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Discussion Starter #1
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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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. https://www.facebook.com/groups/nail.maintenance.for.dogs/learning_content/

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. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/2392 Then, they will have a nail specific class called All About Nails that will run in the June 2019 session. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/19985 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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I think this may be the recent thread on nail trimming that you were looking for:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-information/752499-nail-cutting-always-necessary.html

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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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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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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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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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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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):
https://fearfreepets.com/resources/directory/
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you! I've requested the join the FB group and waiting to hear back if they 'accept' me lol. Also plan to check the online source you gave - thanks so much!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you so much - I will research for a FFH vet also. I'm still trying to make the clippers a positive thing - I just have them lying around on the floor harmless, and give her treats when she gets close enough to sniff at them lol. Part of the problem is that she's not very food driven - she only likes meat or cheese treats but even these don't hold her attention for too long. She's like a ninja knowing I am getting them or have them in my hand and she just bolts.
I'm not hearing from anyone that they actually sedate their dogs for this? I thought it was a weird comment, and it was just from the vet tech who brought her back to me. Now I'm wondering if it was just the personal opinion of a very young person, or if the vet actually asked her to communicate this . . . another thing to investigate lol.
 

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Have you ever tried boiling a tub of chicken or beef livers, and then slicing them up? Open a window as they smell pretty bad, but most dog LOVE cooked liver. Just cut them up small enough that you're feeding tiny nibbles so that it doesn't take too much to get the job done.
 

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My parents dog is very averse to nail trimmings, so whenever I’m visiting, I very gently wake the dog up from a nap, and slowly take each paw and clip them while he’s still mellow and out of it. He’s the same as your dog. Totally sweet and also would never bite but they can’t trim his nails alone.
 

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I've had my cornea scratched. Painful. I couldn't open my eye for 2 days without pain. And putting medicated drops made it hurt. And yeah, I've lost a few shirts. Not a big deal especially since I wear old clothes at home and instead of donating them to Goodwill, I'll just wear them while training/playing with the dog and throwing them away if they're destroyed.

Mine's a year old now and I can count on 2 hands how many times I've cut his nails. And I can't do all in one sitting. Usually it takes place over several days. I can get maybe 2-3 nails before it becomes impossible. He will fight me and by the time I can trim a couple nails I'm already out of breath and sweating. I've been trying to get him used to the Dremel. It's a slow process but it's working. But like the above comments, I mostly just let the environment do the work for me and it's worked so far. If you walk your dog enough every day on concrete and asphalt, it should keep the nails in good shape.
 

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Our dog logs 5-6 miles daily on his walks - when his nails get kind of long, we do more walks on streets/sidewalks and let him do a light slow trot on the asphalt. The trot really wears down the nails fast! This "environmental nail trim" seems to work well for him, but I'm not sure what we'll do as he ages and gets less active, ack.

Nail clippers : he has some kind of past history. Gets tense and growly at the sight of them.

Groomer: she picked up his back paw, and he growled and snapped at her. She then told me that he'd need to be sedated for trims.

Dremel: slowly trained him to the point where he let me hold his paw, put the "off" dremel on his nail, and also would lie there sleeping with the dremel "on" nearby. But when I touched the "on" dremel to his nail one day, and he felt the vibration, it was game over! He jerked his paw away, and we went back to square zero (suspicious of dremel again).

Now I'm thinking about muzzle/clipper combo if I ever need it. Muzzle on, clip one nail, give great treat and praise! After a few times, I hope to dispense with the muzzle part (once he figures out that it ain't so bad). But we'll keep doing "environmental nail trimming" as long as it works!
 

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I'm not hearing from anyone that they actually sedate their dogs for this? I thought it was a weird comment, and it was just from the vet tech who brought her back to me. Now I'm wondering if it was just the personal opinion of a very young person, or if the vet actually asked her to communicate this . . . another thing to investigate lol.
I would probably do it if it was an extreme case, like if the nails were so long that it was difficult for the dog to walk or they are starting to curl into their pads.

One of my dogs had to be anesthetized a couple of times for an "extreme nail trim" that involved tidying up ripped dew claws, but that was because they had to remove the broken nail shell from a nearly completely exposed quick, which was quite painful.

Here's another good resource on nail care and general husbandry. https://www.amazon.com/Cooperative-Care-Seven-Stress-Free-Husbandry/dp/0578423138/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548191172&sr=8-1&keywords=cooperative+care+deborah+jones
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
OK just ordered the book on Amazon - it has great reviews so I am hopeful!
The nail length is not really at any danger or extreme point for her - just for those around her lol. She loves to paw and has no clue when she's hurt someone. I've tried doing just one nail when she's sleeping or out of it, and man it's like she has a sixth sense that something is going on - immediately jumps and bolts. I'm not fearful of her biting at all so I don't feel the need to muzzle her - it's just that she is so dang jumpy and wiggly and yowling I can't even get the things close to her paw. If I have nothing in my hand she will let me handle her feet most of the time (not always). I'm guessing for their claws it's like having the dentist do the pick/scrape thing on a tooth for us humans haha. I will try the chicken liver thing when there is someone else here to assist, but for me alone it's hard. She's only 70 lbs but it feels like 200 when she's fighting it. Still waiting to see if I am 'accepted' onto the FB group - they seem pretty serious lol. Will also definitely utilize the online sites mentioned also - thank you so much.
I'm all for the environmental method too but for some reason it seems to keep her back nails trimmed much better than the front ones. She loves to use those front paws like hands - maybe she thinks her nails are wonderful haha.
 

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Now I'm thinking about muzzle/clipper combo if I ever need it. Muzzle on, clip one nail, give great treat and praise! After a few times, I hope to dispense with the muzzle part (once he figures out that it ain't so bad). But we'll keep doing "environmental nail trimming" as long as it works!
That's exactly what we did with Jack. He has a soft, mesh muzzle and he gets treats when the muzzle goes on, for each nail trimmed, and when we're all finished. Over the last few trimmings, he's stayed quiet and has squirmed less. Whenever we're able to finish with minimal squirming and in less than 2 minutes, he gets extra treats and praise.

As a result, he's very excited when he sees us pull out the muzzle, even though he hates it being on his face. I think he understands now that the quieter he is, the sooner we're done, the more treats he receives.

It's worked thus far and put a stop to the snapping and growling he was doing previously. I'm fairly certain we soon won't need it anymore.
 

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Some dogs are just worse on their nails than others. I’ve been a groomer for 40 years so I kind of know what I’m doing, and my dog Scarlet is the first dog I’ve ever owned that the nail clippers are a no go. I simply can’t use toenail clippers on her with a massive meltdown. But, after some extensive negotiating with her, the dremel (with a diamond drum) is just fine. She lies on her side on the couch and lets me do them all without a fight. Go figure!
 
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