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Tapping for dogs

In a successful experience with TFT, I was retained to work with a Jack Russell Terrier who was dismissed from the Conformation Ring for growling at the judge and biting him when he examined the dog’s feet.

Could TFT cure this problem? I wondered.

After some basic obedience training using positive reinforcement, I found the pup only 80% reliable. By using TFT, I was able to break through that final 20% and he went on to earn his Championship.

I started with desensitizing handling, then had strangers handle his feet while he was on a table. When he growled at them and showed his teeth to the handler, I started TFT.

At first, the pup was not receptive to the tapping. That is to say, he resisted it. I started by tapping him in the middle of his forehead, a technique I have used for many years (prior to my knowledge of TFT) to calm hyperactive dogs. After getting his attention, I used the eyebrow, under eye, under arm, clavicle, and gamut tapping sequence.

At first he looked surprised, and then calm.

After several treatments, the pup seemed to invite the tapping as though aware it was making him feel better.

I’ve also used TFT with other dogs including, recently, two Labrador Retrievers who were rescued from very abusive homes. Both dogs were fear-aggressive, lunging, barking, snapping, then retreating. After working with the dogs for several days, gaining their confidence, I had a stranger approach the dogs to maximize their trauma. I then applied the treatment, tapping the forehead, under eye, clavicle and sternum. The dogs calmed noticeably.

I have also used TFT many times briefly when working with students in classes. As I approach the pups, I signal them with the calming signals and then tap them on the forehead, under the eye, and on the sternum or clavicle, whichever is easiest to find. The only times I do not feel successful are when the owners interfere with or are not willing to try the treatment.

I believe TFT works when the dog is confident in the person applying the treatment. It should not be tried with a dog who is frightened of everyone and who has no “ally” in the room. In this situation, I find that dogs are not receptive to treatment and it is very difficult to tap the appropriate spots. —Lee Wells

-by Genie Joseph, MFA

Soldiers are prepared for combat operational stress. The Army has drilled them, trained them, polished them. What happens when they come home and have to adjust to the “surreal” world of civilian life? Once you have lived next to life and death as your daily reality, and perhaps gotten so familiar with the stress of combat operations, returning to mundane life can make everything feel out of whack. Retuning warriors often feel out of sync with family or civilian life, after what they’ve experienced.

With prolonged exposure to high-stress, the brain may actually adapt to this lifestyle of danger — so that danger brain messages feel normal. The harder part of what they’ve experienced may be coming home!

I teach classes in media and communication at Chaminade University in Honolulu, which offers classes on all the military bases. I work with all branches of the military, as well as their spouses. Many students walk into class in high states of stress. While I am not a therapist, and I don’t do any treatment or diagnosis, as a teacher I need to make sure that students are fully functioning and engaged, in order to make the classroom experience as positive as possible. Sometimes students come to class after just hearing traumatic news, witnessing something terrible or even have just been a part of something very disturbing.

For me, Thought Field Therapy provides me with tools that can calm someone down immediately, and allow the class to go forward as planned.  Read more