forms of cancer of the ear. Ear tissues can also be damaged by a dog’s nails, as they try to relieve itching by vigorous scratching. The main symptom of any kind of ear infection is frequent head shaking and constant itching.

Dr. Aradhana

Dr. Aradhana

Breed-specific ear problems…
Dogs with long, low-set and low-hanging ears such as the Cocker Spaniel, Bassett Hound and Bloodhound tend to develop various types of ear infections. Dr Aradhana Pandey, a specialist in canine clinical medicine, pet grooming, pet nutrition and behaviour, adds that ear infections and inflammations are also common in dogs with narrow ear canal like Pugs. For breeds who have erect ears like German Shepherd, getting water in their ears while bathing is a common problem which can later lead to discomfort.
While, Dr Pavan Kumar from Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru, adds that German Shepherd has a higher risk of ‘otitis externa’ as compared to other breeds; Basset Hound and Cocker Spaniel have higher risk of ear haematoma, whereas White Boxer and Dalmatian
are seen in a large number of incidences of deafness.
Ear problems…
Apart from these parasitic and allergic infections, the other ear problems include: canine vestibular syndrome, masses within the ear, haematoma
and otitis.
Canine Vestibular Syndrome: This disorder usually occurs in old dogs, but there can be cases where

Dr Neelima

Dr Neelima

even the young and middle-aged dogs can get affected by it. Canine Vestibular Syndrome (CVS) is a condition which develops due to inflammation of the nerves connecting the cerebellum (part of the brain) to the inner ear. According to Dr Aradhana, the dogs suffering from this disorder tilt their head in one direction that may vary from a slight tilt to complete head bending that can lead to sudden loss of balance. The main symptoms include balance problems, vomiting and difficulty in eating or drinking.
As cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls balance, some dogs are unable to stand properly due to loss of balance. Nausea and Nystagmus (rhythmic eye motion) are also common symptoms. Some dogs can also face problem in eating and drinking from their bowls because of balancing problems.
Dr Neelima Paranjpe, surgeon, and leading vet consultant from Mumbai, adds that CVS can occur in two ways. First being the peripheral way, which is more common and the second being the central. Since this problem affects a nerve, the effect can be seen at either ends of the nerve. If it is peripheral, it affects the inner and the middle ear and if it is central then the effect is mainly seen at the other end of the nerve. Talking about the detection procedure, Dr Neelima suggested that MRI (Magnetic Resonant Imaging) is the best way to detect this problem as it gives effective results and the accuracy
is also high.
On asking upon how severely does it affect the canine and what are the chances of a dog to fully recover from CVS, Dr Aradhana replies that the recovery totally depends on the severity of the damage that has been done to the brain. If the damage to the brain is minimal then recovery may occur quickly. If the damage is severe, recovery may not occur at all. In cases when dogs do not recover fully from vestibular syndrome, they normally have a good life. They adjust to residual problems like head tilts and do not seem to be bothered at all by them. She also says that in her practice she has most commonly encountered CVS in Pugs.
Masses Within the Ear: This disorder can be caused by a benign or cancerous growth within the ear. The cause of the development of the mass is generally not known. Often these masses can lead to impaired hearing, irritation, infection, or neurological problems.
Haematoma: It usually occurs when a dog continually shakes his ears to try to get rid of the itching and irritation caused by mites. Due to excessive head shaking, sometimes the tissues get damaged, blood leaks into the tissues and a haematoma type bubble appears on the ear. Speaking to Dr Neelima Paranjpe, we found that Haematoma is nothing but collection of blood within the ear. She explained that there is a layer of cartilage which is made up of a number of capillaries, between the external layer of the skin and the internal layer. Due to extensive shaking of head or constant rigorous movement these capillaries break and as a result blood starts oozing out. The blood starts collecting between the skin and the cartilage, which cannot be seen by the pet parent. In simple words it can also be termed as haemorrhage.
Dr Neelima suggests two ways to treat the problem of Haematoma. The first one being surgery, wherein the internal wound is cut open in a surgical process. The healing takes about 10 to 15 days. The problem with the surgery is that the pet parent has to take extra care of the pet post surgery. Dogs tend to shake their head and get irritated with the stitches and as a result keep itching or scratching their ears. The second option is homeopathy treatment. The treatment takes up to two months to completely heal the ear but the best part is that this method of treatment is totally pain free. The patients who adjust to the extra weight in the ear due to collection of blood are given this form of treatment whereas the ones who tend to become uncomfortable with the added weight are treated surgically.
Otitis: Otitis means inflammation of ear (redness, pain, swelling, heat and loss of function). It causes the ear to become inflamed as a result of a food allergy, plant allergy or an allergic reaction to a parasite such as an ear mite or sarcoptic mange mite. The most common causes of Otitis inflammation are allergies, yeast/bacterial/fungal infections, parasites and stenosis. Depending on which part of the ear is affected it is referred as Otitis Externa (external ear), Otitis Media (middle ear) and Otitis Interna (internal ear).

Easy ear care tips…

  • Make sure you take extra care while cleaning your dog’s ears and do not insert any foreign body or any sharp object into their ears.
  • Do not pour any solution into the ear canal without consulting the vet.
  • If you want to clean the ears at home, always use a cotton ball and the solution suggested by the vet.
  • Be very patient and gentle, because even a little carelessness can lead to serious damage to your pet’s ears.
  • It is a good option to get some help if your pet is really active and is not cooperating.
  • You can also get your pooch’s ears cleaned by a professional.
  • Keep the sessions short so as not to stress out the pet.
  • Treat your pet after he cooperates with you in the cleaning session.
  • If the ear drops are prescribed, learn the technique to put them from your vet.
  • After you give ear drops you should always give some treats to your pet, so that he does not fear the next session and cooperates with you.

(With inputs from Dr Aradhana Pandey, Doggy World, New Delhi; Dr Pavan Kumar, Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru and Dr Neelima Paranjpe, Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai.)

Dog Health Problems – Common Health Problems of Dog

Your dog may live a long and healthy life, and never experience any health problems. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common canine health concerns so that if he should develop a problem, you will know what to do. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common complaints your dog may face, and what you can do about them.

Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including grass, flea bites and, less commonly, food. Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems – although food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. If you see your dog scratching, licking, and biting himself, take him to your vet to diagnose the problem. Your vet can recommend treatment products and procedures, and you may also need to keep your dog away from allergy-causing substances.

Diarrhoea: There are two types of diarrhoea that dogs experience: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhoea strikes suddenly and doesn’t last long. It is often caused by food allergies, infection, or if your dog eats food from the garbage can. Acute diarrhoea can be managed without too much trouble. However, with diarrhoea, there is always a risk of dehydration, so you will have to ensure that your dog takes in enough water, even if he’s not eating. A day of fasting, followed by a special, bland diet should restore his health. Call your vet if the diarrhoea continues, or if your dog has a fever, abdominal pain, starts vomiting or seems depressed.

Chronic diarrhoea is a longer-term problem that is often caused by an illness such as Colitis or pancreatic problems. Your vet will need to diagnose the problem and direct the treatment.

Ear problems: Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and they can cause a bacterial infection or inflammation. If your dog has ear mites, he may excessively shake or tilt his head. Your vet can easily diagnose ear mites – they leave behind a distinctive brown discharge – and prescribe anti-mite eardrops. You will have to administer the drops at home for four-to-six weeks. It takes some persistence to get rid of these parasites.

Ear infections are also common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. If your dog has an ear infection, he may scratch his ears or shake his head. Treatment consists of a visit to your vet, who will clean out his ears with a special solution, and may prescribe antibiotics.

Fleas: Fleas can cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They are difficult to spot and are usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt – black flakes or specks. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas. However, even if he doesn’t scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. To rid your dog of fleas, treatment will consist of a flea control program that includes treating his environment -your vet can recommend the appropriate flea control program.

Obesity: Excess weight creates a high risk for medical problems and can shorten a dog’s life. Obesity is probably the most common nutritional disease among adult dogs. It is estimated that 40% are overweight. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his ribs with the flat of your hand. If you can only feel the ribs with difficulty, your dog probably needs to lose weight.

Occasionally, underlying dog health problems can make a dog overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more common causes of excess weight. If your dog is overweight, take him to the vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet will set a target weight for your dog and select a proper diet. You will also need to give your dog regular exercise.

Worms: They are a common problem for dogs health and must be controlled for his safety and yours. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Although they may not seem to cause your dog problems, worms can stress his immune system, cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and, in rare cases, spread to people. A preventive program of regular worming should be a part of your dog’s health routine.

The good news is that there are more ways than ever to eliminate worms and other internal parasites, and your vet is your best resource for treatment. A thorough worming program includes flea control because fleas may carry tapeworm eggs. Some heartworm medications also prevent intestinal parasites.

The road to health Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information on common health concerns in dogs. Your dog may never experience any of these conditions – and he certainly won’t experience them all at once. However, if you are prepared, you will be better able to give your dog the care and attention he will need. After all, he deserves your help in achieving the best health possible because of all the warmth and companionship he brings to your life. And if your dog is healthier and happier, both of you will have more time together – and that makes it all worthwhile!

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/1111-common-health-concerns

Is salt really bad for dogs?

It is assumed that salt products are bad for dogs, causing problems such as high blood pressure or kidney failure or even skin diseases and hair fall. But, is salt really bad for dogs?

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/764-is-salt-really-bad-for-dogs

Diet for the moms-to-be and new moms

Diet during pregnancy…

The average duration of pregnancy in the she-dog is 63 days, but her energy requirements do not increase appreciably until the last third of gestation when most foetal weight gain occurs. It is important, therefore, to avoid overfeeding in early pregnancy, since this will lead to the deposition of unwanted fat and may predispose her to problems at whelping. A gradual increase in food allowance over the second half of gestation is all that is required and a satisfactory regimen would be to increase the amount of food by 15 percent of the dog’s maintenance ration each week from the fifth week onwards. At the time of whelping, she will be eating 60 percent more than when she was mated.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/177-diet-for-the-moms-to-be-and-new-moms-

Caring for the pearly whites

Just like people, dogs need to have their teeth brushed and cleaned. But the fact is, probably the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. Regular veterinary dental cleaning along with specially designed pet toothbrushes and toothpaste and chew snacks designed to eliminate plaque, can help reduce build-up.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/75-caring-for-the-pearly-whites

Unquestionable benefits of neutering

Changes in sexual behaviour – About twice a year, when females come on heat, males and females are strongly attracted to each other and show great ingenuity in finding ways to get together and mate. This behaviour is highly likely to lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Figures also show increased risks of straying and car traffic accidents at this time. Neutering a female dog stops her having seasons and so rules out the risk of her having a litter. Remember that some can have over 10 puppies! As for castrated males, they will no longer be attracted by surrounding on-heat females and will tend to display less territorial urine marking.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/299-unquestionable-benefits-of-neutering

Common signs of aging

Your eight-year-old Toy Poodle is still hyper, fit, and happy, while your six-year-old St. Bernard is beginning to lag. Why? A dog’s breed and many other lifestyle factors affect whether or not your dog is actually a senior.

There are common signs of aging to look for, to determine whether your dog is a senior:

Moving more slowly: Like humans, dogs can develop orthopaedic problems, like arthritis, that are more common in older pets. If your dog is taking longer to get up or has problems with stairs, take him to the vet to determine the cause and talk about medications that can make him more comfortable.

Your dog is thinner or fatter: A dog’s metabolism will naturally slow down as he ages, and he may be exercising less now. Dental problems can cause weight loss if it’s painful for your dog to eat. In either case, see your vet to rule out serious problems and to find out how to adjust his diet and exercise schedule to something more age-appropriate.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/556-common-signs-of-aging

Obesity in the Dog

What is obesity?

Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat at the adipose storage areas of the body leading to increased body weight above the optimal physiological weight. Dogs weighing 15-20% or more than his optimal physiological weight are overweight; over 30% they are obese. Unfortunately, one dog in four is overweight and obesity is a rapidly growing phenomenon.

We have to be particularly careful with neutered dogs whose energetic need reduce by 30% as soon as the day after the surgery. We also need to be careful with very sedentary dogs and with some breeds known for their tendency to put on weight, like the Labrador Retriever for instance.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/604-obesity-in-the-dog

Taking Care of your Dog’s Ears..

Dogs have great ears. Your dog can hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies and at a greater distance than you. Unfortunately, dogs pay a price for their superior hearing abilities. A dog’s ear design contributes both to his advanced hearing and to many ear problems he may experience. Ear mites, infections and aural hematoma are the most common conditions. Read on to discover the symptoms of ear disorders in dogs and how to prevent and treat them.

Ear mites

Also called ear mange, ear mites (otodectes cynotis) are tiny crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals, and sometimes on the body of dogs. They feed on earwax and other secretions in the ear canal. Ear mites do not usually bite, but they can cause a bacterial infection or severe inflammation in your dog’s ears.

Symptoms: If your dog is suffering from ear mites, you may find he excessively shakes or tilts his head; or rubs and scratches his ears. You may also notice hair loss around his ears or odor emanating from within his ear canal. To check for ear mites, look inside your dog’s ears for a thick, dark brown substance. Mites can sometimes be seen as small, white moving dots.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/608-taking-care-of-your-dogs-ears

dog health

Thyroid problems – canines get affected too!

Hypothyroidism is one of the endocrine disorders in dogs that can be quite challenging to diagnose but is easy to treat. Here’s more on this canine disorder.

Hypothyroidism is a clinical condition that results from inadequate production and release of dog healthtetraiodothyronine (levothyroxine, T4) and tri-iodothyronine (liothyronine, T3) by the thyroid gland and characterised by a generalised decrease in cellular metabolic activity.

Treatment of hypothyroidism is more likely to succeed if there is good compliance with the dosing regimen. Canine hypothyroidism can be challenging to diagnose but can be managed successfully and easily with replacement therapy.

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones which have a number of functions in the body and are particularly critical in maintaining your pet’s metabolic rate. Any change in the functioning of this gland can have varied effects on your pet’s health. In some animals, the function of the thyroid gland may become compromised and decrease as your pet ages or due to inflammation of the gland.

Although hypothyroidism (decreased functioning of the thyroid) is not a life-threatening condition, it can certainly decrease your dog’s or cat’s quality of life.

Pet parent’s role

Pet owners play a crucial role in the successful management of canine hypothyroidism. Your attitude will largely determine your dog’s response to treatment.

Watch out for…

Here are a few symptoms of hypothyroidism in pets, where pet parents should pay immediate attention:

  • Gain of weight without any change in their diet.
  • Many become lethargic and seem to lack energy.
  • Hair loss or excessive shedding, and dry or lusterless haircoat.
  • Excessive scaling & hyper-pigmentation.
  • Constipation and cold intolerance.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Infertility.

Management & treatment of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in pets is conventionally treated by administering a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormones. This can often restore healthy thyroid functioning very effectively.

One of the main problems with synthetic thyroid hormones, however, is that they may result in too much thyroid hormone in the body, resulting in hyperthyroidism. This is because it is often difficult to determine exactly how much of the synthetic hormones are needed for optimal thyroid functioning.

For this reason, periodic blood tests for thyroid hormones are absolutely necessary for the exact dosing of Synthetic Thyroid Hormone.

Monitoring treatment

Your veterinarian will need to monitor T4 levels in your dog periodically during the course of treatment. This requires taking a blood sample and measuring the amount of T4 in the blood. After starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy, your veterinarian will usually evaluate peak blood T4 levels every four weeks, 4-6 hours after treatment administration until the correct dose is determined. Once the correct dose is determined, your veterinarian will measure peak T4 levels about every three months.

After about one month of treatment, a blood sample must be taken for analysis of thyroxine (T4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). If the dose is changed, a blood sample is usually taken about four weeks later to check that this dose is suitable. Once your dog’s condition is stable, he should be re-checked at least every three months.

(The author is managing director, Myvets Integrated Solutions Pvt Ltd, with a vision for developing excellent veterinary heath care and related services in India for pets and exotic animals.)

Tackling teenage problems

At around six months old, most dogs reach an awkward adolescent stage (although with some dogs this can occur right up to their second year). Everything you taught your dog seems to be forgotten: he won’t come when you call or even think of obeying the commands “sit” or “down”. Here’s how to tackle it.

The psyche…

During this time, the young dog is attempting to assert his rank, just to see whether he can get to be the boss. At this stage you will probably need to do a lot of obedience training to put your young dog in his place. Praise is very important and even an older dog should be congratulated when they do something right.

A dog expects a hierarchy within the family similar to that he would experience in a pack. So don’t allow him to get away with too much. You should suppress even the first signs of aggression with suitable measures as soon as they manifest themselves. Although it might be very cute to watch your puppy aggressively defend his bone – this sort of behaviour may be difficult to cure once he’s several months old, and might even be dangerous if you have a big dog.

Eating habits…

No dog is naturally aggressive. A dog who acts aggressively against humans has not profited from important training measures during the first months of his life. For example, you should only feed your dog when you have already eaten and avoid giving him anything from your own plate. In the pack the highest ranking dog will only let others eat when he himself is satisfied. Thus, when your dog gets his food before you eat, he will think he’s the boss.

The training…

Try taking your puppy’s bowl away some times when he’s eating, or encourage him to give up chewing bones or playthings as well without complaining. If he growls or even wants to bite, you have to react rigorously. Put your dog into “place” or lay him on his side. Hold him down gently with your hand over his neck. Only when your puppy surrenders and relaxes (this can take several minutes in the beginning) should you let go. Speak comforting to him during this time. This dominant soothing, as it is called, can be used any time when he is misbehaving, for example, when he lifts his lips, or growls whilst being groomed. This method of discipline won’t hurt your dog if carried out correctly. Indeed it is similar to the behaviour a higher ranking dog in the pack would show to put a younger dog in his place. Let the puppy get up only when you think it is right–even if he begins to struggle.

Gripping the dog’s mouth with your hand is also a gesture of dominance among dogs and serves to strengthen your position. It must be clear to all members of the family, that the dog is the last one in the family hierarchy. In order to quell your puppy’s first ambitions to climb up in hierarchy he should be forbidden to sit on the sofa for example, or to sleep in the bed, unless you explicitly allow him to do so.

“Mating” the legs of family members is another behavioural trait which is often misunderstood. It is not a sign of mislead sexual behaviour, but a sign of dominance. Even female dogs show this behaviour with dogs of a lower rank. You should never tolerate this behaviour, particularly not with children. If it occurs more often, you should demonstrate your dominance to the dog by laying him on his side and holding him as described earlier. Start these measures early – it is best to begin just after he has got used to the new home.

Consistency the key

If you start a consistent training programme, your little puppy will grow up to be a charming and well behaved dog. You only show him his place in the hierarchy. It is in his nature to keep trying to achieve a higher rank. And it is your task to prevent this from the start.

No negative approach…

The notion that dogs must be put into their place by means of beating has long since been regarded as outdated. Dogs who are beaten tend to be anxious and might well bite through fear. They lose confidence in people. You will achieve more with consistency and praise – and of course love! You should also consider that it is not only the dog who is the pupil – we as owners also have much to learn.

Say bye bye to body tension and behaviour problems

Even the most established behaviour problems can be resolved through the Tellington TTouch, which helps in releasing tension from the body…thereby diminishing the behaviour problems. Come let’s know more about this wonder touch.

Did you know a dog who carries tension through the hindquarters is more likely to be sensitive to noise and dog healthlack of confidence than a dog who has free movement through the hind quarters. Tension in the lower back triggers the flight/fight reflex and tension through the neck can result in dog who is collar shy or overly reactive to other animals and people. TTouch on Monty helps him become more confident with people – his owner Jo did some bodywork first and now Monty is happy to be handled by a different person.

The Tellington TTouch…

The Tellington TTouch Method looks at the link between an animal’s posture and his behaviour. It used to be one of the best-kept secrets in the world but fortunately awareness is increasing and there are now over one thousand practitioners working in 27 different countries. Developed by animal expert Linda Tellington Jones more than thirty years ago, it is used by trainers who work with dogs in all spheres including service, competition and family dogs. It is now also used by veterinarians, dog walkers, groomers, shelter helpers, behaviour counselors, veterinary nurses and dog lovers worldwide.

How it works…

By using a combination of TTouch bodywork and on leash ground exercises, tension can be released from the body and as a result associated behaviours naturally diminish. TTouch combines well with other positive techniques such as Clicker Training and can produce some truly outstanding results in even the most established behaviours. TTouch helps educate the dog and encourage him make appropriate choices that enable him to adapt to life with their human companions.

Types of TTouches…

The three basic TTouches that are probably used most commonly include Clouded Leopard, Llama, and Chimp TTouch. The TTouches are all named after animals who inspired the work and help create a visual image of the different movements or hand positions used.

Clouded Leopard TTouch: The Clouded Leopard is the foundation for all the circular TTouches. Visualise a watch face on the dog’s body approximately half an inch in diameter with six being the lowest point. With one hand lightly holding the lead, supporting the collar, or resting on the dog’s body, place the fingers of your other hand at six on your imaginary watch face. With your fingers in a softly curved position, like a paw, push the skin around the clock in a clockwise circle. Maintain an even pressure all the way round, on past six until you reach eight. At eight, pause for a few seconds and if the dog is relaxed, move to another spot and repeat the movement.

Handy tips for Clouded Leopard TTouch:

  • It is important to make only one-and-a-quarter circles each time on any one spot and to ensure that your fingers are pushing the skin in a circle rather than sliding over the hair.
  • When you make a circle rest your thumb lightly against the body to steady the hand.
  • Move your first, second and third fingers as one to ensure that the little finger ‘goes along for the ride’.
  • If you tense the joints in your fingers or wrist, the whole movement will become stiff.
  • Allow your fingers to relax and move in the rotation.
  • Practice doing the circular movements on the back of your hand to help soften your hands and give you a sense of how the TTouch differs from other body work.
  • It is important to make sure your circles are really round and that they are made in one smooth, flowing movement. As you work, remember to breathe.
  • Concentration can cause us to hold our breath, which stiffens our body and affects the TTouch.
  • You can do the Clouded Leopard TTouch over the whole dog altering your hand position where necessary around the contours of the body to ensure the movement remains fluid and relaxed.

The Llama TTouch: Nervous dogs or those who are protective about being touched on certain parts of their body may find contact with the back of the hand less threatening. Keep your fingers soft and gently stroke the dog’s muzzle and body with the back of your fingers. You can also try the one a quarter circular movements with this TTouch.

Chimp TTouch: This TTouch is particularly useful for nervous dogs. Make a soft open fist and use the area between the first and second joints on the back of the fingers to move the skin. Keep the fingers together and the hand soft.

Different strokes…

The TTouches break down into three groups: circles, slides and lifts. They can be used on any dog regardless of his age and can help older dogs by improving mobility, thus reducing the effects of old age upon his body.

My dog does not like circular movements: If your dog doesn’t settle with the circular TTouches:

  • Lighten the pressure. Most people are amazed at how light this work is once they experience it on themselves.
  • Move in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Lightly brush your fingertips over the dog as though you were flicking dust from his face or body. If he settles, add the occasional circle.
  • Slow down the movement.
  • Cover your hand with a sheepskin mitt.

Ear Slides: Ear Slides is really a useful tool that every dog owner should learn. Besides helping to release tension around the base of the ears, the forehead, and upper part of the neck, ear slides can help dogs overcome a variety of issues and can even save lives.

Holding the ear gently but firmly, stroke the ear from the base right out to the tip. If the ear hangs down you work from the base down, and if the dog has upright ears, you work from the base up to the tip. Move the position of your hand each time to ensure that the whole ear is covered with the strokes. Work gently but with intent. If you are too tentative, you may make your dog nervous, particularly if he is ear shy. Working the shock point by making circular movements on the tip of the ear with the finger and thumb is beneficial for dogs who have had a traumatic experience, have cold tips to their ears and/or are habitually nervous.

The speed with which you work will vary on the dog’s response and situation. To calm a nervous or hyperactive dog and to promote relaxation, work quite slowly. If your dog is unsure, start by working more quickly initially and then gradually slow the movements as the dog settles. If you are working with a dog who is fatigued, or wanting to help bring a dog round from sedation, work a little more quickly.

It reduces stress, initiates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowers the heart rate and respiration, promotes deep, rhythmical breathing which boosts the immune system, and can stabilize a dog who is fatigued, stressed or going into or already in a state of shock. It promotes relaxation and can be done during training and before and after competitions to calm and settle the dog. It can be used during whelping if the female dog becomes distressed and can be used to help warm a cold and exhausted pup.

If your dog doesn’t like Ear Slides:

  • Stroke the ear gently against the dog’s neck. Some dogs find having the ear touch their own body initially more acceptable.
  • Cover your hand with a glove, or sheepskin buff.
  • Hold the ear near the base and very gently take the ear slightly out to the side, pause for a moment and then slowly guide it back.
  • Try other exercises and also exercises for the neck and mouth.

Benefits galore…

  • TTouch gives beneficial information to the nervous system and is particularly useful for puppies and the simple bodywork exercises help develop a unique and lasting bond between dogs and their handlers.
  • It also works well alongside appropriate veterinary care to help dogs suffering from health related issues such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, reluctance to eat and so on.
  • The groundwork and bodywork exercises add variety to training and improve balance, co-ordination and self-control.
  • TTouch can be used to help dogs overcome a fear of contact, to reduce stress, timidity and over excitability, to help a dog overcome a fear of loud noises and to improve traveling issues.
  • It also helps reduce leash pulling, excessive barking, and separation anxiety and so on.

In fact, there is no situation that cannot be helped by TTouch.

(For more information on TTouch visit the www.ttouchtteam.co.uk and www.ttouch.com)