We would just like to touch on this subject briefly. No pun intended. It is very important that your dog allow you to handle and touch all parts of his/her body without making a big fuss. I can’t tell you how many times our clients tell us they can't clip Princess’s nails or clean Cujo’s ears without the fear of getting nipped or bitten.
These issues are easily remedied by working on touch sensitivity exercises when your dog is still a puppy. They are much more difficult to fix if you haven’t done them and now your dog is an adolescent or adult and refuses to allow you to perform simple care he/she will need throughout their life.
What Are Touch Sensitively Exercises?
Simply put, you should start by opening your pup’s mouth and have a quick look. Handle their feet and paws. Touch their toenails. Gently stick your finger in and massage their ears. They need to be touched all over. Start gently brushing them. Always let them know what a good dog they are for tolerating these exercises. Roll them on their back and if they fight don’t let up, just yet. There is a very important lesson for your pup to learn in the roll over.
We have had prospective clients call and ask if we ever do the alpha male roll over. Our reply is yes, absolutely, with every pup that comes into puppy class. We have lost a number of clients right at that point. We wish them the best of luck and hope they do well with their new charge.
The Alpha male roll over, as it is often called, is an invaluable exercise! It was used by the mother of your pup to keep them in line. It is part of a dog’s way of maintaining social pack order. Dogs thrive with a proper social pack order. It is necessary. It is also necessary for you to be the pack leader. This simple roll over will establish you as the more powerful pack member and let the pup know you are in charge. Great! Don’t you want a dog that respects you and all family members? Of course you do.
Unfortunately a lot of folks anthropomorphize about their dog. Better put, think their dog has human traits and attributes and should be treated as such. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is one of the biggest problems we see in adult dogs becoming aggressive toward their owners. See Who’s in charge here?
The simple roll over at a very young age will avert serious challenges down the road. You are doing nothing more than putting your pup in a submissive or subordinate position. Hence gaining the respect you deserve and must have. If you have a headstrong or somewhat dominate dog, it may be challenge the first few times. If you give in, you are heading for disaster. You must win and only release your pup when it begins to relax and submit. This is neither harsh nor abusive. It is nothing more than a learning lesson for your future adult dog.