Handling is a topic that I usually talk about with my puppy clients. I stress the importance of teaching your dog how to tolerate (or even enjoy) being touched all over their bodies, especially in areas that tend to be sensitive.
I had a personal experience last week that highlighted why this is such a pivotal aspect of your relationship with your dog. Hank and I were at the dog run when he began lifting his front left leg and refusing to put weight on that paw. When I looked at it I noticed a giant splinter embedded in one of his pads. Oh no!
When I adopted Hank, I worked to make him comfortable with with my touch. I was bound and determined to be able to trim his nails myself, so I really focused on getting him comfortable with me manipulating his paws.
Back at the dog run I had two choices: take Hank to the vet (but I’d rather avoid that bill) or take it out myself. I knew that Hank still had energy to burn at the park so I didn’t want to take him home. Instead I asked him to hop up on one of the picnic tables, held his paw and yanked. It didn’t come out right away. Hank cried. But he let me continue and eventually the inch long sliver of bloody wood chip was in my hand. And Hank went off to continue playing for another half an hour (I did clean his paw at home).
This incident could have cost me a vet visit or aggravation from having an under exercised dog in the house. Instead, I was thrilled that work I did years ago paid off!
If you have a puppy or a dog that is not comfortable having certain body parts touched and would like to work handling, call me. I’m happy to help!