Teaching and Eliciting Voluntary Compliance for Grooming and Medical Procedures


I can’t touch her ears!

She hates the brush!

He shakes on the way to the groomer.

Isn’t it an oxymoron that on one hand we “spoil” our beloved dogs with the fanciest beds and coats, find the greatest joy in giving them a toy they love to play with but when it comes to taking them to the vet or groomer we show much less concern for the emotional state of our pups.

Oh…he’ll get over it!

Yes, he HATES going there and the vet tech has to hold him in a stranglehold when they take his temperature. We have to muzzle her when she gets a bath. All of a sudden, the puppies’ suffering becomes a thing they just have to deal with.

WRONG! Teaching your puppy to accept being handled, brushed, having their nails clipped and accepting injections is possible and will make your and the dog’s life a whole lot better.

Does it come naturally? Not necessarily!

Is it a whole lot of work? Not really.

Planning ahead is key and realizing that stopping in at the vet’s just to get them a cookie without “having anything BAD happen to them” will not solve the problem.

Even if your tiny puppy lets you handle their feet, toes and ears, and lets you take stuff out of his mouth that does not necessarily predict that this will be the case a couple of months down the road. Be happy but practice anyway!

I think if the goal is to make our dogs’ lives as stress and fear-free as possible that teaching them to accept grooming and medical handling voluntarily should be seen as basic as teaching them to sit or recognize their name.

Elisabeth Weiss is a highly certified, experienced dog trainer in Manhattan, NYC. To learn more about dog training services, contact us by phone at (917) 783-1473 or our contact form.

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