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I have a small dog (11 pounds and 7 months old) and he absolutely hates getting his nails trimmed. He cries bloody murder at the vets and the second time he got his nails clipped the vet which was a different one from the first time cut one nail too short which didn't help matters. I wasn't present when his groomer trimmed them but he gave her a difficult time too I think maybe not as bad as the vet (she didn't mention any bad behavior and I warned her before hand) but she's been working with dogs for 20+ years. I have tried the slow and steady approach and he's fine with being touched, seeing the clippers, etc. but when it comes to actually clipping he flails, cries and tries to bite (not too hard, more like a warning). It's more the combination of the clippers and being held still at the same time. So long story short any suggestions? Every thing I've seen online says the same thing I've been doing but that doesn't seem to work. I'd like to be able to cut them myself and make it easier for when others do it too. And what able a dremel should I maybe try to use that instead?
 

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You want to go slower.

Show the clippers. Treat. Move clippers slightly toward him. Treat. Touch clippers to nail. Treat. If at any time he pulls his foot away, go back a step and repeat that step as many times as necessary so that he is remaining still for you before moving forward.

I am currently working on my girl voluntarily letting me trim her nails and not having to be held.
 

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I'll explain the method I used with Atlas when he was a puppy - it may or may not work for you and your pup, especially because he's had some bad experiences already. But it seemed to work great for Atlas.

Even when Atlas was very little, I worked on a wait command with him. It's a general command that basically means 'pause/hold your horses/stop what you're doing' - I have read that dogs don't seem to generalize well (ex. a 'no' command), but this one seems to have worked well, and I can use it in a few situations. If you tell him that, he pretty much stands or sits still until I release him. (I try to use this for a shorter duration event than I would a sit/down stay command. I would use wait to have him pause so I can put his leash on getting out of the car, for example.) I also use a version of clicker training with him (use the word 'yes' instead of a click, but the same idea) so he very quickly figured out that 'yes' means he did what I wanted, and a treat was going to follow. I found it to work extremely well, and you can tell the second you say it he is expecting his treat!

When I would attempt to hold his paws or clip his nails he was just too wiggley and bitey and I just couldn't get anything done safely. So, I started having him lay on his bed, pick up a paw and the clippers and tell him 'wait', which would have him stop trying to bite me and pause, and I could very quickly clip the tip off one nail. I would immediately release his paw and say "Yes!" and give him a treat! Honestly, it took me probably only a couple sessions of doing that with each nail before I could tell him to wait, clip all the nails on that foot, then 'Yes!' and treat. Now, he knows the drill so I don't have to say anything to him after I have him lie down, but I still make sure to reward after every foot. (He also holds his paws still with no pulling 99% of the time, which is an added bonus!)

Like I said, this may work for your pup or maybe not. You may have to build up a positive association of the clippers being out and his paws being held means yummy treats! (And I would try and find something that is very tasty to him, and use it only for this work right now. Atlas loves chicken, or cheese or the Pure Bite dehydrated treats - I'm actually using these treats right now to teach him a 'hold' command.)

A dremel might work, because it saves the clipping motion and you can usually take smaller pieces off - but you will likely still have to desensitize him to the noise and vibration, which may put you back in a similar spot you are at now with regular clippers.
 

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I use a dremel. It's difficult to quick the nail and wiggly dogs won't cause me to shift and nick the quick which makes me extremely nervous.

Have you assumed the nail clipping position and handled individual toes without the clipper? My dogs seem to dislike me handling toes and holding them firmly as much as anything else.

If you can have an accomplice that would feed according to your cues that helps. A wooden spoon with peanut butter that's offered when you are doing scary stuff and withdrawn when you aren't doing scary stuff might help. It's sort of hard to handle feet and feed at the same time. After a few sessions with the baited spoon move to individual treats and once that's going well try it on your own.

Do it daily at first with a session lasting a minute or so. Idea being you are acting weird but there are lots of cookies. Once session is over no more cookies. My dogs are delighted when grooming tools come out even though they aren't crazy about tail hair pulling and getting nails handled and trimmed.

As for the wiggles. Don't let go until wiggles stop then release the dog. Don't attempt to groom, freeze and wait dog out then release. Session is over and treats put up.
 

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Yeah, what everyone else said. My dog doesn't love nail trims, but she slowly became used to the clippers. Still, she has never gotten over the urge to try and gnaw on my hands during the trim. So I just take her outside and tie her to the porch railing so she can't lower her head down, and she just stands there quietly now while I clip. As long as I'm quick with it, she is pretty patient with it and of course asks for her treat immediately after. :)
 

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I also use a dog grinder for nails; looks like the dremel but has different size sanding bands, etc. I purchased it from a dog grooming supply company. It works better than the clipping and it is easier to see if you are too close to the stopping area of the nail. I started out when Molly was very young and used the same treat info noted by Atlas's person above also I hold the entire foot and spread out each toe to dremel each one; also I have a jar of the quick stop incase I go too low into the nail so there is no bleeding but so far so good; when I used clippers I usually had an issue. I also have a grooming stand that Molly sits on and it has a holder like a leash that goes around her neck and the table turns so I don't have to make her turn for each foot and it also adjusts up/down for the dog's height, you have a smaller dog so this could work; they do make larger tables also. I have used mine to groom my prior four Schnauzers and now Molly and it has worked great. Below is a picture of the table and the dremel, it is an Andis trimmer has extra discs and a carry bag. Also the four Schnauzers that I groomed with the table to show the size it can accommodate.
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Totally agree with the Dremel advice. My dog flipped out every time the clipper went near his paw to the point he was peeing on himself at the groomers in terror and all the counter-conditioning I did went straight out the window the instant I accidentally nicked the quick and we were back to square one. The advice I got on this forum then was to use a Dremel and it has helped tremendously.

Similar to a lot of the good advice that have already been given, what worked for me in the end was to break everything down into baby steps and go slowly. I started with some mat work to get him comfortable on a mat. Taught him to "play dead" on the mat and then add paw handling. Reward for staying relaxed on the mat. Add Dremel moving toward him while off. Add Dremel touching his paw and nail while off. Add Dremel noise. Add Dremel moving toward him while on. Touch the Dremel to his toe nail while on. So on and so forth. Reward for staying relaxed, allowing paw handling, allowing Dremel contact, etc etc. I would recommend a firm grip on his paws but not so firm that he is unable to withdrawal that paw if uncomfortable. This whole process may take numerous sessions over the course of several days but as long as he remains comfortable at each step, try to ask for a little more each time . And remember, it's ok to just do a little at a time, a toe nail a day even. Good luck!

Other resources I found helpful: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/trimming-a-dogs-nails-a-2016-update and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EITYvqs32Hg
 

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I always noticed it is usually the sound of the clippers that set the dogs off at my pet spa. The "sneak and treat" method always worked best for us! Have one person hold and distract the pet while the other person sneaks in one nail at a time rewarding the pet with a treat in between each one. Many of the dogs learned to act better, not perfect, but manageable by using this method. Good Luck!
 

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I always noticed it is usually the sound of the clippers that set the dogs off at my pet spa. The "sneak and treat" method always worked best for us! Have one person hold and distract the pet while the other person sneaks in one nail at a time rewarding the pet with a treat in between each one. Many of the dogs learned to act better, not perfect, but manageable by using this method. Good Luck!
https://www.amazon.com/Millers-Forge-Stainless-Steel-Clipper/dp/B0002ARUKQ

This nail clipper is amazing for dogs, at least in my opinion, even for my dog i had 10 years ago I used these ones, they are super sharp, and has the blades on both sides, makes no sound and puts no pressure on the nail, my puppy doesn't even react to her nails being trimmed with this one. And I did none of the treat things. She got treat after all nails were done. ^^
 
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