Introducing body touches

Helping your puppy prepare for important care activities.

12th February 2024

Body touches

Are you ready for another pawesome training video?

Our Dog Training series aims to support you and your pooch as you embark on your training journey together. Before we introduce this brilliant video about body touches, to prepare your pup for all sorts of situations (like nail clipping), you’ll want to check out marker word training.

Calm body touches are an essential training technique to help your puppy prepare for important care activities, including:

  • Nail clipping.
  • Grooming.
  • Getting their fur clipped.
  • Being towel dried.
  • Teeth brushing.
  • Having ear drops.
  • Visiting the vet.

The exercise we’re about to show you is used for rescued or young dogs, as they get used to staying calm during human interactions. It’s vital your pup feels comfortable and content while being handled, but it’s also crucial they’re able to stay calm and under control – a skill they’ll need throughout their lives.

Don’t furget that your pet needs a ‘high value reward’ as motivation! For reward inspiration, visit our article about finding the right reward for your dog.

Learn how to implement small touches into your pup’s training routine with Mabel the pup and Lauren, and Hank the Dogue de Bordeaux with Kellie.…

Top tip: If you have a puppy and they try to mouth or chew the item you’re working with, you’ll need to take a step back!

Introducing calm body touches, step-by-step

Here’s our step-by-step guide to introducing calm body touches:

Step 1 – Select a vocal cue (like “get ready” or “show me”), and if your dog stays calm when you say it, mark and reward.

Step 2 – After you’ve repeated your chosen vocal cue a few times, and your pup has reacted calmly, bring your hand out from behind your back and move it towards them slowly. If your dog stays calm while you’re holding your hand near them, mark and reward.

Step 3 – With each success, move your hand slightly closer to your dog; but remember to mark and reward each time! Once your hand is gently touching them, hold your hand still for a few seconds; if your pooch remains calm, mark and reward.

Step 4 – Provided your puppy is comfortable with your hand touching them, you can take their touch training to the next level! Using a brand-new, everyday object (like a grooming brush, nail clippers, a towel, etc.), repeat ‘Step 1’ to ‘Step 3’. Always introduce the new object to your pet at the place they’re most likely to encounter it; for example, you’ll want to hold nail clippers close to their paws.

Remember: You may need to work more slowly when introducing new items, than you did when introducing your pup to the touch of your hand. If, at any point, your canine companion becomes over-excited or anxious about the activity, slow the process right down and move back to ‘Step 1’ – or take a break.