Handling and grooming exercises
Submitted By: Four Positive Paws
Do you think you could grab your dog’s collar in an emergency to stop him from running into the street? Can you easily restrain him at the vet’s? Can you brush his teeth and clean his ears? Can you clip his toenails, brush and bathe Fido?
Would you like to teach your dog how to enjoy being handled by humans?
It is easier than it sounds. Obviously, the sooner you start the better. It is easier to teach these exercises to a puppy, but you can teach any dog. Discontinue if your dog seems uncomfortable, stiffens, or growls at you. Call a professional dog trainer right away!
Start with some easy handling exercises, the sequence is crucial — you must reach/touch your dog before the food comes out. Your vet and groomer will thank you for practicing these exercises:
- Gently reach for his collar — do not grab. Give him a treat.
- Look inside his mouth, give a treat
- Touch his paws, give a treat
- Touch his toe nails, give a treat
- Have him sniff the nail clippers, give a treat
- Wipe his paws with a towel, give a treat
- Tug on the tail, give a treat
- Pat him on the head, down his back and along his far side, give a treat for each
- Give him a hug (go easy! And be very careful with older dogs who stiffen up) and give him a very special treat! (Unlike humans, dogs do not like being hugged.)
Put some peanut butter or other spread on your refrigerator door and let him lick it while you brush him for a few minutes at first. Have him associate the brush with something good to eat (especially if he already learned to fear the brush, or the nail clippers for that matter.)
During his bath, put some peanut butter on the inside of the bathtub to get him to worry less about getting washed.
While he eats, walk by and drop an extra yummy treat into his food bowl, to have him look forward to having people around while he eats.
While he chews on a toy, walk up and toss him a treat. He will learn that you are not a threat to his food supply, but the provider of all good things.
If you must take something out of his mouth always trade with something else!
If your dog ever becomes uneasy when you approach one of his treasured resources (bone, food, toy, the couch) — get help from a qualified dog training professional.