Regular nail trims are necessary for most dogs and it’s important not to let your pup’s nails grow too long. It’s not only aesthetics at play here – nails that are too long are uncomfortable for your dog and can even cause permanent damage to their feet and joints. Most owners try to avoid nail trims at all costs, often taking their dogs to groomers or veterinarians to have them done. This is because most dogs really despise having their nails trimmed and it’s often too difficult for owners to do it alone. However you get them done is fine by us, but there are ways to help your dog become more comfortable with the process.
#1 – Treats, Treats, Treats
Most dogs love treats, although some are a little bit pickier than others. Still, there’s a chance your dog has some favorite snacks that could be put to good use when learning to have their nails trimmed. If you’ve taken any obedience classes or taught your dog any tricks using treats, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to teaching your dog with food. Start by simply giving your dog treats for letting you touch their feet, both front and back. You’ll do this for several sessions or until your dog is happy to offer their feet to you. Next, you’ll just touch their nails with the nail trimmers – but don’t cut. Many dogs dislike the trimmers even touching their feet, so you’ll have to work up to that as well. Once you can do this easily, you’ll move on to trimming some nails. You might only get to do one or two nails at a time and go back each day to get the others. That’s just fine! You’ll want to go at a speed your dog is comfortable with and try not to overwhelm them, because you’ll likely end up back to square one trying to touch their feet. Use treats throughout the time you’re getting them used to all of these sensations and be patient.
#2 – Trimming Alternatives
Some dogs can’t handle the sensation of having their nails trimmed, especially if they’ve been injured one too many times. Many owners struggle with hitting their dog’s quicks often, which makes nail trims a very painful and unpleasant experience for the dog. We know this is an accident, but the dogs don’t and just become fearful. There are other options, however. A grinder can be used on your dog’s nails, such as a Dremel, to wear them down to a nice, short length. More and more professionals are moving over to grinders because the risk of injuring the dog is minimal and many dogs seem less bothered by the grinding than the pressure of nail clippers on their toes. Some dogs actually don’t even need nail trims if they get enough walks. Walking on hard surfaces like concrete can actually wear your dog’s nails down far enough they don’t need to be trimmed or ground down. However, this is quite rare and most dogs do need assistance.
#3 – Patience
Patience is probably the most important part of teaching your dog anything. When we become stressed and upset, our dogs will become stressed and upset. We all know how good our pups are at reading and responding to our emotions, so when they are already fearful and we become frustrated, we’re just adding to the problem. Be calm and happy, because teaching your dog something new, even if it’s just how to sit through a nail trim, should be a fun bonding experience. When we take our time, we make our dogs more comfortable and we’re able to move faster and prevent any regressions that might be caused by too much, too soon. Being patient with our dogs is so important, in so many aspects of life, that we should always be ready to support our dogs with patience.