Nurturing Thinking Dogs

Cooperative Care

About Cooperative Care

Teaching your dog to be a willing and active participant in common handling procedures can make vet and grooming visits a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

In this Cooperative Care private class, your dog will learn how to opt in and out during the process, which helps build their confidence and increase their trust with the handler. You will also learn how to understand your dog’s body language, which lets you know whether to continue or stop the practice session for the day.

Class information


Age eligibility



More about Cooperative Care

What will your pup learn?

🐾 Voluntary ‘Paw’ with duration and distraction;
🐾 Hand target with duration and distraction;
🐾 Chin rest with duration and distraction; and
🐾 Lying on the side and upside down.

The basic concepts of systemic counter-conditioning and desensitisation will also be covered in this class.

🐾 ‘Under’ or ‘Middle’ (for jugular blood draw or eye drop); and
🐾 Restrain (for vaccinations, and normal and jugular blood draw).

🐾 Grooming visits (nail clipping, ear and eye cleaning, showering, trimming of fur around face area).
🐾 Vet visit (range of movement, gum and teeth check, vaccinations, drawing blood, ultrasounds, x-rays).

Learn how to make vet and grooming visits a pleasant experience for everyone involved!

In this Cooperative Care private class, your dog will learn how to participate actively in handling procedures, instead of simply tolerating it. Giving them the freedom to opt in and out of the process is key to making the whole experience more enjoyable, as it provides your dog with a sense of control in such situations.

Caring for your dog is a team effort too, because it involves your dog and you (or your vet/groomer). So, as the owner, you will learn how to read your dog’s threshold levels. This way, you will know when to continue or stop the session and what to plan ahead for the next round of practice. By listening to your dog communicating their comfort or discomfort to you, you will be able to get the behaviour you want more easily.

Even if your dog does not require specific handling procedures at the moment, it is always good to familiarise and teach them early. There may come a time where your dog might have to be handled in a way that’s unfamiliar to them, so having a foundation for cooperative care will make things easier for everyone in the long run. These practices can also inject variation in your practice sessions, while building their confidence levels in having different parts of their body being handled.

Chin rest
‘Chin’ can be more than just a fun trick you show off to your friends. It can be used to familiarise your dog with handling near their face and head areas, while also teaching them that human contact is good. Some ways this cue can be utilised is at the vet, while their ears and face areas are being examined; at the groomer’s, while their face area is being trimmed; and when applying medication to their face area.

Hand target
Hand targeting helps to move your dog from point A to B, or to change position by communicating clearly where we would like them to be. For example, to move onto the weighing scale, or to turn around to face the other way. It also teaches your dog to focus on your hand as a way of communicating clearly with you whether they are comfortable or not with what is being done to them.

Lying on the side and upside down
Some checks and procedures require our dogs to be on their side or back. Teaching your dog how to stay in that position for a while will help make such inspections easier.

‘Under’ or ‘Middle’
Certain handling requires our dogs to look up, such as administering eye drops or examining their neck area. Teaching your dog ‘Under’ gets them to station themselves between your legs, which helps them stay in place during the procedure.

There may be procedures that require more human contact than usual, so familiarising your dog with common restraint processes can teach your dog what to expect, which reduces their stress levels.

Basic concepts of systemic counter-conditioning and desensitisation
Like us, dogs have positive and negative emotions. To lower the chances of your dog developing a negative emotion towards handling, we employ both systemic counter-conditioning and desensitisation. Through desensitisation, we work with a less intense version of the event/person within or under their tolerance threshold. Through counter-conditioning, we gradually change their emotion into a neutral or positive response towards the previously feared event/person. In this course, you will be taught the concepts of these two processes so you can work better with your dog.

Mock-up practice
When your dog is comfortable with each cue, we run through a mock-up practice simulating a vet or grooming visit. This helps build your dog’s resilience, as well as teach owners how to practise at home and at the actual vet’s or groomer’s visits.

Cooperative Care (private class) is great for:
🐾 Owners who want to prepare their puppy for vet and grooming visits;
🐾 Owners who want to incorporate common handling practices in their daily training sessions; and
🐾 Owners who have specific areas they would like to work with their dog.

Dogs are generally nervous in new places. Some may even get distracted with the new sights and sounds to focus on you. Therefore, we offer mixed-location options to maximise the benefits of this class for your dog and you!

By giving your dog the chance to practise what they’ve learnt at home in a controlled environment (our campus), they will learn how to focus on and trust you through the process.

The Cooperative Care private class is designed to familiarise common handling procedures, address normal behaviours and prevent the development of potential behaviour problems.

It is not designed for dogs with existing behaviour issues such as aggression anxiety, extreme fear, or other issues beyond their normal behaviour. Should there be any existing behaviour issues, please take a look at the classes offered for Behaviour Modification!

Who can enrol in Cooperative Care?

Interested in signing your pup up?

Please reach out to us through our Contact Us page!

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