Trust and Handling 1 - Body Contact

In this 5-part series, we explore the all-important subject of building trust with handling. This is one of the most important topics we teach, it can be transformative for your bond, and it will also make life dramatically easier and less stressful for both you and your dog. Everyday life means that we need to physically handle our dogs regularly, be it for grooming or medical treatment, for bathing, for their safety or even in an emergency. Putting in early foundations to build trust with handling will ensure your dog can put their confidence in you to carry out whatever handling is required.
In the first part of the series, we look at body contact. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are naturally hard-wired to enjoy being cuddled. Many puppies take time to grow into a love of cuddles and, just like with some humans, some dog personalities simply don’t enjoy human contact. Even dogs that enjoy general cuddles, might be less keen about certain areas of their body being touched; be it tail, paws or ears.

In this video, Di shows the various stages of building trust with body contact. At every stage, Di is sure to work at the dog’s own pace by carefully watching the dog’s body language to understand any elements that the dog is finding difficult. Beginning with general touches around the dog’s body to create positive associations with handling, Di progresses to include working on a safe mat or platform which gives a clear picture to the dog of what is happening. By working close to a wall, Di is able to replicate the feeling of a small veterinary consultation room, helping to prepare the dog for real-life situations. At the advanced stage, Di uses the pot technique which allows the dog to signal that they are comfortable with handling and happy for the experience to continue by looking at the pot. See more in the Trust and Handling Series.

If you’d like to get started with building trust in handling, an excellent resource is our Early Foundations Online Course includes 5 hours of essential training techniques. Or check out Di's Full Online Puppy Training Course

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