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Trimming Nails

4489 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Castlemaid
How often to you trim the German Shepherd's nails? I have trimmed cats' nails and guinea pigs' nails, but never dogs' nails, especially all-black nails. I am scared to try since I was told that the only "catch" for my dog is that she hates having her nails done and might bite. I don't have a muzzle, but I suppose I could put the leash over her snout and hold it underneath. However, that makes it a two-person job and Chopper is still adjusting to my husband (she had a previous issue with men). I was at the pet store and saw that someone is doing $5 nail trimming on Sept. 8 but that seems like a looooong time. We have had Chopper for 3 weeks and usually I trim my cats' nails once a month.
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I trim my dogs - actually puppy - nails every week. I only trim off a little each time. I work with her on laying quietly on her side for me. Each time I trim she gets a treat. Trim, treat, etc. I have been doing this for a few months.
Get down on the floor and play with her feet. See how she reacts. If she is ok with it bring out the clippers. Still OK? just go ahead and tip them every couple weeks then.

Have you thought about dremmeling them? That's what I do to my dogs and they just about go to sleep while I do them, it must be relaxing for them.

You haven't had her very long so I can't say that I would push the issue yet, but at some point in the next couple of months I would say that your dog should be willing to submit to having their nails done. Do some obedience, NILIF and just get the job done. It really shouldn't be a hassle to trim your own dogs nails.
She lets me touch her paws, but she pulls back and will sit up abruptly when I touch her pads or nails. If I try to stroke the end of her nails, she will put her mouth on my hand, not a bite, but just "nope".

Her trainer mentioned that when her previous owner/breeder's daughter left for college, a few of the dogs developed an "issue" about having their nails done (I guess she was saying that the girl always did it and they now don't like anyone else doing it).

I do want to dremmel, but haven't purchased one yet b/c if she's going to be a stinker about it all the time, I'll just pay to have an experienced groomer do it with a muzzle.

I'm just worried they are getting long b/c someone I know of who also does agility with her Shepherd cuts the nails every 2 weeks so they don't catch on the equipment. It's been over 3 weeks and last night I noticed her nails were kind of scraping on the sidewalks and she even tripped a little once.

I'm also a little scared b/c they are solid black and I don't know exactly where the quick is. Cats and guinea pigs I can do since I've done them a lot. I know it's not the end of the world if I cut her too close...
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Here's a link for you about using a Dremel:

I was able to acclimate Cassidy to a Dremel in about a week. Previously she didn't even like having her paws touched. She never tried to bite, but it took two of us, one to pin her down and one to clip. She also had dark nails and very long quicks. A Dremel makes it all so much easier. I only paid around $20.00 for mine, the Minimite cordless rechargeable model.
I had my nail person pick me up a dremel at the beauty supply place. Mine took to it fairly easily, I was doing my own nails with it and of course it was very interesting to the pups
Everything I do is interesting, this is why they stand to be blow dried and also why I close the bathroom door when I bathe and shower, unless they need a shower, then they can come in LOL
It is quiet, much more than the one dh has for finishing wood working and not painful or anything, once they got used to the vibrations, it was fun and easy. Problem is, I paint and file my nails every couple days, there's always a paw in my lap!!
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I am so glad I am getting the pups used to this for their future homes. They are now at teh point where they will lay quietly in my arms, awake and let us clip all their nails in a minute or two. If they squirm a firm "Settle" is all it takes to quiet them to finish the job. Then they get their treat which they of course go nuts for.

To answer your questions for a pup under 10 months old I do it once a week. After that once a month. What I would do in your situation is conintrate on clipping just one nail a day if possible. Have a good toy and get her busy with playing with it. Or her favorite treat. Or give her a kong to lick out of with cheese or peanut butter while you clip the nail. They huge rewards. Just an idea.
Nicole & Sheena & Puppies
All my dogs both pups and adults get their nails trimmed 1 x per week. pups i use human nail clippers and adults i use a guillotine style clipper
Yep, that's the same for me. Once a week for my dog. I like to keep the quick as far back as possible so they always have nice short nails and no clicking on the floors.
We're going to the vet on Monday night and I'm going to ask them to do it and show me how to do it (especially if I do have to muzzle her to do it). Her nails were really short when I got her and I don't want to wait too long. Want to keep the quick back.
Our girls spend a lot of time outside both in the grass and on asphalt- so they wear their nails down nice and short. They seldom require trimming other than Clara's rear dews, and I clip them every couple of weeks with a guillotine type nail clipper. Clara doesn't mind at all and I can do it even as she stands and eats. The other girls don't have rear dews so I really haven't had to cut theirs.

When Kayla was living, her nails were extremely thick and opaque. As she got older she didn't wear her nails down like she did when she was younger so we took her to the Vet for nail clips so we would not hurt her. She was so compliant she would lift her paws to have the nails trimmed, no problem at all- but the instrument the Vet used on her nails looked like a pipe cutter and it was very sharp, so she could cut through those thick nails cleanly and quickly.
I also recommend using a Dremel. I bought the Dremel MiniMite and it works fantastic on the low speed setting, making sure I don't do one nail for more than 3 seconds at a time. (The high speed setting gets the nail too hot too quickly and will hurt the dog). I do my kids once a week after a nice long walk and they are very relaxed while I do it. I use 120 grit on my two Goldens' nails. My GSD has much harder black nails so I use the 60 grip sanding bands on him, do two 3 second per nail passes on Saturday and then again on Sunday as his nails don't grind down as quickly as the Goldens, even using the coarse sanding bands. Doing them this way every week keeps them nice and short and doesn't bother the dogs a bit. Wish I had discovered dremmeling years ago. No more clippers for me (or them).
Since my thread got bumped....I've been cutting her nails. After I while I just got brave and decided to try it. I started cutting the littlest pieces off the tip and do that at least once a week. I've been working my way back and I *think* I've got a better handle on where to stop/how much to cut. I'm happy to see that her nails are usually shorter than the other dogs at training and at the pet store. I try to keep "no clicking on the linoleum" as my marker for the right length. I'm still considering a dremmel, but now that I'm more brave with the clippers and learned how to distract her so she doesn't kick, I guess I might as well stick with a clippers (I've been using the big dog clipper on my cats).
Liesje, That is great news. I am pleased and would still be please if you found the dremel to work better for you. I am just pleased when people can make the break through and trim their own dogs nails instead of having a groomer do it.
I am pleased too, since I did have a groomer do it once and she barely cut the tips and skipped a nail. It seemed like she was as afraid of doing it as I was! There is a local pet shop where they gave a vet tech come and do nails and the "payment" is a donation to a cat rescue. She does a good job, but is not there often enough. I like to cut Kenya's nails once or twice a week, just a little at a time. Often she gets annoyed so I do front one day and back another day. I refuse to hold her down b/c I don't want it to be any more negative than it already is.
Noob question here, what benifit is there from trimming their nails? does it benifit the dog? or is it just to keep them from scratching up the house? We never clipped my dads labs nails ever.
You want to keep the nails short, if they get too long then the dogs's toes and feet can get really sore.

Some dogs seem to need little trimming others more. My one female's back feet very seldom need more than just a little nip to blunt the nail.

So yes it is important to the dog have their nails trimmed to keep them short.
My 2 get a nail trim every two weeks.

If they get really long it gets very hard to clip the nails and often times if it's not something that the dog is brought up doing they don't like and it's very hard to make them like it once they reach adult hood. Mine started getting there nails trimmed when they were a pup, so now it's no big deal.
Originally Posted By: KTM450SXNoob question here, what benifit is there from trimming their nails? does it benifit the dog? or is it just to keep them from scratching up the house? We never clipped my dads labs nails ever.
Well, I have indoor dogs and when we are outdoors, most of the time it is on grass. We do walk on paved roads/sidewalks, but most of their exercise is games, agility, and chasing each other on grass. So, their nails don't naturally get worn enough like a wild wolf who is roaming for miles and miles or an outdoor dog in a cement run. For agility, I don't want Kenya's nails getting caught on anything. That can cause painful injuries. Nails that are too long can push toes in the wrong directions and damage a dog's foot.
Originally Posted By: KTM450SXNoob question here, what benifit is there from trimming their nails? does it benifit the dog? or is it just to keep them from scratching up the house? We never clipped my dads labs nails ever.
Same reason people clip their own nails.

If the nails get too long, they can splay out the feet and cause soreness and foot problems. Long nails are also prone to getting caught on things and torn or broken. A broken nail can expose the quick of the nail, which is extremely painful for the dog and can also lead to a lot of bleeding.
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