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How to Teach Your Puppy to Accept Touching & Handling

Learn how to teach a puppy to accept touching and handling from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this dog training video from Howcast.


Socializing a puppy is the most important thing that you can do when you have a puppy. One of the most important parts of that is teaching your dog to accept handling and touching and dressing and undressing, collars and harnesses, things like that. One of the first things we do is with a young dog, be sure that you're making a positive association with things that some dogs would find uncomfortable.

You'd be surprised how many people won't clean their dogs ears until they're eight months old almost fully grown and they have an ear infection. That's the first time they get their ears clean. It can really turn into a dangerous situation. Dogs really find it unpleasant and may become hand shy forever.

As opposed to starting with a very young dog and trying to make a positive experience where he's having treats or cookies while you're kind of touching his ears, touching his paws, touching his tail. Also if you get a dog like Dexter here, he's going to require a lot of grooming, a lot of brushing, a lot of clipping. So if he doesn't get that experiences until he's an adolescent it's going to be really difficult for him.

So at this age he's only just about 12 weeks and there's something called a critical stage that starts at two weeks in a puppies life and is over as 12 weeks. So it's a pretty small window especially if you're getting your dog at eight weeks or nine weeks. Some dogs even ten weeks. So you really have a very short period of time to get the dog to be comfortable with all these things.

So starting off we just want to make sure that we're doing a lot of heavy handling of the fur and the feet. Little mock vet visits, little mock grooming visits, things like that with positive, positive experience. So that's how you teach your puppy how to accept handling.

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