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Building trust

April 19th, 2005, 11:01 PM
My dog doesn't trust me. He let's his mom touch his paws, look in his ears and brush his teeth. If I open cough medicine for myself he sneaks off down the hallway.

Sure I took him to the vet when he ripped a nail but that's about the only thing I've ever done that hurt him in any way even though I felt his pain. I also held him while the vet cleaned his ears.

He's getting better with me just touching those areas but I would not be able to trim his nails, clean his ears or brush his teeth without him trying to sneak away.

Does anyone have any trust building exercises I could try. We are working with a trainer but I am just wondering if anyone else has had some success with building trust with their dog. I'm sure some of the rescues have dealt with this type of thing.

April 20th, 2005, 12:59 PM
I think it's just a matter of desensitizing touch in those areas by touching them often (least couple time/day) and treating him at any positive reaction. I assume this is what the trainer is doing wirth you, so just keep at it. It takes time, he's probably just not used to being touched there.

My dog didn't like his ears touched so I made a point about touching them whenever he was relaxed and he's gotten used to it.

April 20th, 2005, 03:17 PM
We promote an exercise that we call the "Love and Trust Roll" - It is when you place your dog on his back between your legs (his tail is towards your lap and his head is towards your feet) and give him a nice massage. This places the dog in a vulnerable position and teaches him to trust you while you give him a loving massage. This promotes trust and teaches him to relax while you examine him, trim his nails and spend a nice time together without resorting to aggression. I want to teach my dog to trust that I will not hurt her in this position - sometimes trust must be learned, because it does not always automatically come with a relationship.
The key is to make it a nice time - many dogs who will willingly roll over for you to rub their tummy (saying "pet me now!") can have a hard time emotionally when you roll them over intentionally with an agenda in mind. Suddenly they get nervous and defensive. So this would give you an opportunity to create boundaries on his good and bad behavior. He gets massaged and rubbed when he is relaxed and good, but he gets eye contact and sharp tone when he is not. But you must always return to the soft massage in a heart beat after you have delivered your message, and make your face and tone soft again. When he is relaxed (loose limbs, deep breath and his head is laying back to expose his neck to you) then you slowly release him and keep him with you as he does a mental body check. "Oh, she didn't hurt me and if fact that felt pretty good when she rubbed me." Now, do it again - hoping for a faster response to relaxed mode. Do it a few times until he seems to melt when you flip him over.
We do the "Love & Trust Roll" at no particular time in his behavior pattern. It is simply that I need to teach him to trust me in his most vulnerable position. Again calmness is what releases him and from there I keep them in the position a little longer each time as I massage them and examine his teeth, ears, etc. It should become a nice time for both of you. My dogs line up when they see its time for the roll. They can't wait for the attention to be lavished on them.
Because this drill works on your dog's respect/trust for you it teaches your dog to have better self-control during the potential temper tantrums that occur when he is in the turbo mode. This will also hone your responses to his behavior. Lightning quick as you change from happy to firm to happy - just like a dog.
We have had clients tell us that their "oh so sweet puppy is the dearest thing on the planet" and then we do the trust roll and she becomes the Tasmanian devil. It is because no one has ever pushed the little darling’s buttons and she has gotten everything she wants when she wants it. Now she is put into a vulnerable position and some of her truer temperament comes flying out. I would much rather know who my dog can be under a controlled circumstance with me then when she is caught off guard by an innocent child who could get bit.
The other side of this problem is lack of respect. When you respect someone you typically trust them more. So working on your overall relationship with him will help tremendously as well.

April 20th, 2005, 06:40 PM
Thanks. The trainer was on to the touch whenever you can thing but the laying him on his back is the kind of thing I was looking for. I'll try it.

June 1st, 2005, 08:25 AM
Thanks. The trainer was on to the touch whenever you can thing but the laying him on his back is the kind of thing I was looking for. I'll try it.

Have you seen any improvement from the "Love and Trust Roll"?

June 1st, 2005, 09:22 AM
Yes. He is much calmer when I rub his belly now. I also touch his ears and nails as often as I can. That is how I discovered he had a hematoma that required a total six visits to the vet.

Now I need to do the same wearing a white lab coat as he progressively got worse at the vets (sat down in the parking lot, turning around at the door). Still with me he is a lot better – but we have a long way to go.

Somebody recently posted that Tenderfoot had DVDs for sale. Once I confirm an American address to ship them to I will be ordering them. Shipping to Canada always cost me extra but crossing the boarder and saying 'a couple of DVDs' usually gets you a 'go ahead'.

Try it.

June 1st, 2005, 09:55 AM
I am glad things are going so much better. It makes sense that he was being protective if he had a hematoma - ouch!
We have shipped several DVD's to Canada and as far as I know things have gone smoothly and we don't charge extra for shipping to Canada - so I wouldn't go to the extra trouble of finding a US shipping address. Do what you feel is best - I am on the other side of the border so I don't really know how tough things can be.

June 1st, 2005, 09:57 AM
Alsion's sister lives in Amherst NY and we go over about once a month I just have to get the address.

When I order stuff I usally have to pay a few dollars to clear customs. $18.00 US shirts from CafePress cost me an extra $5.00 and I had to go pick them up from the post office.

I'll check it out though. Thanks.