I put together a list of touch tolerance exercises to do with your puppy (or dog, it’s never too late to improve). I do these exercises with every puppy that I raise.
1. Stroke your puppy from their head to the tip of their tail.
2. Rub around the muzzle and lift their lips to check teeth. Touch your finger on their gums to help prepare for future teeth brushing.
3. Rub ears, lift up ear flap and check ears. Gently tug at ear hair. This helps later when it comes time to cleaning and grooming their ears.
4. Pet over their eyes. I usually cup my one hand under the muzzle and rub over each eye with the other hand.
5. Run hand down each leg.
6. Pet under the belly and on the inside of each back leg.
7. Hold the tail. Check around the rear. Some dogs are really sensitive in this area and once again this is an area that will need to be addressed during grooming.
8. Pick up each paw and spread the toes with your thumb and finger. In addition, grab each toenail and give it a little tap with your finger.
9. Slide your hand under the collar and move it around.
10. Use a brush on your puppy. Some puppies are very sensitive to brushing at first. I like to start them with a soft bristle brush then work up to the pin brush. Make sure your pin brush has coated tips so it doesn’t scratch their skin. I brush with the hair and against the hair to give a different feel for them and add a little fluff.
Try to do these exercises when your puppy is calm. It sometimes works best to do them right after a short training session so they know they are “working”. It shouldn’t take long to get through everything. Popping them up on the grooming table if you have one is a good place to work with them as well. Many puppies and dogs get more serious on the grooming table. Just make sure it is a pleasant experience for them by calmly going through the exercises and giving praise. If there is a particular area they are not liking, give treats! For example some do not like their tails touched so you would want to give treats while touching the tail.
Associate it with a good thing!!
For those struggling to brush their puppy, because the puppy is trying to eat the brush, (lol) you could try giving them a toy to keep them busy or even a stuffed Kong while you sit on the floor with them and brush them.
Poodles need a lifetime of regular grooming so let’s set these puppies up for success!