Handle Me! :
Week 5 - Clean It Up!

Progress into the exercises for week 5 is always on a case by case basis. Every dog is usually at a different point in the exercises based on previous history and the amount of time spent practicing. For those dogs that are moving right along, I will continue with the next steps, but if your dog is not ready, don’t rush into the new exercises. Keep practicing where you are.

Nails Part 3

Now that we have been exposing the dog and their nails to the clipper/dremel with touching them, it’s time to make contact. This week I want you to cut 1 nail. ONE! Just one! If you are an overachiever. You can do another 3 days later. But only after you go through the same steps as Part 2. Do not just grab the clippers and cut the nail. You have to make it the same scenario as before.

In between the cut you make now and the one in 3 days, you need to practice Part 2 every day. Your dog isn’t ready for nails to be cut every day yet. Remember, cut, then part 2 for 3 days, then you can cut another one. Do not rush this or cut corners!

Taking it on the road

If you haven’t already, start practicing the exercises from weeks 1-4 at a friends house, the self-serve bathing area at a pet store, and especially at your vet’s office. For your vet’s office, call ahead and tell them what you are doing. Explain you are taking a course on cooperative care and handling and you’d like to practice during lunch. 99% of vets are thrilled that you want to do this and will give you permission to practice in an exam room. Make sure to practice in one of these locations this week and once a month after that.

Starting the bath

Now that your dog is comfortable in the bathing container be it sink or tub, it’s time to add water. We still take this slow. Put your dog back in the tub and feed them. Now turn on the water a trickle. You can put the drain in and let the water pool slightly too. Make sure the temperature is warm but not hot. If your dog is calmly eating food and their feeding tension is good, you can take a washcloth, get it damp and touch them with it. As you can see from my own dog, to took a moment to adjust. Once they are comfortable with the wet cloth, you can squeeze water out on to them. Practice this at least once this week. Keep practice short. They don’t have to come out bathed.


It’s is easy to forget eyes but eye drops usually happen at some point for some physical issues. And we all have to clean eye boogies. Do you and your dog a favor, and practice eye drops and eye exams. If starting the bath went well, this should go smoothly.

Start making a saline solution: 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Now wash your hands and dip your fingers into the solution until wet. Then raise your hand over the eye area and let the water drop into his eye. You don’t have to do a lot. Feed your dog while this is happening or have a helper feed your dog. Remember to monitor for feeding tension. Also, practice opening the eye and wiping eye boogers.


Take it slow with nails and don’t do this week’s step if part 2 is still tense.

Make it a priority to go to the vet or a grooming parlor and practice your skills!

And try the bath/eye exercises twice this week. It’s not just about getting your dog comfortable. As your muscle memory starts to kick in, it will be easier in later sessions.