Puppies often struggle to behave in a calm manner in an environment with exciting noises, sights and smells. Making use of clicker training and TTouch methods will assist with calming your puppy.
TTouch gives valuable information through the nervous system of your puppy.
You always want to set your puppy up for success. Teach your puppy to be calm and create distance from the distraction or the high activity. Go and sit somewhere with your puppy where you will be able to enjoy watching the world go by. On your walks make time to just sit down and simply observe the environment. This exercise is to teach your puppy to be patient. It is also a good way to take time out from excitement in the park. Find a bench or grass area where you can sit with your puppy quietly. While sitting make use of body handling techniques, this will help your puppy to stay engaged with you as the handler while watching other dogs and people passing. Clicker training can also be used to focus your puppy’s attention onto you as the handler.
You want to gradually build up the time that you and your puppy are able to sit quietly. The body handling techniques can be used to improve the puppy’s concentration and ability to learn. The speed with which you will work on your puppy will be dependent on the puppy’s response to the touch and the situation you are in. If you need to calm your puppy from being nervous or hyperactive you will work slowly. If your puppy becomes unsure or tired you will start with quicker touch movements and slow it down.
TTouch consists of three groups:
- LiftsEar Work (Sliding)1-Your puppy can be standing or sitting when you hold the ear firmly but gently. Stroke the ear from the base to the tip. With the Labrador and Golden Retriever puppies their ears hang down, so work in a downwards direction.
2-Make sure you stroke the whole ear by changing your hand position for each stroke. Make sure you work gently but with intent. If your puppy is ear-shy; being too tentative can make your puppy nervous.
3-On the tip of the ear there is a spot which is called the “shock point”. Work with circular motions with your fingers and thumb. This is very beneficial for nervous puppies.
Clouded Leopard (Circular Foundation)
1-Imagine a clock face of 1cm in diameter on your puppy’s body. Take 6 o’clock as the lowest point to start. With one hand holding lightly on the collar and lead, with the other hand doing the circular work on your puppy’s skin.
2-The hand that is used for the work makes sure the fingers are slightly curved position like a paw. Apply light pressure on the skin and work in a clockwise motion for one and a quarter circles. Even pressure needs to be maintained. Once the one and quarter circle has been made stop and keep applying the pressure for a few seconds. Move to another spot and repeat.
3-Be sure not to slide over the hair but push the skin. Make sure that your puppy is relaxed before moving onto the next spot. This can be done all over your puppy’s body. Remember to breathe so that you are relaxed and portraying that energy to your puppy.
4-If your dog dislikes this method you can move the skin anti-clockwise instead.
Zig Zags (Slides)
1-Your puppy can be standing or sitting or lying down. Resting your fingers on the shoulders of your puppy; zigzag your hand along the back while spreading your fingers apart as you move your hand away from you and bringing your fingers back together as you move your hand back towards you.
2-Light contact needs to be kept, making sure that enough pressure is applied to not tickle your puppy.
3-Switch sides and repeat the exercise.
Mouth Work (Slides)
1-Standing or sitting next to your puppy facing away from you, make use of your one hand to support your puppy’s head.
2-While supporting your puppy’s head, stroke the muzzle and side of the face with the back of your hand first then use the inside of your hand to stroke. If your puppy turns around to look at you, stop with the handling
3-If your puppy is nervous you can make use of a soft texture like sheepskin mitt or soft brush.
4-If your puppy is relaxing continue work around the jaw muscles and with a circular motion move towards the upper lip.
5-While working on the lip, slide one fingertip under the lip and rub the gums. If your puppy has a dry mouth make your finger wet.
6-If your puppy is fine with the handling, work both gums. You can switch hands to work on the other side of the mouth.
Making use of clicker training you can do basic obedience exercises with your puppy to focus the puppy on you as the handler.
To conclude it is important to have a good relationship with your puppy, your hands communicate a lot to your puppy so keep your touches positive. Your touch calms your puppy down. Your touch will reduce your puppy’s heart rate and if your puppy is experiencing stress levels it will drop. Your touch is the most important factor to keep a good social relationship. Use your hands wisely.