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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Willow seems to have fairly long front nails. She hates when I clip them (and she hates dremmeling even more because she's deathly afraid of machines that make noise)...so I've been trying to give them a little trim about once a week, to help get her used to it and to gradually try to get them trimmed down.

During the summer, I rarely have to clip at all because we hike so much she keeps them worn down. And I never have to trim her rear nails, they seem to stay short on their own.

But I guess....see pic below, are they too long? She does click when she walks, but she does anyway, even after the vet clipped her nails under anesthesia during her spay. And even though I've been trimming once per week, it seems like they just grow right back. Granted I am clipping only a little bit each time--maybe 1-2mm--because I'm PETRIFIED of hitting her quick (I've done that to her twice, with her rear claws). I was hoping doing so frequently would help me gradually shorten the quick but again, they seem to grow twice as fast as I can cut them.

I've read a bunch of threads on here and seen pics of some of you who manage to get their nails cut so far back you can hardly even see them poking out of the fur. But is that amount of clipping strictly necessary? And I've also seen pics of dogs (usually small breeds) with nails so long they're curved. Willow's are nowhere near that. And I even wonder if it's beneficial for them to longer in the winter, as maybe they help her grip a little better in icy, snowy conditions.

Anyway, just wondering, any advice would be helpful. At the very least, Willow has gotten to where she tolerates my clipping (mostly). As long as I have treats ready to reward her for each clip. :)
 

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I trim my dogs about once a week. My big boy has longer nails than I like, especially the outer toes, but that's where his quicks are and so I just leave them where they naturally seem to want to be. Bonus, check out ow much white hair on my rug right now! lol.

I trim a lot of dogs that board too, and I'm conservative with everyone because if you never quick them they cooperate SO much better. My dogs and dogs that board seem to all prefer being trimmed like horses. I stand them up, then pick up the foot like you would pick up a horse's foot. It also gives you a view of the bottom of the toenail which makes it clearer where the quick is a lot of the time.

If I'm trying to teach one to behave I pick up the foot, scrape the metal trimmer over the edge of the toenail lightly, so they feel something happen but there is no way it hurts, give them a treat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
 

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BTW I think a better way to gauge whether they're really too long is to look at the dog standing up on a hard floor. Long toenails flatten the foot out a bit. There are diagrams on this I've seen online. Maybe Susan Garrett has one?

I would want your dog's nails a little shorter but they're not nearly as bad as half the dogs that board with me for what it's worth
 

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Our current tricks trainer uses an emory board (given the size, I think she took a block of wood and put sandpaper on it) and has trained her dog to paw it on command, filing it's nails. I'm not sure if that would work for you. I have found nail trimming goes better with two of us, though I can do it on my own.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
BTW I think a better way to gauge whether they're really too long is to look at the dog standing up on a hard floor. Long toenails flatten the foot out a bit. There are diagrams on this I've seen online. Maybe Susan Garrett has one?

I would want your dog's nails a little shorter but they're not nearly as bad as half the dogs that board with me for what it's worth
Yeah, the thing that I usually notice with Willow's feet is her outer toes kinda splay out a little when she's in a sitting position. They definitely seem to get longer.

Doesn't look so bad in this pic... Maybe cuz I just trimmed them out she's sitting different.
 

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I'd just keep working on little trims if I were you. They aren't that bad. The better you get at it, more confident you get, you'll get them down some. They could use to go down a bit but it's not an emergency. Putting dogs up on something seems to make them behave better too...not sure why. Do you have someone who can hold her for you? Letting them squirm and act a fool sometimes emboldens them but if you have someone do a good restraint and then do a quick tiny clip and then be done, it's sometimes a bigger success overall
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd just keep working on little trims if I were you. They aren't that bad. The better you get at it, more confident you get, you'll get them down some. They could use to go down a bit but it's not an emergency. Putting dogs up on something seems to make them behave better too...not sure why. Do you have someone who can hold her for you? Letting them squirm and act a fool sometimes emboldens them but if you have someone do a good restraint and then do a quick tiny clip and then be done, it's sometimes a bigger success overall
She's gotten a whole lot better than she used to be, though I can't get through clipping them all without her pouting and lying down on her feet once or twice. But usually all she does is just pull her paws away when I grab them. I put 10 small training treats on the table for her to look at, and I give her one every time I clip a nail. So she doesn't act like it's traumatizing for her anymore (like it used to), it just annoys her. This last time it took about 5 minutes to do all the fronts.

I've thought about trying to use an emory board to file rather than clip, but have a feeling she wouldn't tolerate that very well, haha. Worth a try though. My trainer dremmels Willow's nails whenever I board her there (she's one who's kind of obsessed with super short nails) and I asked her how Willow does with that, and she said she had to physically hold her down because she panicked. I don't want to do that to her, honestly.

I will try putting her up something next time. Have also tried the horse-shoeing method but she squirms too much (and no, I live alone so don't have anyone to help me hold her). So I tend to just kneel beside her when she's in a sitting position and clip that way.
 
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