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Discussion Starter #1
I'm asking this because we have had issues with Elle (GSD mix) and her nails, we tried to do it ourselves, and she threw a fit, so that doesn't work...We take her to the vet to get them clipped. We have never attempted Emma's (GSD) nails, since the time with Elle...What do you do about it?
 

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I clip my dogs nails myself... Same with fosters. I've had some fosters that were REALLY terrified of nail clippings. And my boy Logan was really scared as well. I do a lot of handling of the feet, just as the dog is relaxed and content. Sometimes Ive come up while a dog was laying sleepily, and just been able to clip away. My usual routine is to have the dog down, and then I sit down beside them and roll them lightly onto their side. I do this because with the GSDs, I need to be able to see the underside of the nail to tell where the quick is. With dogs with white nails you have more flexibility :). I found with Logan that his fear made him more anxious in a down, being in a more submissive position. So with him I had him sit, and then sat down next to him and picked up one paw and set it on my knee (with my foot flat on the floor and knee up) so I could see the quick as I cut. The key is to always stop BEFORE you push the dog too far. If all you can do is lift the paw and give a treat and stop, thats fine. Talk to the dog soothingly the entire time, and stroke them in long slow motions. Work up to stroking the dog with the nail clippers if they won't even let you near their feet. Sit down next to the dog and stroke them soothingly with your clippers in hand, give a treat and leave. Work your way stroking down the leg to handling the paw but not clipping, treat and leave if necessary. Find whatever starting point you need to do for your dog. If the dog freaks out just seeing the clippers, maybe the starting point is to walk around the house carrying them and ignoring the dog. In the beginning I could only clip 1-2 nails of Logan's before he became too stressed. Now as soon as I sit down next to him with the clippers he usually just lays down for me. Or once I pick up his paw to set on my knee, he just flops lol. Tessa lays down and rolls onto her side as soon as I say her name and she sees me holding the clippers. When I'm fostering small dogs, I do it a little differently. I usually sit cross legged or with my legs out to the side with the dog in front of me. I have my right arm over the dog while I hold up the given paw with my left hand. I pretty much clip my cats the same way. Again, always stop BEFORE you stress the dog and reward for whatever you got, even if it was just holding the dog while holding the clippers. A key part of the way I do it with little dogs and cats, is you must have the animals trust FIRST (which is important with them being fosters). Otherwise being "over" them in the manner I described would be quite intimidating. But I've found that it helps the animal feel secure, to sort of "hug" in a way. But I am NEVER restraining them. When you restrain the dog you just increase the stress and each time the dog becomes worse. When your vet clips your dogs nails, do you watch or do they take the dog in the back? I would NEVER let them take my dog in the back... I usually see groomers and vet techs physically restrain the dog to clip its nails. If necessary more and more people to restrain the dog and get it done quickly. Not all do this of course. But restraining the dog can result in your dog eventually needing to be sedated for a nail trim!!! I think its MUCH better to work with your dog yourself. But its not for everyone, I do know of people that their dogs can be easily clipped without restraint by groomers, but freak out in front of their owners only because of reacting to the owners anxiety!
 

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You have great tips. I do go back with the vet and my Fiance joins us to help calm her, but she still freaks, they wanted to put her to sleep while cutting them, but there was no way that was happening, I would stand for it...They're both like kids to me, since I have none of my own, so losing one while getting nails clipped in some freak accident would haunt me.

Elle (GSD mix) has had a nervous personality since the day we adopted her, so with her it's real important to keep her calm in everything, which she does pretty good with until nail clippings and vet check-ups. Thanks for the tips and advise, I'll try one more time on my own to see if she can get over her paw touching fear.
 

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Definitely work on it! I am very against sedating or anesthetizing a dog for a simple nail trim. Theres a reason the dog got that anxious in the first place, and its just covering up the problem rather than fixing it. With such a severe anxiety about nail clipping, it may take a really long time. Just take it slow and don't push her and you WILL get there! Make it pleasurable. If she doesn't even let you touch her paws, work from a distance. Reward for allowing you to touch her leg, then farther down her leg.. Reward for allowing you to have your hand 4 inches, or 8 inches, whatever is her level, away from her paw without moving and so on. If she ever gets anxious and wants to pull away, move back a step. You want to always reward and leave before she gets to a level of pulling away from you.
 

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i honestly don't think there is any need of having to take a dog to the vets to have their nails clipped. nail clippings don't have to be a tramatic experience for a dog if its done right. i think the biggest problem is people get frustrated trying to do it. the dog senses that feeling and develops apprehension there after.
just like with training nail clippings have to be handled with a calm presence and lots of re-assurance.

unfortunately i have seen and heard of to many dogs that haven't had very good experiences. one teqnique which is totally negative is holding or pinning a dog down to do it., i have even seen this done at some vets offices. the dog automatically associates this in a defensive attitude. once a dog has had a bad experience it makes the process harder for sure. building trust after that would be possible done in the manner above.

calm, gental, patient, praising attitude goes a long way.
 

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The vet's girls always try to EXPEDITE things (they do have a waitingroom full of other pets..) by making a 2-person rodeo with our dogs. Force, fighting, struggle, violation is all the dog takes away mentally from these experiences.

I am legally blind, my dog is a teenaged, huge, strong.minded, powerful, entire male workinglines pup, with DARK nails, and still-- I trim em myself.

Get a little shot glass or chip-dip bowl, something low and small, filled with honey, molasses, margarine, PB, etc.. whatever disgusting, gross treat you can find.

Brush your dog into a swooning, relaxed, cuddle-coma, then...

Situate the dog in a corner, have the lights on full brightness in the room, put on your reading glasses, get your nail clippers, have dusgust-o-snacks nearby. Gently cradle or hold, don't grab too hard, each paw, and clip a nail at a time. After each nail, give a slurp of honey on your fingertip, or a treat of whatever you have. Praise! Kiss. Do another nail. STOP. Crate the dog for a comfy nap to process what just happened.

Next day: Repeat the process. Take the conflict out of this event for the dog.


If he or she initially tries to bite, go slower... try not to worry if she pants. This is brief, stay upbeat, give treats. If initially truly needed, muzzle the dog if you must.. a soft cloth muzzle lets them slurp the honey from your fingers thru the end opening. By the second or third clip-nail-and-get-treat game, no muzzle will be needed.
 

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patti,
i agree that in the vets office they don't have time to approach a dog in a long drawn out positive manner. they get the strongest amazon looking techs they have pronto and get the job done however they may so that they can get on with the waiting room full of people. certainly not a positive experience. i would be livid having my dog treated like this, since it is so unnessessary!!!!!!!

debbie
 

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Sometimes I do it myself but I prefer the vet to do it as they seem to be able to get them shorter than I'm brave enough to attempt and it doesn't cost much to do it.
 

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Originally Posted By: debbiebpatti,
i agree that in the vets office they don't have time to approach a dog in a long drawn out positive manner. they get the strongest amazon looking techs they have pronto and get the job done however they may so that they can get on with the waiting room full of people. certainly not a positive experience. i would be livid having my dog treated like this, since it is so unnessessary!!!!!!!

debbie
I must be lucky as I have not experienced this. My dogs actually sit better for the vet techs than they do for me (kinda like kids haha). They don't have to pin them down (like I do) and there is no stuggle. It's just clip clip clip.


Do they have that "I'm happy having my nails clipped" look on their face? No, but then again, they don't have that look when I do it either.
 

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We cut our dogs nails. The vet has never cut them once. We sometimes have problems with Odie. He loves his feet touched and rubbed but when he sees the nail clippers he gets really tense and sensitive and won't let us touch his feet. We have been working with it and he has gotten better as he now lets us cut his nails before he pulls his foot away.
 

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I cut my girl's nails myself too. When she was younger, I took her to the vet to get it done and they told us we couldn't bring her back for another nail trim unless she was sedated because she struggled so much. Well, that gave me a little incentive to get working with her to get her to let me cut them. I started by touching her feet a lot. Then eventually touching her feet with the clippers (without cutting any nails) and giving her lots of treats. Well now I can clip them by myself (without anyone holding her still!!) But she still hates it, hides when I bring out the clippers, and needs a treat for each toe nail that I trim, but she does let me do it
 

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Originally Posted By: Brightelf

Brush your dog into a swooning, relaxed, cuddle-coma, then...
I used to do that with my ferret.


I cut the nails of my dog if neccesary, specially when pup. But my philosophy is: If my dog need his nails to be cut, he's not doing enough exercise.
 

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I do Keeta's too.

When I got her she hadn't been used to handling and would growl at me when I tried to handle her feet. To me, it isn't a question of whether the dog "let's you" (sorry, my dog does not make these decisions around here), but more of a question of "what have you done to get your dog used to having his nails cut?".

I'm a bit suprised at the number of posts I see of people trying to cut their dogs' nails for the first time, and the dog freaks out, so from that point on, it is done by a vet or a groomer. Too much, too soon.

You get the dog used to having his feet handled, and reward heavily, then you cut ONE nail, and reward heavily, and do a bit of work EVERYDAY (and always throw in some happy play time in the mix,) all towards getting him used to a manicure. It takes time, and patience, but in the long run, both owner and dog are happy, and your position as Alpha gets re-inforced each time your dog submits to a nail trim.
 

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I cut my dog's nails. I also have a dremel and I prefer that. It is easier and most dogs seem to have little fear of the tool. You might try a dremel if nail cutting is too traumatic.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Del and I discussed everything in this thread and tomorrow we are going to give it one more try ourselves. I don't really know what happened to her before I got her to make her so nervouse about nail clipping. She really is a great dog, never nips, bites or anything at us, she just has a huge fear when it come to those nails. We've even tried giving her a pig (Rawhide, referred to as pig) to try and direct her attention, maybe we should get her that little "extra treat" to get through the clippings!? I'll keep you posted on the outcome tomorrow!!! Thanks everyone.
 

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Funny this comes up now. We just took Wolf to the groomers for a manicure. He gets groomed 2-3 times a year and he is very well-behaved there, although he is quite shy. Sometime ago the groomer offered to clip his nails for free (we do tip her). Anyway we call to see if she has time and if she does, she clips his nails right away. My husband reassures Wolf during the clipping and it's not too traumatic for anyone. It also gave us an opportunity to deliver the Christmas present. Mary Jane
 
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