Toenails 101 (MOVED TO BASIC CARE) - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 06-20-2014, 03:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Toenails 101 (MOVED TO BASIC CARE)

Maybe there's a better spot for this, but I just want to share some toenail hints:

1. The number one thing is to do this in a comfortable position -- for you. Bending over a dog on the ground, where he can back up or bolt forward, means bending over (hurts your back, makes your legs ache, etc. And you will take a lot longer to see the nail, and the quick, etc. It is also a much more intimidating position for a dog to be in. Since you are uncomfortable, the dog will be uncomfortable. Since it is hard for you to see the quick, it will take longer, and the dog will have more of an opportunity to get itself worked up.

Put the dog up on a dog house, table, or couch/bed. Train it to stay, or use a leash and tie it there. Make the position comfortable for you, and maybe a little restrained for the dog.

2. Get flour or stipic powder on hand. Sooner or later you will nick your dog. Having the stuff on hand will make you less nervous, and the dog will then be less nervous, and you are then less likely to nick the quick.

3. Use the right tool for the job. If you are doing little toenails on a small dog or puppy, use a clipper for small dogs, if you are doing a large dog, use a larger, stronger clipper. Dremmels are good too, usually to dull them down after you clip.

4. Don't drag it out. There may be a dog or two out there that his so soft they need to have you do one nail and then treat, etc. Most dogs are better off with a quick sharp correction the first time they act up and a no-nonsense clip, clip, clip, clip, clip. At the end, you can praise and treat if you like. But I think it is far more humane for the dog to get a quick correction than to go through weeks of conditioning. If you are confident and no-nonsense, and have the dog up where you can see what you are doing, and are not uncomfortable (which makes it far more likely for you to react irritably), then the dog will accept toenail clipping without needing to be sedated at the vet to get it done.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great idea Sue.

The only thing I'd say is ditch the clippers and get an Andis Nail Grinder.

If the nails are real long keep the grinding sessions short and work the nails down during several short sessions.

My dogs quickly desensitized to it and will even doze off while I'm grinding their nails.

I know some folks prefer dremels (which I have had in the past) but I like the slim design of my Andis better.

It's got two speeds so it works on Smitty and Ilda's tough nails and slow speed for Autumn's softer smaller nails.

Plus my eyes aren't as good as they used to be so clipping was becoming a very scary chore, I hate , hate, hate hitting the quicks.

So I ditched the nail clippers and I'm not looking back!

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Old 06-20-2014, 03:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmmmm, my methods are slightly different.

With Draven I have to call him onto the couch, grab all 4 paws and headbutt his stomach to knock him over. Then I keep my elbow on him as I grab a paw, tell him to knock it off and clip his nails. I am always successful.

With Sinister I have to call him over to the couch, tell him to "down" and then I grab his paw and right before I go to clip a nail, he pulls his paw away from me and I have to say "come on!" and grab his paw again and hold onto it for dear life so he doesn't yank it away again. I am always successful.

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Old 06-20-2014, 04:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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we just have to use a grinder, seems to work fine.

When she's feeling particularly "I can do what-ever I want"ish, It's a team effort of holding and grinding.

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Old 06-20-2014, 05:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I need a LOT of light to do nails now plus my strongest reading glasses. LOL I put all the lights on in the kitchen. Sit on the floor. Call the dog, tell them to down (sometime help them down) and clip the nails. When we are done they get a cookie.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My dog is easy. I just taught her dog to give a paw and let me do her nails, she is actually happy to have them done and so patient. For bleeding (only happened once so far), I heated up a butter knife on the stove and cauterized it like that, the flour did not work. The heat worked instantly and without a flinch.

Last edited by Kestrel; 06-20-2014 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used to take Mollie to the Vet for them to cut her nails(got to be way too expensive & they go too close to the quick & she freaked out). Now I use a Dremel. I taught Mollie that it is not scary having her nails done. She goes into our spare bedroom & I close the door so there are no distractions. She get lots of praise & a few pieces of the Real Meat Air Dried Dog Food during the process. When done, which takes less than 5 minutes now, I give her the Dental Kong with Kong Peanut Butter. This is the ONLY time she gets it(It is her SPECIAL prize!). It is to the point now when I say lets go do your nails & she literally RUNS into that room & waits for me. It took a while but it was WELL worth the effort.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My girl hates it, the groomer has skills and gets all clipped in a couple minutes. I get about 3 done until shes too much to handle. I got some safari clippers with a depth guard and havent clipped a quick since.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Clipping my late dog's nails were so easy! The day after I brought him home and everyday since then I would groom him everyday. I would brush him, touch him anywhere, check ears, mouth etc. And I would also clip his nails. Well, actually for a while he didn't need his nails to be clipped so I would just "pretend" to and would just clip off a flake of nail.

We had a grooming routine and spot where he would sit for me. I then took off his collar, told him to stand and I would brush his back, sides, tail and bum. Then he would sit again and I would brush his neck, face, ears, and chest, check his mouth, ears, and wipe away gunk from his eyes. Next thing he would do was drop/lie down and I would brush his back a little, then I told him to roll over and this is the time I clipped his nails. More often than not he was practically falling asleep when I clipped his nails! After the nails were done I would brush his belly, legs and very gently, around his private area. He loved being brushed on the belly! When that was done, he would sit, then stand and I would pat out the loose hairs. Then he would sit again and I would put his collar back on and then I told him "Done now, off you go!" and he would run off.

I didn't use treats but after the grooming session I would praise him lavishly. When he did protest for grooming when we first started out I would say "no". I think so long as you do it regularly and treat it as matter of fact the dogs shouldn't seem to mind. My dog was always happy for grooming sessions. As soon as I got the brush and clippers he would go to the spot, waiting for me.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Sorry for the ignorant question, but how do you know when there nails need to be clipped?
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