Handling

Lyra has a large bubble. If she were a sheep, on a farm, she’d be termed “light.” She will often object (most often by pulling back, but sometimes by growling or snapping the air) if someone invades her space. So far, she has not bitten; my goals are to 1) ensure she doesn’t feel a need to bite, and 2) increase her comfort with handling. For the most part, she is tolerant of me: I can brush her, bathe her, take out burs, examine and clean her ears, look inside her mouth and remove things stuck between her teeth. I feel no danger of a bite, and she seems almost at ease (if a little impatient). However, she does not like her paws to be held or her nails trimmed by anybody. And she shuts down at the vets during an exam.

Areas that need work:

  • Paw handling / nail trim
  • Mouth exam / tooth brushing
  • Chin rest
  • Lie on side
  • handling of hips and back area

As of October 2017, I am taking a course by Deb Jones on Cooperative Care through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Here, I got the idea of making a video of Lyra’s response to handling. You can see that, while she tolerates most of what I do, she is not totally relaxed. When I approach her back end, she gives clear signs of stress (e.g., yawn, lick lip, not standing straight). At the front, she pulls away while I examine her teeth.