Handle Me! :
Week 4 - Getting Our Hands Dirty!

Welcome to week 4 everyone! We’re past the halfway point and from this point on, will be developing some serious skills. It is so important that you take your time from this point on and listen to your dog. Remember not to skip “feeding tension” when you are adding in new objects, locations, and scenarios. And if your dog gets overwhelmed - STOP! But don’t get down on them. Take it as feedback that you’re going too fast and need to slow down a little. Not everything will come in 6 weeks. Some will take longer but if you stick to the programs it will come.


Restraint

Restraining your dog may be something they normally allow, but it is important that you still train for it. Training a comfortable restraint creates a safe space where more technical veterinary care can occur. If your dog is not comfortable with restraint, start very slow. With just a belly touch and then slowly build up. If your dog is a bite risk, only attempt this with a muzzle on. I am marking and rewarding for duration in this video. It is totally fine if you don’t get up to this point in just one week.


Introducing Tubs and Sinks

Depending on the size of your dog, you can bath them in a sink or a tub. You can also use a formal grooming tub such as one of the self serve tubs at pet supply stores. For this week, you are only going to introduce it. Even if your dog is a pro at this, practice. As you can see my own dog Saga is not used to this sink. She is used to the bath at the local pet store, so this was a prefect demonstration on how to work on desensitizing the experience. Note, that I allowed her to get out, take a break and continue.

Do not be in a rush with this. Just spend time in the tub or sink eating treats. It really is that simple.


Brushing

Most dogs are comfortable with brushing but it is good to find out if any areas are harder for them than others. This is where the chin touch comes in. Ask for a chin touch and then begin to brush them. If your dog does not have a long confident chin touch they may not hold if for brushing so if you struggle, go back to teaching a longer and longer chin touch first. Once you have that, brush your dog. As you can see from this video, Saga has less tolerance for brushing her sides but she loves having her front brushed. Practice and especially reinforce or even desensitize harder to brush areas.

Nails Part 2

I know these lessons are what a lot of you have been dying for. We’re not ready to clip a nail yet but we’re getting there. This week we are just touching the nail with the clipper or dremel. In the video, I am using a clipper as that is what she has a harder time with. If you use a dremel, start doing this with it off and then towards the end of the week turn it to on but don’t touch the nail yet with it on, just get close to it. I ask Saga to be in a down for the exercise, this lets me know how she is feeling because she will get up if she’s not comfortable. Try working on that with your own dog.


Ears

Ear drops/wipes are necessary sometimes. This exercise is pretty straight forward. While feeding your dog, practice opening the ear, poking around and touching the inside with a clean towel or wipe. As usual, if at any point if your dog needs a break, give it to them.

Homework!

Work on nails DAILY! SERIOUSLY!! Sharing tip: For these videos I recommend propping up your phone so you can have your hands empty.

Practice restraining 3x a week.

Practice the others at least 1-2 times a week minimum.