How to make your dog let you trim its nails

Trimming nails can be a pain at both ends of the leash. Ite we analyse every step you need to take in order to make your dog let you trim its nails.

Many dogs don’t like having their feet handled, and the unusual (and often uncomfortable) pressure from a clipper or dremel can turn this seemingly simple grooming task into a battle. That said, it is possible to change a dog’s negative feelings about dog nail trimming with time, patience and treats.

After five years, Your dog understands that the sound of the dremel means something unfunny is going to happen, so my first suggestion is to change it perception of what the sound means using treats. There are a few reasons why food might not have worked for you in the past. Perhaps you used a “take-it-or-leave-it treat,” meaning it wasn’t a mouthwatering option. (I liken it to the difference between a graham cracker and German chocolate cake: they’re both sweet, but only one will make me drool!) Think cheese, bits of chicken or lunch meat — use something she doesn’t normally get. The other reason why food might not have worked is that Your dog might have been too stressed out to eat it. Dogs often refuse food when they’re feeling threatened.

In a perfect world, you’d have a helper for this first step. Bring Your dog to a comfortable room (without restraining it), and have your helper turn on the dremel just outside the door. The second the dremel goes on, feed it a few pieces of the extra special treat, then have your helper turn the dremel off right away. Stop feeding Your dog as soon as it turns off; you want it to realize that the deliciousness only happens when she hears the dremel. Repeat this process with the dremel a room away until you see your dog exhibiting a happy reaction when she hears the sound, which means that she now associates it with something good: food. It reaction might be a tail wag and a glance in your direction as if to say, “Hey, I hear that noise; now, wite’s my treat?!” Have your helper turn it on for both long and short spurts: dogs are very good at picking up on patterns, and you want it to understand that the dremel can “talk” in different ways.

Once you’re getting that happy response (you know your dog better than anyone, so you’ll know when she’s exhibiting it), you can begin to bring your dremel helper closer with each successive repetition (you might need an extension cord for this!) until you can reclaim the dremel from your helper and turn it off and on in close proximity to your dog, all the while giving it a goody each time she hears it.

Have you noticed that I haven’t even begun talking about Your dog’s nails yet? Again, you’re undoing several years of stress, so you want to make sure that she’s happy about all of the steps related to nail trims before you actually get to work. In separate sessions from dremel training, help your dog get used to having it feet handled by doing “touch for a treat” exercises. Simply touch it paw with your hand, and then give it a super-special treat that you had hidden out of sight. Repeat the process until you’re seeing that same happy, expectant look when you touch it paw. At that point you’ll know that she is having a positive association to the touch. Keep in mind that “touch” is varied when you’re working on nails. Use the same technique to make it comfortable with not only gently touching it paw, but also picking it up in your hand, and eventually manipulating it as you would when you use the dremel.

Once your dog is giving you that happy look for handling all of it paws, you can give the dremel a try. Now, you’re not going to doing any real nail trimming during this stage. Keep the dremel turned off and touch it to it paw, then give it a treat right away. Repeat using different paws and varying pressure, making sure that she’s remaining calm and happy throughout the process. You want it to get excited to have the dremel near it paws!

Once you’re confident that she’s okay with dremel touches with the motor turned off, turn it on, touch it nail and then give it a treat. You won’t actually be doing any trimming during these early sessions, just continuing to make the association that when the dremel comes out, good things happen.

Once you can tell that your dog is completely comfortable with dremel touches of differing duration on all of it paws (note that this might take days, or it might take weeks — make sure to respect it responses), you can begin the real work of filing down it nails. Use the dremel on one nail, then give it a treat when you’re done. Continue with this easy stop/start pattern until you’ve finished one paw, then put the dremel away until the next clip session, which could come later in the day.

Eventually, you will be able to do all four paws and give it a treat at the completion of the process. My mixed-breed dog Olive used to hate having it nails trimmed, but after using a version of the above technique on it, she lets me do all four paws and then gets a treat for a job well done at the end. Yes, the training process seems drawn out, but you’re working on changing your dog’s very negative association to the process.

After that successful endeavor with your dog, you can take him, to please him, for a walk without a lease using an invisible fence.