What are the basic steps to get your dog used to having her paws and nails touched?

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In order to make trimming a dog’s nails easier, you should get your dog used to having her nails and paws touched so that when it comes time to trim the nails, your dog will already be comfortable with you touching her paws.

It’s best if you can get your dog used to having her paws touched from a very early age. When your dog is a puppy, touch her paws often during play, while she is sleeping, and while she is simply sitting around resting. Push on the pad of your puppy’s feet to make the nail protrude, as this will be important for trimming nails as well.

Some dogs will be hesitant to let you touch their paws and nails right from the start and will need a little bit more work. Teach your dog to sit and give you her paw by saying “shake.” This is a good trick to learn, and will also give you a means to touch your dog’s paws often. Reward your dog with treats and praise when she shakes and presents her paw. Hold the paw for a few seconds before releasing.

You can also give you dog treats and praise when you touch her paw for more than a few seconds when she is laying down. This will reinforce in her mind that letting you touch her paw is a pleasant experience that will result in a reward. When the time comes to touch her paws to trim her nails, she will be less likely to jerk her paw back during the trimming.

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