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Train Your Dog for Nail Trims
This will make nail trimming time easier and less stressful for your dog and you! Handling paws can sometimes be a nightmare for your dog if they aren’t used to it. But even if you aren’t trimming nails, you still need to be able to check the paws and pads often to keep them healthy.
Start out with a touch of the paw with a finger and then giving praise or reward. If the dog panics over this, then you’ll need to start a little bit further back by touching the leg or ankle and then move further down with praises. I reward with the best of treats, their absolute favs. You want them to associate paw handling with awesome things. Once the paw touching is not a big deal, move on to paw holding and repeat with the same rewards.
Once paw handling is super easy, the next step is to get out the trimmer and allow the dog to smell it. Just hold it in your hand or lay it on the floor and reward your dog whenever they are completely cool with it being near them. Move the trimmer closer to their paw and start paw touches again with your hand. Next, move the trimmer to the paw and touch the paw with the trimmer. Each time you start a new step, up the reward and praises. Once you are golden with these, then start touching nails individually with your fingers and then with the trimmer. Once you make that first cut, you’ve gotta go all crazy with praise and tons of treats.
I know I moved through the steps kind of fast, but this may take a long time for your dog to go through. This may take several days. You will know when it’s time to take a break and try again later when your dog walks away, gets sleepy or gets interested in something else. OR, you might need to change up the treats.
Know When it’s Time to Trim Nails
Make Sure You Have the Right Nail Trimmer/Clipper
For the scissor/plier clippers, I recommend those by Safari or OmegaPet. Feel free to check out the high rating and reviews on Amazon. I’ve used both and they work well. Make sure which ever you get have a good grip handle, was built with good quality materials (especially the blade) and have a guard to prevent clipping too much.
I haven’t had much luck with guillotine clippers, but if they seem like the best fit for you, Amazon has a great rating on Resco’s. I think those are a great shot to go for.
As for the grinder/rotary, I honestly just use a Dremel (I know some pet owner may gasp at this statement). They are an amazing brand, great quality, last a long time and I’ve always been satisfied with this rotary. Dremel makes one specifically for pet nails if you don’t already have one in your tool box. If you want to try out the Dremel that you already have, make sure it has a low speed setting. You do not want medium or high. You want to stay in control of how much nail is being filed off. Not only that, but it gets hot on the nail and dogs can feel that the closer you get to the quick. So stay to small increments. This will take some practice, but once you got it down, you won’t use anything else. My boston terrier loves the Dremel and feels like she’s at the spa. She falls asleep immediately from the hum of the motor and the vibration on her paws.
Have Styptic Powder on Hand
Keep an Eye on the Dew Claws
Use Dog-Safe Polishes for Nails
Praise Your Baby!
It doesn’t matter if your baby is great at nail trims OR if he was a bouncing off the walls and you needed the entire family to help. He will need a ton of praise and reward during and after its all over with. Keep associating nail trimming time with good things and it will eventually get less stressful.
Call a Professional
When all else fails, take him to the professionals. If it’s just easier for the both of you and you don’t want to be seen as the “bad guy” in your baby’s eyes, then by all means, take him to the vet to get the nails trimmed. It’s quick and easy and usually very affordable (or very worth it, if it’s that bad).