Julia Montgomery Shares Her Takeaways from a Training for Dogs In Bern

Last month I had a fabulous training in Switzerland with 28 participants, 25 dogs and 9 assistants!! In French and German! TTouch instructor Lisa Leicht did an amazing job of organizing, translating to French, and supporting me with the training.
Then the 3 day Advanced training with 23 Pracs was another highlight.  Roland and I loved the Air B&B Lisa found for us in downtown Bern, less than 100 steps from the world famous Zeitglockenturm (Clock Tower).

After the training I heard from Julia Montgomery, and I thought I’d share with you all her wonderful words:

Hello, I have wanted to update people and send out a resounding THANK
YOU to Linda Tellington Jones and the entire TTouch Team for a week that
influenced not just my dog, but me…..forever 🙂
I attended my first TTouch class in Austin in Nov 2014. Linda Tellington
Jones led the week long venture into a new life with my dog.
For those of you who attended that class you may remember an very
‘high wired’/fearful/highly reactive and I would say confused german
shepherd with her equally overwhelmed, green owner. Qavah (the name she
arrived with) and I were a mess and in serious need of help. My hands
and heart are rejoicing over all the progress we have made!
I took in so much that week and so did Chavah (the name she left
with-thanks to Elinor for her awesome and insightful input). We are now
very bonded. I just got done doing her nails with the Dremel if that is
any indication!
Chavah is such a deep dog. She is beyond brilliant. Her body is still
dealing with low back issues and other things that bring me to shed
tears now and then but I continue to tailor activities that work her
mind, challenge her body and let us both enjoy each other’s company!
Her dog reactivity improves as I improve. My confidence continues to
grow and so does hers. I changed vets twice since I was in Austin. Our
current vet takes a more holistic approach and her respect of me and
Chavah from the outset was wonderful. Her demeanor with Chavah is
beautiful and Chavah LOVES her. I am learning to use a cold laser that I
purchased……
Some of the ‘GEMS’ Linda taught that impacted me deeply:
*PUT YOUR HEART IN YOUR HANDS.
This lesson started all kinds of wheels turning for me. It is from this
place of my heart in my hands that I began to explore my energy in all
kinds of activities not just with Chavah. Chavah is my barometer! I tell
her often how grateful I am that she is such a faithful and forgiving
partner. Every time I reach to touch Chavah – whether to brush, pet,
TTouch, do nails, check ears etc….I grow deeper and deeper in my
awareness of my energy as I touch her and her response is absolutely
tied to my approach. I learned and continue to learn to become more and
more aware of my heart, my belief of things in the moment. My thinking
and my heart and intricately woven together. Thinking on things that are
truly good, kind, gentle, true with gratitude…more and more gratitude.
Chavah came running to me last week with prickly pear needles in her
nose. She had run to get a ball and it was right in the thick of a
prickly pear patch. She stood there as I gently pulled one needle out at
a time talking to her very gently and calmly. After the last needle was
pulled, I TTouched around her nose and mouth, gave her some Touches
around the muzzle, down her back, down her legs and out her tail…. and
said “Let’s play” (a term I use for a certain game we play) and
she galloped off ready for the game. This whole awareness is permeating
into all my relationships. It is beautiful.

*SOFTEN YOUR EYES.
I continue to learn what it is to be gentle and firm at the same time.
Chavah is so keenly aware of her visual surroundings that my eyes/my
body language can trigger all kinds of responses without me saying a
word. When she sees/senses insecurity/fear/doubt in me (particularly
around issues with other dogs and certain people) her behavior reflects
that and neither one of us is happy. As I began becoming more aware of
my own eyes, I realized as I soften my eyes my whole face begins to
soften. When my jaw softens, so does my outlook….no holding tension,
just being aware. Chavah took notice in the change very quickly. It was
amazing biofeedback for me to encourage me to go even deeper with the
eyes and face and ultimately, back to my heart/mind.

*Accept your dog completely right where they are.
Chavah is a very serious dog and still pushes the envelope on a weekly
basis to see if I am paying attention! She is still not a dog I would
ever allow around kids. She is getting better around certain other
dogs….ones who are very calm not very interested in her. (A thanks to
Sherri for your words of wisdom the last day of class. I have applied
everything you suggested and they have worked and a thanks to Marnie for
your groundwork comments…I learned we both needed to ground!). That
said, I have come to peace with her limitations (and mine). My thinking
is changing when I look at ‘limitations’…sometimes they turn out
to be a gift, sometimes an illusion that I can actually influence over
time…sometimes it just is what it is and that is ok! I learned that
though she is not a lap dog (an understatement, she had come as a puppy
unable to withstand ANY touch), thru many various tools in my toolbox, I
realized she does very well with a cue to tell her what is expected. Not
a shouting command, but a schematic she can operate from. So, I created
a cue word and signal that says ‘I would like to pet you!!” She
comes wagging her tail, right under my arms. I TTouch her muzzle, Inside
her mouth, around her ears and give her, what I called ’the wake up
touch’ (Linda introduced that touch to us the first day of class) from
the tip of her nose out the end of her tail several times and watch the
twitching and tension begin to leave. She leans into my leg and as tho
we both know when enough is enough I say “Thank you” (another lesson
from Linda: common courtesy of please and thank you to your dog) and
lift my arms. She happily goes on her way, very content, satisfied and
reconnected.

*ENVISION THE POSITIVE OUTCOME VS. DREADING A NEGATIVE EXPECTATION.
I finally learned to only take Chavah to challenging situations_ IF I
WAS READY_….meaning, could I ‘see’ a positive outcome. What was I
expecting? Was I scared or nervous? Why? If I am uneasy about taking her
to a certain place (particularly if there are other dogs around) I
don’t take her until I am at peace, grounded and confident about my
expectations and an ‘exit’ plan if a major hiccup occurs. I ask for
help from others mostly for me not Chavah. I make plans, have safeguards
in place, and if there is a rogue dog running around in a location I was
going to take her, I leave that place and find another. I do not get
disappointed with Chavah and her limitations nor do I hammer on myself.
I just say, “Well girl, looks like we are supposed to go do a
different field!’”.

*FORGIVENESS, FORGIVENESS, FORGIVENESS.
This speaks for itself 🙂 I have learned a depth of forgiveness thru
Chavah that I can barely put into words. She is truly beautiful just as
she is. She is truly a gift just as she is. I did not understand how I
much I wanted her to be different than what she was. I was scared. I was
overwhelmed. So was she. That day I led her in the maze in class and
sang to her was the beginning of what I call: “The melting of
Julia’s Narnia”. This whole journey has been a melting, dissolving
and renewing of my life and Chavah continues to reflect that. Chavah
deeply needed me to heal in places I did not even realize were still so
wounded….she required it and demanded it. As a matter of fact, I think
that is so much a part of why she is in my life. So the journey of
forgiveness was far more than forgiving her. It was about forgiving
myself….and so many others.

*TALK TO YOUR DOG.
Linda made a comment to me early on in the week and it stuck, along
with so many other things….talk to your dog; like you mean it and you
expect them to understand it. I reflected on that as I drove back home
to South Dakota. I thought about my own vernacular language and how much
easier it would be to be ME with Chavah rather than some other
commanding voice that I could bellow but was not really me. I began to
implement that over time and watched amazing transformation happen
between us. She understands much more than I will ever know. I can be in
charge and not be an ogre but rather someone she WANTS to obey vs. HAS
to obey.

*WHAT WERE WE EXPECTING OF OUR DOG WHEN WE GOT THEM? WHAT PREEXISTING
EXPECTATIONS DID WE LAY ON OUR DOGS/PUPPIES WHEN WE BROUGHT THEM INTO
OUR HOME……
I sat down with Chavah the night after Linda held up the concept/idea
of completely accepting our dogs right where they are at and about
asking ourselves WHY we got the dog we got. First, I did an inventory of
exactly what I was expecting of Chavah. Then I cried as I realized this
young dog could never measure up to my unrealistic expectations….I
couldn’t even measure up to them. I asked her to forgive me and if we
could start over….I’ll never forget that night on the bathroom floor
in Austin, TX. She looked up at me with such a deep stare – as tho she
loving said “Thank you, thank you….YES, I’m with you” During the
deep inventory, I recalled I had wanted a ‘guard dog’, a dog who
would protect me. That was one of the biggest things in my list….Due
to some very scary and harmful things done to me in the past. What
absolutely stopped me in my tracks was when I looked down at Chavah and
realized what an immense impossible burden I had place on her. I
apologized with tears streaming down my face. I told her she was ‘off
duty’, that I made a big mistake, that I wasn’t sure about
everything but I knew she was in my life for something much bigger than
that. She was there to help me realize I was free from all those past
things and I could move on not frozen in fear, but free. That moment is
still walking itself out inside of me and between the two of us getting
deeper and deeper.

So many more nuggets of wisdom and beauty that I could go on and on but
instead I will attach some pictures. Thanks to everyone who was there
that week in Nov 2014 and to all of you out there who are willing to
‘take the journey’ thru TTouch, thru your heart….each and everyone
of you is a part of this journey!

And, thank you Linda Tellington Jones for your pioneering, wondering,
loving, forgiving heart. I have thanked God so often for you and for
that wonderful, incredible week.

May we all know forgiveness ‘beyond’, may we all know we are
beautiful, wonderful, and a gift….just as we are, may we begin to talk
to ourselves with soft eyes and soft hands, may we know that we know
that we know that we are loved.

 

–JULIA AND CHAVAH

© 2016, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply