Petting Your Dog
Touch is the earliest and possibly the most important of all the dog’s senses. A puppy is born deaf, blind, and toothless. Touch enables him to find his mother for milk. Touch soothes the dog, and is incredibly important for a calm, happy, well balanced mind.
According to Dr. Bruce Fogel in his book ”The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior,” “Harry Harlow’s experiments at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1950’s with newborn macaque monkeys revealed just how distressing it can be to be deprived of touch. Baby macaques, that were isolated from birth from their mothers and from other young monkeys, grew up to suffer from overwhelming and serious behavioral disturbances…. It is more important than any other sense for the development of the normal adult, and the dogs that are deprived of touch will grow to be subordinate, fearful and withdrawn.”
The tip is to teach your puppy the comfort of being touched all over his body. Firstly however, you have to make sure your dog is calm before you begin. You want your pup to enjoy this as a massage, not as a game. Now start with the belly rubs! Then begin to touch his feet, his elbows, his tail, everywhere. You want him to be very used to being touched everywhere so nothing is a surprise and you help your pup strengthen his senses and become aware of his body. Plus it’s incredibly calming, so it’s just another preventative measure against over-excitability.
In fact, stroking a mature dog that knows you can release Oxytocin, reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and drop skin temperature in both of you. So why not!