Saturday, October 1, 2016

TTouch, Clicker Training and More with Bella: Helping a Rambunctious Kitten To Get on the Right Track:)

Bella is a beautiful, confident, friendly kitten who was adopted by Elizabeth and Mike into their lovely and caring home.  To say Bella is energetic is putting it mildly!  She has so much energy that some of it builds up into over-stimulated behavior, and she has been biting them (primarily Elizabeth).

I went for a session with them to see what was happening, and to help give them some strategies to help.
I had mentioned clicker training to Elizabeth, and she had already gotten Bella started with this, which was great.
Bella came right out to greet me enthusiastically when I came in.  We worked a bit with clicker training with her, explaining some variations she could do with the training.
Then I showed Elizabeth and Mike how to do some basic TTouch.  As Bella was in a very active mood, I demonstrated on a stuffed animal for part of the time, and worked on Bella a little at a time. I could tell that the TTouches would be helpful for her.  I worked a bit with the stick end of a stick toy with her at times, as she can get overstimulated.  I gave her lots of breaks, continuing to explain to Elizabeth and Mike about the TTouches.
It was very interesting, as I could see Bella's energy slowly begin to calm as I very gradually worked with her.
I advised Elizabeth to continue with the clicker training, TTouches, and lots of play time, and to get Bella some toys she can play with on her own as well. 
It is beneficial to do the TTouches a few times a day, if you can, depending on what is going on.  You don't need to do a long session - even a session which is only a few minutes can start to make a difference.  The work builds on itself.  The animal begins to recognize the feeling of the TTouches, and usually relaxes right into them.  And, over time, the TTouches can have such a profound effect on an animal's general level of relaxation and well-being, and helps an animal to not be as reactive to stressful situations.
I also showed her something that usually works really well as a corrective sound with kittens, as it mimics the type of sound a kitten makes to another kitten if they are playing too roughly.  It is a sudden, high-pitched squeak-type sound, that usually gets the other kitten to back off.  Thank you to my friend Kerrie McKeon, cat behavior expert extraordinaire and keeper of the cats at Bideawee, for teaching me about that. 

I explained the importance of giving a variety of kinds of spaces for Bella, such as vertical space so she can have another dimension to explore and play, and cozy hidey spaces where she can go to calm herself down.
I have video tutorials on TTouch, as well as a few on clicker training on my youtube page,
After the session, I made a Bach Flower remedy for Bella both in drops and spray form, so it could be sprayed in the environment as well as taken internally.  The remedy can be taken four or more times a day, depending on what is going on.  As Bella can continue to be hyped up after play time, one good time to spray and give the remedy is after playtime.  I also advised Elizabeth to leave the room for a bit after their play session and just let Bella calm down.
So.... the wonderful news that I heard shortly after our session was that Bella is doing so much better:)  Good work on the part of one and all! xxoo

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