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  1. #1
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    Default Picking up by the scruff

    an assistant to some professional handlers was picking up little dogs, about 10 to 15 lbs by the scruff out of the ex-pen. It looked at least unkindly but the dogs didn't seem to mind. Do you think that's safe? Also I've seen her pick up a 35 to 40 lb dog up to a table or a stacked crate by holding just the front legs. I fully believe that is not okay for I just think of the danger to the shoulders. What do you think?
    Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    I'd always be a little worried about lifting by the scruff w/out supporting the rear, on an adult dog, regardless of breed, and even if the dog is relaxed and used to it. Just seems like bones (read vertebrae/discs, etc) are more, errrrr....set/calcified/solidified, and increase risk of injury from an unanticipated twist or something.....
    Just would not be something I would ever be comfortable with, and would never want my dog "handled" that way.

    Front legs...no way, not ever.

    I see the Sibes drag and yank each other all over the yard (in play) by the scruff of each other's necks...and even tho they are rather young (3 to 5 yrs) it still gives me the shivers even tho their rears are on the ground and front ends are braced. I usually intercede (by grabbing the offender by the scruff, lol!) and tell them to knock it off.
    Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

  3. #3
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    Austin, TX
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    I pick up small dogs by the scruff all the time. Some dogs don't like it if they aren't use to it, but I pick up my shih tzus by the scruff all the time. It's easier when you don't have both hands available. It also comes in handy when a little dog is trying to bite.

  4. #4
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    May 2008
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    UTAH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall4 View Post
    I pick up small dogs by the scruff all the time. Some dogs don't like it if they aren't use to it, but I pick up my shih tzus by the scruff all the time. It's easier when you don't have both hands available. It also comes in handy when a little dog is trying to bite.
    >>>

    I scruff cats all the time, but rarely dogs. Dogs with looser sking don't seem to mind it if you are gentle. I think my min pin would go completely nuts if someone tried to scruff him.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    N mich
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    I think there may be times when it is necessary to hold a dog or cat by the scruff (so cannot eat me while grooming), but I would not do it on a regular basis to just pick dogs up .

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
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    I learned it by watching Cesar Millan. He did it to a Chihuahua and another time he did it to a bigger dog of about 28# but, he supported the ribs on his other hand. It puts the small dog in mind of being a puppy and reminds them you are the "mommy" dog. Lots of times if a small dog or puppy is throwing a tantrum this hold is effective to calm them down. I only have to hold them about 5 seconds. Except Shih Tzus. You know the occasional one who's face you can't do? This hold helps a lot.
    "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
    People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

  7. #7
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    May 2007
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    Maryland
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    As a rule I never scruffed my puppies. I don't believe in picking up dogs that way. the only time I ever grabbed a dog by the neck is like Sibes breaking up a fight. As far as the front legs go, I would never ever pick a dog up like that.

    My Carin came from a show kennel, his temperament was ruined by mishandling, mainly being picked up by the scruff. The breeder/handler always did that to puppies. Tyler didn't go into a pet home until he was 6mths and for the rest of his life if you reached over him to even pet him he flatten himself to the floor. Really a shame he was a lovely Carin out of top producing parents.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2007
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    Ontario, Canada
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    I would never pick up a dog by the front legs............there poor little legs.............now the scruff of the neck for me is used ONLY to get my males attention when he gets nasty, he's a killer trapped in yorkie's body. that just goes back to what their mom would do to punish them when they're babies. as for handing a dog by the scruff of the neck, I would never do that...........

  9. #9
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    Aug 2008
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    I worked for many years at the show kennel of a top breeder of Pekingese. We always "scruffed" the dogs when we picked them up. All the Peke breeders/exhibitors/handlers I know pick them up that way. With their extremely short legs and front-heavy bodies, it actually was easier and safer to lift and transfer them in that fashion.

    I picked up the Poms the same way.

    I never did it with breeds like Yorkies, Maltese or Shih Tzus because the hair wasn't as dense and I didn't want to put that sort of pressure on it. But the long, thick, double-coated Toys it was simply standard procedure to scruff them.

  10. #10
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    Scruffing is an accepted means of restraint. If the dog isn't going to be off the ground for more than a few seconds, it's really not necessary to support the rear. It's not going to damage any anatomical structures, and may even relieve a little stress on the spine. The only dogs I wouldn't do it with are Dachshunds and other achodroplasic dwarfs.

    Personally, I'd much rather see handlers lift a small dog by the scruff than by the leash, which happens all the time. They slide a hand under the dog's rear, or grab him by the tail, and lift him by the leash, so as not to disturb the coat.

    Picking them up by the front legs...and I'm assuming you mean the person is placing both hands behind the legs, around the rib cage, no, I don't think I'd do that, although I've probably grabbed a bouncing puppy that way on more than one occasion. But I get a hand under their rear as quickly as possible, too.

    If the lifting is being done by grabbing just the legs? Nope. That's not OK.
    Last edited by Helly; 01-13-10 at 07:57 AM.

  11. #11
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    I would never pick up a dog by it's front legs, but I see nothing wrong with picking up pups or small dogs by their scruff. Absolutely necessary when you have a little land-shark. The younger a pup, the more accepting of this they are. So if the handler and his assistant regularly pick up the dogs in this fashion from the time they are small, they are accustomed to it. I had a very young (8 weeks) shih/malti. pup in before Christmas thbat would NOT let me get near his face with comb, shears, or trimmers. I held him up by the scruff and he went limp, allowing me to trim his face easily and safely. Did I tell his owner? Absolutely! She used the method to train him to accept being combed on head and face. He now sits like an angel for his face to be groomed.
    Lisa VanVleet, RVT

  12. #12
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    Jan 2007
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    Arizona
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    This thread is interesting. I have one brussels mix that I groom that gets scruffed and lain on his side to shave between the eyes. He was so wiggly as a puppy that that was my last resort in being able to do it. I even had to leave it hairy the first two times and the owner had to have the vet shave it - embarrassing, but I was scared to death I would poke out an eye and she is still a loyal and great client. When I do this hold, he magically sits TOTALLY still, but only for a short time. He relaxes and closes his eyes and he knows what is coming.

    In general, I think scruffing a puppy or any dog LOOKS so mean. I would never pick up a dog that way. I have grabbed a scruff out of pure reaction to prevent bites when working in the vet hosp and a few times in my trailer for an unsuspecting incident. It was never to pick a dog up, it was just a reaction and it saved me some bites I think.

    Having said that, I have no problem scruffing a cat. In fact, I cannot imagine handling a cat without doing so for many procedures. I have had a few real fatties that I couldn't get a scruff to grab, but then there is the lovely 'towel taco' technique for that.

    I guess it is all in my head that I think it is ok to scruff a kitty and not a dog! I suppose the only harm is if it were in front of a pet's owner and would be misunderstood as abuse...or if it were a smash-face dog whose eyes popped out when you did it if you grabbed too close to the head.

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