Ernie is a 12 week old Field Spaniel, he’s not shy in the slightest and is as friendly as can be! There are lot’s of things to work on with a new puppy. One area people often forget is to teach their dog to tolerate human touch. At Zen Dog Training we do this with the game Socialization to Touch.
Socialization to Touch is time spent teaching your puppy to be accustomed to any human touch. Even uncomfortable touch like being handled by the vet or groomer.
This game is great at preventing problems in the future, like aggression, and is important for emergencies. Not only should your dog should be OK with uncomfortable touch at the vet and groomer, imagine when you need to to pick a thorn out of his paw, cut his nails, or even brush his teeth!
Pick up and touch your dog every day. Have friends (and kids) pick him up and hold your puppy in their arms like a baby. Give him treats yourself or have your friends give him treats as he accepts being touched, picked up and held by others.
At home, you should be more systematic. Hold him with his head facing out and his belly facing up. Your puppy might fight this and wiggle around, but don’t let him go. Take a Yoga Breath. If you are relaxed, your puppy will relax. Again use treats to make a positive association to human touch.
Over time you can touch different body parts as you hold and treat him. Think about what he might have to tolerate in the future: touch his paws and between his toes, his teeth, belly, legs, ears, etc. Remember: You should keep feeding him tasty treats throughout the process.
Tip: Play for only a few minutes at a time and keep feeding him treats! You want him to really love being touched!
For more on Socialization to Touch, Love, Yoga Breath, and other puppy training games, visit www.zendogtraining.net!