Monday, 4 March 2019

Getting a handle on handling!

Some dogs sail through life without a care in the world about being groomed, examined, handled and restrained…

“clipping my nails?....yeah that’s fine”
“cleaning my ears?....go right ahead”
“Vaccinations?....not a problem”

Even when these dogs are in pain or discomfort they will often let the person carry on prodding and poking away without a problem.

But for many dogs they only tolerate the weird stuff humans do to them until a painful or scary incident occurs, then they might become reluctant to be handled or may even growl or snap.

And, although we try our best, we can’t stop our dogs hurting themselves or getting ill.

So what do we do?

  •       Teach your puppy to enjoy being handled/groomed etc

  •       Learn to observe and respond to their changes in body language

  •       Involve your vet, vet nurse or groomer in the process

In both our Puppy Foundation and Puppy Life Skills classes we work on teaching the puppies to enjoy being handled, this means we break handling down into small manageable chunks and pair our touches on the puppy with tasty food rewards.

As puppy class instructor and veterinary nurse Antonia say’s ‘by teaching your puppy to love handling, you’re putting money in the bank for later’. So, when we need to make a withdrawal (usually a scary or painful unavoidable situation), we have a puppy who has lots of positive experience to fall back on and the impact of that withdrawal isn’t that great.

Our puppies are usually pretty good at letting us know when they are happy, but the signs they aren’t happy can be more subtle. You might see them turn or pull away from you, their tail may tuck slightly or they may sink to the ground a little. More obvious signs may include them mouthing at your hands, rolling over onto their back or even growling. In puppy class we teach you to observe and respond to these signs so you can adapt your training to suit your puppy’s needs.

Most vets are happy to be involved in training your puppy to enjoy visiting the practice between routine check-ups or vaccinations, it makes their lives easier in the long run if they can work with a dog who is comfortable being examined.

Check out my Border Collie Scout visiting the vet for his routine vaccination, the training we'd done made life easier for all of us, but most especially Scout! 

Spend  time now making an investment in your puppy’s future by helping them learn to love handling. We want vet visits to become a walk in the park and medical treatments taken in their stride. Necessary but scary or painful procedures should then mean a minor withdrawal from your puppy’s bank of trust.  

If your puppy isn’t comfortable being handled or isn’t happy at the vets and you’d like some extra help or support let us know,  we can help!

Happy Training

Clare and the Gang

P.s.  Our next block of classes (April 2019) are now open for booking. We’ve got a range of upcoming activities to choose from

If you’re struggling with recall, lead walking or your puppy's manner our three week intensives may be for you

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