Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

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Noobs
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Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by Noobs » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:15 pm

I used to be afraid to clip Murphy's nails. For the first year that we had him, we would wait until a vet visit and have the vet clip his nails. The vet always told us we had to clip the nails on his duclaws only (the shelter never removed them) since he walked on concrete enough to naturally file his other nails. Nevertheless, I was afraid anyway even though I only had to do four nails and not 20. Well, after we switched his diet in the spring, his health and condition improved a lot and we haven't had to take him to the vet in months - and won't have to until his yearly shots. So it became clear that I was going to have to put on my big girl pants and clip my dog's nails.

I had seen the clicker training video of desensitizing a dog to nail clippers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgEwiH8CeUE) and even though Murphy wasn't that bad, I decided to use the same principles. I touched the clippers to his nails and gave him pieces of hotdog. I increased the time I held his paw in my hand with the clipper touching his nails until eventually I was able to actually clip the nails. At first I had to have my partner feed him the hotdog pieces with his head turned away from his feet while I clipped his nails. Well today I was home by myself so I had to do it by myself. The last time I clipped his nails I cut one of them a tiny bit too short so he snapped at me and bared teeth. Oops, my bad. I had to walk away and stop for the day even though we weren't done.

Today I had sausage, which he doesn't have often, so it was an extra special treat. Last night we were looking at his nails and he was very resistant to our touching the duclaw on his front right paw, so I knew that was a little more sensitive than the other paws. I had the sausage pieces ready and he let me clip his front left duclaw. He pulled his right front paw away from me and put his mouth on my hand (no pressure, just put his mouth around my hand). So I went to his rear paws and he let me clip those with no problem, and I spoke to him in a soothing voice the whole time.

I eventually went back to the right front paw. He pulled away again, so instead of clipping, I went back and step and touched the clippers to his paw and gave him sausage. I did this three times in a row. Finally I held my hand out and he voluntarily gave me his paw! I put the clippers up to his paw but he pulled away again, so I just touched his paw and gave him a treat and did that a couple more times. Finally he held out his paw and turned his head to the side - am I amorphosizing or was that his way of saying "I can't look, just do it already"? Haha. I clipped the last nail and gave him the rest of the sausages pieces as a jackpot and gave him tons of praise.

That was a really long post just to talk about nail clipping. But I just wanted anyone reading who has trouble with grooming that with a little time and patience you can get your dog to tolerate handling and nail clipping and ear cleaning. (I used the same principles to get him to tolerate ear cleaning, and that went well more quickly than the nail clipping.)

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:15 am

Well done Noobs :D

People who don't train with positive methods don't know what they are missing, we are closer to our dogs and understand them a lot better and they are not frightened of us. Many are very frightened when we first get them but they don't stay like that.
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Post by Fundog » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:45 am

Good for you, Noobs. My biggest worry is not getting my dogs to tolerate the nail clipping, but rather my fear that I might clip to close to the quick and hurt them. So I don't do it. Fortunately, they too pad around on varied enough surfaces to keep them from getting too long. I do need to trim their foot fur, though. They tolerate that pretty well too, it's just a matter of doing it when I happen to be thinking about it, before I forget. :wink:

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Noobs
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Post by Noobs » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:46 am

My biggest fear is also that I'll cut them too short, and since his nails are black it's impossible to tell where the quick is. My nephew-dog got his nails clipped at home and the person doing it had only done cat nails before, so she cut the nail WAY too short and he was bleeding out of his nail for several minutes. :shock:

Since you brought up foot fur, I want to know - how long is too long? Little hairs stick out between Murphy's pads but the vet never said anything about their length. I never had to trim them except for one time when he stepped in gum. That was 25 minutes of cheese and painstaking trimming with normal sized scissors. He was very tolerant of that, but probably because there were pebbles stuck in the gum so he was uncomfortable walking and was probably happy I was fixing it!

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Post by Nettle » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:09 pm

That was a wonderful description of the right way to react when the dog is uncomfortable with any process :D

My dogs have black nails too - how I hate black nails :cry: - you can also file them with a very coarse file, or a glass file, and Emms knows how to use a dremel so I'll let her describe that if it isn't already on the Board somewhere.

If you have an assistant, I have been told that soaking the paw in water for a few minutes then shining a light behind the nail shows up the quick, but I never have help so I've never tried it.
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Noobs
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Post by Noobs » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:15 pm

Thanks, Nettle. :)

Oh there's no way I could use a dremel on Murphy any time soon. It would actually take months and months of desensitization before I could use one of those on him because I have one for humans, and when I am sitting next to him and use it on myself he snaps at it and runs away. :oops: I do have one of those PediPaws things and I might just desensitize him to it daily without turning it on for a while before I actually try.

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Post by Leigha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:51 pm

We have to buddy system when we do Bru's nails with the dremmel tool. I work on the nails since J's squeamish and he holds baby food out for Bruiser to lick out of the jar while I'm working. I can do just about anything I want to Bruiser if I have baby food. I trust myself much more with the dremmel than I do with nail clippers. I started with the dremmel when the place I used to take the doxies to clipped them and made my boys bleed. It takes a bit longer, but they do better with it.

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by wvvdiup1 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:32 am

As far as clipping my dog's nails, I don't have to do that because she uses all four paws to dig holes. I have to admit I'm afraid to clip my dog's nails for the same reason Mattie stated earlier, and that is cutting too close or into the quick! This happened to me one time when I was clipping one of my relatives dogs, and I will tell you, even though it was an accident, this accident made me feel really guilty of hurting this dog!

As for grooming, I have to do this everyday, even when my dog molts -not shed- her fur! When I groom my dog, which is an Akita, I use the furmigator to remove the excess fur. And if any one of you have ever groomed an Akita or any similar breed, you know even when you take the furmigator, it looks as though you were shearing a sheep! :lol: Seriously, look at the clumps of fur all over the area you were working at! Interestingly, my dog will sit still as I run the vacuum cleaner through her fur, when most dogs will run or get away from a vacuum cleaner! :shock:
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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by mselisabs » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:14 pm

The pedi-paws or dremel can be a great tool to use because it can get the nail shorter and rounder without squeezing the quick, but you can still easily quick a dog with a dremel, and as some of you see it will take much *longer* to get the dog used to it! But I definitely feel it is worth it!

As far as black nails, even though they are black all nails are different. If you turn the nail upside-down sometimes you can see where the middle becomes hollow, but often not. Look for a slight ridge where the nail then because thinner - this is often where the quick is. That said, I always did very small amount at a time, and if you start to become uncomfortable with cutting shorter then stop. You can use this first nail as a guide for the rest of the nails.

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by wvvdiup1 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:46 am

I have an interesting question for all of you: Have any of you have or ever had a dog that had completely black nails, then one day you go to clip or grind its nails, its nails in color go from black to transparent white or clear? :?:

Ever since I've had my dog, her nails have been a solid black. However, when I went to grind her nails, I saw that it goes from solid black to a clear, transparent white, in color. I don't think it is in her diet because she is getting two nutritious, well-balanced meals, nutritious treats, and she gets her two hours of exercise daily. In addition to that, I've had her to the vets last week for her shots and had tests, including blood work, done, and the results show she is healthy. I'm wondering if there is something else I should do or am I'm just worrying too much? :?
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mselisabs
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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by mselisabs » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:56 am

I've heard of dog's noses changing pigment with the weather/cold weather ("snow nose") perhaps the nails can do something similar. FYI I have no research to back this thought up, just an observation :lol:

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by loza123 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:27 pm

Hi,

When clipping a dogs nails if they have black claws the best thing is to only take a short amoutn of at a time like just the tips of the claws as you cant see the quick. Were as with dogs which have white nails/claws its easier as you can see were the blood starts and how far to clip them , though its still best to do a bit at a time, just to be on the safe side.

Lauren

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by swalker » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:19 am

These are all wonderful suggestions! My pitbull puppy was totally freaked out by the nail clippers, but not now thanks to all of you! thanks so very much!

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by easilyconfused » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:34 pm

wvvdiup1 wrote:I have an interesting question for all of you: Have any of you have or ever had a dog that had completely black nails, then one day you go to clip or grind its nails, its nails in color go from black to transparent white or clear? :?:

Ever since I've had my dog, her nails have been a solid black. However, when I went to grind her nails, I saw that it goes from solid black to a clear, transparent white, in color. I don't think it is in her diet because she is getting two nutritious, well-balanced meals, nutritious treats, and she gets her two hours of exercise daily. In addition to that, I've had her to the vets last week for her shots and had tests, including blood work, done, and the results show she is healthy. I'm wondering if there is something else I should do or am I'm just worrying too much? :?
Sometimes bacterial or fungal infections in the nailbed can cause them to change colour, did your vet check for adrenal gland issues (not always done on blood tests).

But yes dogs nails can change colour as they get older, black, white, half and half translucent. I have heard of red claws, but not seen them myself.

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Re: Little victories in basic grooming - nail clipping

Post by stelz » Tue May 03, 2016 6:10 am

Just want to say that I'm sooooo happy to find this thread and Noobs' old post...I was googling like mad to find Victoria's nail trimming advice since I knew it would be all about desensitization rather than a power struggle. Nothing turned up, but this seems like something she would advise.

Gratitude!

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