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On Training Puppies to Accept and Welcome Handling

Throughout your dog's life, he'll be handled by various people in a range of situations. For example, his veterinarian will examine him during checkup
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Throughout your dog's life, he'll be handled by various people in a range of situations. For example, his veterinarian will examine him during checkups; strangers may pet or play with him, and groomers might bathe him and cut his hair. It's important that your canine is accustomed to people placing their hands on him. Otherwise, such handling might trigger a fear response that leads to injury.

How to Train Your Dog to Accept Handling

This article will explain how to prepare your dog for others' handling by teaching him to accept it when he is a puppy. We'll briefly describe the importance of early socialization training, and offer several suggestions for making the process as simple as possible.

Start Socialization Training As Early As Possible

Experienced trainers and veterinarians suggest that a puppy's first four or five months are critical for his development. The events he experiences during this period have a significant influence on him as an adult. This is the reason socialization training should be started as soon as possible.

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Socialization gives your pup an opportunity to meet other people, including those from both genders as well as different age groups and ethnicities. Early exposure to handling by them makes his acceptance of it more likely down the road.

Gradually Introduce Other "Handlers"

Prior to socialization classes, limit others' access to your puppy until he is accustomed to being handled by you. While most puppies are very accepting of strangers, some become frightened or anxious. Spend time petting your pup all over his body so he can become used to the sensation. Then, slowly let others do the same.

Take care not to introduce too many new "handlers" at once; allow one person at a time to pet your pup. This lowers the risk that he'll feel overwhelmed.

Forming A Positive Connection With The Experience

Because your puppy is so impressionable during the first several months of his life, it is important that his handling by others is a positive experience for him. Use treats and praise to reinforce a positive association in his mind.

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For example, if your pup allows a stranger to pet him, and remains friendly during the encounter, give him a treat. If he lets a young child scratch his stomach, provides another treat. The more positive experiences your dog has, the more likely he'll welcome petting and other forms of handling by others.

Routines To Acclimate Your Puppy To Handling

A lot of owners presume their dogs are fine with being handled and are then surprised when their pets snap or growl at others. This often happens when a canine is unaccustomed to being touched or stroked on a certain part of his body. For instance, a dog may welcome petting on his back, but be inexperienced with petting on his stomach. When someone tries the latter, the attempt may trigger an aggressive response.

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Help your dog adapt by methodically handling every part of his body. Stroke his stomach while he lies on his back; gently hug him; scratch his neck and chin, and softly rub his ears and scratch behind them. Acclimate your puppy to the sensation of having his teeth checked. Take each paw in your hand, and gently hold it.

Your puppy will encounter people throughout his life who want to handle him in each of the ways listed. The more familiar he is with them, the less likely he react out of fear or aggression.

Addressing Hesitation Or Lack Of Comfort

While you are training your puppy to accept handling from others, take note of times when he seems unnerved. If you notice he is growing uncomfortable, ask the person petting him to stop. Avoid forcing your pup to endure something that makes him uneasy since doing so will create a negative impression of the activity in his mind.

If you introduce your puppy to being handled by a variety of people in different circumstances, he'll welcome handling as an adult. It's a simple way to ensure your pup matures into a friendly canine companion.

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