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I know how to trim dog nails. I used to work in a vet hospital and have trimmed more dog and cat nails than I can count. I trim my cats' nails all the time, and have once successfully trimmed my puppy's nails when he was very young.... now at the ripe old age of 4 months, he's decided he hates getting his nails trimmed, and growls and tries to bite when I try to trim them.

The issue isn't desensitizing because we're working on that - lots of feet handling with treats, working up to clippers in hand and feet handling, etc... the issue right now is that his nails are getting really long. I'm worried about his feet with his nails clicking on the ground. I got his thumb nail trimmed since it was starting to curl, but he nearly bit me (AND he was getting cheese at the time from my husband... he's a fast eater). I'm wondering if I should take him to the vet or a groomer to just get them all done, or if that is going to just cause a huge setback in him learning to let us trim his nails? We could also restrain him and do it, but I feel like it's a breech of trust and is going to not help the greater cause of him getting used to nail trims.
 

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I would take him to someone else to get his nails done, and I would do it frequently, so he can get used to it. They might put a muzzle on him, but it won't hurt him. That way, you won't be the bad guys, so to speak.
 

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could you use a dremel tool instead of clippers? assuming that you are using clippers and not a dremel??? My girl stongly dislikes the clippers but is ok with the dremel.

I also think going to a groomer 1x a week is a good idea. But I'd also pick a groomer who's good, and not someone who's going to just muscle the dog through the trim.... if that makes any sense. someone who;s quick and effective.
 

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I would definitely take him to the groomer or vet to keep them in check while you continue to desensitize him. I would also look into using a dremel to grind them down. Sydney didn't like trimmings because I suspect they were hurting her a little bit since her nails are so thick. I imagine the trimmers were pinching her. It sounds counterintuitive because the dremel is loud and you'll have to desensitize to that as well, but you also don't have to hold the dog quite as still since you just have to be able to press the dremel onto the end of the nail, instead of having to actually choose a place to cut, aim and cut all with the dog remaining still. Hope this helps.

EDIT: Great minds think alike. ;p
 

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I would definitely take him to the groomer or vet to keep them in check while you continue to desensitize him. I would also look into using a dremel to grind them down. Sydney didn't like trimmings because I suspect they were hurting her a little bit since her nails are so thick. I imagine the trimmers were pinching her. It sounds counterintuitive because the dremel is loud and you'll have to desensitize to that as well, but you also don't have to hold the dog quite as still since you just have to be able to press the dremel onto the end of the nail, instead of having to actually choose a place to cut, aim and cut all with the dog remaining still. Hope this helps.

EDIT: Great minds think alike. ;p
Clippers I have been told by the groomer I worked for for a couple of yrs as a teenager said that clippers pinh the quick of the nail, which is why a lot of dogs don't like it.

I think I will get a dremmel , I've been meaning to get one but I have been forgetting :)
 

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I would put the puppy on my lap, hold him just above the elbows, and just hold him until he stops struggling. Ignore everything he does, wear gloves if you have to. When he's been relaxed for 5-10 seconds put him down and have a game.

Dogs need to know that it's ok to be restrained and the world isn't going to end. You can get a dog to accept the nail trimming using treats and the slow approach, but it doesn't teach the dog to accept being held and restrained. And it's MUCH easier to teach a little puppy than an adult dog, so I would do it asap, every day.

I did this with my puppy from day one, and he now LOVES being handled, goes completely limp and just relaxes, I can touch any part of his body without him struggling. This has come in handy several times when he's hurt his paws and need an ice pack and/or cream applied, and a couple of times he's had stuff wedged in his mouth, which I was able to jiggle and do what I needed to do to get it out while he just relaxed and let me do it. It involved restraining and manhandling him, so imagine how he would react if he'd never gotten used to being held.
 

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I had a similar conundrum hambonez. We made the decision to work on desensitization as much as we could but trim her nails when they really needed to be done (a bit of manhandling, and a ton of treats, taking our time and breaks). We considered a groomer, but the one groomer that I know of is pretty tough and wouldn't take any BS, so there would definitely be restraint, on top of that, restraint by a person Caeda doesn't know or trust. I figure a little bit of careful restraint from my husband and I beats out scaring Caeda by having a stranger potentially pin her down to trim her nails. That could make her freaked out about what a relative stranger might do AND freaked out about clippers. Yeah, there is fall out, its taking her longer to get decent with having her nails done by us, but its coming along.
That is just our take on it...it seems like everybody else is leaning towards going to a groomer, so I don't know how valid my theory is lol.
 

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If you have someone to help, have them hold him and do one paw quickly, then feed him his dinner. Don't fuss around too much, have the helper hold his collar and head and quickly but calmly do that one nail. Praise and go start making his dinner. Starting with the back paws. Do that every evening so it's routine and not that one time a month fight. If he does throw a huge fit, just leave and ignore him, then go back and try again - no dinner till that nail gets done. If it's a real huge struggle start with just holding his head and handling a foot, tapping the nail with the clippers and so on. Once it's part of the routine and the way dinner gets made, they usually get over it.
 

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I would put the puppy on my lap, hold him just above the elbows, and just hold him until he stops struggling. Ignore everything he does, wear gloves if you have to. When he's been relaxed for 5-10 seconds put him down and have a game.

Dogs need to know that it's ok to be restrained and the world isn't going to end. You can get a dog to accept the nail trimming using treats and the slow approach, but it doesn't teach the dog to accept being held and restrained. And it's MUCH easier to teach a little puppy than an adult dog, so I would do it asap, every day.

I did this with my puppy from day one, and he now LOVES being handled, goes completely limp and just relaxes, I can touch any part of his body without him struggling. This has come in handy several times when he's hurt his paws and need an ice pack and/or cream applied, and a couple of times he's had stuff wedged in his mouth, which I was able to jiggle and do what I needed to do to get it out while he just relaxed and let me do it. It involved restraining and manhandling him, so imagine how he would react if he'd never gotten used to being held.
I had problems initially with trimming Zoey's nails and we took a similar approach, getting her to accept restraint. It was a struggle at first but we just took it really slow and had lots of yummy treats. After she was good with restraint and handling her feet, we added the clippers. It's still a work in progress, but I trim just a tiny bit like twice a week and lots of treats and praise.
 

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Clippers I have been told by the groomer I worked for for a couple of yrs as a teenager said that clippers pinh the quick of the nail, which is why a lot of dogs don't like it.

I think I will get a dremmel , I've been meaning to get one but I have been forgetting :)
50 years of clipping and just tried a Dremmel on our new dog and it worked like a charm.

Was not too hard to get him use to grinder as it was a 2 speed and the low speed did job and was much quieter, also Pierce is 2 yrs old. To start I made it a game thing, gave him treat when I turned grinder on and off etc gradually turned grinder on and just touched him all over (being careful not to touch with grinder head) body so he could get vibration and sound through my hands while rewarding him with pieces of liver sausage. (likes it a bunch) When I got him to the actual grinding of nail it was done very short spurts on nail and also continued reward after each nail done. It took a week or two and I finished 1 foot and then next day another foot etc. Now just starting the grinder he downs on rug and he gets a treat for each foot. But he is an older dog.
 

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That is just our take on it...it seems like everybody else is leaning towards going to a groomer, so I don't know how valid my theory is lol.
The only reason I think the groomer might be helpful in addition to continuing to desensitize is because I've dealt with severely overgrown nails and it was so awful and discouraging. Her nails were sooo long and her quicks were so long that I had a really difficult time doing the trimming without hitting them, in addition to it just being depressing to trim her nails and still have them look terrible because I could only take a tiny bit off at a time. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. :(



If you could find some way to restrain her without getting bitten and just do it yourself I would recommend that, but it sounds like the situation is a bit beyond that to me. Sydney was awful about nail trimmings but I never once felt that she might bite me over it.

Clippers I have been told by the groomer I worked for for a couple of yrs as a teenager said that clippers pinh the quick of the nail, which is why a lot of dogs don't like it.
I suspect that the guillotine style is worse when it comes to pinching than the scissors style. But the dremel definitely solved that problem for us. I also thought I'd mention the added benefit that dremeled nails are completely dull, so you don't have to worry about a dog with razor blade nails for a little while after trimmings. :p I used to hate that!

This is essentially the dremel I have. Mine wasn't actually marketed for pets but it looks exactly the same, just in different colors (lol, I just compared and it is exactly the same, 4.8 volts and everything.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
His are not that bad kafka. I used to dogsit for a dog with WHITE nails who was the gentlest thing ever (lab) and her owner was afraid to cut her nails because she didn't want them to bleed and they were ridiculously long and I just don't want that to happen! His are just starting to tap. When he was smaller I could use the cat nail clippers, but his nails got harder and I bought dog nail clippers. I have a dremel, I'll have to see what I have for filing bits. He doesn't necessarily mind his feet handled, he just freaks when you have to hold them still to trim his nails, and once you clip he lunges for you which is kind of scary! I did get two done while he gnawing on a toy. I'm just going to have to have nail trimmers available at all times for when he's chill enough to get one. I wonder how much of it is also that he's a nutty puppy and his brain is just all over the place and "calm" isn't really in his vocabulary.
 

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I made my own nail file with sand paper and a ruler. It works great! Bob is a little sensitive about his feet, so I only do one a day, while (like you) working on desensitizing. Sacha just lets me file away, and because it is not mechanical like the dremel, I can do as much as I need to with no accidents.
 

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One thing I regret is never train Charly to have his nails clipped as a puppy; probably because it didn't grow as fast hence'wasn't required'.
By the time we wanted to start trimming his nails he freaks out. We don't know where the panic come from, could be at the boarding place when we go on holiday, but as far as we remember, there wasn't even a bleeding incident.
Anyway, it gets worse, it was real frustrating to deal with the matter; the daily long walks help but we couldn't keep up in the cold winter, it was too cold for the dog to be out too long (he is short haired)
We finally came up with an alternative!! We used the human heel filer, the one that you use to file off dead/rough skin on the heels. He still panic at first, distressed about his paws being hold etc; but we were determined to show him we won't back off, so we managed!! One nail at a time, sometimes just a nail until a few days later. He now gets it that the filer won't hurt, he still don't like it but he put up with it. Afterall it isn't everyday thing (hence no foreseeable stress) and he gets treat afterwards. It is a slow process but at last something works! It hurts to see the dog goes into panic mode so we are glad we can ditch the nail clipper now. Afterall we were too afraid that we might cut on the quick too! We could have let the vet or groomer do it, but costs aside, he still have to go through the panic mode!

P/S: once we started the filing thing, we no longer shower him with tonnes of compliments nor treats. Just do it quietly (one nail) whenever we feel like it, give a treat and then walk away. Not much conversation needed.
As for the panic mode, I forgot to mention it took 3 persons (us and the vet/groomer) to pin him down.. (thats panic!!) and it wasn't nice.
 

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One thing I regret is never train Charly to have his nails clipped as a puppy; probably because it didn't grow as fast hence'wasn't required'.
By the time we wanted to start trimming his nails he freaks out. We don't know where the panic come from, could be at the boarding place when we go on holiday, but as far as we remember, there wasn't even a bleeding incident.
Anyway, it gets worse, it was real frustrating to deal with the matter; the daily long walks help but we couldn't keep up in the cold winter, it was too cold for the dog to be out too long (he is short haired)
We finally came up with an alternative!! We used the human heel filer, the one that you use to file off dead/rough skin on the heels. He still panic at first, distressed about his paws being hold etc; but we were determined to show him we won't back off, so we managed!! One nail at a time, sometimes just a nail until a few days later. He now gets it that the filer won't hurt, he still don't like it but he put up with it. Afterall it isn't everyday thing (hence no foreseeable stress) and he gets treat afterwards. It is a slow process but at last something works! It hurts to see the dog goes into panic mode so we are glad we can ditch the nail clipper now. Afterall we were too afraid that we might cut on the quick too! We could have let the vet or groomer do it, but costs aside, he still have to go through the panic mode!
Brilliant! I love this solution!!!
 

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Here's a website that shows, step-by-step, how to dremmel a dog's nails. It includes pictures and diagrams, and also, how to introduce the dremmel. It's very good for the beginner: http://homepages.udayton.edu/~jmerenski1/doberdawn/index.html. Click on the link on the left of the page, How to Dremmel Dog Nails.
 

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Jubel got gradually worse and worse about getting his nails trimmed, they ended up getting a bit overgrown and his quicks grew out so even when I took him to the groomers for a trim they still ended up long due to the quicks. Eventually I just got a dremmel and slowly got him used to it, similarly to Wvasko's description with Pierce. Now he's perfectly fine with me doing his nails as long as he's getting treats every few nails. I try and touch up his nails about once a week, sometimes it's more like every 10-12 days.

At his worst with the nail trimmer he'd simply try and pull his foot away and bite at the clippers, never tried to bite anyone. But the groomers would muzzle him sometimes just in case because they could see he wasn't comfortable. The worst to happen at the groomers was the first time we went to the new petco about a mile from my house. They take the dogs back out of sight so I didn't know she's try and pick him up so I couldn't warn her... Jubel isn't a fan of being picked up. At the petsmart the table was low and he'd jump up so never crossed my mind they'd try and pick him up. He didn't bite her but he thrashed to get away and smacked her in the face with his mouth. Guess I made the false assumption that a groomer would know lots of dogs don't like being picked up. He'll usually allow me to do so but he is clearly not happy about it.
 

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His are not that bad kafka. I used to dogsit for a dog with WHITE nails who was the gentlest thing ever (lab) and her owner was afraid to cut her nails because she didn't want them to bleed and they were ridiculously long and I just don't want that to happen! His are just starting to tap. When he was smaller I could use the cat nail clippers, but his nails got harder and I bought dog nail clippers. I have a dremel, I'll have to see what I have for filing bits. He doesn't necessarily mind his feet handled, he just freaks when you have to hold them still to trim his nails, and once you clip he lunges for you which is kind of scary! I did get two done while he gnawing on a toy. I'm just going to have to have nail trimmers available at all times for when he's chill enough to get one. I wonder how much of it is also that he's a nutty puppy and his brain is just all over the place and "calm" isn't really in his vocabulary.
It's good to hear that the situation isn't as desperate as ours was. I guess all you can do is keep doing what you've been doing, desensitizing her to being held still and maybe pulling out the dremel. I doubt it would make her lunge...I would assume the "pinching" feeling of the clippers would help. That would be worse the duller your clippers get. I know Sydney's nails are so thick they would ruin a pair of clippers in no time.
 
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