If you have a small dog, you know you have to pick up your dog at times. Sometimes it is to help them into the car or onto something high, but other times it’s because they like to be picked up or the most important, in an emergency situation.
Romeo is my first really small dog. I taught him “up” from an early age. Someone tipped me off to this handy behavior and I use it with him all the time.
Here’s what it looks like: When he is near me, I say “pick up” and he positions himself, and I pick him up.
Why not just pick the dog up? Well, first of all, it’s just rude to swoop an animal up in the air. And I guarantee you, dogs that have this done to them, play “catch me if you can” once they’ve been so rudely swooped up.
So here’s how you teach it:
- In your house, with no distractions, have a treat in your hand, show it to your dog, gently pick him/her up and say the word that you want to use. I say “pick up”.
- Deliver the treat.
- Love on the dog.
- Put the dog back on the floor.
- Now move to a different room or spot and REPEAT.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat!
- Keep doing this inside, outside, in different places.
- Always putting the dog back down, making it a very happy and fun game for the dog.
- Practice in new situations, is your dog getting still and ready for being picked up? If so, you’ve taught your dog a new skill.
- Practice in new places like the dog park or on a walk. Now you will have an emergency protocol set up with your dog.
If you have a dog that plays “catch me if you can”, he has been picked up and removed from things he didn’t want to. So now he has a negative association with being picked up. It will be important for you to follow the procedures above, go slowly and be patient; it will take longer when you are trying to turn around a behavior but it is totally doable and will be worth it for both of you.
- I have an emergency protocol with Romeo in case we are charged or there is something running at us. I practice randomly “COME” and then “PICK UP”. I give him a treat and a smooch, and then put him down. I have used it in real situations and it’s been very helpful.
- Other people are drawn to little dogs and want to reach down and pick them up. Don’t let them! If your dog is comfortable with all people, tell the people to say “pick up” and let the dog get ready to be picked up.
- Use this anytime you need to pick your dog up.
- Don’t let children do this; it’s just not safe, for many reasons.
- And for those of you who want to pick up small dogs, please don’t! Always ask a dog owner if you can pet their dog.
Hope you found this helpful, kiss the pooches.