All dogs, just like us people, have quirks and issues, and our Charlie is not the exception. Early on, we figured out that Charlie disliked having his paws handled so we try to handle his paws, gently, every single day. Some pet parents would say to let it be, but if the time comes when I have to get something out of his paw; trim his nails, clean his feet, etc., he would lose it because he is not used to it therefore we’re working on desensitizing him and this is where we are so far:
Wiping his paws every time he goes out for a walk and to do his business. Keep in mind that he goes out at least 6 times a day. When we are about to pick up his paw, we touch it so he knows that we are about to pick it up and he could switch his weight. He is about 71lbs. so he is a big boy. By his body language, he is getting more comfortable when we handle his paws.
Trimming his nails is a huge endeavor that takes two (2) people, yes you read it right, to accomplish. One of us does the trimming while the other one is brushing and massaging him, and making sure that he is not able to see this horrible nail cutter. On this one, we still got a long way to go.
Food is what we are using to help us desensitize Charlie to handling his paw therefore right before we put his dish down we ask him to give us his paw. This way he connects food, something he enjoys and loves, with having his paw handled.
Dogs hate having their paws handled as many of you pet parents know so if you have a Charlie of your own, I would suggest for you to work with an experienced trainer to avoid hurting your dog or yourself. Keep working with your dog and stay safe!
When Bella came to live with us a little over 4 months ago, she had absolutely no doggie manners: she’d step over Alex; bump into her; and this was the worst, while Alex was sunbathing by the sliding doors Bella would try to put part of her body on top of Alex. Manners is something dogs can learn from one another, and I’ve been lucky to have Alex, a very laid-back, balanced pit mix, help other dogs accomplish that.
Is manners something you can teach a dog overnight? No. There are many factors that need to be present and put into play in order to have a well-mannered dog and these are just a few: patience, structure, exercise, discipline, commitment, consistency, love, and a balanced dog like Alex.
A few pet parents I’ve talked to believed that if they took their dog to an obedience class, this would solve most, if not all, problems, but let me tell you that an obedience class is just the beginning of getting your dog to be a happy, balanced, and well-mannered dog. I look at an obedience class as one more tool that you can use to start training and conditioning your dog to listen to you, her pet parent.
Also, please don’t expect your dog to learn manners from another dog in a couple of hours, days, weeks, etc. Why? Dogs are individuals, as I mentioned on a previous post, and they learn at their own pace. Bella, our foster failure, has made amazing progress, but that took time and a ton of patience. There is still a lot more I need to work on with Bella, but now she is able to live with other dogs in peace while respecting their space.