It is Critical to Handle Your Puppy!
Not everyone is cuddly.
Some people are; some people aren’t.
Some babies are; some aren’t.
Some dogs are; some dogs aren’t.
Some puppies are; and some puppies aren’t.
Just because an adult, baby, dog or puppy isn’t cuddly doesn’t mean something is wrong with them; they aren’t bound to be serial killers.
Sometimes we are just too busy to sit still.
And, some people and critters like their space.
I must admit I am on the “not” side of cuddly.
I like the occasional cuddle with someone or something I love, but I also like my space. I also tend to get arms and legs that go numb after a brief time.
And for whatever reason, it totally creeps me out when someone falls asleep on me and starts to twitch… I don’t understand it either… but it is a thing for me ha ha!
Not All Puppies Like to be Handled
So it is important to note, not all puppies like to be handled.
You may have picked out the “cuddliest puppy” of the litter, only to find that by age 12 weeks your puppy has no desire to sit or lie down anywhere near you!
The good and bad news is that one is not necessarily contingent on the other.
A cuddly puppy doesn’t mean you will have a cuddly adult dog.
And, a cuddly adult dog doesn’t always come from a cuddly puppy.
We are all individuals, and that includes your dog.
We all like different things.
It is fairly normal.
But All Puppies Should Learn to be Handled
But all puppies should learn to be handled.
There is a 90-100 % chance that at some point in your dog’s life you will have to handle your dog in a way he won’t like.
He will need a nail trim.
He will need his ears cleaned.
He will need his teeth brushed (yes, you should be brushing those daily!).
He will need a bath.
He will need to be groomed.
He will need to be restrained at the vet.
After all, life is full of things we don’t necessarily like.
I don’t particularly love going to the doctor for an exam either but I am thankfully at an age where I don’t usually need to be restrained.
And, I was taught at a young age not to need restraint then either.
I have a friend who’s 10 year old had to be held down by several nurses as he was given a shot.
If I had been the parent of a child without disabilities I would have been horrified.
I believe the same principles apply to your dog.
We should begin teaching our puppies when they are young to tolerate touch, restraint, being picked up and manipulated in ways they wouldn’t typically enjoy.
Do It While They are Young
I start almost as soon as I bring my puppies home.
I trim nails.
I clean ears.
I restrain them longer than they desire.
I bathe them.
And, when they have puppy fits, I don’t stop.
If you let your puppy go when he screams, growls or threatens to bite then you are teaching him that throwing a fit is what you want.
I often reward AFTER and if I have a skittish puppy I will reward during. But I don’t want to get into a habit of needing to always reward while I do something.
Because the truth is, my puppy or dog may be hurt at some point and I won’t have a treat on my body.
Instead, my puppies and adult dogs know that after I am done they will be richly rewarded.
And, I Learned
And, I learned “the hard way” about picking my puppies up.
One of my first puppies HATED being picked up!
He hated it so much, he would jump to the second level of crates where I worked.
He would jump up on the table at the vet.
And, he jumped on the xray table at my vet hospital when I worked there.
He always hated being picked up.
But, as with any dog ownership, there were times I needed to lift him.
I wish I had forced him to put up with it when he was a puppy but I didn’t. He allowed nail trimming, restraint and everything else, but he hated being picked up.
I now make sure that picking up my puppies and adult dogs becomes normal to them, because at some point in their lives, there is a very high likelihood that I will have to do it in the future!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.