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How to desensitize a new puppy to allow toe nails/feet/legs touched

Hey guys, this is Nikki, Lead Veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces.  Today let’s talk about puppies!  Who doesn’t love puppies, right?  All those little sharp teeth chewing on everything😊  Well, this is the best time to get your new baby used to people and being handled. 

First, never force your puppy to do something, or yell and be cross.  The literally have a 30 second memory, so they just know mom or dad is yelling, and no idea what they did wrong.  Never every hit your puppy, especially in the first few months of growing.  Puppies have 3 very important learning times right around 8, 10, 15 weeks where they are the most sensitive and receptive to negative behavior from us.  This is when we need to be really gently, soothing voice, and friendly with them, even if they just chewed up your favorite pair of shoes!

Start with a treat, or a few treats, that your puppy likes.  Puppies want to please us, and are very food driven!  Even peanut butter smeared on the wall for them to lick is great.  Offer them a treat in one hand, and with the other hand gently touch their ears, massaging the tips, and work down to their toes.  Spend at least 5 minutes a day giving them treats in replacement of you touching them on toes/feet/legs/ and ears.  Especially if you have a floppy eared dog like I do, as they can be prone to ear infections.

This will really be helpful for you in the future.  They will trust you and others to touch them, or for the veterinarian to complete their exam.  I personally love puppy training classes, as they socialize your dog to other people, dogs, and get them even more bonded to your family in a safe environment.  Little dogs tend to be nervous as it is, and can be nippy with toe nail trims.  This can all be avoided if you take the time as a puppy to get them used to touch and other people. 

Once your puppy is used to you touching their feet without flinching them back, start bringing out the toe nail clippers.  Just let puppy sniff, and give them a treat.  Then maybe try to do one nail, and treat right away.  Do not force your dog to do all their toe nails at once, especially if they are afraid.  This is a great way to make a toe nail fear biter, and cost you a lot in grooming fees.

Desensitization can be helpful now, because if your puppy grows up and unfortunately gets a CCL tear someday, putting something on their leg like our brace will be no problem, because you have set them up to succeed!

Feel free to email me at poshintake1@gmail.com with any questions, or visit us at poshdogkneebrace.com


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