Bailey is one of those dogs who doesn’t much like being touched unless she’s initiated it.

Imposing touching upon her.

This is usually when they want to make her do something that she doesn’t want to do. They impose touching upon her

They came to me because they need to be able to brush her without her biting them. They also need to take her to the vet for her overdue 6 month check and for injections.

They have already learnt not to manhandle her to get her off the sofa, but to call her off instead.

Whatever it is they need to touch her for, it should be done in such a way that she’s happy and not impose it on her.

They will touch Bailey less in general

We often touch our dogs more for our own benefit than the dog’s! My own Working Cocker Pickle is extremely affectionate. He likes to lie beside, or on me. However, I only have to begin stroking him and he will become so excited. he may roll vigorously on his back making funny noises or dig on the floor!

Bailey becomes very active and jumps all over them.

I suggest making ‘touching’ more valuable!  Cut down on going over to touch her and sometimes, just sometimes, not give her attention with their hands when she wants it. When she’s lying peacefully beside them, resist stroking!

Brushing her

It starts with mouthing and then, as she becomes more aroused, turns into biting. Sometimes they muzzle her to impose brushing onto her.

I would now make brushing a daily routine, first thing in the morning when she’s already at her calmest.

They will get out the tube of cream cheese – she loves cream cheese. Also I suggest changing from a bristle brush to something lighter and smaller like a small slicker brush. 60 seconds a day is enough to start with and they will cover the whole dog in about a week.
They can make a routine.

  • Day one, Cheese or a biscuit and brush her back twice. Enough.
  • Day two, behind one ear a couple of times
  • Day 3, behind the other ear
  • Day 4, one front leg, day 5 the other, then back legs, then tail
  • Now double up – both ears one day. Both front legs the next day…….and so on.

At no stage will they impose grooming on Bailey She’s to be a willing participant.

The vet

She had totally freaked out when the vet touched her.

They have a wonderful vet. For several weeks now the couple have walked Bailey to the vet and she’s spent time in the waiting room. Even the vet has come out and sat on the floor with her.

They don’t want to undo their good work and impose an examination on her, so I suggest they do some work at home.

They will pick the three most likely things the vet may need to do: body check, ear check and injection. Now they will mimic these things, in a very similar way to the grooming routine.

I suggest they label each so Bailey knows what to expect. ‘Body’, ‘Ears’, ‘Injection’. Now in very short sessions work on a willing Bailey.

(If necessary, they could later build in target work – but that’s for another time).

The Bucket Game and giving the dog choice

The Bucket Game is a wonderful way of giving the dog choice. this is how it works in brief.: There is a little tub of food in front of her. She learns that when she looks at it she may be given a bit of the food.

Now they touch her only when she’s looking at the bucket, sometimes feeding. When she looks away they immediately stop.

She eventually realises she has control over the touching. they don’t impose it upon her.

The Bucket Game is a great way of letting the dog know she has choice.

(There are Bucket Game videos on YouTube).

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help