Daily Handling

Part of having a well socialized dog is the continued practice of handling your dog. I refer to this as a “Body Sweep” and I do it every day until the dog is a year old and weekly from that point. Below is a checklist for a complete Body Sweep. I recommend you perform the checks throughout the day and always make them a fun, calm event. Feel free to provide a tasty treat if your pup needs extra persuasion to participate fully. 

EYES - Visually check eyes for any discharge, foreign debris, etc. If necessary, bath with properly formulated eye rinse or topicals as suggested by your vet. 

EARS – gently insert your index finger into the dog’s ear canal. Wiggle your finger and then reward your dog with cuddles, verbal praise. Do this several times each day. When you clean your dog’s ears, use appropriate ear wash, cleanse thoroughly and wipe clean with tissue. It is my experience that people are often not aggressive enough when cleaning the ears. They do not agitate, via massaging, the base of the ear long enough and they do not go deep enough with the tissue to wipe out the debris. The ear canal is shaped like an L with a sharp right angle. You can go quite deep, relatively, without causing pain.  If you have a small dog or a dog with an unusually narrow ear canal, you will have to seek you vet’s advise for proper cleaning.

MOUTH – Open your dog’s mouth, run your finger over her teeth, over her tongue,  the roof of her mouth and give her tongue a gentle tug.  Many people are petrified of touching their dog’s mouth. True, there are many sharp teeth in there but keeping them accustomed to being handled in this fashion will make then a safe dog for your groomer and vet to handle. It will also make it far easier to deliver capsule medications if needed. When brushing teeth, every dog will acquiesce to the chore at its own pace. You may have to begin with simply touching the brush to the tooth and then offer a treat. Do this several times each day for a week, touching more and more teeth during each session before treating. Then begin moving the bristles on the teeth for one moment, then treat. Break the task down into small steps and work up to the full teeth brushing. A positive association may take some time but if done correctly, it can last a lifetime. 

BODY - Run your hands all over your dog’s body. Pay attention to the feel of his bones, muscle tone, coat condition. One day, you may come across a growth that, because it was identified early, can be treated before it has a chance to become a problem. 

TAIL – Give your dog’s tail a playful tug on occasion. I like to do this during playtime or during daily grooming and it is always done playfully. This will help diminish the chances of your dog becoming upset if a child accidentally takes hold of your dog’s tail. 

BELLY – Always check your dog’s belly and genital area while she is on her back.  There is little hair coverage in this area on several breeds and you will be able to see skin anomalies and detect if your dog is seeping between times of elimination. For non shedding breeds or very fluffy coated dogs, you will be able to see if the anus has become blocked by mats or dried feces. 

FEET – massage your dog’s paws, working your fingers between each paw pad, tweeking the webbing (if present) and ‘flicking’ the tips of their nails. This is done by grasping the tip of each nail between your own nails and giving a gentle squeeze and pull to the end which creates a little ‘snip’ sound that simulates the sound an feel of the clippers. 

NAILS – When the pups are young, I like to trim on nail at a time. This allows your pup to have practice at the task each day. You can take itty-bitty pieces off at a time in order to prevent cutting too short. Make sure you don’t miss days between. Nails of too great a difference in length are like walking with a pebble in our shoe.  Likewise, nails left long and in poor condition is akin to us wearing shoes that are far to small for our feet. If nails are left too long for lengthy periods of time or throughout the dog’s life, it can cause arthritis in their digits.

Diligence in maintaining your dog’s handling tolerances will make them a joy to any groomer or vet but it will also reduce stress in your dog as they will have become accustomed to handling.


Did You Know...

At Akenside Kennels, your pet will receive quality care, exercise and social time with other dogs if the owner permits at a competitive rate. Akenside Kennels boasts 15 acres of land: plenty of space for long walks and energetic romps. At Akenside Kennels, we are happy to send updates and reports regarding your pet’s well-being via text or emails. If your individual situation does not permit you to drop off or pick up your pet during regular hours, we at Akenside Kennels will discuss alternate options at reasonable fees.