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February / March 2011


(Print and read at your leisure – copyright - Eugenie Chopin

Unless otherwise stated)

www.ttouch.co.za - for more info on any subject!


  1. Eugenie’s Letter 
  2. Practitioner Training - for Companion Animals – April 8-13; March 31-April 5

    1. Client Mornings: April 2, 3, 9 & 10 – Broshacarm Kennels
    2. Small Critter Day: April 3rd – Sandown Venue

  3. Horse Workshops – JHB, KZN & Free State
  4. TTouch Workshops Cape Town
  5. TTouch Tips – Why the one and quarter circles?
  6. Clicker Tips  Losing the Behaviour? Use the Random Reinforcement Game 
  7. Clicker Classes – August 2011
  8. Puppies – Does your dog beg at Table?

    1. Puppy Socialization Classes in your area

  9. Behaviour / Health

    1. Behaviour:  Cats: Don’t let Stress go unaddressed
    2. Health: Don’t neuter your dog yet! Read this first.

  10. Shanti & Friends Update: Harley gets neutered
  11. Your Letters 
  12. Odds and Ends

    1. Book of the month – “The Thinking Dog,” by Gail Fisher
    2. Website of the month: http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/
    3. Interesting Links

      Note that things highlighted in yellow refer to Western Cape


      Hello TTouch Friends!

      While we took a leisurely start to 2011, things are now at the usual fast pace! This coming week sees the start of the first of our 3 Practitioner Trainings. We are saddened that the brilliant Linda Tellington-Jones is not going to be with us due to a health issue that has to be addressed; however she has promised us March/April of 2012 so we are all looking forward to that! In the meantime I’m delighted to announce that Instructor Debby Potts will be coming from Oregon to teach the trainings. I personally had Debby for the first 3 of my Companion Animal Trainings and can tell you that she is a great teacher and a super lovely person.

      If you’d like to come to one of the Companion Animal Demos on April 2, 3 & 10, do send us an email. While we now have enough dogs, you are welcome to come without an animal for only R70. The Venue is Broshacarm Kennels in Midrand. We are so very fortunate that one of our Practitioners, Carmen Leonard lets us invade her space for 2 weeks at a time. THANK YOU CARMEN!

      This past month we have experienced the neutering of Harley and Kennel Cough. I’ve written about Neutering in “Shanti and Friends” and put an interesting article on neutering in the Health section. Next month we’ll take a look at Kennel Cough as it seems to be going around rather nastily in Gauteng at the moment.

      For anyone who is try or would like to look at crossing over to clicker training from any other type of training like compulsion training or lure training, have a look at Clicker tips and the book of the month. It’s perfect for you! Which reminds me, that Azeht and Karel du Plessis, 2 of our TTouch Practitioners have taken over the business of Pet Publications. They tell me they have a few of the book of the month, “The Thinking Dog” in stock.

      I almost forgot, there is a new TV program starting on Kyknet on April 6th. It’s called Celebrities Children (the four legged kind) or Celebs se Kinders. I filmed a segment with using TTouch on a client dog as well as shooting some footage of dogs. Harley seems to absolutely love the camera – or maybe it was Leon, the camera guy that he really took a shine to….

      See you on Kyknet

      Warmest Regards,

      Eugenie Chopin

      Tellington TTouch Practitioner 3 for Companion Animals



Great Insight…
Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." Ann Landers
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

The TTACT program has changed format somewhat by allowing new people to start in any session. This goes along with the practice used in Canada and the UK. We have been truly inspired by the number of people interested in this program and don’t want you to have to wait for 2 or 3 years to join us.

The training runs over 3 years, with 2-week long sessions per year lasting between 5 & 6 days. 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 your first session, 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.

DATES:         March 31 – April 05, 2011 

OR                  April 8-13

VENUE:        Broshacarm Kennels - Midrand

COST:            +/- R4550.00

CONTACT:    Eugenie on 011 884-3156 or email eugenie@ttouch.co.za

SESSION 5: October 13-18, 2011

2a. CLIENT MORNINGS: Saturdays, April 2; Sundays, April 3rd  & 10th

Client Mornings are back! This is one of our most popular offers.

Your opportunity to experience TTouch first hand for only R120 for you and your dog or R70 for just a Demo without a dog!

As most of you know, we have a Practitioner Training Program on the go and as we now have students in their third Session, we are presenting these client mornings. The places a very limited, so please book early.

We are thrilled to have Debby Potts with us for this session. She is a dynamo and a true inspiration for any animal lover. So take advantage of this fabulous opportunity! 


R120 with dog- Partners (without dog) come for free;

all other guests: R70

Demo only: R70 (without dog) 


Saturday, April 02nd  from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30/1:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 03rd, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30/1:00p.m

Sunday, April 10th, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30/1:00p.m

Please indicate which date you prefer!


Broshacarm Kennels, Midrand


Eugénie or Heleen at info@ttouch.co.za or

Tel: 011-884-3156 or Fax: 011 783-1515

2b. SMALL CRITTER DAY:  Bring your  rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, etc. 

BRING your bunnies, birds, gerbils, turtles, bearded dragons, snakes, rats or anything else that you have about the house!

You can come to work on a problem or you can come just for fun and see how to TTouch your very special pet. It should be a fun Day! This day will be part of our Practitioner Training program so there will be lots of TTouch Practitioners there to work with you


Come for Free! 


Friday, afternoon: April 1st – 2:30 p.m.  


The TTouch office in Sandown 


Eugénie or Heleen at info@ttouch.co.za or 

Tel: 011-884-3156 or Fax: 011 783-1515

It will be interesting to see how Ttouch can benefit so many different species of animals. If you are interested in attending with your pet, please answer the questionnaire below.


This fascinating afternoon will be under the supervision of Linda Tellington-Jones, the creator of this incredible work.

She will be assisted by Eugénie Chopin & other TTouch Practitioners.


Many thanks and I hope to see many of you there!

Eugénie Chopin, Certified TTouch Practitioner III

Great Insight…
"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." Ben Williams

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Josh Billings

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." Robert A. Heinlein

Come and get a taste of this wonderful work to help your horse be the best he/she can be.


TTeam, a technique developed over the last 30 years, uses TTouch and non-habitual movement to help make the lives of our equine friends a little easier, and to enhance the relationship between horse and owner/rider.


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








Donnybrook Stables

5-day TTEAM workshop with Debby Potts

24-28 March 2011


Lindy Dekker on equibalance@iafrica.com or 083 616 0577 or  Eugenie Chopin on         011 8843156

Donnybrook Stables

5-day TTEAM workshop with Edie Jane

06-10 October 2011


Lindy Dekker on equibalance@iafrica.com or 083 616 0577 or

Eugenie Chopin on         011 8843156








Western Cape

Companion Animal Individual TTouch sessions 

Starting 09 April once a month afternoon sessions

R80.00 for 30 minute session

R50.00 for 20 minute session

Barbara George barbara@ttouch.co.za 

021 531 6612 (h);

082 491 2309 (cell)

Plumstead Animal Hos at 

021 797 1998

Pinelands Scout Hall

Western Cape

Understand and change your dog’s behaviour

02 April 2011


See specials available!

Debbie Conradie 

021 919 1991

083 992 8767 debbie.conradie@telkomsa.net



Saturday 19 March 2011 2:30 to 5:30pm

Saturday 9 April 2011 2:30 to 5:30pm

Saturday 14 May 2011 2:30 to 5:30pm

Individual TTouch sessions for all companion animals at Plumstead Animal Hospital, Plumstead, Cape Town.

This is open to all, not limited to existing clients.

Contact Barbara George barbara@ttouch.co.za or 082 491 2309

or call Plumstead Animal Hospital 021 797 1998 for bookings

Venue: Plumstead Animal Hospital, Prospur Centre, Cnr Basil and Churchill Roads, Plumstead.


You might know that the TTouches that we use on animals began with the circular touch. Today we have many different types of circles like the Clouded Leopard, Raccoon,, Chip, Abalone and  many more. They each use a different part of the hand to make the circles. However, the circles are all made by moving the skin in a circle and a quarter in a clockwise direction. Over the years, we are always asked why a circle and a quarter. I thought I’s share with you some thoughts on the subject from Linda Tellington-Jones


We have experimented with hundreds of people and found that exactly one circle – from “6 “PM back around to 6PM (6 pm being toward the ground when one is standing – or toward the feet when one is lying down) makes the vast majority of people hold their breath – and wait for more. It does bring much awareness.  

With the 1 1/4 the majority feel complete. This allows for a breath.  The 1 and 1/2 – stopping at the top of the circle – makes most people feel like they want to continue around. With the biofeedback using a “Mind Mirror” program to measure brain wave activity in both hemispheres in beta, alpha theta and delta we found consistently – with 30 people - that  with a circle and 1/4 and   NOT MORE THAN 3 CIRCLES ON ONE SPOT activated both hemispheres of the brain in a very specific pattern in all 4 brain waves in what Maxwell Cade called “The Awakened Mind” state. This state can be found on http://www.annawise.com/.  worked with Anna Wise in 1984 and 1985 with the EEG measurements and she wrote about it in her book, The High Performance Mind. I believe this this awakened mind is particularly significant because of the “Whole Brain Activation”

Great Insight…
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." Andrew A. Rooney
"No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation." Fran Lebowitz

We often hear from people who criticize clicker training that if you don’t have food, the dog won’t work. What I’d like to address is the fact that many people who try to use the clicker don’t understand how to use Criteria effectively when they are training. I recently was skimming through Gail Fisher’s book “The Thinking Dog, Crossover to Clicker Training” (see Book of the Month below) and found a wonderful section called the “Random Reinforcement Game” – what often happens is when people try to start “fading” the reinforcement (i.e. food) , the behaviour starts to not be as solid. However, most people fade the food too quickly. Here is an excerpt from the wonderful book! Please remember that she is mostly dealing with dogs and trainers that are crossing over from the older “dominance/punishment” based training to clicker/positive reinforcement based training. This will help you understand what really motivates your dog.

Random Reinforcement Game

This game was invented by Gary Wilkes, arguable the “father” of clicker training, it uses random rewards on a random reinforcement schedule. Play this game with a behaviour-in-development – one the dog readily offers, but that is not yet on cue. In addition to being fun, this exercise can be one of the most valuable tools for improving behaviour quickly and easily. Since variability affects behaviour, the Random Reinforcement Game is useful for tweaking behaviours, for experimenting and for learning… al lot! 

The Random Reinforcement Game provides an eye-opening demonstration of what happens when you introduce unpredictability – your dog’s behaviour becomes unpredictable. Your dog may try new things, offering variations on the behaviour you’ve been working on, or may even offer different behaviours altogether. Don’t be frightened this can be a good thing.

For example, your dog might sit faster, offer a stronger nose touch, or drop more emphatically. Or your dog may offer a behaviour totally unrelated to what you’re working on. Maybe one you’ve wanted to train, or that would be fun to add to your dog’s repertoire.

Before you play this game, plan your random schedule. While it may seem paradoxical to plan to be random, it actually takes deliberate effort. You might think you will reinforce randomly, but the human brain automatically establishes a pattern that will emerge over time, eliminating the “randomness”.

To make your plan, consider the two elements of this game – the reinforcers themselves and the reinforcement schedule. To vary the reinforcers, think of an assortment such as different food treats, verbal praise, petting, throwing a ball, playing tug, encouraging your dog to chase you, roughhousing, and the like. To create a varied schedule of reinforcement, you will click some repetitions, use a “yes” marker for others, and bypass some, using no marker and no reinforcement at all.

Putting these two elements together gives you a plan to follow that includes directives such as “click and treat”, “no click, no treat,” “yes ,praise and pet”, “click and throw a ball,” “click and praise,” and the like. The following sample list includes 24 instructions. By making the list in columns, you can go in order down the list, go across the columns, go backward, back and forth, do odds, and then even, changing it every time you play the game. Here’s the sample:

1.         Click, 10 treats

2.         Click, 1 treat

3.         No click, no treat

4.         “Yes” treat

5.         Praise & pet only

6.         Click, 5 treats, praise

7.       Click, no treat*

8.       No click, no treat

9.       Verbal praise only

10.     Click, 1 treat

11.     No click, no treat

12.     Click, 3 treats

13.     No click, no treat

14.     Click & chase

15.     Click, 1 treat

16.     Click, praise & pet

17.     Click, throw ball

18.     “yes”, no treat

19.     Click, 10 treats

20.     Click, no treat*

21.   Praise only

22.     Click, 3 treats

23.     Praise and pet only

24.     Go back to #1

Note: “Click, not treat” is not a misprint. Don’t do it often, but try it and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised – even shocked by what your dog does next!

Then Gail gives samples of using a deck of cards and assigning each card a different option. This way you pull a card and use that option. Or make up your own deck with the options on it. That will really keep it random!

A bit more, then you’ll have to buy the book to really get the full picture!

Instructions for playing the Random Reinforcement Game

Ideally, have a helper give each instruction to you, but if alone, check your list after each repetition so you’ll be prepared for the next directive.

Pre-game warm-up

Choose a behaviour your dog readily offers that is not yet on cue. Repeat the behaviour several times with a click and treat for each repetition.

Start the game. Start with a click, flowed by a jackpot of ten treats.

Follow the planned instructions. When your dog performs the behaviour, mark and reward (or not) as instructed. Have your helper give you each following instruction before or as your dog offers the behaviour again, and reward (or not) accordingly .

Progress through the game. Mark and reward (or not) according to each instruction, with the following exceptions:

  • Outstanding performance. If your dog performs particularly well, that is, you love that behaviour, click and treat (1 treat) regardless of the instruction. This is one of the main advantages of the game – your dog’s performance of the behaviour can radically improve. When that happens, mark and reward it!

  • Weak performance. On the other hand, if the behaviour weakens substantially of your dog stops offering it altogether, stop the game momentarily. Jumpstart the behaviour and reinforce each of the next four or five consecutive repetitions with a click and one treat. Then return to the game.

Thorndike’s Law. Notice what your dog does after each reinforcement. Keep in mind that the consequence of the previous behaviour is what influences the following one. For instance, see what the next behaviour is after you give a jackpot, what does your dog do after you pet and praise rather than give a treat, after you play with your dog, after you click and don’t follow it with a treat.

Learn about your dog’s preferences. Also, note how your dog reacts to the various reinforcers. Does he seem to like a specific reinforcer or not? This information can be useful for future trainings session.

Consider Shaping Rule #9. Your dog will likely offer a variety of other behaviours. Do not mark those, unless you wish to “put them in the bank.” Or you decide to switch the behaviour you want to work on.

If you decide to switch to a different behaviour, discontinue the game and reinforce the new behaviour on a 1:1 continuous schedule.

Ending the game. Try to end on a good note. If the behaviour deteriorates as you progress through the game, get it back before you stop training.

Al though each dog is an individual and your dog may be atypical, here are some of the more common reactions. After a jackpot, the dog often offers a different behaviour or a variation to the behaviour you’ve been working on. After a click with no treat the dog often offers a stronger variation of the behaviour. It’s as if he’s saying, “Hey! You forgot something! Don’t you know you’re supposed to give me a treat when you click?

Another fascinating aspect of this game is the opportunity it provides to learn how your dog truly feels about the reinforcers we typically think of as high value. They don’t always have a high value to your dog.

Gail: When I introduce this game to participants at a seminar, I ask for a volunteer to demonstrate it. Nearly universally, when the instruction is “pet and praise” the dog will actively move away from the owner with an annoyed expression that clearly says, “knock it off! Stop touching me and get on with it!” Virtually every volunteer is surprised to learn that her dog really isn’t interested in verbal praise and petting – at least not now. It isn’t that dogs don’t love being petted, of course most do… What this dog is saying is that in a training context, petting is a low-value reward.

Name it! Adding the Cue If you find this strange, then you probably have limited knowledge about clicker training as we only add the cue (what you might call a command) once the behaviour is learned and relatively solid. So all of the above has been happening without a cue. Remember that your dog doesn’t speak English, we have to help him understand what we mean by sit, come, etc.

I find this fascinating as it really shows how to learn what your dog really will work for and gives you more than just food to work with. Enjoy!

6a.    CLICKER CLASSES- August/ September – Exact dates TBA

One full Saturday  (9:30 – 4:30) then 5 Saturday Mornings: 9:30 to 12:30

DATES:         August – details TBA

VENUE:        Sandown – Johannesburg

BOOK:           Eugenie at eugenie@ttouch.co.za  or phone 011 884 3156 for more info.

COST:            R1600: this includes the cost of the 5 week class, notes, treat bag, target stick and a clicker

If you have always wanted to learn a method of training that doesn’t need aversive to be effective, then join us for a Clicker Experience! Although Operant Conditioning and the Clicker have been around for many years, especially in the Marine World and in training many species of animals for film, it’s only in the last 10 years that it has started to become Mainstream in the Dog Training World. Here is your chance to catch up!

Clicker Training is basically about re-enforcing Behaviour that you want. It works on the principles of giving reward for correct behaviour rather than using corrections and aversives for unwanted behaviour. As a result, you can establish true respect from your dog without fear. It’s fun to do, the dogs love it and therefore gain in confidence and you can finally understand why they do the things they do and how your Behaviour and actions influence them daily!

NOTE: An aversive is anything the dog doesn’t like! So if you yell at your dog and it likes the attention, it might actually be a reward!

If you are a Trainer, are interested in being a Trainer, or just are a dog owner who wants to understand more, then this might be the class for you!

Great Insight….
"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." M.Facklam

Feasting Funny-Business

At Easter everyone is in the kitchen.  All this extra time focusing on food often uncovers a wealth of previously unknown, and definitely unwanted, behavior from your dog.

We’ll address the canine caper that commonly crops up at holiday time - begging.

If Easter or Passover dinner’s at your place this year, know that your pup’s incessant whining and under-the-table nudging will be about as welcome as an undercooked turkey.

So, prevent begging behavior before it even begins by never ever feeding your dog from the table. In fact, difficult as this may seem, your best bet is to completely ignore him during mealtimes. Period. He’ll quickly learn that impoliteness gets him nowhere.

If begging’s already a problem, don’t worry. There’s still time to get your dog on the right track before Holiday time: Some behaviours - for instance, sitting or lying down on the other side of the room - are incompatible with lurking around the dinner table. So, brush up on the basics until your dog’s sit, down, and stay are rock-solid reliable. Once he’s a pro with those key cues, ask your dog for a down-stay before you sit down to dinner. Makes sense, right? If your dog is sitting or lying down, he can’t be jumping in your lap while you’re eating dinner. The first few meals may be especially challenging, so reinforce his admirable self-control by periodically going over to reward him with a treat, pet, and affectionate, "Gooooood dog."

Editor’s note: It’s really true that each dog is an individual and while some dog’s like my GSP Shanti, are really pushy about food, others are not a problem and you  can give them table scraps without it becoming a problem. However if you have a dog like Shanti, it really is easier to NEVER feed from the table as when you only do it randomly, you actually strengthen the behaviour. Remember it’s a bit like a “slot machine” – if occasionally they get a tidbit, they know that if they wait long enough, it will come their way!

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

©2006 Ian Dunbar

With kind permission from Ian and http://www.dogstardaily.com/

8a)    Puppy Socialization Classes:

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

õ  Bedfordview/ Edenvale/Linksfield/Orange Grove: Puppy Starter Session -One private session with comprehensive booklet; Contact Scotty on 011 882 2418 (h); 082 928 0102 or scotty@scottysdogs.co.za   

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

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

õ  Cape Town, Bellville; Puppy Socialization Saturday afternoons, call Debbie on 083 992-8767 or email Debbie.conradie@telkomsa.net 

õ  Centurion: Puppy Socialising, Basic Obedience & Clicker Classes, 8-Week Course Weekdays and Weekends.  Heather Whitfield 083 566 7009 or email heather4paws@gmail.com

õ  Durbanville: Puppy Classes for pups under 4 months. Ongoing: new every 6 weeks. Claire Grobbelaar 021 856 5886 or 082 784 7524 Claire.g@mweb.co.za

õ  Gordons Bay: Puppy Classes for pups under 4 months. Ongoing: new every 6 weeks. Claire Grobbelaar 021 856 5886 or 082 784 7524 Claire.g@mweb.co.za

õ  Heidelberg: Jordaanpark, Every Sunday; contact Ilze van der Walt:

õ  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  Oaklands, JHB: Puppy Socializing Sundays 9 & 10 a.m. Tersia Kock 082 828 0505 tkock@telkomsa.net

õ  Parkwood: Puppy Classes, 6 Week courses on Saturday afternoons R480 Tersia Kock 082 828 0505 tkock@telkomsa.net

õ  Pretoria – Lynnwood Glen, Puppy classes for pups until 16 weeks and Basic obedience classes (using clicker training) for dogs 16 weeks and older.  Contact Anelize 079 272 4595 or Manuela 076 427 9166

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

Great Insight….
. "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." James Thurber

"I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl." Penny Ward Moser
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down." Robert Benchley

Not long ago, we described a cat that was having difficulty adapting to a ceiling fan. Rather than temporarily close the door to the room where the fan was so the cat would walk down the hallway to his food, water, and litter box, the owner had left the door open, rationalizing the cat just had to "get over it". This tactic resulted in the cat soiling the house, and not eating all day, which is why the owner contacted us.

Recent requests for help we’ve received via our website includes these examples:

           "She now lives under the kitchen table and will only come out to eat."

           "Our older female cat bullies our younger cat, even chasing her off the litter box."

           "He remains curled up tight as a ball with his eyes darting."

           "Micki spends 98% of her time in an unfinished basement by herself."

           "He spends his day in a dark bedroom closet."

The reason for sharing these descriptions is to illustrate how often we hear about cats experiencing significant stressors on a daily basis without much seemingly being done to help them.

Given the country’s current state of affairs right now, many of us are likely stressed as well! But cats in an indoor only environment have a lot fewer options to choose from to decrease their stress. And that’s even truer for cats in confined environments such as shelters or research facilities.

Cats under stress most often resort to hiding, avoidance and sometimes aggression. Eating, self- grooming and sleeping habits can also be affected. And from veterinarians we know that chronic stress can cause or at least exacerbate serious illnesses.

What’s concerning is that people sometimes seem to not realize how significantly the cat’s quality of life is being affected. Instead of taking immediate action, conditions like those described above sometimes go on for months with few attempts made to change the stressful conditions, to help the cat adapt to the stressor, or even to make avoidance a more quality experience than a dark closet or basement.

Often, cat owners just don’t know what to do. That’s understandable, but the first step is to help people recognize the significance of their cats’ behavioral changes. One guideline scientists who specialize in studying animal welfare consider is whether an animal is able to display a broad range of species typical behaviours.

While that guideline can’t avoid some subjectivity (what is "broad"?), it’s clear a cat that spends 98% of its hiding in the basement is not showing a broad range of behaviours. Or if the only way two cats can interact with each other is with fear and aggression that’s not a desirable range of social behaviours.

It starts with education. Helping people understand these stressful conditions should not remain unaddressed and, even better, providing information about how many of them could be avoided.

The examples we described above all stem from cats not getting along with other family pets. Many such problems can be prevented with proper introductions - a topic we address in a video at our new WelcomeYourCat.com page.

Editor’s Note: What I love about this is that the TTouch work done with cats is one of the best methods we have of reducing stress, so go to www.ttouch.co.za and look on the Practitioner page for someone near you.

Thanks to: Daniel Estep, Ph.D. and Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D.


Copyright ABA, Inc. 

9b.  HEALTH:   Don’t Neuter Your Dog YET – Read This Life-Saving Information First!

A very legitimate concern, pet overpopulation, has been the primary driving force behind 30 years of national and local spay/neuter campaigns.

When it comes to deciding at what age a companion animal should be sterilized, the standard for most spay/neuter campaigns has been sooner rather than later. This is especially true in the case of adoptable abandoned and rescued pets that wind up in shelters and foster care.

Recently, however, some animal health care experts have begun to question whether early sterilization is a good idea for every pet.

Dr. Alice Villalobos, a well-known pioneer in the field of cancer care for companion animals, asks the question:

"But what if large-scale studies found that early neutering jeopardizes the health of our pets?"

"What if we found enough epidemiological evidence that early neutering of pet dogs may open them to orthopedic, behavioral, immunologic and oncologic issues?"

Back in 1977, Dr. Villalobos founded a rescue organization called the Peter Zippi Fund for Animals, which has to date rescued and re-homed nearly 12,000 pets. Her organization was one of thousands that looked at the tragic situation in U.S. shelters and determined early spay/neuter was the best way to lessen the suffering and ultimate euthanasia of so many feral and abandoned animals.

As a veterinary oncologist and founder of the pet hospice program Pawspice, Dr. Villalobos concedes, "It is earth shattering to consider that some of the cancers we have been battling may have been enhanced by early neutering instead of the reverse."

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

It’s unfortunately true that a growing body of research is pointing to early sterilization as the common denominator for development of several debilitating and life-threatening canine diseases.

On one hand, we certainly want to know what’s causing our precious canine companions to develop disease. On the other hand, it’s troubling to learn a procedure we’ve historically viewed as life-saving and of value to the pet community as a whole, has likely played a role in harming the health of some of the very animals we set out to protect.

The same amount of evidence has not been compiled for early spay/neuter of cats, but it’s not clear how well the subject is being studied for kitties. Funding for research into feline health issues falls well below dollars allocated for their canine counterparts.

Cardiac Tumors

A Veterinary Medical Database search of the years 1982 to 1995 revealed that in dogs with tumors of the heart, the relative risk for spayed females was over four times that of intact females.

For the most common type of cardiac tumor, hemangiosarcoma (HAS), spayed females had a greater than five times risk vs. their intact counterparts. Neutered male dogs had a slightly higher risk than intact males.

The study concluded that, "… neutering appeared to increase the risk of cardiac tumor in both sexes. Intact females were least likely to develop a cardiac tumor, whereas spayed females were most likely to develop a tumor. Twelve breeds had greater than average risk of developing a cardiac tumor, whereas 17 had lower risk."

Risks versus Benefits of Early Sterilization

Every important decision in life comes with risks as well as benefits.

As responsible animal guardians, I believe we owe it to our pets to make the best health choices we can for them.

As responsible members of society, we owe it to our communities to proactively protect our intact pets from unplanned breeding at all costs. We must hold ourselves to the highest standard of reproductive control over the intact animals we are responsible for.

Clearly, there are health benefits to be derived from waiting until after puberty to spay or neuter your dog.

However, there are also significant risks associated with owning an intact, maturing pet.

·         How seriously you take your responsibility as a pet owner is the biggest determining factor in how risky it is to leave your dog intact until he or she matures. If you are responsible enough to absolutely guarantee your unsterilized pet will not have the opportunity to mate, I would encourage you to wait until your pet is past puberty to spay or neuter.

·         If you are unable to absolutely guarantee you can prevent your dog from mating and adding to the shameful, tragic problem of pet overpopulation, then I strongly encourage you to get your animal sterilized as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Please note: I’m not advocating pet owners keep their dogs intact indefinitely (see below). I’m also not suggesting that shelters and rescues stop sterilizing young animals before re-homing them. Shelter organizations can’t determine how responsible adoptive pet owners will be. In this situation, the risk of leaving adoptable animals intact is simply unacceptable. Shelters and rescues must immediately spay/neuter pets coming into their care.

If you’ve adopted or rescued a dog sterilized at an early age, I encourage you to talk with your holistic veterinarian about any concerns you have for your pet’s future well-being, and what steps you can take now to optimize her health throughout her life.

There is no one perfect answer to the spay/neuter question that fits every pet, and each situation should be handled individually.

For Responsible Pet Owners, Decisions About When to Spay or Neuter Should be Part of a Holistic Approach to Your Pet’s Health and Quality of Life

If you own an intact pet, I can offer a general guideline for timing a spay/neuter procedure.

Your dog should be old enough to be a balanced individual both physically and mentally. This balance isn’t achieved until a dog has reached at least one year of age. Although some breeds reach maturity faster than others, many giant breed dogs are still developing at two years of age.

Other considerations include your dog’s diet, level of exercise, behavioral habits, previous physical or emotional trauma, existing health concerns, and overall lifestyle.

If you own an intact animal and need to make a spay/neuter decision, I encourage you to first learn all you can about surgical sterilization options and the risks and benefits associated with the procedures.

Talk with reputable breeders and other experienced dog owners, and consult a holistic vet to understand what steps you can take to ensure the overall health and longevity of your pet.

With kind permission from Dr Becker of Mercola Healty Pets with Dr Karen Becker – website http://healthypets.mercola.com/                                                                                             


Great Insight….
"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." Rita Rudner

"Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often, continued in the next yard." Dave Barry

"Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog." Franklin P. Jones
"If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise." Unknown

“Great Insight…”
"My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money." Joe Weinstein

"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

"Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!" Anne Tyler


I held off neutering Harley for some of the reasons stated in the Health article above. Mostly I wanted to make sure that he had the requisite 18 months so that his bones would be fully formed. I remember when Dr. Ray Coppinger was out here a few years ago, he spoke about late neutering for this reason. Then one thing lead to another and now Harley was 3 years old before I actually took him in.

So why do the neutering? I have been told by my Vet that Harley is a perfect specimen and I could easily breed with him – perfect hips and elbows. However, I’m not a breeder and have never shown him, so while he would probably be a great Dad, it was time to let go of any of those ideas. I believe you have to be responsible in creating new lives that someone else will have to care for.

There were also other reasons to have him neutered. Two in particular: The first is that while he is house trained, every few months, that male instinct that tells him to lift his leg on something in the house, kicks in. I have no idea what causes it at the time, but I am certainly hoping that this is going to help the issue. I had a dog years ago (before I knew anything about training) that lifted his leg regularly on the edge of the bed and I washed many linens before I had him neutered. We were moving house and I wanted to see if the neutering would have an impact before we moved into the new house. Indeed, it did, and he never lifted his leg in the new house. Quite the opposite of what you might think a male dog would do – i.e. mark his new territory.

The second reason is that Harley gets super excited when people arrive at the house. And we have many people in and out! Along with training and TTouch, I am hoping that lowering the Testosterone level will curb the hyped excitement in his personality. He just happens to be a very “loud” dog. He simply loves barking. When he goes out in the mornings first thing and no one is around, he barks simply to greet the day! – or maybe it’s to warn anyone around that HE’S THERE! Actually, there are many reasons for barking and maybe that can be an article in itself in the future.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it develops over the next months. As you may know, it takes quite a while to change the chemistry in the body. Having said that I was very proud of him last week when a delivery came via Motorcycle. Now I don’t know about you, but my dogs get really revved by motorcycles. (Excuse the pun) I had closed the door to the lounge so that the delivery man wouldn’t get a fright from the barking, but I forgot that the sliding door to the balcony was open. By the time I opened the front door; Harley had already gone around the house and was at the bottom of the stairs barking furiously at the terrified delivery guy.

Knowing that Harley is mostly “noisy”, I called him in a friendly voice and – HE CAME. And that’s what I want from him, to listen even though he’s excited. What I don’t want to do is scare the poor people who come here to deliver goods or visit. Teaching your dog to “come” when called is truly the most magical thing you can do for your family!

Since I’ve rambled on for so long, I’ll write next month about our “Kennel Cough” experience, how to recognize it and what you can do to help the situation.


Thank you Letter to Nicky Luck and Lindy Dekker after a weekend workshop:

The dog has skin problems, was pulling on the leash and HAD reactivity issues to people and other dogs.

Hi there,

I just wanted to say – again – a huge big marvellous thank you for the workshop on Saturday. I enjoy learning; hence, I enjoy/attend quite a few very different workshops every year. And your workshop was absolutely fabulous.

I feel so much more confident now in my leading skills, and I know that ttouch is going to make a huge difference for noodle and I – in our relationship but especially for his health. And I’m paying close attention to his hind legs and the way he stands. Also, last night a read through Linda’s book again – and now it all makes so much more sense. I’m going to start off with the least invasion movements, a few minutes every day, and then we can work our way through to the other touches as we progress in our confidence, health and trust in the ttouch and ourselves.

The balance lead works so well! And yesterday I had the wrap on again for a few minutes…..it’s just amazing!

Thank God for Linda T-Jones and the TTouches – and for bringing this technique and people like you and Linda into our lives!

Keep well

Kind regards, 

Linda van Deventer


News from a one of the people that attended the Client Morning in October 2010:

Candy had a body posture of having her tail tucked up instead of a relaxed tail, when we came to the training session in October last.  Well I am happy to tell you that she has blossomed since the session and since she has settled in here after the move.  She is no longer afraid and no longer hides away.  When people come to visit she comes forward and tail is up and wagging and she lets them stroke her.  She is also very relaxed and loveable - much more than she ever used to be.   We go for regular walks along the beach front or down the road in the suburb where we are living and nothing seems to worry her.  It is so wonderful to see this improvement.

I really wanted to share this information with you to let you know.

Barbara Janks

Editor’s note:  Body posture of dogs tells us how they feel about what is happening with them or where they are, and a tucked tail might be a suggestion she is not so comfortable and relaxed.  We would then during the TTouch session feel where the tension in the body is and with different TTouches and groundwork try and see if we can change her body posture to feel more relaxed.


Jemma, A WODAC Demo Dog

Dear Eugenie

Thank you for using Jemma the Beagle as one of your demo dogs. We both learnt a lot!

I am inspired to learn more about TTouch and Jemma didn’t want to leave the show. When we got to the parking lot, she sat down and refused to move.  She does this whenever she realises she’s going home after having a really good time whether it’s going for a walk and now, I realise, being the centre of attention!

I hope to be able to attend your upcoming workshop with Jamie, my male puppy, who most definitely would not have liked all the noise.

It was great to finally meet you in person.  

Kind regards

Michele Alexander                                                                                                                  

Jasper, A WODAC Demo Dog

Thanks Mari, to you and Eugenie and the rest of the TTouch team!

Jasper and I really enjoyed the pampering and benefits of TTouch and my memory was jogged about some of the things I learned in the workshops that I did ages ago.

Unfortunately Jasper got stage fright (again) and our dog dance was not very good, but things can only improve and we’ll be using some of the TTouch tips and continuing our canine freestyle training, as it really is a lot of fun (at least the practising is….) for both of us.


Karen Gray-Kilfoil

Lily, a WODAC Demo Dog

Dear Mari

It was wonderful to meet you, Eugenie and all the other TTouch people. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the show – sorry that my Lilly, who is usually such a busy dog, more or less froze! 

Nevertheless I feel so lucky to have seen TTouch up close, and to watch Debbie’s expert hands on Lilly was very special. I learned a lot about the pressure of the touch, about working on ears, and on mouths…..and the possibility of doing clicker training with Lilly.

It was altogether a valuable experience for me – and will be for Lilly in the long run too. Please convey my appreciation to everyone.

Kind regards


Dear Cat Community,

It is with heavy heart I am sending out this plea for cat food as we have hit rock bottom.  If you can assist or know who can, please contact me on the email address or cell no. below and I will gladly give you my vet’s details.

Thanks and regards,

Noeleen Hern-Riding

Cat Eye Cat Rescue Centre NPO 054-892

P O Box 353, Newlands, Pretoria, 0049



Editor’s Note: While this email was sent out earlier this year, I know that these things can be an ongoing battle, so please help where you can.


a.      Book of the Month: The Thinking Dog, Crossover to Clicker Training by Gail Tamases Fisher

Editor’s Note:Even this book is targeted at crossover trainers, just looking through it gave me many wonderful training ideas and tips – so I do suggest it for anyone using clicker training as another wonderful training resource.

It is such a joy to work with a dog who proactively engages in behaviours while you build relationship that will surprise you with its depth and versatility. Clicker training has proven to be the most effective means of developing a “thinking Dog.” One who offers behaviours in anticipation of a reward rather than a dog that has been trained only to wait for his owner’s commands. One of the biggest obstacles the new clicker trainer faces, however, is his or her own history of training and habits of working with a dog. But you can make the transition once you understand how dogs learn and the mechanisms of operant conditioning. Learn from the author Gail Fisher’s crossover experiences as well as those of the hundreds of students she has helped make the change over.

You will learn:

  • How dog training has evolved over the past 100 years, the strengths and weaknesses of various training styles, and to what extent you can integrate your previous methods with clicker training.
  • The particular challenges you will face as you crossover from whatever style of training you have used in the past (compulsion, luring, etc.) to clicker training. 
  • The detailed nuts and bolts of clicker training – from getting behaviour started, to methods of rewarding, to reducing the need to click and treat over time while still getting the results you want.
  • How to work with dogs trained with force or harsh methods and change them into behaviour-offering dynamos.

Editor’s Note: Pet Publications has a few copies on hand at R300. You can contact them by emailing Azeht at zet@doglover.com or phone 082 210 3312

b.      Website of the Month: http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/

Editor’s Note: Scotty Valadao is one of our TTouch Companion Animal Practitioners and she has done a lot to promote good information and positive training methods here in Gauteng. See her email below. This website is full of good information for us all. Do go and have a look!

Hi, would you like to learn a lot more about your dog for FREE?  Well now is your chance!

We are absolutely delighted to announce the launching of Friends of the Dog. This is a website which has been designed just for you – the dog owner. The majority of our articles have been written by South African experts in their respective fields, who are willing to share their knowledge with you in order to make your relationship with your dog a better one.

We have articles on Puppies, Behaviour, Dog Stuff, Health, Alternative Therapies, Events and a whole lot more topics to come. From next month we will be featuring a ‘Breed of the Month’, starting with the Labrador Retriever, and you will be able to find out if it suits your home, health concerns, the Do’s and Don’ts, Exercise requirement, which other dogs get on well with that specific breed etc. You can even look up your Dog’s Horoscope as well as get information on rescue societies, and all of this is for Free!

This is just our starting point and we will be adding on new articles and contributions monthly. If you would like to be made aware of these, just join us as a ‘Friend’ of the dog, via the website and we will send you an e-mail monthly to let you know what new articles are available.

If anybody has a dog related event coming up over the next few months, please let us know and we will list this for you.

This really is a ‘work in progress’ and we welcome your feedback and ideas on what you would like to see featured – so go on, have a look and let us know what you think. Enjoy, Scotty

Scotty Valadao

Animal Behaviour Consultant (Acc. Cn. ABC of SA)

Tellington TTouch Practitioner

Visit our website at http://www.scottysdogs.co.za/ 

c.       Interesting Links

·         For the wildlife lovers

o    Here is a baby elephant that is being helped out of a water hole where he is struggling to get out: http://www.wimp.com/elephantrescued/   

o    Watch this gorilla reunion: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=FZ-bJFVJ2P0

·         Now I know Golden Retrievers are known for their tolerance, but this is perhaps taking it too far – see a bird steal a Golden’s fur for nest building: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/01/11/bird-steals-loose-fur-from-pet-dog-golden-retriever.aspx

Have some fun with the singing horses: http://svt.se/hogafflahage/hogafflaHage_site/Kor/hestekor.html

Eugenie Chopin, Certified TTouch Practitioner III for Companion Animal

PO Box 729, Strathavon 2031

Tel: 011 884-3156

Fax: 011 783 1515

Email: echopin@icon.co.za, Website: www.ttouch.co.za

© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.