Expert reveals how to train your puppy to accept handling — and it's very simple

Young woman holding puppy in her arms
(Image credit: Getty)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

While dogs are known for their affectionate and sociable natures, some dogs are more comfortable being touched and handled than others. 

Some dogs are totally happy being picked up and moved around, while others are content with a few pets or maybe a belly rub and then some fun with you and one of the best dog toys

Sometimes, no matter your dog’s preferences, it’s necessary to handle their body. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s health, and this can include checking their teeth, paws, ears, or coat. 

And, at the same time, if your dog gets hurt – perhaps they get something stuck in their paw – you’ll need to have a look to make sure they’re okay. 

But what can you do if you have a dog who doesn’t like being handled? Melissa Goodman, a certified dog trainer through the Victoria Stilwell Academy For Dog Training & Behavior, of Mission Pawsitive has explained all you need to know in a recent Instagram post. 

“An easy way to make body handling easier for you and more comfortable for your dog is to teach them to settle on their back in between your legs,” Goodman says. 

She explains that she begins by cuddling and massaging the dog so that they’re comfortable and enjoying being in that position, before she mixes in small amounts of body handling – with treats on hand. 

Goodman continues, “Getting your dog comfortable in this position is great because you can easily access just about all parts of their body you may need to check at any given time.”

She explains that this technique is particularly helpful if you have a dog who often gets things caught in their coat, while it also allows you to check your dog’s teeth, ears, nails, and paws, check for matted hair under their armpits, and see if they need a sanitary trim

In the video, Goodman is handling Archie, a dog she’d been working with, and explained that two weeks before filming, he wouldn’t let her handle him. “Making body handling into a bonding experience really helped him and now, he loves it!” she finishes. 

Again, some dogs might enjoy being handled more than others, but even if it’s not your dog’s favorite thing in the world, there are things you can do to make it bearable – or even fun. 

Turn what could be a chore into a real bonding experience for the two of you, so you can look after your pup’s health and strengthen your relationship at the same time. 

And if you’re after more specific advice, like how to clip a dog’s nails, or you’d like eight tips to keep dog teeth clean and healthy, we’ve got plenty of tips here!

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.