Roll over for examination

Teaching your pup to roll on their belly for examination is often confused with an Alpha Roll whereby the dog is physically forced to lie on their back in an effort to make them submit. This approach is likely to create an adversarial response from the pup.

Alternatively, teaching your pup to willingly roll over is a surefire way to ensure that future examinations will be as easy as possible and to create a relationship whereby your pup has enough confidence in you and themselves to be in a position that is potentially vulnerable for a dog.

·Begin by sitting on the floor and holding your pup in your lap.

·Gently tickle or scratch their belly and chest to cause the pup to open their flank and expose their belly. Allow your pup to lick from a food stuffed toy or offer a tiny food treat.

·Repeat in 3-5 minute sessions until your pup is completely relaxed.

·Try gently placing your pup on the ground and repeating the same process.

·Practice in different areas of the home and with different family members. If children are in the home, they should always be carefully supervised during interactions with your pup. They can assist in exercises of this nature if they can follow instructions and are suitably gentle.

·Invite friends to assist one at a time. Be sure to supervise and instruct them on how to handle your pup gently and reinforce the foundation you have set.

Andrea Arden is an animal behavior counselor, rescuer, author, speaker, and a resident pet expert on the Today Show. For more information, check out her website, or read all Project Puppy installments.