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I've been able to trim my dogs nails occasionally by using treats and keeping the sessions short. My wife has on a couple of occasions trimmed her nails while the dog was relaxing on her lap. This always made me really nervous and I don't know if I'm just hypervigilant from previous frightening experiences with this dog. I have scissor type clippers and I think that the pressure or pulling sensation bothers her. She mouthed my hand today while I was clipping and I stopped immediately, got her to offer me a few behaviors and rewarded her. Just ended it on a positive note.

This dog requires management and medication for fear and anxiety. I'm always on the look out for body language headed toward reactivity and aggression and this mouthing was a gentle gesture in that direction.

My thought is that a dremel tool is going to be much more frightening to her than the clippers I'm using. The size , sound, and sensation seem like they could be overwhelming. What have your experiences been when introducing the dog to a grinder?

I have a dremel and the flex shaft extension. Can you tell me what attachments or grinding material you use? Is there a different tool that is better for the job?

Any advice on reinforcement timing or techniques for grooming a fearful dog would be appreciated. I know Dr. Sophia Yin covers this and I probably need to revisit the lecture.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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For starters, make sure you have really sharp clippers. The smaller, red handled Millers Forge clippers are good.

If you are interested, there is a six-week-long online class about nail care, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - FF190: All About Nails, that just started on the 1st, with registration running through the 15th. Tuition starts at only $65 for the auditing level, and not only will you have access to all the lectures and be able to read the class forum posts, there is a Facebook student group with a teaching assistant to help auditing level students.

If you don't want to take the class (it doesn't come around that often), then the Facebook group Nail Maintenance for Dogs has lots of information.
 

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I use a Dremel Micro cordless - I think the smaller size cuts down on the noise and vibrations - with a drum and a... I think 60-grit sanding band? Typically at 15,000 rpm. You do have to take the time to introduce the tool, conditioning the dog to the sight and sound first, then touching it to her nails when it's off, then slowly working up to contact while the dremel's running. Also keep in mind that the friction will cause the sanding band to heat up quickly, so you don't want to hold it against the nail for longer than a few seconds at one go.

Here's a couple videos from Deb Jones, one of the champs of cooperative care (low-stress handling the animal actively and voluntarily participates in) for dogs. The first is about tools for nail clipping, including why she prefers the ones she does. The second uses a pet tutor - a treat dispensing machine - for desensitizing a dog to the dremel sound. You don't need a dispenser to do this, you can just give the treats yourself or have a helper do it, but it should give you an idea of where to start when getting a dog used to the tool.

 

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The videos that DaySleepers posted are from the instructor of the class I mentioned.
 
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