Massage and TTouch
If you enjoy petting and grooming your puppy, it will feel natural to take that tactile attention to the next level and touch her so that she is being massaged instead. This kind of touch has additional health benefits — from reduced stress and nervousness to weight loss.
The intention of massage is to knead, rub, or pat the body in order to stimulate circulation. Increased circulation means better blood flow, which leads to the release of stress, improved breathing, and a general feeling of well-being. Massage therapy has been known to reduce anxiety levels of students taking exams, assist cancer patients with the effects of their treatments, lessen depression in those who are grief-stricken, promote weight gain in malnourished infants, and much more. For athletes, the benefits of increased circulation translate to better functioning joints and muscles and improved performance.
Massage can benefit dogs in as many ways. It can reduce fear and anxiety, help the body to fight off disease, improve physical performance, and enhance bonding. There are many books and even some DVDs that can teach you about massage techniques that benefit dogs in both general and very specific ways, and they're worth taking a look at.
Puppies (and dogs) just beg to be petted! Turn petting into an even greater health benefit by learning simple massage techniques to increase circulation and reduce anxiety.
Massage to the Next Level
Instrumental in bringing these practices to many people is Linda Tellington-Jones, a horse trainer who was curious about how touch could affect her horses' behavior. Basing her work on techniques developed by Moshe Feld-nekrais for humans, Tellington-Jones started using circular touching motions to actually interrupt unacceptable behaviors so that the desired behavior patterns could emerge. Her system has become known around the world as TTouch, and it has essentially revolutionized how people could directly contribute to both improving their relationships with their companion animals, resolve behavior problems, and even assist in healing physical problems.
Tellington-Jones's TTouch method is beneficial for dogs with problems ranging from barking and chewing to pulling on the leash, jumping up, resistance to grooming, car sickness, and the effects of aging. Learn more at www.ttouch.com.
TTouch can help a puppy feel better about having his paws held and looked at (and his nails clipped), can help him feel less stress around the human members of his pack (family), and can keep his circulatory and nervous systems (and other systems by default) in their best possible shape. Both of you will benefit from the deeper bond between you.