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Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:31 pm
by sickmonkey
Okay, so my mom is dog stupid, and I have taken nail trimming privileges away from her after she cut Breck's nail to the quick and left her trailing blood all over the kitchen. >:| So now that's my job. I don't know crap about trimming a dog's nails, but I guess I'm gonna learn.

And I know there are innumerable threads and articles out there about nail trimming, and I plan on reading them all, but I wanted to make a thread to ask a few more specific questions and make sure I understand what I'm reading.

Breck is a really great dog and she does what she's told, but she gets really squirmy and nervous when her nails are being trimmed (probably because my mom has cut her so often :po: ). She never bites but she will try to get away. Any tips on how to get her to hold verrry, verrry still? Specifically, I would like to be able to have her stay in one place without me having to lie on her, so I can focus entirely on her paw. I was thinking of getting a kong or something and occupying her with peanut butter and chicken, also maybe working on a 'hold still' command to supplement the 'stay'. Other ideas?

Sort of similarly, my mom got one of those dremel things, but apparently Breck 'hates it', which probably means that my mom used it wrong or introduced it poorly and is too lazy to try and fix the problem. ;p Tips for reintroducing something that the dog already hates? She's nuts about chicken so I plan on trying to make dremel = chicken in her mind, but we'll see how that works out.

And if you do hit the quick, what's your best option? I was reading about styptic powder and will see about getting some, but are there alternatives if you don't have that? My mom put flour on the nail which seemed to work. Any other easy household alternatives, just for future reference? And is there any chance that a quick-cutting could turn into an emergency situation, or an infection? Should I keep an eye on her nail or should it be fine?

Lastly, any links to specific articles you think are good would be appreciated. There's a lot of info out there and some of it is contradictory, so pointers in the right direction would be great! Thanks. :thumbsup:

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:42 am
by suzanne
If you don't have 'qwik stop' or styptic powder corn starch works really well. I have never had good luck with flour.

With all of my dogs I taught them to lay down. I recently got a pit bull who is no good for nail trimming, he tries to jump up at every nail so I started using the dremmel. From day one with the dremmel I made him lay on his side and although once in a while he gets squirmy, he lays there most of the time. I find with my dogs they are better when they lay down if they are sitting they have a tendency to act out more.

I have had my dog LiLo since she was a puppy, she was horrible for nail trims, we're talking laying on the floor screaming for 5minutes while I held her paw. What I did is, after we got over the drama, I clipped a foot and gave her a treat.

If you take just the tips off but do it more frequently [like once a week] you will get the nails shorter without taking too much off and accidentally quicking the dog. Plus doing it more frequently gets them used to it more. I dremmel all of my dogs once a week.

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:56 am
by AllisonPitbullLvr

The only thing I would add is that every dog is different. Buddy prefers to lay down for nail trims and hates being on her side so we don't bother. Obi used to lay on his side for nail trims but started to get squirmy. I tried doing them with him sitting and he's very good that way. With Ava, I have someone feeding treats while I trim because she never sits still.

The chance of infections or complications from hitting a quick is pretty unlikely. I've hit Buddy's quick a couple times and have never had any issues because of it.

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:36 am
by jamielvsaustin
We can't clip Bailey's nails (yet) so we have to take her to the vet to have it done. From what they tell me she gives them no problems what-so-ever. I suppose it's because they're more proficient and probably not as scared as I am. I'm not affraid of Bailey, but I am affraid of hurting her. She just fights it sooo much it isn't worth it, it completely stresses her out.

With Trooper we used to use a dremel...and it was after Austin had taken him for a bike ride, but we've recently gotten to a point where I can simply clip them while he sits and gives me a high five. I can still see in him that he's a little uncomfortable, but he stays near me and I treat vigorously (probably more than I should to be honest) and we throw a par-tay when it's finished (and in between if he seems a little more than uncomfortable but lets me do it). After I'm done with him I'll sit with Bailey and ask her to give me a high five for a treat or I'll ask her to touch the clippers for a treat. We can't do it for long because she gets really worked up. But I'll just keep trying, and eventually we'll get to the point were I'm getting her to give the clippers a high five.

Also, as a side note, Bailey has allergy issues with her feet so she really doesn't like for them to be touched. When we typically ask for a high five from Bailey she just puts her paw in the air...when I ask for this high five her foot has to touch my hand.

Maybe you could start slow like we are with Bailey, high fives that are held for longer and longer...sniffing or high fiving the clippers...and then like someone else mentioned clipping just a little itty bitty bit, but doing it more often.

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:36 pm
by dogs4jen
People here suggested we give Roscoe a plate with peanut butter smeared on it when we do his nails to distract him and that works amazingly well, you might want to give that a try.
Also, with black nails, if you stop when you see a black dot, you won't cut the quick. Just an addition to all the other good suggestions you've gotten.

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:14 am
by star_frances
Lots of great advice so far. Here's a video for you!

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:36 pm
by sickmonkey
Thanks everybody! This is all really helpful. :)

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:46 pm
by Amie
Here's my favorite video to help with the dog's behavior while you're working:

But I'd take the dog to a vet and ask them to show you very carefully how to do it, so you know how far to cut and that sort of thing.

Re: Beginning nail trimming?

Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:19 pm
by Misskiwi67
Take your dog to the vet for a nail trim, and ask them to demonstrate on their holding technique, and how to trim her nails. Different types of nails sometimes require different techniques, so this is a great way to get individualized advice for your dog.

Its also a great way to start out with the nails trimmed to ideal length so you know how long they should be.

Ideally, a dog should never be quicked during a nail trim. If I hit even one nail, I'm cussing at myself and apologizing profusely to the dog. So make sure the technicians doing your dogs nails are also being exactly this careful, not everyone is as careful as they should be. Quicking nails HURTS, and leads to the exact behavior problems you are dealing with. With time and proper instruction, your dog should eventually learn to trust you as you do each nail trim pain-free.