Dog Training Made Easy: Teach your dog to enjoy being handled
One of the things that we don’t always remember is that some dogs aren’t naturally happy being handled, being groomed, or being cuddled. And so we have to teach them that it’s enjoyable and it’s a fun part of life as a family dog.
Sometimes if people get bitten it’s because a dog reacts fearfully to being handled when he’s never been taught just what a joy it is. Body language for dogs is very different to us. For a dog have a hug, to put his paw across on top of another dog he’d have to be spoiling for a fight. That’s why quite often dogs react by barking when their humans have a hug. They really just don’t understand it. So we have to teach them how to enjoy being hugged and being handled.
For dogs who live with children or just with owners who love doggy cuddles this is one of the best things you’re ever going to teach your dog to do. And so to help me show you how to teach your dog to enjoy being handled I’ve got Basil here.
Now what we need is a really good supply of yummy treats that Basil really likes. And then while giving him a treat just slowly start to stroke, now you can’t have the plate, you have one in my hand. Slowly just start to stroke him all over his body. Always start in places that you know he’s comfortable being stroked and give him a treat after every bit.
So you can stroke down the side of his body, keep giving him a nice yummy treat so that he links your hands in his mind with feeling good. You can run your hands up his ears, run them down his paws so you can examine his paws, all the time giving him a treat so that he knows that hands mean good stuff. If he’s small enough you can tip him up on his back and just rub his tongue all the time giving him treats so he’s got positive associations with your hands.
If you find a bit that your dog’s uncomfortable being handled with just go back a few stages, stroke the bit that he likes, and then gently move into the areas that he’s not quite so comfortable with.
If the dogs really worried about your hands, you could use the treat to lure the dog underneath your hand so that he thinks that it’s his idea to be stroked. Always take it very slowly and very gradually, build it up over the time that you’re working with your dog. Sometimes you can use a brush instead or even a fluffy glove. So he get treat. Great look, isn’t this just lovely? And he’s learning that hands and brushes and everything is just really, really enjoyable.
Get everybody in the family to do this, and everybody must know that the dog needs to be handled nicely and with respect so that hands are always something to enjoy rather than to be worried about. You’re a good boy, aren’t you?
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This article was first published at passpawt.com/blog/tag/dogtraining
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