Dog lovers, I can offer you no better demonstration of how crucial trust building is with your pets before you attempt to do things like trim nails, clean teeth and that most challenging of winter tasks, putting on snow boots. Here you will see not one, but two tiny dogs getting their Pawz waterproof dog boots attached with such serenity you could almost confuse this with a spa treatment.
Fritz and Sophie are pups I know well. I've been walking them once a week for over a year. In case you think they are wet noodles by nature, I can vouch that Fritzie can race like the wind and squirm like any other pup out there. Sophie's story is a bit different. I'll get to that shortly.
If you are unfamiliar with Pawz boots, they are essentially balloons for dog feet. Made of natural rubber, they are reusable, disposable, inexpensive, and come in every size you could hope for. They can also be a challenge to put on tiny dogs (maybe all dogs, I've only tried with these guys) until you get your technique down. You basically have to stretch them out and fit over the dog's paw, making sure their feet are situated nicely inside with no twisting of toes and nails. If you have tried and been frustrated, watch in awe as the Pawz Master eases them right on her pups.
And pay close attention to the essential step that makes this possible. The one not actually on the video but that took place well in advance, from the time these two have been with their human.
In my observation, sometimes small dogs don't get training in the same way that large dogs might. I think there is something about knowing that you can always pick up a small dog and put them in your pocket if they are doing something you don't like, that just seems to make things easier for humans (emphasis on the seems). And when it comes to manipulating their bodies for whatever procedure you want to perform, you know you can overpower them (although ALL dogs can bite).
That brings us to Sophie, who was a breeder release. As is the case with puppy mill moms, she has had her share of health problems. When I first met her, she was in diapers due to incontinence and 'walking' her was mostly helping her gain the strength to stand on back legs that were affected by spinal problems. She's had a staggering number of teeth pulled due to the lack of care she received early on. As her mom told me before the video starts,
Her life was not her own.
As a result, she was so used to being 'manhandled' that she would not have resisted the donning of boots.
That is NOT a reason to skip over trust building. In fact, it is all the more reason trust building is so necessary. To have a mutually rewarding relationship with a dog who feels safe is crucial for puppy mill escapees. And it leads to all kinds of cool stuff like them learning to play, and discover toys and snuggle and make physical and psychological gains that continue to emerge over months and years after their release from such harsh conditions.
Tell me this does not warm your heart...
These relationships were cultivated over time. If you want the same with your pup, remember this:
The time to weave a parachute is not when you are about to jump out of a plane.
Your relationship is the parachute you will rely on for all the ways that you will keep your pet healthy and safe from harm. Whether you are working on your dog's recall, taking them to the vet, or performing tasks like you see here, results like these are only possilbe if you commit to building a fear free, trusting relationship with your pup from Day One.
As for the Pawz?
Yes, they definitely help the pups last much longer outside. They wear well and they also come in a range of very stylish colors. Check out my man, Fritzie...
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