How to Train Your Dog to Accept Handling

As with any training, it’s best to start as early as possible and continue throughout your dog’s life. The earlier you begin training your dog to accept handling, the faster he will learn and the more comfortable he will be with it. If you have an adult dog who is not used to being handled by people, it may take a bit of time for him to get used to the process.

The key here is making sure that before beginning training, your pooch is comfortable with people handling him or her. If a dog does not enjoy being touched by people at all, then this type of training will likely be much more difficult than if they are already somewhat accustomed to being handled by their handler(s).

Lifelong Benefits

As you are no doubt aware, dogs can be very sensitive creatures. While it may seem like the benefits of training your dog to accept handling will only last for as long as your specific training session or two, there are many lifelong benefits that you and your pet will reap from the work you put in now. Your dog will be less stressed when they have to handle grooming or other reasons, which means that they’ll be more comfortable with getting their nails trimmed or going for a swim at the beach. They’ll also be more comfortable with getting handled for health reasons such as annual vaccinations and other vet visits that may require physical contact between owner and pet (and vice versa).

The Proof

The proof is in the pudding.

When I say, “the proof is in the pudding,” what I mean is that you can’t really know for sure until you try it yourself. You can read about all kinds of things, but until you’ve tried them, you won’t have any idea how well they’ll work. In fact, sometimes people even say things like “don’t just take my word for it” or “don’t trust me.” These are helpful phrases because they mean that everyone should test out new ideas and approaches before deciding if they’ll be useful or not (or if there’s another way).

Body Handling Exercise: 1. Put on leash and collar

  • When your dog is calm, happy and playful, condition him to accept being put on a leash and collar by doing so as a game. Put the collar on first, then ask your dog to come over, give him a treat and praise him when he gets there.
  • Take off the collar, wait for him to relax again before putting it back on again in another location (or if you have more than one collar).
  • Repeat this process until he starts to expect that placing his head in front of you will result in being asked to “put his ears up” and getting some food or praise as reward for complying with your request. Now add putting on of the lead with similar rewards.
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Body Handling Exercise: 2. Look inside mouth

This exercise is designed to help you get comfortable with body handling, including the muzzle, mouth and teeth.

First, have your dog sit in front of you on a leash. The leash should be loose enough that your dog can move his head around freely while sitting still—just don’t let him pull away from you too much.

Next, gently open his mouth by placing one hand on each side of the muzzle and gently pulling outward until you’ve opened it fully. Look inside the mouth using a flashlight if necessary (but don’t shine it directly into your dog’s eyes). Check for any problems with their teeth, gums or tongue:

  • Are their teeth sharpened? How about chipped or missing?
  • Do they have pink gums or pale ones? Are there any signs of redness or inflammation? * Is their tongue clean (i.e., not coated with yellowish build-up)?

You may also want to look inside their throat by gently pressing down on either side of where it meets up with their neck. This won’t hurt your pet if done appropriately—just make sure not to press so hard that he starts gasping for breath!

Body Handling Exercise: 3. Lift and examine ears

To examine your dog’s ears, you need to lift them up. This is accomplished by gently cupping the top of your dog’s ear between your thumb and forefinger. In order to do this without causing discomfort or pain, you must be sure that you are holding on to the leather flap that covers the top of his ear (and not just grabbing a clump of fur). Then use your other hand as leverage by gently pushing down on his head so that he is forced to lift his ear towards you.

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Once he has raised his leg, it is important to keep it steady while looking at all sides of it. You can either rotate his leg around in circles or simply turn him sideways so he doesn’t have much choice but to let go of it once he figures out what’s going on!

your pup happens __________(finish line)

Body Handling Exercise: 4. Lift and examine rear feet, lift tail

You may need to lift both front paws off the ground to examine them, but you should also be prepared to deal with a squirming dog that doesn’t want his or her rear feet handled. This is an important part of the training because it alerts you to any problems with their paws or pads. If you find something wrong, go see your veterinarian immediately; don’t wait until later when your pet might need emergency treatment.

Body Handling Exercise: 5. Lift and examine front feet, lift belly skin

  • This is a great exercise to teach your dog to accept handling. You can do this when you are petting the dog or grooming her, but it’s also good to practice on its own.

You can begin by holding both of your hands out in front of you and asking your dog to “Give me your paw.” Then ask her again in another way that makes sense for how she understands English (this may be “Holding Hands” or “Shake Hands”). If she doesn’t respond after trying three times, move on to something else for a bit before trying again later on with other commands or gestures until she catches on! You will want to add some praise once she has given her paw so that she knows what was expected of her – this will help encourage future cooperation!

Body Handling Exercise: 6. Examine eyes and face from the side and from above

You can teach your dog to accept gentle handling by taking him for a walk and allowing him to sniff nearby trees, bushes, flowers, and other objects.

You can also train your dog to accept petting by petting him in a calm manner whenever he is relaxed and quiet.

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If your dog resists when you try to give him a bath or groom him with brushes, brushes that are designed for grooming dogs might help. These brushes are made up of soft rubber bristles that won’t hurt your dog’s sensitive skin or fur coat if you use them correctly.

Body Handling Exercise: 7. Enjoy a butt scratch

Once your dog is comfortable with you touching him, you can teach him to enjoy being touched. You’ll want to use the same technique as with body handling (see above), but make sure that your pet is comfortable with the process before moving on.

Teach them to accept butt scratches by using the same method you used for handling exercises: make sure they are calm and relaxed, then gently touch their hindquarters until they get used to it. When this happens, reward them with some treats or playtime!

If you want your dog to be comfortable being handled, it’s important to start training them as puppies!

Try not to rush things; if your puppy seems nervous or tense at first but then relaxes over time, don’t let go prematurely just because he seems calm now. The same applies if he gets upset again later in the session—don’t give up! If anything else makes him feel uncomfortable (like a loud noise outside), wait until he calms down before trying again with gentle petting or brushing his fur again.

The key here is consistency: Try always rewarding positive behavior with praise or treats whenever possible but keeping any corrections positive (e.g., saying “no” firmly but gently). And remember that even if something doesn’t seem like much progress at first—if nothing else happens today except maybe getting him used to being held without struggling around too much–it will still help build trust between humans & dogs overall.”


No matter how old your dog is, it’s never too late to practice handling exercises. If you want your dog to be comfortable being handled, it’s important to start training them as puppies! You’ll find that by introducing these exercises early on in their lives, they will have a better understanding of what humans are asking them to do and what behaviors are expected of them.