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Training Your Puppy or Dog to Accept Handling By You and Others

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How to Train Your Puppy or Dog to Accept Handling.

Can You Touch Your Dog? Anywhere?

One of the most important things you can teach your puppy or dog is to allow handling and touch to any and all of his body parts. Teaching him that being touched either by you, a pet professional or accidently in an inappropriate way such as a pull on the ear by a child is no big deal or better yet is good. Training can help keep him calm and prevent aggression. Aggression can result in your dog having to be muzzled and/or sedated at the vet or groomer. This is no fun for your dog or the professionals that have to interact with your dog.

Using treats and a marker word (yes!) or clicker you can speed up the learning process.


Start by charging up your marker word. Say “Yes!” and treat. Repeat till you say the word and your dog’s eyes light up because he knows the treat is coming.

For each of the body part start with just a touch then mark (yes!) and treat. Repeat 10 times. Then touch and hold for 1 second, release, mark/treat/repeat. Gradually build up the time you hold. If your dog wiggles or tries to pull away, gently hold on (become sticky) until he stops, then release. Once your dog is comfortable with holding start manipulating. So, for ears you might look inside, start to clean etc.

These are the main areas you’ll want to work on:

Ears, touching, pulling, looking, cleaning.

Eyes, opening, wiping, shining a light on.

Mouth, touching, opening lips and mouth, brushing teeth.

Nose, touching, look inside.

Feet, touching, spreading paw pads, clipping nails.

Tail, touching, pulling, lifting up, touching around bottom.

Collar, touching, pulling, holding.

Brushing, let your dog sniff the brush, brush just touches his body, then one swipe of the brush etc.

Lifting, putting your arms around, lift a little at first.

Touch from children, ear and tail pulls, accept head pats and hugs, go slowly.

By simply spending a few minutes a day touching, grooming and handling your dog you can decrease or eliminate the need for extreme measures by you or other pet care professionals. Not to mention lowering the stress factor for your dog. Being handled can actually become a calming, fun event when taught properly.

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