When you first get a new puppy it’s important to get them used to being handled. Although it’s not something we really think about, your new puppy is about to get touched in all kinds of new places in its new life with you just as a part of his/her regular maintenance, from temperature taking to grooming. Here are some basic handling practices and puppy massage techniques you should do with your new puppy to get them ready for life in our human world.
5 Minute Puppy Massage Exercises
Ears & Eyes
Rub your puppy’s ears from the base to the tip, you might even be so brave as to work up to putting a finger gently in their ear. It is very important that you can access ears to be able to clean them and prevent ear infections. Gently Rub their eyes with a flat palm, you never know when the day will come you might need to get eye boogies out!
Mouth & Teeth
Work your way down to their jowls and lift them up. Take a look and say “WOW! nice teeth!” Take your index finger and rub it along your pup’s teeth along their gum line. This gets them ready for at-home teeth brushing and non-anesthetic teeth cleaning.
Legs & Paws
Rub your puppy’s front and back legs and give them a gentle squeeing massage. It is so important for you to be able to squeeze your dog’s legs to be able to perform self-exams for potential injuries. If they are always squirmy and cry when you touch their legs, it will be hard to tell if they’ve been injured. Get them used to having their legs and paws touched. Give their paw a gentle squeeze and maybe stick a finger in between their two pads. You’ll need access here to pick out pesky burrs and other feet-related things. Plan to wipe their paws after walks? This is a great starting point!
Take time to tap each nail. Over time you can flick the nails and eventually tap them with a pencil or pen. This simulates nail clipping, and trust us: your groomer will thank you for it!
Tail & Hinds
Rub your puppy’s tail from the base to the end and rub their little ham-hocks. If your Puppy has a docked tail be sure to still rub and handle their hinds. Dogs will get their temperature taken back there, so the more we can get them used to it, the more we help that experience become less traumatic.
Try to do these puppy massage techniques once per day with your puppy. Sitting down at night to unwind with your favorite TV show is a great time to do it. Feel free to give your puppy a bully stick or a yummy glob of peanut butter to enjoy while you do this. The more positive you can make this experience, the easier it will be for your puppy to adjust to grooming appointments, vet visits, and little humans running around who might grab a tail, or poke an eye.