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The handling of the dog must be worked from its puppy stage, otherwise behavioral problems may arise when petting it, when strangers approach, at the vet and even by the family itself. However, we must differentiate those cases in which a dog has never been manipulated from those in which we have seen a change in behavior.
In this AnimalWised article we will explain why it happens and what to do when a dog does not allow itself to be touched. Follow our advice and do not forget to go to an ethologist or canine educator if this problem is too serious to try to solve it yourself, do not forget it.You may also be interested in: Why doesn't my cat let itself be touched? Index
- Why can't a dog let himself be touched?
- What to do when a dog does not allow itself to be touched?
- Wellness and enrichment
- My dog still won't let himself be touched
Why can't a dog let himself be touched?
As we have explained in the introduction, the handling of the dog must begin to be carried out when it is still a puppy, in its socialization stage, so that it correctly gets used to social contact and receiving caresses from its human family. If not, in its adult stage the dog may interpret the manipulation as a invasion of your personal space, and reacting in two ways: fleeing or attacking.
Other factors that can cause this situation are the premature weaning of the puppy, the suffering of a painful disease (which may or may not have been cured) and even due to learning. If we have not handled a dog correctly (hurting him, for example) or in a way that he has considered unpleasant, he may begin to reject social contact, something that he reinforces by himself when he runs away or tries to attack us.
The most common cause of this problem is having suffered a traumatic experience, either with the vet, the children and even with the family members themselves, who have done it without realizing it.
The dog does not allow itself to touch parts of the body
It can also happen that a dog tries to avoid that we touch certain parts of the body, such as the legs, the head, the ears or the tail. In these cases we must make sure that our dog does not suffer a health problem that is causing the rejection.
Go to vet before starting a treatment It will be essential to ensure that your behavior change is not due to a possible illness. Hip dysplasia, mites in the dog's ears or tail docking (a practice that should never be performed) are the most common causes that can cause pain.
Let us also remember that if the disease has been a traumatic experience for the dog, it can continue to react negatively even when it stops suffering from pain, simply because of the memory. Especially if it is aggressive, we recommend you accustom your dog to the muzzle to be able to go to the veterinary center. We must work on this exercise a few weeks before going, so that it is not perceived in a negative way..
What to do when a dog does not allow itself to be touched?
We will start by identifying the dog's calm signals, that is, interpreting the body language of our best friend. In general, we will avoid contact with him when he turns his head, turns his back or licks nervously, we will not caress him if he seems paralyzed, acquires fearful postures (ears back, tail between the legs and defensive attitude). We must understand that he speaks to us all the time, so we have to learn to interpret him and to respect him. We must also avoid jumping on the dog (leaning over him), cornering him or looking at him in a fixed and defiant way.
On the contrary, we must try to get our dog closer to us, always without forcing it, through treats, toys and using a high-pitched and very sweet voice. Then we will reward the approach with treats tasty (for example with pieces of frankfurter without salt) or with whatever you like the most. The idea of this process is to try that, little by little, he opens up to us and seeks physical contact by himself.
This is a process that can take a few weeks, even months, but there will be specific cases in which a dog will take much longer to show some kind of approach. We must be patient and keep reinforcing and facilitating each step that our dog takes towards us. Do not forget that if you punish him later for any reason and in an inappropriate way, especially being close, your dog may become afraid again and the process you have done so far will not help. You must try create a strong bond with your dog that does not break, under any circumstances.
Once your dog begins to approach or allow himself to be touched some parts of the body, do not be startled and be invasive, you should try to perform a progressive process and that the dog can "wait ", for example, you can start by touching the cheeks or the body and work your way to the end of the body, always little by little.
Throughout this process we will make sure that our dog does not suffer any experience that could ruin the process, such as a child pulling its tail or a stranger trying to caress it where it should not. We must be faster and quickly avoid these situations with a "please do not come near, my dog bites ", even if it is not true.
Wellness and enrichment
At the same time that we promote the dog's approach and handling, we must provide our dog with extra care that will help us move forward in this process. These are basic tips, but they can sometimes be overlooked:
- Create a marked routine of walks and meals, always at the same time, this helps the dog to gain predictability and to have more confidence in us.
- Offer him quality rides, allowing him to sniff all kinds of plants and urine (don't worry, if he has followed the vaccination schedule he doesn't have to get sick), as well as allowing him to interact with other dogs if possible.
- Exercise with your dog, For example, taking a short improvised Agility tour in the park or going with him to the beach or the mountains to burn energy.
- Create a safe zone for your dog, that is, a "nest " in which he can take refuge whenever he wants. It should be out of the way and can be a simple cardboard box. In that place your dog should never be disturbed.
- Teach your dog exercises, even if they are of basic obedience. Learning different orders through positive reinforcement will be very good to improve your bond.
- Mentally stimulate him through toys such as kong or interactive toys that enhance the dog's exploratory behavior.
- Offer him a lot of love and take care of him, even if you can't touch him, he will understand.
My dog still won't let himself be touched
If, despite following the advice that we have given you previously, your dog still does not allow himself to be manipulated, it will be time to go to a specialist: dog educator, ethologist or trainer, always positive.
The chosen specialist will help us work behavior modification sessions controlled so that our dog learns to positively relate people and physical contact.