Gentling Exercises for Your New Puppy

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Suspend your puppy holding under the front legs below eye level for about six seconds.

Hug the puppy; gently squeeze tighter during any wiggling, then release when the puppy becomes fully relaxed.
Cradle your puppy upside-down in the crook of your arm and talk baby-talk while smiling and praising.

Massage every square inch of the puppy moving in a circular motion. Focus on his mouth, ears, eyes, scruff and feet. This exercise builds tolerance and trust for later in life when needed to treat these areas or examined by your vet.

Manipulate the head, ears, legs and tail through the normal range of motion. Make sure there is no pain involved. If they resist, use a treat as a distraction.

Pull up gums and rub teeth, to desensitize for later brushing.
Restrain your puppy on his side after gaining calm compliance of all previous steps.

Offer a small treat after each step. Acceptance of the food is an indication of minimal to no stress from the exercises.

Dr. Rolan Tripp of the Animal Behavior Network. Visit for more information.

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