Tips for trimming your pup’s nails

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During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season who doesn’t like to take time to indulge in a relaxing mani-pedi? Probably many of your dogs do too! I don’t know about you, but I have a couple of dogs who couldn’t care less about getting their nails trimmed. But I also have a couple who turn into whirling dervishes and whose nails I can’t even see let alone trim! What should be a five-minute job can turn into an ugly marathon. Here’s some helpful advice on how to turn this into a much more pleasant and manageable task.

  • While the dog is sitting with you relaxing, just take his paws in your hand for just a second or two (one at a time). Praise him for being a good pup and go back to whatever you were doing.
  • After a week of this, start rubbing the paws for a few seconds each and then stop. Do this for a week or two, depending on the severity of the dog’s aversion.
  • Then, if they will let you, stroke a couple of nails or more with your fingertip. Again repeat for a couple of weeks.
  • Get the nail cutter out and touch the paw with the nail clipper and stop. Give a treat and praise. Yes, you guessed it – do this for a week or so!
  • When you think the pup is ready, clip one or two nails, treat, treat, treat and stop! Keep this up until you eventually can clip all of the nails with minimal complaints from your pup. I know it seems lengthy, but if you have the patience, it will pay off, giving you time for a mani-pedi rather than going to the groomer for your dog! Happy trimming!
Maureen Henderson is a a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a registered nurse who trains in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.  She volunteers at the SPCA TampaBay and Florida Boxer Rescue.  Maureen owns five dogs: an 11-year-old lab/chow mix, a one-year-old boxer, a four-year-old and a five-year-old old chihuahua and a four-year-old xoloitzcuintle (who just finished shooting a commercial for Kahlua!) She is the owner of Sit, Down,Stay Dog training where she does private, in-home training and behavior modification.
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