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 ARTICLES > TTouch > TTouch Tips: Doing Belly Lifts – the why and the how
  TTouch  Article:

By Linda Tellington Jones, Sarah Fisher & fillers by Eugenie

Belly lifts help dogs relax their abdominal muscles, and to take deep breaths. It helps dogs to release tension through their ribs, belly and back.

Belly lifts are especially effective for digestive problems and nervousness. It can help a dog/animal that is picky or just off their food and can encourage him to eat.

Pregnant bitches usually enjoy this TTouch; The Belly Lift is useful for dogs with stiff or sore backs, and dogs that have a problem getting up from the floor.

Belly lifts are especially useful for most animals:

Animals with colic – it helps to get the intestines moving

Animals with digestive problems

Animals that are dehydrated and have little gut sound

Pregnant animals (humans included), to relieve the downward pressure

Horses who are cinchy or cold-backed; it helps them to learn to breathe instead of holding the breath and tensing

Horses who object to having the girth or cinch tightened, they learn to feel comfortable with the pressure and start breathing

Young horses before being saddled, to prevent cinchiness and holding of the breath

Swaybacked animals

Animals with sore backs: takes pressure off the back

Animals with low backs, it gives them a new sense of bringing their backs up

Ticklish animals who object to being touched under the belly; it helps them to learn to breathe and accept touch

How to do it:

Belly lift with your hand

Put your one hand under the abdomen and your other hand on the back of your dog.

With the hand closest to the front legs apply pressure toward the spine, but only to the extent that your dog is comfortable. Hold this position for about six seconds then slowly release the pressure. The slower you release, the more effective this TTouch will be. Then move a bit along the body towards the rear end and do again. You should be able to get in about 4 on a medium size dog. You might then repeat from the front going towards the rear of the animal.

You can do the Belly Lift in various ways, but whichever method you use, it’s important that you work slowly. For example, you may gently lift the animal’s abdomen with a towel in six seconds. Hold this position for another six seconds before releasing the pressure very slowly taking about ten seconds. The slow release is of utmost importance for getting the desired effect. Start on the belly right behind the elbows and move toward the hindquarters by the width of your hand, or the towel, for each subsequent lift.

If you do Belly Lifts while you are standing, with somebody else make sure you protect your own back. Stand by the side of the dog and support your elbow with your hip, while the other person is turned towards the dog with her legs in the position of taking a step and her knees slightly bent. You can also do Belly Lifts by yourself using your hands. Make sure that your movement comes from your pelvis, knees and feet in order to protect your back.

You can also do the Belly lift with a Body wrap (elastic bandage). Start by folding the bodywrap in half, start by the elbows of the dog, holding the ends of the bodywrap in each hand, but in such a way that it is only a small movement – thus close to the dog, supporting the dog. This is a movement very close to the dog. Start the lifts behind the elbows, holding the ends of the bandage firmly, gently lift the for a count of four. Hold for another count of four and then slowly release for a count of eight. The release is the important part of the exercise.

My dog doesn’t like belly lifts:

Reduce the lift so that you are barely moving the wrap at all

Lead the dog over raised poles to start initiating movement in the ribs and spine

Try the Abalone TTouches (will be explained next time)

Belly lifts on large animals: The lifts can be done by two people on either side of the animal, either by holding hands under the belly, or by using a folded towel or wide girth belt. When using your hands, allow as much flat surface as possible to lay against the animal’s belly (be sure to remove any jewelry that might poke into the belly). I prefer to use a folded towel or surcingle whenever possible because the pressure is more evenly distributed and it is easier on people’s backs.

Starting just behind the front legs, gently lift the animal’s abdomen. Hold that position anywhere from ten to fifteen seconds, depending on the reaction. Then slowly release the pressure – the slow release is of utmost importance in getting the desired effect.

If you can make the release twice as long as the lift, that would be ideal. Be sure to use your legs, not just your back to lift.

If your animal objects, lift until you can just feel the downward pressure of the belly. Move three to six inches towards the hindquarters and repeat the procedure. Continue until you are as close to the flank as seems comfortable and safe (some animals are very ticklish or sensitive in this area, especially when in pain).

The Belly Lifts can then be repeated three or four times, starting each time up toward the elbow.

When you are alone you can use your forearms and hands to do a Belly Lift. Again, be sure to use your legs when you lift, rather than your back and shoulders.

From Linda Tellington-Jones books: The Tellington TTouch and Getting in TTouch with your Dog as well as from Sarah Fisher "Unlock your dog’s Potential"

© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.