Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Practicing Grooming/First Aid Habits

I started working Elsa from day one to become used to me touching her face, legs, and tail.  Anything I thought she might be uncomfortable with later on, I eased her into.  Some things were easy, like leave it and roll over, but here is a list of things we do together weekly in an attempt to help her be ready for grooming and care that doesn't come from every day play.

- Brush her teeth once a week.  She is a big dog and is still young, but we practice this once a week because I don't want to hit a point down the road where she needs dental cleanings at home and she isn't comfortable.
- Have comfortable friends check her teeth. This was pointed out on reddit by user expibotou as an important skill for pups to have.  Elsa may be comfortable with me checking, but not the vet or another stranger checking her mouth.
- File her nails a couple of times a week.  Her nails are growing FAST!  Even with outdoor activities, we still need to trim a little bit.  She knows "shake" and "other" and that helps with the process as well.
- Pick her up in her "easy carry" position.  Usually, she will sit on one of my arms while the other helps her balance, but a few times a week I will pick her up with my arms wrapped around her so that her legs dangle down.  If she is injured, this position may be easier/safer to carry her in (depending on the injury).
- Learn to wear a muzzle even though she's not the least bit aggressive. In case of an injury, a muzzle may be useful to keep her from lashing out at caretakers.  Learning about the muzzle in a happy, comfortable environment allows her to not have added anxiety at the introduction of a muzzle if a high stress situation arises later.
- Wash her ears with witch hazel to help stave off ear infections and get her used to strange sensations in her ear in case she ever needs eardrops/cleaning for infection. (thanks to reddit user whitewhitewine for this one)

What other items would you add to this list?

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