The nail trim stuggle and positive success - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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The nail trim stuggle and positive success

When I first trimmed Renji's nails, he was quite fine with the chore until I quicked a few of his nails. Yes, a few. I am bad. His quicks are ridiculously long. I would trim a tiny piece off and end up with the quick. So of course he learned to hate nail trimming time! We dealt with his nails by giving him LOTS of pavement exercise and they've been keeping to a reasonable length. I decided enough was enough, though, especially because his dewclaws are like cat claws.

Today I am home with with food poisoning (always awesome) and have been doing better after getting some rice in me, so I tried a quick nail trim session. At first, he was freaking and as I tried to control him he was screaming every single time I tried to get his paw, and it was a mess. Then I got his kong, got him laying down (he was freaking), then I held his paw (freaking), then I tapped his nail with the trimmer to simulate a trim but didn't actually trim anything, and after that I flung the Kong up the stairs for him to fetch. He ran after it, brought it back, I downed him, and we repeated. We did this several times in a row and he quieted down (so did I), I made sure to talk in a very happy, jubilant voice and lavished the praise, and I got to the point where I could trim teeeeeeeny tiiiiiiiiiiiny stupidly small bits from his nails and HE WAS FINE! Threw the kong after every success. At one point, he let me hold his paw and really examine and position the trimmer for the perfect trim! Wow, lots of progress! At the end, he was rewarded with lots of praise and fetching of his Kong up the stairs.

Positive work and desensitization work really do work wonders! I have a problem of a short temper which certainly does not help (I get stressed when I should really be calm) but this is certainly excellent progress. If I can mesh playtime with nail trim time, I think we'll both be stress-free when it comes to this chore. My plan is to do this routine daily indoors, sometimes trimming and sometimes not, then when he's fine indoors, do it anytime we play fetch. If we're at the park and he wants me to throw the ball, I'll have to trim/touch a nail first. I know that this makes obedience extra fun, mixing commands with games, so I'm willing to bet that this will make him get over nail trim time. When he's fine with this avenue, I think we'll go to a Dremel. Maybe I should just go with that now since he's leery of the trimmer itself. In any case, two stubborn buttheads finally stopped bickering and finally found some common ground to start working on!

When I get a pup though, I am going to make sure the breeder massages the pup's nails or even does a little trimming here and there, and then I'm going to start from Day One making nail time positive by mixing it with play time.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 02:16 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

congrats!!!!!

teagan and i did something similar last night. oh boy! your ball! and then i got a couple of nails trimmed while she was busy playing with the ball. i relate to the quiks, i have huge issues w/those w/my bunnies and i'm always worried i'll hit them.

great job you and renji!

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 02:26 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

A few years ago, Darlene at Pets INC decided to trip Keyser's nails. He is the white GSD I rehabbed. We had him on his side and he was fine until she grabbed his paw. He didn' snatch it away but started SCREAMING like we were killing him. I stuck a treat in his mouth..... FINE!!!! No more noise as long as he had a treat.......


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 02:53 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

I just used the Dremmel for the 1st time. Griffin's nails are always too long because I am sooo paranoid about quicking him. I only cut off the tiny tip--which is almost a waste of time.

I kept hearing about how good the dremmel is and I have one, so I finally found it, hooked up a little sanding drum and tried it out. Way easy!!! I am hooked, no more clippers for me.

Griff was a little worried about the whirring noise, but soon decided it was harmless.

Jennifer and Griffin

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 03:01 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

Cool, Jennifer, isn't the Dremel awesome?

Diana, great job with the desensitization, but I personally wouldn't wait to try a Dremel. I found it MUCH better than clippers because you can take off such a small amount at a time much easier. Cassidy had ridiculously long quicks too, and nail trims were always a battle until I tried a Dremel. I was able to desensitize her to it within a week, and grind off a small amount every couple of days, allowing the quick to recede. I found it really hard to take tiny bits off with a clipper. Plus, if you do accidentally go too far, no gush of blood, and no apparent pain, which means that it's a far less traumatic experience for the dog, and you're less likely to have a battle next time. You can buy a little cordless rechargeable Dremel for around $25 or $30.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

I have a corded Dremel that is probably as old as I am or close to it. I was thinking of using this but then I was wondering if the new ones are quieter? I know Dremels are waaaaay better than trimming. I want to do this eventually. Even if I don't use it right away I should get Renji to start loving it. Maybe I'll take it out every time he eats- take out the Dremel, let him see it, prep his food, get him in the crate, put down the Dremel, then put his bowl inside the crate. Dremel = meal time, meal time = good, therefore Dremel = good? I don't honestly know what is preventing me from breaking it out. Boy can I ever be odd!

I think I have a new project to begin!

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 04:27 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

How much time does this take per nail though? I think this might stress out my guys more just because I clip and go quite fast per foot. I am interested, but not sure...so you Dremel people...convince me!

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 05:02 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

DianaM, there was a long thread not all that long ago with desensitizing for trimming nails. It was a good read as many people had the same problem.


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 05:23 PM
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

Quote:
Quote: How much time does this take per nail though? I think this might stress out my guys more just because I clip and go quite fast per foot. I am interested, but not sure...so you Dremel people...convince me!
It's just as fast as a clipper (or faster). You can only leave the Dremel on the nail for, literally, one second or the nail might get uncomfortably hot. I usually go from toe to toe at a rate of one second per toe. ("One Mississippi..") Then go back and hit each toe again for one second. Done.

Diana--I use an ordinary corded Dremel, and it does make a bit of noise--but no more than any household appliance. If your dog isn't freaked out by a hair dryer, blender, vaccuum, etc. The Dremel is no worse.

It's simple desensitizing. Lay the thing down next to the dog, not turned on. Treat when he shows interest. Put the treats on the Dremel. Turn it on and feed treats or have some play time while it's running. When you can get it close to the dog without any fear, then hold the body of the vibrating Dremel against the dog's tummy--feels good. Gradually build up to actual nail trimming. Get a helper and treat during the first nail trim--several treats for each nail seems like proper payment.

Tracy
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The nail trim stuggle and positive success

Val and Tracy, I don't think I'd have much problems desensitizing him to it. He's shy with loud, sharp, banging noises (I wonder what happened in his last home) but he will play with the vacuum when it's running or just keep out of its way. So long as it's a constant sound, I think he'll be ok. I'll start slow and just have the Dremel around, have it out during mealtime and playtime, maybe turn it on (without a grinder) and lay it outside his crate while he eats at first.

Never thought of putting it on his stomach. I see one of two scenarios- he'll like it or he'll leap out of his skin and attach himself to the ceiling!

Has anyone tried rubbing an "on" Dremel over the dog's body like one of those vibrating massagers for people and had success?

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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