Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Touch and Be Touched Part I

In my classes there are two fundamental lessons I like to teach. The first, is teaching your dog to tolerate being touched by humans and grabbed by the collar. The second is teaching a dog to target.  For those of you who have taken my classes, this is the verbal cue "touch."  In this two part series, I will discuss why each skill is important.

Tolerating touches from humans is an important skill, especially for puppies. It is important for puppies to get used to being handled by humans because there are many situations where they will be touched or examined by strangers. Therefore it is important that they get used to:

• Having their ears, paws and toes touched so that they will be used to it when they go to the vet or groomer.

• Being grabbed by the collar or led by the collar because many people instinctively grab dogs by the collar without first considering whether it is safe to do so.

• Being petted on different parts of the body, having their tails touched and pats on the head because that’s what children tend to do when they meet a dog.

• Having their body examined because you may have to remove a tick or remove a foxtail from their fur/paw.

For these reasons and many others, it is important to desensitize a dog to these sensations. It is important to do it in baby steps and not rush things so that your dog considers this a pleasant experience. Below is a video showing some steps on getting your dog used to being handled in general:

Some dogs dislike or are startled when they are grabbed by the collar. My Shiba Inu, Mitsu, like many Shiba Inus is sensitive and prickly about having certain body parts handled. So it is important to teach them that being grabbed by the collar is a good thing. Here is a video showing some ways to get your dog used to having a collar/harness taken on and off and being grabbed and led by the collar:

 Next time we will cover the versatility of targeting. In the meantime, happy training!

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful to see demonstrations!