Sensory Tools - Body Wraps
Learn all about the What, How and Why of Body Wraps
As trainers we are always looking for effective and creative ways to help the dogs we work with learn appropriate behavior and live successfully in our human world. We are also modeling to our clients how to communicate and interact with their dogs in a humane, respectful, and caring manner. Typically, positive reward-based training techniques are very successful in shaping new behaviors. Unfortunately, not all dogs are receptive to training in the moment due to states of anxiety, fear, or over-arousal, which interfere with optimal learning. The goal of this course is to help you learn about “sensory techniques,” which simply means the use of specific sensory input (tactile, proprioceptive) to give dogs new experiences. These types of sensory experiences can influence both emotional and physical states, resulting in a lowering of arousal and improved focus. We will start with a very simple, but often profound tool called the Body Wrap.
Program Learning Objectives
- Understand the basic concept of using sensory input to influence posture, body awareness, and behavioral responses.
- Identify multiple environmental contexts in which a Body Wrap or Thundershirt may be helpful.
- Identify multiple behavioral issues in which the use of a Body Wrap or Thundershirt typically has been used.
- Demonstrate the sequence of steps to introducing and applying a Half Body Wrap on a dog.
- Demonstrate the sequence of steps to introducing and applying a Full Body Wrap on a dog.
- Demonstrate the sequence of steps to introducing and applying a Face Wrap on a dog.
- Demonstrate appropriate body positioning while applying a Body Wrap or Face Wrap to avoid leaning over a dog and remaining safe.
- Understand and demonstrate the correct fit of a Body Wrap and Face Wrap.
- Learn how to work through initial concerns and how to help a dog overcome a freeze response.
- Understand the difference between containment and restraint.
Kathy's introduction to dog training began in 1991 when a slightly wild and wonderful Alaskan Malamute puppy came into her life. Kathy and Spirit's partnership lead them to competition obedience trials, participation in fly ball, and as a visiting Therapy Dog/Handler team in hospitals and nursing homes. Searching for a truly respectful and gentle approach to working with animals, Kathy completed the two-year Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner Certification Program, graduating in October 1996 and later becoming an instructor in the program in 2003.
With her professional training and experience as a Physical Therapist, Kathy offers a unique perspective on the neurophysiologic and sensory aspects of dog behavior to her students. Known for her creative, engaging, and often humorous teaching style, Kathy has presented workshops and seminars throughout the US, Canada, and in Europe.
Kathy’s skillful approach to working with dogs with aggression and fear issues led her to develop a series of seminars titled “S.A.N.E. Solutions for Challenging Dog Behavior.” Her calm, confident demeanor serves her especially well in working with these cases. Kathy states, "Helping dogs learn to cope with the demands of living in our often chaotic human world is a passion of mine. Creating a sense of calm and safety for the dog is the first step to eliminating reactive and fearful behavior. We can do this with humane, effective tools for reducing stress and building confidence. It gives me great joy to see these dogs make the transformation from living in a state of fear to feeling safe in the world.”
The high desert of Central Oregon is Kathy’s home, and allows her to enjoy her outdoor passions of hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her horses. She is an active volunteer for the non-profit organization, Fences For Fido, which builds fences to free dogs from living life chained or tethered.