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My GSD refuses to let anyone put anything near his paws and his nails are steadily growing.

Last time he went to a groomers but apparently barked at another dog and that was a sign of aggression, so they couldn't be trimmed :/

I try to walk him around the neighborhood for roughly 2-3 miles each day, which is primarily tarmac/road surfacing.

His back paws are actually very trim but his front paws are getting noticeably long.

Considering how bad he is with getting nails cut, I figured walking may help file them down.

How quickly should I see a result in his nails if I keep him on the rougher surfaces like the road?

Despite them being long, I feel like sometimes they're still not even touching the floor...
 

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He may have poor foot conformation (loose, splayed or flat feet), in which case they will not wear down naturally.
 

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I feel like I have had a similar experience. When I got Willow, her nails were pretty long and while she doesn't get aggressive when I trim them, she certainly doesn't like it, and squirms and mouths my hands the whole time. It's a struggle. When I got her spayed, the vets dremmeled them down under anesthesia. Since then, I haven't had to trim them again--I must be giving her more exercise than her previous owner.

Willow and I probably walk 2-3 miles each day as well, on a combination of pavement and dirt trail. I honestly think running is keeping her nails trimmer than just walking, because the nails dig into the ground more when they're running. I typically let her run off leash for as much of the walk as I can (when it's in the park...never in the city, too dangerous) and I take her on leashed runs with me maybe 1-2 times per week (about 3 miles is all she can handle right now).

It seems to be working?

I would suggest maybe getting them good and trimmed, either by the groomer or the vet, and then hopefully 2-3 miles per day of exercise will keep them trim. But I wouldn't rely on a new exercise routine to like...grind down what's already long. If that makes sense.
 

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Some dogs take to having their nails trimmed better than others, but it is a training process with all. I find you should start when the dog is more tired, such as later in the day. Have the pup on leash and have him roll over on his back. Start at an early age so you can control any opposition. Is you do it on the floor, get on your knees. If you use a couch, you can sit on the couch and pin the dog next to the back of the couch with your hips. It helps to have someone else help you at first. Keep some food with you. After clipping each nail. reward with a bite of food and calm praise. Never let the dog win by escaping. If you start this correctly, trimming nails should be very easy after a few times. Ignore any growling or mouthing and don't get into a conflict if the dog pulls his paws away or tries to get up. Just muscle him into place and remain neutral emotionally, except to praise after you cut each nail. Be careful never to cut too much and cut the quick, as that will set the training back for obvious reasons. A dog owner should always cut his dog's own nails unless he is physically unable to. It is part of the relationship and extends to having a dog that will let you check out potential injuries or problems.
 

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I have little to say about exercise trimming nails for you. But I do agree with some on starting husbandry.

If there is already nail trimming opposition, remember to go slow. You might want to start husbandry training sessions with him just a few minutes every day, when he’s relaxed and tired just as Chip suggested. Maybe even a routine after his walk. Keep it easy and fun: touch a paw, reward and praise. Do this in the place where you intend to trim later. I would warn not to be in a rush to actually trim. The goal is to get your dog less uneasy with his feet being touched. I would add touching the muzzle, ears and eyes while you’re at it. Once he’s better with you touching his feet, add touching with the trimmers (or the noise of the dremel if you switch over). Slow steps.

I will also suggest switching to a dremel. I have a dog who has hated nail trims. She built it up in her head to be torture. Switching to a different instrument helped. The dremel is loud but it’s a less sudden, scary noise for the dog and the human is less likely to make a mistake.

Dogs get injuries and sometimes you have to look at said injury. If they have some husbandry training, checking injuries is so much less stressful for them.

Good luck! I hope walking helps with the nails.
 

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I have never had a dog whose nails wore down naturally, no matter how much exercise.
 
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Conditioning your dog to love nail trims:

I did this, but with using a dremel. My dog hated his nails being clipped. As a youngster I asked the vet to trim his nails while he was under anaesthetic for getting his hips xrayed. He came out of the anaesthetic when they started on his nails. But, when he sees me with the dremel, he runs and waits for me at our dremeling spot.
 

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My dogs have really nice paws thick padded nicely formed paws especially my male. I think it’s they have just super strong nails they don’t wear down easily with their thick pads in combination I don’t know and the majority of super full speed galloping no in concrete. My female has especially thick nails. It takes extra time to dremel her nails. Every ones preference for short varies also. I keep the dogs nails fairly short - my woods floors still have taken a hit. A lot of you tube videos on teaching on how to dremel it’s a process. My female will wait in her spot when it’s her turn she will wait even if I’m wAiting for my battery charger to charge. I think she likes to show up Max who will run upstairs the first hint I’m heading it thinking about the dremel lol! He is good at dremeling but will never willingly wait Like Luna does and I did nothing different they are all just all different.
 

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And I don't trim. Lol.
When they get long I up the exercise. Climbing and digging help tremendously.
I think it has way more to do with foot conformation than anything else. And also hardness of the nail. I never had to take much off Keefer's back nails, just a quick once over, but his front ones didn't wear down at all. I used a dremel on him and it took a long time because his nails were hard as a rock. It was like dremeling concrete, lol. None of my other dogs have had nails as hard as his.
 
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I think it has way more to do with foot conformation than anything else. And also hardness of the nail. I never had to take much off Keefer's back nails, just a quick once over, but his front ones didn't wear down at all. I used a dremel on him and it took a long time because his nails were hard as a rock. It was like dremeling concrete, lol. None of my other dogs have had nails as hard as his.
I am debating a Dremel for punkin. As she ages I need to be very careful with exercise and she has two nails on the front that are out of control. In my favor is the fact that she actually trims her own nails but I may need to intervene.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey guys,

Thank you so much for the input and suggestions. Sorry I didn't update sooner, Xmas and everything started getting in the way.

I am attempting to walk my boy with more runs thrown in to see if that makes a difference. I noticed that the nails on his back paws are very short, I presume by walking on the road daily. Hopefully running will put a bit more pressure on the front nails. I could definitely hear the gentle little taps more when he ran with me.

If that doesn't work then I will likely attempt it with my wife, perhaps with me holding him as she does it.
 

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I have had dogs where exercise has increased the time between needed trimmings, but never eliminated it. I did have a retriever that would wear his front nails down to the quick from climbing out of the water on our steep slippery rock shore. He must have been trying to grip the rock with his nails. Still had to trim the rear toenails.

It maybe a little harder with a dog that has already developed a fear of trimming, but with food given for each clip has quickly taught my dogs to relax and enjoy it. I started with just clipping the air near his paw for treats before moving to actually clipping. Also, do a lot of paw touching and pressing in between the pads etc.while patting him.
 

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Little update - he's in need of a checkup at the vet anyway so they are going to do them. Curious to see how he is when I'm not the one doing it.

I also found an interesting toy for nail trimming, it's a little pricey but from what I've seen has glowing reviews (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Z1XLP4?ref_=pe_623860_70668520_dpLink)

Considering he is very food driven, this might be a suitable workaround and could even be incorporated into his training.
 

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We had several GSDs that we never cut there nails and it was never an issue. However they were outside mostly and had plenty of exercise with free reign around a farm. Our current two GSDs we've trimmed their nails as they've been inside a majority of the time and it's my wife's preference to keep them trimmed.
 

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I'd like to amend my earlier statement...I had to trim my dog's nails a few days ago. Just the front ones. And they weren't awful, just looked a little long to me. The back ones seem fine.

So yeah maybe lots of outside exercise and run/walks just lengthen the time between nail trims. It had been over two months since the last time.
 

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The digger toy looks very cool and a great idea... but it could be that you spent over $100 and then your smart dog decides that he's not going to bother to dig because it's not really dirt...and then he Sits and looks at you and waits for you to open the compartment...and then you are softhearted and you open the compartment and give him the food (I honestly think that's what would happen on my end! )

We do the "environmental nail trim" which works well, and the vet trims his nails occasionally too (typically just the dewclaws and the outside ones on the front paws get long, the rest stay short/rounded from the walks).
 
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