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Discussion Starter #1
So, since I've decided to stop using soft paws on my dogs nails, I've been working on getting their nails short. One of my dogs hates it but will sit nicely for any nail work, she may try to pull away a bit but she doesn't fight it. The other dog is much more difficult. Ironically, the soft paws had gotten me to a point where I was able to work with his nails much easier, the frequent application of non painful caps got him used to handling his nails and when one fell off I could clip the tip pretty easily.

Unfortunately, when I went to trim them with clippers I apparently got a little too close (no blood, but a nice yelp) and he will not let me near them again. That's when I ordered the dremel, thinking it would be more comfortable for him and help me to get them shorter, faster. So far though, he's having none of it. After a week of daily sessions, the best I've been able to do is get him to let me briefly touch the dremel to his nail while it is off. He's not the least bit scared of the noise, does not react to it at all. He's ok at letting me touch his nails and play with his toes, although not fond of it he'll tolerate it. However, when the dremel gets near his nails, even off, he's not happy about it at all.

So what do I do? The problem is, thanks to using the soft paws his nails are long and sharp, and my rental has brand new wood floors. For the time being I pretty much have the entire floor lined with rugs and blankets which I HATE. So, taking months to let him accept the dremel seems, well, annoying.

I'm considering two things and I'm not sure if they will help or hurt getting him to let me use it. The first is, using a bit of restraint and just getting it done. Maybe one nail or paw a day. But make him do it. I'm starting to wonder if all the consoling and releasing him when he starts to pull away is just teaching him that putting up a fuss gets him out of it. But on the flip side, I'm concerned that if I just restrain him and do it, he'll never get over his fear of the process.

Secondly, while I continue to work on training, it to just start taking him to a groomer/vet for weekly clippings to get them shortened up (hopefully someone who will clip and then dremel). This would let me continue a slow training course while at the same time shortening up the amount of time I have to spend living on improvised carpeting... But, this amounts to the 'force' idea again, only without me at the healm, and I'm thinking it wouldn't do much in terms of getting him to accept nail work without fear.

Any tips on what a good approach may be?
 

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I think with a dremel, which I plan to use also, it's primarily the noise and sometimes the feel of the vibration that scares the dog. So start by just showing them the tool and touching their feet with it or while holding it while giving treats.

Turn it on and off while giving treats and if it really scares the dog, turn it on and put it under a pillow or something to soften the noise and give treats while it's on.

That's as much as I'd do the first few sessions but others will probably have more and better ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think with a dremel, which I plan to use also, it's primarily the noise and sometimes the feel of the vibration that scares the dog. So start by just showing them the tool and touching their feet with it or while holding it while giving treats.

Turn it on and off while giving treats and if it really scares the dog, turn it on and put it under a pillow or something to soften the noise and give treats while it's on.

That's as much as I'd do the first few sessions but others will probably have more and better ideas.
Yeah, for mine the noise isn't an issue at all, I can turn it on or off and they don't even pay attention to it. It seems to be the vibration which freaks them out, when it touches their nails. That's why I tried to work on just touching it to their nails with it off. One dog has done ok with it, but the other one after several days of touching it to their nails, is still not having it.

That's why I'm somewhat curious if holding the paw, touching it to a nail (off) and holding it there until he stops struggling and then treating would be more helpful or harmful. I'm thinking that touching it to the nail quickly and then treating is just saying, hey I touch this to your nail and then when you pull your paw away you get a treat.
 

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I had posted this on another thread.

Here is a website that explains how to do this, and how to dremel properly. It has pictures and everything.

http://homepages.udayton.edu/~merens...awn/index.html

I used it to desensitise my girl and now she doesn't bat an eye when it's time to do her nails. I still have to give her a treat or two with each paw, not because she's scared, but because she gets restless.
 

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Yup, Dawn's page is the very best thing to happen to Sassy's nails. It took two of us to hold her down before I got the Dremel. I have found that sanding at the sides rather than flat is more comfortable for some reason. Gnarfle, that is a good idea. Hold the paw and when still drop it. Hold paw, pick up dremel and when still drop the paw. Do the Dremel turned off at first and pretend to sand. You could also use a nail file as one of the steps to desensitize the dog to foot handling.

Don't console the poor itty bitty baby. Praise the great lying still doggy. Praise the brave dog getting the foot touched by the Dremel. Admire the neatly sanded nail.

I finish up by chasing Max through the house with the 'buzzy'. Sassy is above all of that foolishness.

I have used the Dremel on a broken nail and it got hot really fast so watch it, that 3 seconds could be too long.
 

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I think your dog is just pulling one over on you. He has learned that his fear behavior gets him out of things, thus encouraging his fear. I would recommend you have him gently restrained, pick up a foot, and start filing the nail. Be very matter of fact about it, and do not let go of his foot until he is still. Don't molly colly him, don't poor baby him, etc. Just tell him to stay, still, etc. whatever words you use for that, and use a very matter of fact and confidant tone. If he starts pulling away, etc, just say "uh uh, quit, no, etc. whatever word you choose to use and continue to hold his foot until he relaxes. Then good boy, and on with your work. If he senses you are wishy washy, or at all nervous, he is going to be nervous. Take a "this is a simple nail trim, not cutting his toes off" approach, and he will relax and let you take charge, and you will be done in no time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I gave it a go tonight, Graco I think I tend to agree. My goal was to be firm, make it clear that I expect them to sit nicely for it, and reward them only when they do, otherwise stick with the ignore bad behavior until they figure out it gets them nowhere philosophy.

Tonight I was able to dremel every nail on my beagle and one nail on my collie. I'm taking it a step further with the collie since he's more sensitive and fearful/anxious than the other.

I enlisted the help of delicious sliced american cheese. They knew what was up but I got them into position and made the reward known. I started with my beagle and grabbed a paw. She tried to pull it away, I just held on, firmly but not harshly, and looked the other way until she settled down. I picked up the dremel and turned it on and again held on, ignoring her pulling. I touched the dremel to the nail and held on. Every time she tried to pull away I just held on and ignored it, until she calmed down. When she let me dremel without trying to pull away, she got a treat. The first nail she tried to pull away several times, but after that she mostly settled down. I did a quick job on each nail on all paws, not spending more than a second or two. One thing I haven't figured out is that on some nails she'll let me do it with almost no fuss, and other one's she is much less happy about. Perhaps those are closer to the quick? Also in general she is much more willing to let me do back paws than front...

Next up I moved on to the collie. Since he's my problem nail dog I'm taking it slower. On the plus side, his nails are smaller and softer. I got him in position and grabbed a paw. We've been working on paw handling lately, when I pet him or brush him I'll grab a paw and play with his toes as I do, so he accepted this fine. I kept the dremel off and touched it to his paw. He tried to pull away. I held on and kept the dremel right there. When he stopped fighting he got a treat. He tried to pull a few times but I held on and he seemed to get it pretty quickly. When he settled I held the dremel there for increasing lengths before treating. I moved on 'scraping' the dremel along his nail with it off. Amazinly, he accepted this, not happily but he didn't fight it. He got a treat for progressively longer periods of scraping. Finally I turned it on and proceeded to give him a very light dremeling. Predictably, he tried to pull away as soon as it touched his nail. I held on and kept trying, after about 3 tries he finally stopped pulling and let me get a quick pass on the nail. He got a treat. I did this 3 times and then figured, that's probably enough. Wel'll do this nightly, and after a few nights we'll graduate to one paw per night.

Also to echo what Kathyy said, I've been experimenting with various techniques to see what way gives the least amount of vibration and going from the side's it is. The key is to use it in a way that causes the least bit of 'chatter'. Going straight up and down from the front tends to catch on the edges and is not very smooth. What works best is to attack it from an angle with the drum spinning from the outside of the nail towards the inside. What worked best for me was starting on one side and going at an angle (making sure the drum is spinning in the direction of the nail, so clockwise if starting on the left of the nail). Grind in a bit so that the nail is at an angle, then flip the dremel upside down so the drum spins the other way and attack from the other side, finishing with a sweep across to grind off the 'ridge'. Sort of hard to explain, but hopefully that makes sense.
 

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Desensitizing a dog is sometimes walking a fine line between very gradually introducing stimuli, and just getting on with life. Dogs do use fear responses to control their people. You just kind of have to know when you're being conned.

The best way to minimize vibration is to hold the nail firmly at the base, and make sure the drum is rotating away from the nail.
 

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I had posted this on another thread.

Here is a website that explains how to do this, and how to dremel properly. It has pictures and everything.

http://homepages.udayton.edu/~merens...awn/index.html

I used it to desensitise my girl and now she doesn't bat an eye when it's time to do her nails. I still have to give her a treat or two with each paw, not because she's scared, but because she gets restless.

Hey! I couldnt get the page to load. it just says it cant display it. I am new to the grooming world, and since there isnt anyone in my area that concentrates on grooming alone, other than taking your pooch to the vet(which can take several months to get an appointment), I have decided to make a business out of it.
I have a couple of friends who have dogs in need of grooming and they are going to let me work on them so i can practice. One is super scared of a nail trim and i thought that website would be great in helping me with my first scared pup. I dont think she has ever had him groomed before! I really want to make go of this and i really appreciate any advice right no, i am trying to take a year to research and learn before actually advertising anything. I am taking a vet assistance course and plan on taking a grooming course online. but hands on teaches me best!
 

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Next up I moved on to the collie. Since he's my problem nail dog I'm taking it slower. On the plus side, his nails are smaller and softer. I got him in position and grabbed a paw. We've been working on paw handling lately, when I pet him or brush him I'll grab a paw and play with his toes as I do, so he accepted this fine. I kept the dremel off and touched it to his paw. He tried to pull away. I held on and kept the dremel right there. When he stopped fighting he got a treat. He tried to pull a few times but I held on and he seemed to get it pretty quickly. When he settled I held the dremel there for increasing lengths before treating. I moved on 'scraping' the dremel along his nail with it off. Amazinly, he accepted this, not happily but he didn't fight it. He got a treat for progressively longer periods of scraping. Finally I turned it on and proceeded to give him a very light dremeling. Predictably, he tried to pull away as soon as it touched his nail. I held on and kept trying, after about 3 tries he finally stopped pulling and let me get a quick pass on the nail. He got a treat. I did this 3 times and then figured, that's probably enough. Wel'll do this nightly, and after a few nights we'll graduate to one paw per night.

Ah, I see you've learned the method of training the collie to get his nails done. That's how I've done it for years.

But, however, if I have a dog who still kicks a fuss after a few weeks, he's just held tight and I do his nails and ignore the yelling. I had a bitch who hollered about getting her nails done from the time she was born to the day she died. We just got used to it...
 

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Hey! I couldnt get the page to load. it just says it cant display it.


That's because I just realised that we're actually supposed to save her homepage itself and not just the page that the dremel example is on. Apparently that page disappears after a while if not saved properly.. OOPS!

http://homepages.udayton.edu/~merensjp/doberdawn/index.html

If you look on the left hand side, on the bottom of the margin, you'll see her dremel link.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Her site is pretty good. FYI I managed to do an entire paw with my collie last night in one go, with minimal fuss. They both still don't like it, and will try to pull a paw away a few times, but they don't get really upset or freak out. I seriously doubt my dogs will ever fall asleep during it like hers do, but I'll settle for being able to do it at all.

Also I will say I absolutely love the dremel. I'm no longer fearful of clipping too much off and if they hold still it's a pretty quick process. I suspect it will take some time for me to get their nails back to short again, however with them flattened off and rounded at the edges, they're much more likely to just leave slight scuff marks on the floor rather than gouges and claw marks, so that hopefully before moving a good coat of polish will hide them nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Well they're doing pretty well so far. My beagle will still pull a little but she'll let me do them. The collie will pretty much lay there, although if I start getting in a bit he'll squirm. I learned that if they generally tolerate it well and then start to squirm, you've taken enough off, stop. I did get a tiny speck of blood on one nail, whoops. On the plus side, there was no yelping or freaking out like with clippers. I'm sure it didn't feel good, but she wasn't terribly upset. Sometime's it's hard to tell the difference between pulling away due to general distaste or because you're getting too short. And all the stuff I've read online about how to tell when you are close to the quick doesn't seem to really be all that valid. I read things about the shape of the meat, seeing a pink dot, etc. I think I've seen a pink dot on one nail, in the middle of the black meat. Otherwise, I can't really tell anything that lets me know I'm getting close.

Anyway, I'm also confused about getting these nails shorter. I've done probably 4 dremeling sessions on my beagle so far (every 3-4 days) and her nails STILL click on the floor. Each session I take it back about as far as I dare (her nails are mostly clear so I can kind of see the quick, and I can tell by her reactions when I'm getting close). Searching around, some people tell you that over time the quick will recede and you'll keep getting shorter and shorter. Others say if it's overgrown you'll never get them short and the only option is to have them sedated and clipped.

Anyone have a success story on getting long nails under control? If it takes months so be it, but I dream of someday being able to live in a house without area rugs covering up all the nice new wood flooring :)
 

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The quick will recede over time. You will start seeing the difference in about a month of sessions. I find the key is to do them every few days so it becomes a regular event. One of my dogs actually loves it, he sits at attention waiting for me to start. His sister starts running as soon as she sees me move into position. Kind of funny but she is starting to except it. In fact I had to bring her to the vet the other day and asked him clip her nails but he said they looked fine and didn't need to do anything. Made me feel pretty good that what I'm doing is working.

I purchased the extension for the dremel that helps with the sound and it is easy to work each nail.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I looked at the attachments from peticure and they look good, but they don't fit my dremel. I don't find it hard to work with though, and I really like the minimite. Only $20 and it's pretty quiet for a power tool, the dogs don't mind the noise at all. It has enough power to grind well, but not enough to inflict hair damage. The last session I tried to pull my collie closer with it running (oops) and it spun his hair around the bit and stopped. That could end very badly, but the power is just perfect that it can't really pull on the hair, he never yelped or pulled away and I was able to turn it off and just unwind the hair. The more powerful dremels probably would have given him quite a scare.
 

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I checked out the mini but decided to go with the larger one so I can also use it for other things. Having the vari speed helps using it on the dogs, I don't go over setting 2.
 

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This may sound weird but I sometimes aclimate a dog to the dremel by touching the backside of the dremel to the dogs paw and given a high value treat while having a vacuum cleaner turned on close by.

hope that helps
 

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we have lots of dogs that come into work that have had their nails cut a little too close at times and do not trust anyone to cut their nails. dogs aren't stupid, as soon as you try and go for their feet the first think that they think of is the last time when it hurt. yes, i will admit that at times they just act like a fool because they are trying to get their way, but sometimes they really are scared. the website is a great way to dremmel nails. at work we're not allowed to give dogs treats so we first just try and get the dog to let us touch their feet. after that we turn the dremmel on and let the battery end touch their feet so that they can feel the vibration. (sometimes it takes a few minutes to get them just used to that) then i start with one toe at a time. doing it and then praising the dog like crazy... and sometimes it's best to have someone help you by comforting the dog while you dremmel it. most dogs will get used to it after a few times... but there are some dogs that never get used to it. i have a german shepherd dog that comes in and he's full grown. he's had his nails grinded for a whole year now and still hates it. though he does tollerate it he yanks and mouthes the WHOLE time. hope that helps!!! good luck...
 
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