Wednesday 20 May 2015

Author Toni Shelbourne Visits Israel

Hubble & Hattie author Toni Shelbourne tells us about her latest TTouch training work ...

Working with animals takes me far and wide, and my recent trip to Israel was a fantastic experience. There is a thirst in forward-thinking Israelis for knowledge to improve their animals lives, and I had over 40 people attend a two-day Tellington TTouch Training Workshop in Kefar Netter, just north of the capital Tel Aviv. In 27 degree heat, under citrus trees on a beautiful farm, we spent the weekend working with the dogs attending the course, and discussing techniques and tools to take back to their clients and animals at home. Boy, can the Israelis ask questions! The result? A flood of messages of successes and Aha! moments; an extremely noise-phobic dog sleeping through fireworks, and a hyperactive puppy calming down, to name but a few.

Recognising dogs, and other animals, as sentient, emotional beings is so important. Approaching behavioural problems by recognising fear and anxiety, and supporting the animal at this level can often be all that is needed to help the behaviour reduce or disappear. The people who attended the course just ‘got it’ and the benefits to their dogs were observable.
On the third day I had the opportunity of working with dogs at a shelter. Some of the people who organised and attended the course came with me, and already they were implementing lessons learnt from the workshop to help the dogs in their care. A tiny puppy was placed in my care, bewildered and with a sore, worm-filled belly. Almost instantly, as I did some TTouch on him, he began to come out of his catatonic state, backing up to me and opening his hind legs so I could work on his abdomen. As his belly softened, so did his face, and he lay down and slept. Later, he was taken home by one of the girls from the course to be fostered, and found his forever home the very next day. A success; a good day.

I will be returning to Israel later in the year. It‘s a country of contradictions, but its people have a good heart and are eager for change. I can’t wait!

Toni's new book Among the wolves – Memoirs of a wolf handler is published later this month.