Desensitizing Your Puppy

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

Desensitizing Your Puppy


by Jennifer Broome


0:31 Announcer: helping you get the most from your hunting dog.

0:41 What is puppy desensitizing? Well, we'd like to really take the sensitivity away from this puppy as far as his reactions to being touched, poked, prodded, pulled, ears looked at, ticks pulled off of him. Really what we'd like to do is teach him to accept being touched and handled all over. And that's what desensitizing is all about.

I think that as puppies are developing in their early stages, especially under four months of age, desensitizing is so important. It's such an important aspect of their training at this age. So let's do a little desensitizing.

1:22 Desensitizing might be putting him in some uncompromising positions. On his back. On his side. A little bit upside down. I'm going to touch his ears, look inside of his ears. Open his mouth. Get him comfortable. And there's some reaction there. He's sensitive to me touching his mouth. He's sensitive to this position. He's telling me with his body language, I don't want to be held like that, I don't want to deal with it.

1:52 Well, in reality, I'm not hurting him and I may be putting him in an uncomfortable position, but what if later on, I needed to care for a wound he might have? What if I needed to pull a tick off so simply have a veterinarian examine him? I want to teach him at this young age that I can put him in uncompromising positions and I want to teach him how to accept it. 

2:18 So again, I'm going to use the old patience, persistence and repetition. And if he were to be really flipping out at this stage, I might do shorter sessions of it but he's really pretty accepting of it. We've got a head turning away. He's kicking at me a little bit. There's some pawing and kicking. (crying) And some crying. He says, I don't want to do this. Well his crying and his rebellion is not my cue to put him down.

2:42 We have some toes that are spread there. These are common things when I'm trying to desensitize a pup of his reaction and his stress to the situation. So instead of further stressing him, I'm going to remain relaxed, teach him to deal with this, but I'm not going to put him down and let him get his way. So with the desensitizing, I'm want to touch these toes, touch in between them.

And the more that you do this, the more comfortable your pup will be with this form of touching. The more relaxed he'll be around you and the more that he'll trust you later on when you do have to possibly do an emergency in the field or any type of handling.

3:23 So areas all over. Again here's his rebellion- I don't want this. I don't want this he's saying. Say, nope, relax. Relax. Because I need to teach you. I can look in your eyes. I can look in your mouth. And I don't get frustrated doing this. I remain patient. I remain persistent here. I'm going to spin him over. And I remain very relaxed. It's important for you to remain relaxed. I'm not holding him with tension. I'm holding him in a relaxed manner and I'm just persisting. And here's his resistance. Look in the mouth, and I relax.

3:59 Here's his resistance. This is very normal. I keep doing this until I get rid of this. There. I'm going to look in the mouth. I'm going to open the mouth. Look at him get stressed about this. So this is an areas we have to work on. His arms, his feet there are so cupped around me and that's a form of his resistance and rebellion. You'll find that the more you continue to desensitize your pup on a regular basis, and this is something that as the pups are maturing through two months, three months, four months, I do these drills everyday with them throughout the day.

Examine the ears. Good. And here he is, oop,  there's the resistance. He doesn't like his mouth touched. So if he's able to get away with this and squirm away at nine weeks of age, imagine what he'll be able to do when he's four times this size. I don't want it to get to that point. So this shows me more importantly than a lot of other things right now we're going to continue to work on desensitizing and touch because he's obviously very uncomfortable with it.

5:05 [Closing]

5:27 Announcer: helping you get the most from your hunting dog.


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