Check-up training for visits to your veterinarian begins with you simply touching your puppy! Touching your puppy helps develop trust between you and your puppy and can help you recognize potential behavior issues in your puppy before they arise. A well-balanced puppy will allow touching by their owner and others. A fearful or aggressive puppy may resist being touched, either cowering, tensing, growling or urinating. Touching also helps desensitize your puppy for veterinary examinations.
Every puppy will need to see their veterinarian at least once a year, every year, for their entire life! New situations can be very stressful to puppies, but those that have learned to trust will be more relaxed. A large portion of the veterinarian’s exam will be done through touch, so puppies that are comfortable being touched will be more at ease during their veterinary exam! Dogs that don’t learn to trust and be touched at a young age may prove difficult to examine and may even need sedation for minor veterinary procedures such as vaccinations, nail trims and grooming.
Touch your puppy every day, multiple times per day until they trust you and then begin to introduce more unusual touches. You should touch the ears, face, inner lips, legs and feet, even the spaces between your puppy’s toes. Put your fingers at his ears, and touch the underside and as much of the ear canal as you can softly touch. Every member of your family should do this daily until it seems normal to your pup. You should gently hold your puppy on his back until there is no struggle when such position is requested. Hold them in a secure position in your arms or on the floor or on a secure and soft surface so your puppy does not have any sense of falling. If your pup resists just a little, perform these tasks until there is no resistance to your handling. If the pup resists much, you may need to gradually condition your pup to these touches. Work on these gentle exercises for 1-2 minutes multiple times a day until the pup accepts it. The puppy that resists, is the pup that needs the training the most. With these pups, work only until your pup resists slightly, then end the session before you or the pup becomes stressed. Do not force your puppy into any of these positions! Many times, working with the pup when he is sleepy is a good time to deal with a resistant pup.