She will NOT let anyone trim her nails help! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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She will NOT let anyone trim her nails help!

I know there was a thread recently that discussed not all dogs need nails trimmed. My girls nails are LONG and deadly . . . I had her on my bed this morning and she put a big scratch on my eyelid - her nails go through t-shirts and leave marks and she's just playing. I've taken her to three different places to get her front nails trimmed (back ones are fine) since I got her in August, and no one has been very successful. I'm concerned the quicks are going to get so long that it will be a futile exercise soon. Two groomers at two different times only got a couple of nails trimmed. I took her to the vet and I could tell by the yowling that came from the room that they were holding her down and when they came out, they said she would have to be sedated for any further trimmings from them. She has never bitten, and I don't believe she would, but she jerks and yowls and dances around like crazy and you just cannot get hold of her. I've tried different positions at home, tried acclimating her to the clippers, giving HVTs when she even lets them near her, etc., etc. and we are getting nowhere. I even bought some sandpaper and tried to just soften the sharpness lol (she didn't go for that either). She's calm and gentle except with this task.
Is it bad to get her sedated for this? It just feels like such overkill - I'm a nurse and I know every sedation carries a little risk, as well as a recovery time and a little tolerance-elevation each time and I can't really imagine having to do this for the next 10 years or so. Macey is a 14 month old rescue and I dont' know what her history was her first 8 months.
Does anyone use the calming chews from Dr. Foster (not sure if that's the right name)
I'm very thankful for any advice.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:51 PM
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Nails are sometimes the worst, most trying husbandry issue. Goodness knows I've had (and still have) problems with them.

If you are on Facebook, then joining the Nail Maintenance for Dogs group would be a good place to start.

Also, the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy has a general husbandry class called Yes Please! Cooperative Canine Care that will be running in the April 2019 session. Then, they will have a nail specific class called All About Nails that will run in the June 2019 session. The first ever session of All About Nails has just wrapped up, and it's really helped me with my girls.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:39 PM
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I think this may be the recent thread on nail trimming that you were looking for:

I feel your pain, with the face scratch. My puppy caught me on the lip with a sharp nail awhile back and it was a nasty wound. It was either the last nail left to trim, or I missed it. It's rather scary when they get your face, especially an eye lid.

I try to catch a rare moment, when my 6-month old is tired or in a mellow state. A couple of times, she was next to me on the couch and rather sleepy. Another time, she was on my bed, and again in a mellow mood. I have treats handy and sometimes have given her a tummy rub & then sneaked in trimming a nail or two.

One at a time, can get you to a complete nail trim. Once I managed to trim all the front nails, they have remained rather short from walks in the neighborhood on concrete sidewalks.

I believe they sedate dogs to clean their teeth. If you do have to sedate her, perhaps she could get her teeth and nails done at the same time.
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Last edited by NaughtyNibbler; 01-20-2019 at 09:42 PM.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 10:11 PM
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Could you get her used to the Dremel slowly? Nikki comes running when she sees it, she knows she's getting treats!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 10:19 PM
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I've tried lots of paw holding as a puppy with little clips often. I've tried treats, and the dremel. Never nicked the quick once. My dog DOES NOT LIKE HIS PAWS messed with. Just putting Musher's Secret on the pads is a quiet battle.

What helps me a lot is all the environmental socialization I gave him as a pup, instilling a love of climbing, so that any time he sees a big rock or a fallen log, he wants to climb it. Scrabbling up things wears the nails down nicely. And long walks on the weekends help too.

The dewclaws I have to nip quickly when he's sleeping or mellow. If sleeping, he looks resentful when he wakes. Cant blame him. And mellow... that's pretty much never.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:38 AM
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Im with [email protected] - environmental upkeep of nails. I have been playing with his feet and pretending to clip nails since he was a pup but he is just a major squirmer all during and the nails have not been long enough merit an actual snip. He chews his dewclaws so those are a non-issue. Things will probably change in his old age but maybe then he will have acquired some mellow.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 05:51 AM
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My quirky rescue is best for nail trimming if I allow her to stand, my left hand holds her collar and right hand does

snipping. Be very careful not to take too much off in haste. It also helps to have right kind of clipper, one that's

sharp and cuts quickly- not pinches.

My last GSD was OK w/ dremel but she did best with homemade giant emery boards I made using paint stirrer

sticks (free at bldg. supply stores) and glued on cut strips of course sandpaper on both sides. Worked great.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 10:51 AM
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Thanks. Love the idea and as soon as the ice melts I’m off to get some paint stirrers and sand paper.
He is barely ok with the Dremel and expects a bully stick immediately. He was also awful at the vet,
Screaming and serious head neck butting. Bad for the vet and traumatic for him.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 11:07 AM
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My dad's old GSD has tried to bite groomers who trim her nails -- so they won't do it. She doesn't want her feet handled because she has arthritis and it hurts to carry her weight with a paw up -- she's actually a really nice dog, but she's old and self-protective. However, we recently learned that DH and I can trim them though....on the couch.

DH and I tag-team. We wait until she's relaxing on "her spot," lying on her side, and then bring out the bag of her favorite treats -- something meaty and soft. One of us break the treats into tiny pieces and feed her very tiny bits continuously to distract her, while the other person snips-snips-snips using a clipper with a guard so we can't "quick" her. Then she gets a "jack pot" treat reward to finish up, and a massage.

We only do front or back in one sitting, so she doesn't lose interest in the treats.

This method has proven painless and stress-free for her. I got the idea by watching a Fear-Free Handling Certified vet and vet tech using very specific distraction techniques for stressed dogs, and going through the resources on the FFH site about de-escalating the stress of vet visits. I can't say enough good things about what FFH is doing in veterinary care -- if there's a vet who is FFH-certified in your town, see if they'll help you with this task (and turning around the pup's view of vet visits):
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 11:26 AM
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We've been using the stress free techniques on large horses for years. I have one that's needle-phobic and trying

to give vaccinations to a 1400 lb. animal is not fun if they're unco-operative. Simplifies things if someone is

feeding carrot slices while the other is giving shots. Haha, it works.
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