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Dog nail trimming

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  • Dog nail trimming

    I'm always the one who has to trim the nails on my dogs (my mom will do the holding but not the trimming). I hate doing it....mostly because my dogs (JRTs) hate having it done (one doesn't really care). They are all behaved, but clearly don't like the process.

    Any good suggestions about brands/styles of nail trimmers? Sometimes I feel like maybe I am just not using the best product to trim? I tend not to trim short enough, as I don't want to hurt them/cause a bleed (has happened but not very often). Any good videos I should watch to make sure it's not a technique issue I can improve?

    My dogs are totally fine to handle their paws...so it's not a handling issue from that aspect. They truly don't like the trim process. While we get it done pretty efficiently, but I don't like it either because they start whining and shaking. I've tried trim and treats...lots of positive praise (it's never been a negative process - no yelling or scolding). Any ideas to make it better on all of us? Thanks!

  • #2
    No dogs like it. So you need to move past that part. They don't have to like it; and the more confident you can be the faster and easier it is for them. So it's a lot about confidence and practice. And ignoring the whining and shaking. Mine don't get to "get away" from nail trimming; they can whine if they want but they still get them done. (Actually, none of them whine, but if they did I would ignore them.)

    I definitely recommend a Demel tool instead of a clipper. The chances that you will accidentally hurt the dog is much less; it's still possible you can grind too far, but it's not at all like quicking them too short with nail clippers. Dogs need to be introduced to it a little at a time, but most learn to deal with the feeling/noise pretty quickly.

    If you can get a grooming table with a noose, that is the next best recommendation. Most dogs are far better behaved when on a table than being held in someone's arms. If you don't have a grooming table, I would at least put them on a table or counter where you have good lighting (with someone holding them) rather than holding them in your arms.

    Comment


    • #3
      DREMEL is much more acceptable for many dogs. Still may take a little training.
      Top Paw brand is the trimmer I use.
      Also sometimes I only do hinds one day and the fronts another day.
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, Dremel. Be sure to take your time introducing it (I used Pedi-Paws at first on my Whippet puppy, but it's pretty flimsy - there are better brands - I graduated to a regular Dremel), and do a little at a time. You won't crush the nail and there is no "quicking", but it is possible to grind a little too much and too close to the quick, so be careful and only do a little at a time - especially if your dog doesn't have clear nails. It is SO much better than any sort of nail trimmer! I will never go back.

        Make sure to have treats available to "pay as you go"; my dog gets a half a Milkbone after each foot and despite her melodramatic avoidance behaviors , she does know that there will be a reward for her "suffering."

        Agree with S1969 - it's MUCH better (and easier) if you have a helper! A grooming table with a noose will prevent them from getting their nose too close to the Dremel.

        (A further tip: NEVER call your dog to you to trim nails! You will screw up your recall and create a negative association and avoidance. Go get the dog, put the leash on, feed a treat, maintain calm. They will resign themselves to it eventually)
        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

        "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

        Comment


        • #5
          Just did them last weekend - one nail at a time, followed by a treat (freeze dried minnows = crack), fluffing and snuggling and brushing other areas, then the next nail. Poof. Easy. I've never tried a dremmel...

          Comment


          • #6
            I tried a dremel tool on my terrier-now-since-passed....he thought it was a torture tool designed by Satan. He was never thrilled with nail trims but that tool--no freakin way.

            Terriers consider their feet their most precious possessions so nail trimming is always a thing with my terriers. But zero restraint is best. A table makes a huge difference. Good lighting, lots of treats, plenty of time, and zero agenda.

            edit: ok there is an agenda inherent but as others suggested front feet one day, hinds another. If you only get one paw done a day that's ok. Try not to push the dog too far past it's comfort zone but on the other hand, plenty of dogs are never going to be 100% comfortable getting their nails done and nails need to be kept up on. I settle for one toe at a time but I do all 4's in one session. Current dog isn't ok with having his foot restrained for extended periods of time so I take his foot, clip a nail, give his foot back, repeat x 17 and it's fairly stress free for both of us and he is not tied or held. He is standing up on a platform but it's low enough that he can jump down, couch height. There is cheese involved. I used clicker training to get him there.
            Last edited by Sswor; Jan. 8, 2020, 12:01 AM.
            Power to the People

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            • #7
              For really correct grooming (e.g. if you are showing), you should do nails ever 4-5 days, so doing one paw at a time is fine if you do one every day. And if you honestly do it that often, your dogs will be fine with it before you know it. It's just hard to keep track if you have multiple dogs.

              I think the biggest issue is confidence by the handler. If you are hesitant, they will pull away more. The goal is to lift a foot, hold firmly, and do all the nails quickly. Then put it down. Get what you can done at first, but I would definitely advise always aiming for a whole foot at a time, not one toe at a time.

              Comment


              • #8
                It is very difficult to do. The main thing is to keep the dog tight. If it bounces, then you can seriously damage the claws

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lamont Cyrus View Post
                  It is very difficult to do. The main thing is to keep the dog tight. If it bounces, then you can seriously damage the claws
                  No, the more you restrain the dog, it is more likely they will feel trapped. That's why a table and a noose work well (although for some dogs you may have to practice just being on the table). Dogs that are trained to a table and noose will not need you to do anything but firmly (but gently) hold the paw. It's very unlikely you'll damage the nails clipping or dremeling them - they are just toenails. But of course it hurts if you cut them too short, and worse - it bleeds like crazy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I Dremel all of mine once a week. The dog that is still actively showing gets done twice a week. I have Cardigan Corgis and have trained them to lie quietly upside down in my lap while I do their paws - they are such chow hounds and will do anything for treats! I do my Gordon on "his" loveseat. He does try to tuck his paws out of sight at first, but is otherwise very easy. IMO, it's much better than nippers, but it can take some work to get them to accept the noise & vibration (think clipping ears on a horse!) My first Cardi was HORRIFIED by the Dremel and it took several weeks of quiet work to get him to accept it, but then he was fine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MontanaDun View Post
                      I Dremel all of mine once a week. The dog that is still actively showing gets done twice a week. I have Cardigan Corgis and have trained them to lie quietly upside down in my lap while I do their paws - they are such chow hounds and will do anything for treats! I do my Gordon on "his" loveseat. He does try to tuck his paws out of sight at first, but is otherwise very easy. IMO, it's much better than nippers, but it can take some work to get them to accept the noise & vibration (think clipping ears on a horse!) My first Cardi was HORRIFIED by the Dremel and it took several weeks of quiet work to get him to accept it, but then he was fine.
                      Video, pretty please? This would have to be my favorite dog-centered fantasy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nails are easier to trim right after a bath when you can snip them right off. I have, don’t know the brand, the clippers which encircle the nail. Soft wet nails clip evenly without putting pressure on the root.

                        And for cats I hold the clippers while cat is asleep in my lap and clip one nail at a time while watching tv.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks all for the input...I had tried a dremel one a few years ago and it almost seemed harder/more awkward for me (and that JRT hated noises so I think it sounded too much like the vacuum cleaner). The older JRT is good as long as the only restraint is a hand on the collar and he stands on the ground. I will try that with my JRT, as maybe holding her is not helping. The wet nails post bath makes a good bit of sense. If staying with a nail clipper...any pictures as to the style or brand that work best?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Critter View Post
                            Thanks all for the input...I had tried a dremel one a few years ago and it almost seemed harder/more awkward for me (and that JRT hated noises so I think it sounded too much like the vacuum cleaner). The older JRT is good as long as the only restraint is a hand on the collar and he stands on the ground. I will try that with my JRT, as maybe holding her is not helping. The wet nails post bath makes a good bit of sense. If staying with a nail clipper...any pictures as to the style or brand that work best?
                            If using clippers, I prefer a guillotine style, and clip like this (not with clipper sideways). Which is a lot easier if the dog is on a table.

                            And - buy a good (quality) clipper so that the blade is hard and sharp. Dull blades are hard to use and can crush the nail instead of clipping it - which is traumatic all around.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Critter View Post
                              I'm always the one who has to trim the nails on my dogs (my mom will do the holding but not the trimming). I hate doing it....mostly because my dogs (JRTs) hate having it done (one doesn't really care). They are all behaved, but clearly don't like the process.

                              Any good suggestions about brands/styles of nail trimmers? Sometimes I feel like maybe I am just not using the best product to trim? I tend not to trim short enough, as I don't want to hurt them/cause a bleed (has happened but not very often). Any good videos I should watch to make sure it's not a technique issue I can improve?

                              My dogs are totally fine to handle their paws...so it's not a handling issue from that aspect. They truly don't like the trim process. While we get it done pretty efficiently, but I don't like it either because they start whining and shaking. I've tried trim and treats...lots of positive praise (it's never been a negative process - no yelling or scolding). Any ideas to make it better on all of us? Thanks!
                              Our Labrador had a lot of issues with nail clippers, so we switched to grinders not too long ago. We're using a Dremel and with a bit of practice our dog is ok with it, and we are also using it for our cat as well. She was always ok-ish with the clipping though we had to use a blinding fold to keep her calm before. With the grinder, we're currently trying it without the blinding fold and she's responding better to it but still hates her nails being rendered useless (it's an instinctual thing, of course). So for a dog, where the instinct to keep the nails isn't so strong as in cats, I find it to work better this way. But I guess it really depends on the individual, so you just gotta try different things and see what your dog is okay with ^-^
                              Last edited by Maria88; Jan. 19, 2020, 07:30 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Maria88 View Post

                                she's responding better to it but still hates her nails being rendered useless (it's an instinctual thing, of course). So for a dog, where the instinct to keep the nails isn't so strong as in cats, I find it to work better this way.
                                I highly doubt your cat is associating you holding her down, putting a blindfold on her, and cutting her nails to be an instinctual resentment of her nails being rendered useless. You are projecting 100% of that.

                                What she really thinks = restrained, can't see, holding my feet, loud noise -- BAD! need to escape.

                                I don't think dogs have any instinctual feeling about their nails either. For most cats and dogs, they are hundreds of generations away from being required to survive in the wild.

                                I wouldn't bother using a Dremel on a cat. Much of their nail is hollow and easy to clip. It would be a lot faster to simply cut them when they are relaxed/sleeping than to use a grinder.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Our dog is quite easy to clip - treat - clip; treat - clip, etc. I don't restrain or grab, I think I would panic if it was me. I just keep her concentration by letting her nibble soft treats and my husband nips away. We have to get a Dremel, tho as it is required for her training and since many seniors are on blood thinners, I can see the reason IF the dog were to put a paw up against the senior and cause a scratch.

                                  That Dremmell thing - I don't know if it wold be awste of time/money?
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you have a dog with furry feet, buy a cheap pack of knee highs. Put one over foot and pull up and nails will punch holes thru them an fur gets squished up inside out of the way. Small hole fishnet stockings work also. Or a hair net, which many horse women have.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                      If you have a dog with furry feet, buy a cheap pack of knee highs. Put one over foot and pull up and nails will punch holes thru them an fur gets squished up inside out of the way. Small hole fishnet stockings work also. Or a hair net, which many horse women have.
                                      And if you have long hair - tie it back before starting a Dremel!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                                        And if you have long hair - tie it back before starting a Dremel!
                                        God yes 😳

                                        Amusing timing to this because I’m currently wearing a shirt (inexpensive black thin material “thermal” shirt that I wear under regular shirts in the cooler months) that I was wearing last year when Dremeling my dog’s nails; the thin, slightly loose material at the bottom of the front of the shirt somehow got caught in the Dremel as I was bending down. I immediately turned the Drexel off, but there are now three small, oval-shapes holes where the fabric got torn when it caught and was wrapped around the Dremel head.

                                        I continue to wear the shirt under other shirts in the winter months since it’s otherwise fine (and I’ve been too lazy to mend it), but it’s an ongoing reminder to be VERY careful...



                                        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                        "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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