We were at a Home Dog Training Session in Lithonia last week with our new client and his Toy Poodle.  The lesson went very well and we covered everything he had on his wish list.  As we were finishing up, he mentioned that sometimes when he picks up his dog, he may whimper or give a little nip.  Is there anything he can do to make sure his dog is fine when he is picked up?

We must understand that sometimes we may hurt or startle our dog when we pick them up.  We must create a consistent process to pick him up where, no matter what, he will feel safe, happy, and secure.  These are some ideas that Robin and I have put together:

  • Don’t let small children pick up your dog.  Your dog may squirm and the child may drop him.  The child could also squeeze him and your dog may nip the child to communicate his displeasure.
  • Do not try picking up really big dogs.  They can easily wiggle and you will probably drop them.  If it is important that you get your big dog into a car or on a bed, get a dog ramp.  This will assure your dog’s safety and the health of your back.

With that said, let’s move on to discuss how to pick your dog up, assuming that he is a medium to small dog.  I also assume that you have the physical ability to pick him up.  Here we go:

  • Calmly stroke your dog to make sure that he has no sores or aches.  You do not want to pick him up if he already hurts.
  • Slowly move to your dog and calmly hold him around his belly.  Picking up a dog by grabbing them under their front legs can possibly hurt their joints.
  • Pause for a second and then slowly raise him to your chest.  Now that you have done this, praise your dog with a high pitched “Good Puppy”.
  • Turn him and hold him against your chest while holding him with both arms.  He should be “right side up” so that his stomach is resting in your forearms while you have one arm holding him in place.
  • Methodically pet him by using your hand and stroking him down the length of his body.
  • Make sure that it is calm and quiet around you.  Loud noises or fast movement will scare him and you could possibly drop him.  That would be bad.
  • If your dog shows any signs of anxiety or begins to squirm, lower him and put him on the ground.
  • When you are ready to put him down, return to holding him with both hands under his belly.
  • Slowly lower him and let him see that his feet are approaching the ground.
  • Once both of your dog’s feet are on the ground, praise him with a high pitched “Good Puppy” and calmly let him go.

Your dog must completely trust you as you pick him up. Being calm and slow will help maintain this trust while maintaining your bond.

Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help.  We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years.  We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.