Helping your dog learn to be comfortable while being retrained can be useful in many circumstances. I made the mistake of failing to teach this to Missie, our shepherd, when she was young and we had a learning experience at our vet’s office. She was on the exam table which was also a scale to weigh dogs. The scale was not accurate so instead of lowering the table and starting again the vet tech scooped her up so it could be reset. That totally took her by surprise and she was very uncomfortable having a stranger hold her in such a manner. Right then I realized I had not worked on retraining her when she was a puppy.
This is usually an easy task with a young puppy however, you must be cautious with all dogs and especially new rescues or older dogs. It may also help if your dog is tired before you start. Have some yummy treats and begin by sitting on the floor with your dog. The goal is to have the dog on your lap so that his feet are not on the ground. The dog’s back is against your chest. His mouth may be very close to your face so be careful and move very slowly. This is not a quick exercise so lure your dog into the position on your lap and reward well. Continue only when you are both comfortable. You may need to practice this over a period of days before moving on to having the dog close to your chest.
Once the dog is against your chest slowly take a deep breath and calmly exhale. This usually helps to relax a dog. After 2 or 3 deep slow breathes allow the dog to move away from you.
Some rescues and older dogs may not tolerate being restrained so use your judgment and stay safe.