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13.   EVENTS
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Hello TTouch Friends,

Are you finding this February month as cold as I am? With all the rain, the temperatures have really gone down. Some of you may be finding that your older animals are not getting out of bed as easily. There are some great products on the market for Joint Support and things like Arthritis, HD and Spondylosis.  Ask your Vet for a suggestions.

Our Client Mornings with Linda Tellington Jones will take place next month, so if you haven’t yet booked, do so ASAP as there are only a couple of spaces left. It’s a dynamite offer at R120 for the morning or only R60 as an observer.

As most of you know Linda Tellington Jones is the creator of the TTouch Method. She is one of the most inspirational people I’ve met and worked with. Everyone can have this opportunity at either the client mornings with dogs (March 28 & 29th) or at the Horse Demo on April 5th. Give us a shout at info@ttouch.co.za if you are interested in either.

Capetonians, note that I hope to give a weekend dog workshop in Cape Town in May. We often get mail from you about courses down there. Well this is your chance; so do take advantage of it! You can contact us on 011 884 3156 if you’re interested.

I had a very interesting visit with the Vet this month and found out that Shanti, my German Short-Haired Pointer has bad Spondylosis as well as problems from her tail docking as a puppy. You can read all about it under “Shanti & Friends Update

We are now almost finished with the 6-week TTouch and Clicker Classes. It’s amazing how fast it goes! It’s been great to have so many people interested in the TTouch work and it’s even more of a boost to see how the dogs change is such a short time. Yesterday, we had a horrific thunderstorm in the middle of the class and all of the dogs that were terrified of thunder coped extremely well! So well-done to those owners who have been working on their dogs for the last 5 weeks!

Warmest Regards,

Eugenie Chopin

Certified Practitioner III for Companion Animals


If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...  

TTACT IV will have its first Intro Oct. 1-5, 2009

If you are interested in this program and want to get started, we recommend a weekend workshop or weekly class. This will give you a taste of the work to see how it can affect your own pets. We are taking Pre-Registration forms now and will start asking for deposits very shortly For you Capetonians and others around the country, this is well worth your while to travel!

The training runs over 3 years, with 2-week long sessions per year lasting between 5 & 7 days. The first Introductory Session will take place October 01-05, 2009. You do NOT need to have any previous experience to join this training. However, you might like to join a workshop before then if you are keen to start. Having a basic knowledge can help you retain more of the Intro training, but again this is not necessary for you to be part of the TTACT IV class. If you are interested in a workshop, please go to our website at www.ttouch.co.za and have a look at the workshop page.

After the Introductory Session and between sessions, students are encouraged to assist at workshops for further experience and do case studies. The program comprises only 2 sessions a year in order to help students with their finances and the need to get time off work. The workshops are scheduled to include a weekend in order to make it as convenient as possible.

The Program is a comprehensive training of hands on work with Companion Animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, etc.


We endeavour to help the student to be proficient and confident in the TTouch work. To this end we have a program that we believe gives a steady hands on experience for the best results. That includes such things as:

·        After session 2, the TTouch student is required to do 5 case studies between each session, 15 in total. This is to ensure that the student is doing and experiencing the work as well as getting feedback on what they are doing.

·        After session 2, each student receives a Mentor who is available to help him with these case studies and any question he might have about how to handle a particular situation.

·        At session 2, we begin to take students to a Shelter to work on both cats and dogs. This is to give you an opportunity to experience as many different animals as possible. It also allows us to give back something to the animal community. (Please note that if anyone has an objection to going into the shelter, and we realize that it is hard for some, there is no obligation. There is always an alternative to work with the kennel or your own animals instead.)

·        At session 3, we start to introduce Client Days. This is a morning where we set up Clients and their dogs for you to help in a safe and supported environment.

·        In general, the course is very much a hands on training giving you a great variety of experience with as many animals as possible so that at the end of 6 modules you feel confident to handle the clients and cases that come your way.

·        TTACT students are encouraged to assist at workshops given by fully Certified Practitioners. This is a great learning experience and invaluable to the learning process.

·        The TTouch office and Guild is always here to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any needs!

·        Our Instructors all come from overseas and are the best in the world. One of the beauties of this program is that the same people teach it worldwide and so the information doesn’t get filtered down through many hands. The Instructors include Linda Tellington Jones (creator of TTouch), Robyn Hood (Linda’s sister and brilliant teacher), Edie Jane Eaton (also a Feldenkrais Practitioner) & Debby Potts (teacher par excellence).

·        This program is about helping you communicate with animals, giving people an alternative method of working with both animals and people, our human relationship with the animal world and giving you the tools to do all of these things. The program is dynamic, creative and yet very practical so that the work is clear and easy to understand.

At the end of 2 years, if you have done your case studies, you will acquire the Status of Practitioner–In–Training and are then able to charge for one-on-one consultations with clients.

Please contact Eugenie if you are interested in more information at eugenie@ttouch.co.za

TTACT III, session 5 – March 26 – 31, 2009 with Linda Tellington-Jones (limited to TTACT III students)

TTACT III, session 6 – September 24-29, 2009 with Robyn Hood (limited to TTACT III student

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.






Donnybrook Stables Johannesburg
5 Day TTEAM with Linda





Lindy equibalance@iafrica.com

 083 616 0577

Donnybrook Stables Johannesburg
Morning Demo with Linda Tellington-Jones

April 5, 2009

09:45 – 12:00


Lindy equibalance@iafrica.com

 083 616 0577

Donnybrook Stables Johannesburg

5 Day TTEAM with Robyn Hood

Oct. 7-11, 2009

+/- R4200

Lindy equibalance@iafrica.com

 083 616 0577

The 5-day Horse Clinic can be used as one of the 4 Clinics necessary to become a Horse Practitioner. (For more information on How To Become A TTEAM Practitioner go to: www.ttouch.co.za. This clinic is suitable for both professionals & novices alike. This 5-day Clinic includes TTEAM philosophy, bodywork, ground exercises, riding and is also a good overall view of the Horse work.

Learning the TTEAM techniques will help each rider increase communication with their horse, identify and relieve areas of bodily soreness or discomfort, and help solve training blocks while enabling the horse to learn with out fear.

A truly inspirational method for influencing behaviour, health and performance, including the following:

  • Increase your horse’s willingness to learn and ability to perform

  • Identify and alleviate soreness without drugs

  • Train your horse safely, with confidence, even if you are inexperienced in handling horses

  • Overcome resistances without fear, pain or force

  • Enhance healing and speed recovery of injury- related problems

  • Learn ground exercises to improve balance and develop coordination

The TTEAM method provides solid, practical and informative tools to help with:

  • Sore backs

  • Stiffness & stress

  • Nervousness & tension

  • I inconsistent performance, stubbornness & laziness

  • Lameness & unevenness of stride

  • Girthing and saddling-up

  • Resistance to the vet and farrier

  • Bucking & rearing

  • Resistance to grooming, clipping, pulling manes & giving shots

  • Head tossing & tail wringing

  • Biting & kicking

  • Loading 

3A. HORSE DEMO – April 5, 2009

Linda Tellington Jones who is the founder of the work and will give a short to introduce what the work is about. The demo is part of the 5 day TTEAM training. Using these gentle techniques, based on mutual respect - watch how Linda helps horses become the best they can.

Cost:               R160 per person

Date:               Sunday, April 5, 2009 09:45 a.m. until about

                         12:00 p.m.

Venue:            Donnybrook Guest House and Stables, Glenferness,


Booking:        Lindy Dekker at lindy@ttouch.co.za or

                          Tel: 083 616 0577


If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.

An opportunity to spend quality time with your dog and learn new ways to communicate, problem solve or just bond.

Learn how balancing your dog’s Body can influence Balancing the Mind and Emotions!


How do TTouch bodywork, which includes a variety of TTouches

How to read your Dog’s body Language

How to Use a Body Wrap, a wonderful tool for many things including fear of Thunder and Fireworks

To Find the Perfect Equipment for your Pet and How to use it: Sometimes, changing a Harness or Head Collar can make a huge difference to your ability to not only control your dog, but in helping you communicate what it is you want him to do!

To Do Groundwork, for helping dogs balance, learn, improve gait, gain confidence and much more!

How to increase the bond with your pet through mindful interactions

How to Problem Solve your Personal Situations

How to Communicate on many Levels

How you are affecting your Dog’s Life, Confidence and Behaviour






Cape Town


May 16-17


Eugenie@ttouch.co.za or phone

011 884-3156



2 Day Workshop

7 & 8 March 2009


Niki Elliot


082 451 0433

A comprehensive workshop that includes information on the TTouch philosophy of working without dominance and force, observation skills, dog’s body language, many of the TTouches and how and when to use them. Also included is the use of different equipment, including the body wrap, the confidence course and leading and ground work all of which increase a dog’s body awareness leading to increased confidence.

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.

Editor’s Note: Extracted from Staying in TTouch – Practitioner’s Newsletter

Linda’s Note: This is a helpful letter from a German practitioner who has been very successful working with hunting dogs.

Dear Linda

Of course I am happy to help with your question about training a hunting dog. First of all I need to tell you that hunters are not always open to new ideas. They have a very different attitude towards their dogs. The dog is there to work and he has to do the job well and fast. Almost any way to get the job done is acceptable. Most of the training methods have been handed down for decades and they just don’t know any better. To get a foot into the door it is good to show quick results to pique their curiosity.

It is your "fault" that I ended up doing mouth work, ear work and tail work on my rough coated dachshund just before the most difficult of all hunting exercises, much to the dismay of the teacher. It got so bad that he practiced with me secretly without anyone watching, because he was ashamed to be seen by the other 7 hunters. 4 weeks into the training, Fred, who weighs only 6.5 kg, was well ahead of the other dogs in his muscle development. He searched with great concentration and had more endurance and willingness to search. At the big test he was the best dog of the day. He worked the 1.5 km long distance of a blood scented trail that had been set 26 hours before in 25 minutes. The judges couldn’t believe it. How could that happen, especially from a non-hunter female? Some of the hunters asked me secretly how I worked. Step by step I trained other dogs, mostly with young hunters in the beginning. I started with groundwork, mouth work and a body wrap. The results proved our method to be right. On March 31, 2007 I gave a lecture to the top officials of the hunting Club (highest rank). The president of this Club in Germany only works his dog with a body wrap and touches. My trust in the work gave me a lot of strength and the ability to work in this situation.

PS You don’t always have to start with something difficult. When possible I also like to include the clicker to get quick results

Warmest regards


If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.

Does your Dog/cat really want a sibling?

 Animal friends

So what about animal preferences? I’ve put a chapter in my new book about the question of preferences and long-standing, individual attachments between animals, discussing cats and dogs, horses, cattle (surprising, that news), and my own research on wild dolphins. Here’s the opening of that chapter, as my valentine to you:

We are a little presumptuous about individual friendships and preferences among our domestic animals. We assume that because we like each and every animal, they must like each other. A very common complaint of pet owners is that they added a new cat or dog to the household, and friction ensued. These two dogs hate each other. This young cat is pouncing on the old, tired cat with ever-increasing glee. What can the behaviorist or trainer do to stop that? While I sympathize with the issue, I sometimes sympathize more with the pets. Who asked them if they liked this new individual? Perhaps they were never meant to be friends.

Of course our domestic animals can indeed form intense attachments, not just with us (as we perennially hope and assume) but with other animals, both within and across species. Animals, like people, have preferences for other individuals that can only partly be explained by reinforcement, and for which we have no particular evolutionary explanation either.

In about 1985, I acquired my first Border terrier, named Skookum (a Northwest Indian word meaning sturdy and useful, but not beautiful). When Skookum was just a puppy, he spent an afternoon playing with a half-grown German shepherd named Orca. A few months later, Orca and her owner visited my house and Skookum and Orca played again. That was it: two encounters. About three years later, I took Skookum to a lecture by a visiting dog trainer. The room was jammed with people and dogs. Skookum, normally respectably-behaved in public, suddenly went berserk, pulling on his leash, whining, jumping up and down, trying desperately to get me to take him to something across the room.

"Look, it’s Orca, Orca’s here!" Indeed it was Orca. Orca was now a big grown-up search and rescue shepherd, looking very different from her younger self. Alas, she had zero time for him now, but Skookum, in spite of their minimal contact, would never forget her."

Reaching the Animal Mind, New York: Scribner, 2009. Chapter 6 "Attachments."

Reserve a signed copy of Reaching the Animal Mind.

You can insist on good manners; you can’t insist on love. I think we can reinforce friendly behavior among our pets, and thus reduce bickering. I also think we can give them the right to their own preferences. The tired old cat should have an elevated box to retreat to when she doesn’t want to be pestered; the busy young cat should have strenuous targeting games to use up her energy. Dogs may be a pack, but they should all have their own separate places to sleep, and all are entitled to some individual attention and individual downtime as well. Where attachment exists, though, we can at least respect it, and give those friends time together, whenever it’s possible.

Happy clicking,

Karen Pryor

Excerpt from Karen Pryor’s Newsletter - With kind permission from Karen Pryor. Most interesting articles can be found at http://www.clickertraining.com/

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.

Our new classes will begin the last weekend of July and run for 6 weeks.

If you’d like to know more, contact Eugenie on 011 884-3156 or email eugenie@ttouch.co.za

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I would have money and no guilt to go on a real vacation.

Developmental Priorities

Extracted with kind permission from the Dunbars from the Dog Star Daily Website http://www.dogstardaily.com/  

Once you have completed your doggy education and chosen the best possible puppy, you will find there is much to do and little time to do it. Here are your puppy priorities listed in order of urgency and ranked in terms of importance.

1. HOUSEHOLD ETIQUETTE - from the very first day your puppy comes home. Housetraining, chewtoy-training, and teaching your dog alternatives to recreational barking are by far the most pressing items on your puppy’s educational agenda. From day one, employ errorless management teaching programs, comprising confinement schedules plus the liberal use of chewtoys (Kongs, Biscuit Balls, Squirrel Dudes, and sterilized longbones) stuffed with kibble. Simple behavior problems are so easily preventable, yet they are the most common reasons for people’s dissatisfaction with their dogs and the most common reasons for dog euthanasia. Without a doubt, behavior problems are the #1 terminal illness for domestic dogs. Teaching household manners should be your number one priority the first day your puppy comes home. #1 Urgency Rating — Household etiquette is by far the most pressing item on your new puppy’s educational agenda. If you want to avoid annoying behavior problems, training must begin the very first day your puppy comes home. #3 Importance Rating — Teaching household etiquette is extremely important. Puppies quickly become unwelcome when their owners allow them to develop housesoiling, chewing, barking, digging, and escaping problems.

2. HOME ALONE - during the first few days and weeks your puppy is at home. Sadly, the maddening pace of present-day domestic dogdom necessitates teaching your puppy how to enjoy spending time at home alone — not only to ensure your pup adheres to established household etiquette when unsupervised, but more importantly to prevent your puppy from becoming anxious in your absence. Normally, these go hand in hand because when puppies become anxious, they tend to bark, chew, dig, and urinate more frequently. From the outset, and especially during his first few days and weeks in your home, your puppy needs to be taught how to entertain himself quietly, calmly, and confidently. Otherwise he most certainly will become severely stressed when left at home alone. #2 Urgency Rating — Teaching your pup to confidently enjoy his own company is the second most urgent item on his educational agenda. It would be unfair to smother your puppy with attention and affection during his first days or weeks at home, only to subject the pup to solitary confinement when adults go back to work and children go back to school. During the first few days and weeks when you are around to monitor your puppy’s behavior, teach him to enjoy quiet moments confined to his puppy playroom or doggy den. Especially be sure to provide some form of occupational therapy (stuffed chewtoys) for your puppy to busy himself and enjoyably pass the time while you are away. #4 Importance Rating — Preparing your puppy for time alone is extremely important both for your peace of mind (i.e., preventing housesoiling, chewing, and barking problems), and especially for your puppy’s peace of mind. It is absolutely no fun for a pup to be over-dependent, stressed, and anxious.

3. SOCIALIZATION WITH PEOPLE - especially before twelve weeks of age but forever thereafter. Many puppy training programs focus on teaching your puppy to enjoy the company and actions of people. Well-socialized dogs are confident and friendly, rather than fearful and aggressive. Show all family members, visitors, and strangers how to get your puppy to come, sit, lie down, roll over, and enjoy being handled for pieces of kibble. Living with an undersocialized dog can be frustrating, difficult, and potentially dangerous. For undersocialized dogs, life is unbearably stressful. #3 Urgency Rating — Many people think that puppy classes are for socializing puppies with people. Not strictly true. Certainly puppy classes provide a convenient venue for socialized puppies to continue socializing with people. However, puppies must be well socialized toward people before they attend classes at twelve weeks of age. The time-window for socialization closes at three months of age, and so there is some urgency to adequately socialize your puppy to people. During your pup’s first month at home, he needs to meet and interact positively with at least one hundred different people! #2 Importance Rating — Socializing your puppy to enjoy people is vital — second only in importance to your pup learning to inhibit the force of his bite and develop a soft mouth. Socialization must never end. Remember, your adolescent dog will begin to de-socialize unless he continues to meet unfamiliar people every day. Walk your dog or expand your own social life at home.

4. DOG-DOG SOCIALIZATION - between three months and eighteen weeks of age to establish reliable bite inhibition and forever after to maintain friendliness to other dogs. As soon as your puppy turns three months old, it is time to play catch up vis-a-vis dog-dog socialization, time for puppy classes, long walks, and visits to dog parks. Well-socialized dogs would rather play than bite or fight. And well-socialized dogs usually bite more gently, if ever they should bite or fight.#4 Urgency Rating — If you would like to have an adult dog who enjoys the company of other dogs, puppy classes and walks are essential, especially since many puppies have been sequestered indoors until they have been immunized against parvovirus and other serious doggy diseases (by the very earliest at three months of age).#6 Importance Rating — It is hard to rate the importance of dog-dog socialization. Depending on the lifestyle of the owners, dog-friendliness may be an unnecessary or an essential quality. If you would like to enjoy walks with your adult dog, early socialization in puppy classes and dog parks is essential. Surprisingly, though, very few people walk their dogs. Whereas large dogs and urban dogs tend to be walked quite frequently, small dogs and suburban dogs are seldom walked. Regardless of the desired sociability of your adult dog, dog-dog play and especially play-fighting and play-biting during puppyhood are absolutely essential for the development of bite inhibition and a soft mouth. For this reason alone, puppy classes and trips to the dog park are the top priority at three months of age.

5. SIT AND SETTLE DOWN COMMANDS - begin anytime you would like your puppydog to listen to you. If you teach your dog just a couple of commands, they would have to be Sit and Settle Down. Just think of all the mischievous things your puppydog cannot do when he is sitting. #5 Urgency Rating - Unlike socialization and bite inhibition which must occur during puppyhood, you may teach your dog to sit and settle down at any age, so there is no great urgency. However, because it is so easy and so much fun to teach young puppies, why not start teaching basic manners the very first day you bring your puppy home, or as early as four or five weeks if you are raising the litter? The only urgency to teach these simple and effective control commands would be if ever your puppy’s antics or activity level begin to irritate you. Sit or Settle Down will solve most problems.#5 Importance Rating - It is difficult to rate the importance of basic manners. Personally, I like dogs that can enjoy being dogs without being a bother to other people. On the other hand, many people happily live with dogs without any formal training whatsoever. If you consider your dog to be perfect for you, make your own choice. But if you or other people find your dog’s behavior to be annoying, why not teach him how to behave? Indeed, a simple sit prevents the majority of annoying behavior problems, including jumping-up, dashing through doorways, running away, bothering people, chasing his tail, chasing the cat, etc., etc. The list is long! It is so much easier to teach your dog how to act appropriately from the outset, i.e., to teach the one right way (e.g., to sit), rather than trying to punish the dog for the many things that you think he does wrong. Regardless, it would be unfair to get on your dog’s case for bad manners if he is only breaking your rules that he didn’t even know existed.

6. BITE INHIBITION - by eighteen weeks of age. A soft mouth is the single most important quality for any dog. Hopefully, your dog will never bite or fight, but if he does, well-established bite inhibition ensures that your dog causes little if any damage. Socialization is an ongoing process of ever-widening experience and confidence building that helps your pup to comfortably handle the challenges and changes of everyday adult life. However, it is impossible to prepare your puppy for every possible eventuality, and on those rare occasions when adult dogs are badly hurt, frightened, scared, or upset, they seldom call a lawyer or write letters of complaint. Instead, dogs customarily growl and bite, whereupon the level of bite-inhibition-training from puppyhood predetermines the seriousness of the damage. Adult dogs with poor bite inhibition rarely mouth and seldom bite, but when they do, the bites almost always break the skin. Adult dogs with well-established bite inhibition often mouth during play, and should they bite, the bites almost never break the skin because during puppyhood the dog learned how to register a complaint without inflicting any damage.Bite inhibition is one of the most misunderstood aspects of behavioral development in dogs (and other animals). Many owners make the catastrophic mistake of stopping their puppy from mouthing altogether. If a puppy is not allowed to play-bite, he cannot develop reliable bite inhibition. Pups are born virtual biting machines with needle sharp teeth for one reason only — so that they learn their bites hurt before they develop the jaw strength to cause appreciable harm. However, they cannot learn to inhibit the force of their bites if they are never allowed to play-bite and play-fight. Bite inhibition training comprises first teaching the puppy to progressively inhibit the force of his bites until painful puppy play-biting is toned down and transformed into gentle puppy mouthing, and then, and only then, teaching him to progressively inhibit the incidence of his mouthing. Thus the puppy learns that any pressured bite is absolutely unacceptable and that mouthing is by and large inappropriate.#6 Urgency Rating - You have until your puppy is four and a half months old, so take your time to ensure your puppy masters this most important item in his educational curriculum. The more times your puppy bites in play, the safer his jaws will be as an adult since he has had more opportunities to learn that biting hurts. If you are at all worried about your puppy’s biting behavior, seek further advice from a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and enroll in a puppy class immediately, so that your puppy may redirect many of his bites towards other puppies during play sessions and so develop stellar bite inhibition.#1 Importance Rating - Bite inhibition is of crucial importance and by far the single most important quality of any dog, or any animal. Living with a dog that does not have reliable bite inhibition is unpleasant and dangerous. Bite inhibition must be acquired during puppyhood. You must fully understand how to teach your puppy bite inhibition. Attempting to teach bite inhibition to an adolescent or adult dog is often extremely difficult, dangerous, and time-consuming.

Adapted from BEFORE You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Editor’s Note: The generosity of Ian Dunbar allows you to download the entire book from their website at http://www.dogstardaily.com/

 Puppy Socialization Classes:

All classes below are given by TTouch Practitioners or Practitioners in Training and incorporate TTouch in the Handling of puppies.

õ        Blue Hills / Kyalami, Puppy 1 and Older Dogs Sunday Mornings Tersia Kock 082 828 0505 tkock@telkomsa.net.

õ        Brixton / Auckland Park, Puppy classes; contact Candi Moon: furbabies.sanctuary@gmail.com, 079 490 3233, http://www.furbabiestraining.co.za/

õ       Bryanston, Puppy 1&2, Classes Wednesday evening & Saturday afternoon. Private sessions on request. Niki Elliott 082 451 0433 niki@thinkingpets.com

õ        Centurion, Puppy Socialising, Basic Obedience & Clicker Classes, 8-Week Course Weekdays and Weekends.  Heather Whitfield 083 566 7009 mailto:kimh@kti.co.za

õ        Durbanville, Puppy Classes for pups under 4 months. Ongoing: new every 6 weeks. Claire Grobbelaar 021 9790848 or 082 784 7524 Claire.g@mweb.co.za

õ        Heidelberg, Jordaanpark, Every Sunday; contact Ilze van der Walt: zafira.ilze@webmail.co.za or 082 921 4448

õ        Hermanus, Gordon’s Bay, Somerset West Puppy l & ll. Tel 082 490 1650 and e-mail janina@krugerphotography.co.za

 õ       Lyndhurst, Gresswold, Bramley, Kew, Waverley Area, Puppy Socialising, 6 Week courses on Sundays. Nicky Lucka 083-408-1517 lucka@absamail.co.za

õ        Randpark Ridge, Puppy Socialising with Clicker, 7 Week courses on Saturday mornings. Wendy Wilson, 083 336 1761 overthemoon@iafrica.com 

õ        Sandringham, Puppy Socialising, 6 Week courses on Sundays & Weekday evenings ongoing. Kim Heller   082 570 0463 kimh@kti.co.za

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grand kids through college.

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.


HEALTH/BEHAVIOUR: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Wait a Minute, Don’t We Already Know?

Editor’s Note: Written by Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D, and Daniel Estep, Ph.D

Why dogs eat grass has long been the subject of speculation. Some hold it’s a sign of illness, because some dogs vomit after eating grass. Some claim it’s caused by some sort of dietary deficiency, or there is something wrong with the digestive process of grass eaters - such as inadequate digestive enzymes. Others believe it’s caused by some unknown behavioral/medical condition. There’s even disagreement as to whether it’s a normal behavior or not, or a rare fluke that nobody really understands.

Now, Drs. Karen Sueda, Ben Hart and Kelly Cliff of the Veterinary College of the University of California at Davis have moved past idle speculation and studied the question scientifically. They conducted two surveys of dog owners to find out how common the behavior is, and what factors might be associated with it. In the first study of owners bringing their dogs into the Veterinary Teaching Hospital for regular check ups, they found 79% reported their dogs regularly ate grass or other plant material. So although grass eating seems to be fairly common, this doesn’t mean it’s normal or unrelated to illness.

They then surveyed dog owners via the internet who claimed their dogs were regular plant eaters. The authors reported that most of the dogs preferred grasses to other kinds of plants (no jokes about marijuana, please), they rarely showed signs of illness prior to plant eating and rarely vomited afterwards, that it was unrelated to the kind of diet the dog ate, and unrelated to the breed or sex of the dog. Interestingly, it was more common in younger dogs than older dogs, and that when it happened in older dogs, it was more common to see them look sick and vomit afterwards.

The authors conclude that at least some plant eating is normal dog behavior. It only seems to be related to illness in a small percentage of cases, especially in older dogs. As with many behaviors, grass eating may have more than one motivation and have different motivations in different subsets of dogs.

The study by Sueda and her colleagues only looked at correlations, and failed to find evidence to support many of the common ones. However, the study was not designed to determine cause and effect. We still don’t know what causes dogs to eat grass, but we now have information that suggests ideas for further research, such as the apparent link between illness and grass eating in older dogs.

And the dogs were judged as "sick" or "not sick" by their owners. We don’t have any objective evaluation of their health status or diseases owners might not have known about, all of which suggests avenues for additional research. Despite the limitations of survey research the study shows how important it is to gather empirical data to test hypotheses.

If you want to read the study yourself, the reference is: Sueda, K.L.C., Hart, B.L. & Cliff, K.D. 2008. Characterization of plant eating in dogs. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 111, 120-132.

An edited version of this article first appeared in the Rocky Mountain News. Reprinted with permission from www.AnimalBehaviorAssociates.com where you can find more articles, services and products, and subscribe to Pet Behavior One Piece at a Time, a free ezine

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers. I would not talk 'baby talk'. 'Eat your din din'. 'Yummy yummy for the tummy'…

SHANTI & FRIENDS UPDATE: Result of Tail Docking when Shanti was a Pup

I recently had Shanti at the Vet as she had given a serious yelp when I knocked against her tail. Remember she is a Pointer and has only 1/3 of her tail and that part is quite rigid – (normal for a GSP). She did the same yelp a week later when Harley (the puppy) ran into her. When I examined the tail, there was nothing visible, but there was a sensitivity to touch, so I decided a visit to the Vet was in order.

We went to specialist Vet Garry Eckersley who is a great diagnostician. He poked and prodded the tail quite a bit before we took an x-ray. What he found was how badly the tail docking had been done when she was a puppy. It seems that when docking a tail, you need to pull the skin out quite far beyond the cut so that there is ample skin to cover the stub. This was not done in Shanti’s case and the result is a problem near the tip. The second mistake, which even I could note without help, was that the cut went straight through the middle of a vertebra rather that in-between.

These 2 things have caused some permanent problems in the tail, which she now simply has to live with! Thank goodness the Veterinary Association has now banned tail docking. I truly hope there aren’t still breeders doing their own docking, as it’s so much more complicated that I realized.

While I was at the Vet, I decided to discuss something else I’ve noticed with Shanti. I have had for years, stairs up to my bed because of my old boy Danilo who passed on about a year ago. Now I noticed that Shanti tended to use these stairs, but always thought it was simply because they were there. Recently when trying to make more space in the bedroom, I removed the stairs and found that Shanti was sometimes choosing not to get on the bed, or in the mornings, she had to gear herself up for the jump. When I mentioned this to Garry, he said that this is usually caused by something in the back, so we x-rayed the back as well.

And sure enough, she has bad Spondylosis in her spine. It really shows how observing the small things with your animals can give you so much information. If I hadn’t removed the stairs, we probably would have gone a lot longer without the spinal x-ray.

And of course this will also be part of the puzzle of why Shanti has been aggro with Angelique these last few months. One of the things we teach in our TTouch Training, is how much posture, the body and how it feels can influence behaviour. Think yourself of when you’ve been in pain; were you easier or harder to get along with? Were you easily irritable? Were you kind to those around you? Were you patient? Most of us have been snappy at sometime when we weren’t feeling well. It’s natural that animals do the same.

So now Shanti is getting all of the supplements that Danilo received in his old age, but she is much younger – turning only 8 in April. We’ll monitor the condition and do what we can. Needless to say, the stairs are back in the bedroom!

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
My house would not look like a day care centre, toys everywhere.



When I first walked into Bruno’s shelter run many months ago, I was shocked at the level of fear and dread of humans he displayed. For him, being in an enclosed space with a person with nowhere to run was traumatic and frightening. He would either run from one end to the other or cower in the corner. I knew I had the tools to help him and boy, did he need it!

Because I couldn’t touch him with my hand I needed an extension of my arm so I got out my 3 foot white riding whip (actually we refer to it as a wand because of the magic it does) and in a crouched position I proceeded to stroke him with it. Fear and panic welled up in him as he snapped and bit at the wand and tried to press himself into the concrete corner. When the wand wouldn’t go away but yet didn’t cause any pain, he stayed crouched in the corner and stopped running. This was what I was looking for – the moment where perceptions slowly melt and fear makes way for “maybe this is not so bad…..” I don’t remember anymore if it happened that same session or the next one, but very soon I put down the wand and made the first approach with my hand. With Bruno more comfortable behind me, and me sitting on his palette, I reached backwards and, avoiding eye contact, started to do the magical one and a quarter circular movements of the Tellington touch on his body.

During my initail meeting and interaction with Bruno I never got the feeling that he would bite me and to this day that has proved, incredibly, to be true. So it was, with my observer Cicely Blumberg stationed at the door reading his eyes and expressions, and my excited heart pounding in my chest, I started to build a bond and a connection with Bruno through the power of Ttouch. Cicely, reading his expression for me, told me that his eyes had started to melt and soften as he sat quietly for his first ever human contact.

Over the next few weeks with me visiting him once a week I had progressed to the point where, if I crouched on my haunches and made myself small, he would actually come up to me to be touched. I lovingly Ttouched him wherever I could reach and he loved it! Then slowly I progressed to being able to stand up and touch him.

I carried on interacting with him like this for some time and then it felt right that we proceed to the next step which was to get him into a collar and lead. This however proved tricky as he was extremely suspicious of any object I carried in my hand, lead or collar. No amount of concealing it (trust me I thought I was going to become a magician) and trying to sneak it on worked. It only made him run to the corner again.

I had at this time become a full time employee at the shelter and one day I had a brainwave! It was a daring move but I felt confident of his level of trust in me to try this. With the help of staff and Bruno’s long time canine friend Sam we cornered him in a narrow walkway using a palette to block their escape. Of course Sam, who has a wonderful sense of fun and humor, thought it was cool to be so close to the one person he loves most in the world and proceeded to slobber all over me while I tried to brush him off so I could focus on Bruno, who was at this point, you guessed it, cowering in the corner!. With nowhere to run he patiently but yet with a certain amount of real fear allowed me to clip the collar around his neck. After adjusting it we set him free.

In the confines of his run he came to me but out in the open yard he stayed well away. Just another hurdle I was sure we would get over.

About 2 weeks later the day arrived for Bruno’s first walking lesson. I was sure he had never been on a lead before. Again we cornered him and Sam with the palette and I clipped the lead on. I instructed my helpers to move the palette back a couple of centimeters at a time but only when Bruno took a step forwards when I asked him on the lead. Freedom was his reward for coming forward when asked. He did extremely well so the next day I decided to take him out of the yard into another big enclosure where we could walk him for real. Now, you have to understand that Bruno had never been out of the shelter area so I suspected that he would be overwhelmed at life outside its walls. With him and his friend Sam both on a lead we opened the gate to the outside world. I gently applied the “ask and release” method I had learned from Ttouch to Bruno’s neck. He reacted violently, jumping up in the air, falling on the ground and looking terrified. I calmly Ttouched him and tried again. Each time he reacted less violently and soon he was responding to the signals on his neck. I felt so elated I had to phone Cicely who was almost in tears on hearing the news and proclaimed “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!” Cicely has always believed in Ttouch and is my biggest supporter as well as my employer.

Now it was time for the open road and “walkies!” Although I never use choke chains I used one on Bruno because of the fear that he may bite through the lead in panic. The choker at least gave me a length of extra chain that he could bite on if he panicked. I leashed him and Sam up and headed for the big silver gate and the great outdoors beyond.

Well, nothing happened. I think I was tenser than he was. Sure he jumped a bit every time there was a sudden movement or sound but he managed to contain himself and with the help of some calming touches, his first foray into the outside world was a resounding success!

The rest is just history. Now, on their walkies day, Bruno and Sam loudly remind me that they are due for their walk and they would like it now please! I can never disappoint them – no matter how much work or how many interruptions I have. I let Bruno out of his run into the open yard and whereas before he would run from me, he now stands still and is comfortable being approached with the collar and having it slipped over his head. The three of us leave the premises and outside my volunteer waits to take Bruno’s lead from me so she can walk him and interact with him. We head off for anywhere because Bruno manages to hold his own in noisy traffic, shopping centre parking lots and strangers walking by. He has put on weight and kept it on for the first time in ages. He is starting to play with me and he has met many of my volunteers now and is comfortable with all of them.

I still have to pinch myself when I look down into the soft, loving brown eyes of a dog once so petrified of people who now shows such extraordinary bravery and willingness to love and trust. We are now at the point where Bruno can at last be homed. It will be a bitter sweet day when he goes but with the right owner it is my belief that he will blossom even more on his journey to becoming a whole, healed dog. Plus one lucky person will get all the love he has to give.

I can only say that this miraculous story would never have been written if it were not for the Tellington touch skills I learned in the past few years. This is truly an inspirational and extraordinary technique that can benefit many traumatised animals on the planet and it is my hope that many people will learn it and by using it on our animal (and human) friends we can truly change the world one touch at a time.

Debbie Conradie: Animal  Behaviourist, Tellington-TTouch Practitioner  for Companion Animals and Horses. Debbie is in Cape town and can be reached at Debbie.conradie@telkomsa.net

Hi Eugenie

I thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter. Especially the “myth-busters” Angus’s favourite game is tug (2nd fav is the Scooby-Doo-Boo-game, which is quite another story, good thing I don’t have big brother cameras in my house!) I have had some people advising me that I should not play tug with Angus. I maintained playing tug as he doesn’t play fetch, and it is a lot of fun for both of us. I am sure he understands the rules.

I read one of the other newsletters on your website, the “you know you waited to long to find a partner” had me in fits of laughter and deeply concerned as I recognized myself in quite a couple of those (and Angus isn’t even a show dog!!!)

Have a lovely day,

Linda Hulley

Editors note: This comment came from a Practitioner reading the Jan. Newsletter.

Thanks for including Life Lessons TTouch Has Taught Me in the latest newsletter.  Its sums up, so succinctly, what this work is about!  They are useful pointers to always remember

Dear Eugenie,


In reply to the above question re Fireworks:

My husband and I, live in Albertville (between Melville and Newlands), and were at home on New Year’s Eve, so that we could be with our animals - Sugieh, (a German Shepherd) and Tasmyn, a "Wire-haired" terrier). Some VERY INCONSIDERATE PEOPLE were playing with fireworks even though it rained in this area, and on the 4th Jan, the fireworks were still being set off, (which sounded like bombs) and amazing enough, residents from the entire Albert street came out in force, gathered together, said "enough is enough" and decided to find out who was responsible for this stupidity. The culprits must have noticed all the people and realised what was happening remained in the darkness of their home(s). That seemed to put an end to the noise. Unfortunately this will happen again next time. Our dogs live inside our home with us, therefore are not petrified but my concern is for the dogs and cats that are not allowed into their owner’s homes, and have to remain outside in thunderstorms, cold and fireworks.

Thank you for your informative newsletter.

Best regards,


Editor’s Note: Well done to this neighbourhood! If everyone took a stand when things were happening, we’d be a lot better off.

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

a. Book of the Month: 100 Ways To Train the Perfect Dog by Sarah Fisher & Marie Miller

Owner’s looking for a positive approach to dog training will value this essential guide from TV’s Sarah Fisher and fellow expert Marie Miller. This effective approach works with the dog’s natural behavioral instincts to create this fair and thoughtful training method that includes Touch bodywork and exercises. Practical step-by-step instructions, clear photographs and helpful tips demonstrate effectively how to create a happy, safe family pet.

The easy-to-navigate, highly accessible structure enables dog lovers to dip into particular subjects in order to solve problems, learn fun games and improve their pet’s behaviour and well-being. This title’s cover photo is by Beth Mallon.

  • Practical step-by-step instruction and clear photographs demonstrate essential techniques, including TTouch bodywork and clicker training.

  • Progressive exercises and bronze, silver and gold certificates provide structure and achievable goals, enabling you to teach your dog key skills.

  • Fun games reinforce the training, giving your dog appropriate mental and physical stimulation.

Whether you are training a puppy or solving specific problems with an older dog, this positive guide is the perfect companion and will help to deepen the understanding and trust between you and your dog.

Book available from the TTouch offices at a cost of R200.00

Contact Jennifer on 011 884 3156 or email info@ttouch.co.za

If I Didn’t Have a Dog or Cat...

I’d look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading ’mud’ season.

b: Website of the Month:

http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/documents/why_taildocking_should_be_prohibited.pdf - Link to website on why tail docking should be prohibited

c: Interesting Links

If I Didn’t Have a Dog or Cat...

I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much.

d.: To Rent - A Peaceful Sanctuary in the Heart of Fashionable Bryanston. For short or long term. Rent &  Terms negotiable.

Traditional Bryanston home, newly renovated and redecorated. Four spacious bedrooms, main en suite, fourth bedroom potential teenagers pad/granny flat with separate entrance. Large kitchen, lounge with fireplace, dining room, TV and bar area leading onto covered patio and entertainment area.

All nestling on one acre of well established garden including numerous indigenous trees, plants and bird life.

Excellent security, armed response and electric fencing. Ideal family home.  Pets allowed. Call: John on 082 451 5540.011 706 2320

e. Other – CLAW in need of supplies

CLAW is in need of a constant supply of dog and cat food, newspapers to line cages in the clinic, cat litter, blankets, towels, animal carriers and financial assistance.  If you are able to help, please contact CLAW on 011 763 1638 or clawsouthafrica@gmail.com.

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, B-I-K-E, G-O, R-I-D-E
13.   EVENTS


Dear SanWilders


Since 2003 the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary has cared for and looked after three prides of rescued lions. Over the years we have managed to overcome all the financial obstacles and have managed to secure funding to feed and care for the lions. However it seems that the growing international financial crisis has finally reached our sanctuary and to date very little funding has been secured from our various appeals to continue to feed the lions.


Unfortunately not being able to raise sufficient funding has resulted in SanWild running up feeding bills with our supplier hoping to secure donor funding for the lions. To date no positive feedback has been received from the various organizations to which funding appeals have been sent out.


At a trustees meeting yesterday a very difficult decision had to be made in the best interest of all the SanWild animals. The lions have been given another week and should we fail to raise funding by 28th February 2009, all the lions sadly will have to be euthanized as we will be left with no other option.


Unfortunately these animals cannot fend for themselves and their lives are in your and our hands. We have done what we possibly can, but now it will be up to the goodwill of other animal charities and individuals that will determine the future of our lions. SanWild can no longer afford to carry the financial burden alone and we need to find long term solutions as soon as possible and urgent action on the short-term.


We will put up a sponsorship page today with photographs of the various SanWild lions on our main website at www.sanwild.org. An on-line sponsorship option have been created on this website.


If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.


Missing Dogs/Cats:

JOIA - a 1 Year Old Mauve Point Birman Cat has been missing since 19 December 2008 from Lonehill, Sandton, Gauteng.  If found please contact: Christine – 082 658 4593 or Joy - 082 883 3777

Dogs looking for homes:

Max will be 1 year old in April according to the vet’s card from the SPCA. He has had all his shots and also has a micro chip implanted. He is medium sized, has been neutered and is in excellent health.

Max is an incredibly sweet natured dog, he loves nothing better than to be curled up in your lap or around your feet. He is also a great guard dog, nothing gets past him without him giving you plenty of warning.

We are hoping that a family will take Max into their home, where he will be shown the love and affection that he deserves. If you are able to provide a loving environment for Max, please contact Betty on 082 472 8351 or Richard on 072 221 6560. 

A black medium sized dog (male), which had been terribly injured due to being chained, was rescued by CLAW.  He’s been treated and is doing well, and is now looking for a good loving home.  Please contact CLAW on 011 763 1638.

Two, three-year-old boxers, a male and a female, are urgently looking for a good home.  Their owners moved and left them behind.  They are being fed by Dee however the SPCA has been notified.  If you are interested, please contact Dee on 084 549 8301.

Chico is a 7-year-old Labrador/Rottweiler cross. Although he is a very good watchdog, he is a real sweetie. His fear of lighting, thunder and firecrackers causes him to hyperventilate. A home with no small children would be preferable. He is housetrained and enjoys being indoors and outdoors.  Please call May Hoffman on 082 723 6174

A beautiful male Boxer named Chubby is looking for a new home.  He is two years old and will be neutered prior to re-homing.  He is fine with cats but not with bigger dogs.  He loves children and only has until the end of the month to find a new home.  Please contact mandy.v@mweb.co.za for further information.

 Leo a three-year-old, Maltese cross, is looking for a loving home.  He belonged to an elderly couple that have moved into a retirement home.  He has been neutered and is in very good health.  Please contact Zoe on 083 351 4302.

Three gorgeous seven-week-old kittens are looking for a home.  Contact Craig Piek on 011 731 500.

A dog breeder of Yorkshire Terriers who is based in Middleburg has 45 Yorkshire Terriers that need loving homes due to difficult circumstances.  She has lost her financial security and has lung cancer that has spread.

Ilse’s main concern is for her dogs and what will happen to them once she is no longer here, so she has decided that the best option is to try and find good homes for them while she can. They range from 2 years to 12 years of age. All her dogs live in the house, as she does not believe in the kennel situation. She is adamant that she will not let them go to a breeder as she knows how most kennel animals live and that is not what she wants for her dogs. All she wants is for them to go to loving homes, where they will be able to sleep inside, as this is what they are used to. Ilse can be contacted on 013 282 4205 or 072 218 7181

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat...
I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many animals?' from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get.

How EMPTY my life would be!!!
© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.