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Handling & Habituation

Handling/Husbandry We must get our dogs used to being handled from a young age. This habituates them to being petted by visitors to our home and handled at grooming and vet visits. If a dog is not used to being handled, it invokes emotions of fear and negativity. We want our dogs to be well rounded members of society and to enjoy being handled and petted. Not all dogs will enjoy this though and you must take note if your dog does not wish to be touched in certain ways or areas and respect this. Any discomfort shown by the dog means that you must stop and give the dog a break. Go back to the start of your handling and go slower this time, in the hope the dog accepts the touch. Work slowly and this should habituate the dog to the handling. If not, you may need to seek veterinary advice to ensure there is no underlying medical reason for the resistance. • Stroke dog from his head all the way down his back. Mark and reward

• Run hand down the dog’s tail. Mark and reward

  • Run hands gently down each leg and lift their paws for a quick peek/hold. Mark and reward

  • Stroke the dog’s head and lift each ear, look inside. Mark and reward

  • Lift the dog’s muzzle and check his teeth. Mark and reward • Hold the muzzle gently and stroke under the eye area and lift the brows softly allowing an eye check. Mark and reward This is the basics of handling/husbandry and merely the beginning of a lifelong journey to habituating your dog to many things in life. Your dog has so much to get used to in the big wide world; cars, bathing, strangers to name a few. Using positive training, you can make this so much easier for the dogs in our lives. © The Dog Learning Centre L Haydon/C Russell

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