Tellington TTouch for Rabbits
Tellington TTouch is a wonderful method to use on rabbits who are
frightened, grieving, or who just need more bonding time with their owners.
Tellington TTouch is a gentle method used to quiet and convey body awareness
to an animal. Special touches and wraps direct the animal’s body to relax,
deepen respiration, and slow the heart rate. In a calmer frame of mind, the
animal is better able to cope with frightening situations. The animal’s
confidence increases and decisions that are superior to fight, flight or
freeze reactions are more likely to occur.
As prey animals, rabbits are sensitive to everything that goes on around
them – environmental changes, loud sounds, predators (even the family dog)
and anything that is moving above them. They must always be prepared to run
or fight. The rabbit’s body is constantly at the ready with flooding
adrenalin, tensed muscles, high respiration, and quick action.
Helping an extremely shy or frightened rabbit
TTouch does wonders for the shy and frightened rabbit. To begin work with a
shy rabbit, allow him to stay in his place of safety. Removing him will
only increase his fear. Cover a wooden dowel with an ace bandage or other
soft material. Slowly and with respect stroke the rabbit in a circle and
one quarter touch wherever he will allow you to touch him. Never stroke
hard, just enough to move the skin below his haircoat. Never do a touch
twice in the same location. After using this touch for however long it
takes – sometimes minutes, sometimes hours – the rabbit’s body will begin to
relax. The more relaxed and confident you are the sooner his body will
relax. If he begins to move toward you, you are on your way to touching him
with your hands.
When the rabbit is ready to accept touching with your hands, you will be
doing a touch called the Clouded Leopard. This touch requires that YOU are
relaxed and balanced. Place your relaxed hand on the rabbit, hold your
thumb gently in one spot and use the other four fingers to make a circle and
a quarter. Pretend you are moving your fingers on the face of a clock
starting at six on the clock. Do a full circle and then at ¼ more ending at
eight or nine on the clock. TTouch requires you to move only the skin below
the haircoat. Do not go deeper than the skin into the muscle.
Another way to help a shy rabbit is to use an Abalone touch. Gently place a
towel over him so that he feels secure. Keeping the towel on him, place
your hand gently over a round part of his body, such as his back or hip.
Move your whole hand in a gentle circle and a quarter, just enough to move
the skin below the hair coat. Each time you’ve done a circle and a quarter,
gently lift your hand off and go to another location. Be sure to be
balanced and breathing deeply while you work with your rabbit.
Rabbits show friendship by pressing lightly down on the nose of another
rabbit. You can show respectful friendship by doing the same with your
hand. Take the opportunity to do a small Clouded Leopard touch on the
rabbit’s nose to show him you really care about him.
TTouch for Rabbits Grieving the Loss of a Mate
Rabbits will stay with a mate their whole lives if they are lucky enough to
have one. Their loving attachment is very evident when they lay quietly
side-by-side, touch noses, groom each other, and even seem to talk directly
to one another. Only those who have observed a peaceful bonded pair of
rabbits understand how deep this attachment really is.
Sadly, when one of a bonded pair dies, the other is left alone still loving
and wanting his mate. Grief in rabbits is a major event, perilous to his
health, and requiring extra support from the owner. A grieving rabbit will
sometimes stop eating his regular food and hay and will quickly become
dehydrated and thin. Opportunist bacteria can take over the rabbit’s system
or a blockage can form. It is important to understand that a grieving
rabbit needs immediate physical and emotional support. If it is at all
possible, allow the rabbit to see that his mate has died. Viewing the body
and understanding that his mate did not just disappear can help the living
rabbit resolve his grief.
To help your rabbit through this difficult time, TTouch and some commonsense
remedies will help. First, be sure to keep all of your rabbit’s routines
the same. Any changes can upset his fragile system. Give your rabbit more
of your time, such as sitting with him while you read or watch TV.
Immediately begin using the Abalone touch: find your balance, breathe
deeply, and move your hand in a circle and a quarter. Do this over and
over, always in a new location. Vary the touch by doing small Abalone
touches of the head and over the hind legs.
Stroking the rabbits face between his mouth and his ear can give him an
emotional boost. This area represents the animal’s limbic system, the seat
of emotion. Place the rabbit on a table or on your lap, use one hand to
hold him steady and one hand to gently stroke his face from his nose to his
ear. Be sure to brush in the direction of his whiskers. Then switch hands.
Doing this for a few minutes will help.
If your rabbit is not eating, a Belly Lift can improve his digestion. This
must be done very gently. Fold a dishtowel into a wide flat band. Put the
towel under the rabbit’s stomach and hold the ends above his back. Take a
slow deep breath in and at the same time GENTLY lift his stomach with the
towel to a count of five. Do not lift him off his feet. Hold for a count
of five and slowly lower the towel as you breathe out to a count of five.
It is essential that you not just drop the towel, but release it slowly so
the rabbit feels secure throughout the whole process. Do the Belly Lift two
or three times in a row.
Use Tellington TTouch on your rabbit at any time. It is a great method to
help you and your rabbit get to know each other better and trust one
another. Use if for just a few minutes a day and both you and your rabbit
will come to a deep and loving attachment.