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Old 11-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay, has anyone developed a method to trim the nails of a GSD that WILL NOT ALLOW IT? This is probably the only quirk that my big guy Zeke has. I can not even bring the nail trimmer out of the bag without him running away. I am baffled by the behavior because those few times when I have been successful trimming his nails when he was young, I'd never hit the quick and caused him any pain. As it stands we have to take him to the vet and have him drugged up to do it, thus we generally have to wait for his yearly exam. Can't afford to do it that way any longer. I've tried bribery, diversion, being firm, just about everything except hog tying him.
During the nice weather I play ball with him on the concrete which helps a little, but I can't do it often enough to actually make a big difference. Any ideas? Please!

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Mike
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, put him on a leash and collar so you can correct him. There's no excuse for you to ever say your dog won't let you do anything. Be ready for a down and dirty event that you must win because you've let your dog tell you what you can do and you now have to correct that thought.

Trim the all toes as fast as you can - all that matters is you do all the toes, perfect doesn't matter at this point- a dremel is the preferred tool. Do not stop in the middle or pause after any of the feet: keep going. You want to give your dog the least amount of time to think about how he's dying and then you are done.

When you are done, do not let him go on his own. It's extremely important that you be the one that releases him and not him escaping. If he thinks he fought and escaped, he will think fighting you is the way to get out of this and will continue. After you release him, you make a huge deal over him.

After a couple of times of doing this, your dog will resign himself and start to hold still. Be sure to reward this by letting up on the restraint and using quiet praise the whole time.

Do trim toes at least once a week until he's good about this. You both will need the frequent repetition to get better about this and toes should be trimmed once a week anyway.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
First, put him on a leash and collar so you can correct him. There's no excuse for you to ever say your dog won't let you do anything. Be ready for a down and dirty event that you must win because you've let your dog tell you what you can do and you now have to correct that thought.

Trim the all toes as fast as you can - all that matters is you do all the toes, perfect doesn't matter at this point- a dremel is the preferred tool. Do not stop in the middle or pause after any of the feet: keep going. You want to give your dog the least amount of time to think about how he's dying and then you are done.

When you are done, do not let him go on his own. It's extremely important that you be the one that releases him and not him escaping. If he thinks he fought and escaped, he will think fighting you is the way to get out of this and will continue. After you release him, you make a huge deal over him.

After a couple of times of doing this, your dog will resign himself and start to hold still. Be sure to reward this by letting up on the restraint and using quiet praise the whole time.

Do trim toes at least once a week until he's good about this. You both will need the frequent repetition to get better about this and toes should be trimmed once a week anyway.
I'm frustrated too. I don't think force will work :c if I tried this Zeeva would hurt herself.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, it actually does. This is the one case where compulsion is necessary. Your dog has absolutely no say in getting her toes done. Period. This carries over to everything you do with your dog. Your dog should never, ever tell you what you can or can't do. What if she's hurt and in pain? You still have to be able to handle her without her fighting or biting you and this is part of teaching her to let you do whatever you want with her and her letting you.

I've done this to every single foster that has come through my home - and almost all of them said no to toe trimming - and they all walk out of here good about toe trimming. It's all in correcting hard enough to make your point and then immediately praising for a moment of her holding still. They quickly learn that holding still is good and the trimming will be over very soon and then the party begins. They love the party part and really look forward to it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You know what I did? I put her prong on and for the last 5 or 10 minutes I've been cutting her nails. I don't know if this is a good way to cut nails but FINALLY something worked! I corrected if she got up. A yank on the prong with the leash. She'd lay back down and we'd attempt the next nail. It worked...you have no idea how frustrated I've been with her nails the last few weeks. I'd cut one here one there while she was sleeping, while she was distracted. Nothing worked.

Thank you. Finally some peace

P.S. why don't Smokeys nails grow? I've NRVER trimmed them yet they are always at his hairline...

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Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
Yes, it actually does. This is the one case where compulsion is necessary. Your dog has absolutely no say in getting her toes done. Period. This carries over to everything you do with your dog. Your dog should never, ever tell you what you can or can't do. What if she's hurt and in pain? You still have to be able to handle her without her fighting or biting you and this is part of teaching her to let you do whatever you want with her and her letting you.

I've done this to every single foster that has come through my home - and almost all of them said no to toe trimming - and they all walk out of here good about toe trimming. It's all in correcting hard enough to make your point and then immediately praising for a moment of her holding still. They quickly learn that holding still is good and the trimming will be over very soon and then the party begins. They love the party part and really look forward to it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Zeeva View Post
You know what I did? I put her prong on and for the last 5 or 10 minutes I've been cutting her nails. I don't know if this is a good way to cut nails but FINALLY something worked! I corrected if she got up. A yank on the prong with the leash. She'd lay back down and we'd attempt the next nail. It worked...you have no idea how frustrated I've been with her nails the last few weeks. I'd cut one here one there while she was sleeping, while she was distracted. Nothing worked.

Thank you. Finally some peace

P.S. why don't Smokeys nails grow? I've NRVER trimmed them yet they are always at his hairline...
Glad it's helping, but you need to trim much faster than that. It shouldn't take more than 2 minutes total for all 4 feet. Don't worry about style at this point, just trim and get it over with so your dog doesn't have time to agonize over this. The faster you go, the quicker they get to party, and the faster they get better about toe trimming.

I can't imagine the trust issues with your dog when she finds you sneaking up on her in her sleep to trim toes! Not the best idea.

As for your other dog, I suspect it's how they walk. Some dogs probably walk more forward on their feet causing the toes to scrape more. People walk differently, so no reason not to think that dogs don't do it to some extent too.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
Glad it's helping, but you need to trim much faster than that. It shouldn't take more than 2 minutes total for all 4 feet. Don't worry about style at this point, just trim and get it over with so your dog doesn't have time to agonize over this. The faster you go, the quicker they get to party, and the faster they get better about toe trimming.

I can't imagine the trust issues with your dog when she finds you sneaking up on her in her sleep to trim toes! Not the best idea.

As for your other dog, I suspect it's how they walk. Some dogs probably walk more forward on their feet causing the toes to scrape more. People walk differently, so no reason not to think that dogs don't do it to some extent too.
We'll get there I'm still a klutz at it-still a bit awkward and concerned about cutting too far down so I'd rather take a little extra time than to hurt her. Plus it's been so long since I've trimmed her nails and I've read somewhere that if you don't trim them often the quick (sp?) goes further down? Not sure if this is true...Can you actually see the quick?

Yea I agree sneaking up on her to cut her nails while she was sleeping isn't the best of ideas, but I was desperate a couple times...glad it wasn't enough times to where she sleeps with one eye open...

MchaelS I didn't mean to steal your thread. I hope Elaine's suggestion or my modification to it helps you...

I forgot to ask but do you trim the dew claw too?

Last edited by Zeeva; 11-04-2012 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can readily trim back to where the bottom of the nail clearly starts forming a point and is empty. The quick does grow out but only so far as the solid part of the nail. It's pretty easy to trim way back to that part right away.

Get rid of your nail clipper. A dremel is much faster and way less chance of hitting the quick badly. Always have styptic handy, no matter how good you get at this.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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MichaelS, I read on this site that you should gradually get the dog used to the trimmers and the process. This worked for me. The first few times I did not attempt to cut the nails but just let the dog sniff the trimmer and gave her treats when she did. I put the trimmer on the ground with a few treats on it, and let her eat them off the trimmer. I sat with her, relaxed, and gently touched the trimmer to her feet and nose, and gave her treats when she relaxed and sniffed it. Basically, we desensitized her to it.

When it came time for trimming (about the third session of this) I clipped one claw quickly and not deep at all, to avoid any chance of quicking her, but to get her used to the motion and the "click" sound. She got a treat and praise when that happened. I put that treat on the ground between her legs so she had to focus on getting the treat and not what I was doing. In short order I was able to progress to the other claws. We remained relaxed throughout the process. The key, as with most training, is showing dog clearly what is expected, in a calm, non-threatening, but commanding way.

If you dog is older and has developed a "thing" about this that may make it harder. But I think that defusing his fear of the trimmer is the first step, and making it fun for him removes his anxiety.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I forgot to ask but do you trim the dew claw too?
Yes.
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