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Keeping Dog Toe Nails Trimmed - My Method

Oh how we dread the clipping of nails. I wonder who dreads this more, the dogs or us! I've always tried to be the one who cuts my dogs nails. In fact I have somehow gained the position of Family Nail Cutter. My poor Granddogs know that a trip to Grandma's house includes the dreaded nail cutting. But Grandma's yummy treats are worth it.

I don't profess to be an expert. Not at all, but this method works for me.

My trick or tips have been starting them young. I always play with the puppies paws, especially the front ones. I do this to get them used to having their feet touched. Trimming success takes perseverance and having a stronger will then your fur baby. 

Some dogs don't seem to mind, but then theirs others that fight like crazy. My previous little man Gringo the Dachshund and my current Min Pin Gracie Loo have been my biggest challenge. SO, this is what I do ....

I will wrap them tightly in a towel or one of their blankets. Basically binding them up like a swaddled baby. I then hold them tight against me. They will wiggle & fight but I just keep holding tightly and saying a mantra like "cooperate, cooperate, it's ok, it's ok" I pull one foot out of the swaddle at a time. I then cut the nails on that foot and return it to the confines of the towel. I will have treats right at my side so I can hand over a treat and praise with every 2nd toe or so. I also start with a couple treats. If the struggling is relentless, I will cover their face or put their face under my arm with their face facing behind me. I guess like holding a football would describe this.

I know this probably sounds like quite the ordeal, but it works. It has worked time and time again. Eventually, they may struggle at first and then they will let me cut their nails without the binding of a towel. They still may struggle but the holding firmly and the mantra seem to help (the treats don't hurt either). 

Also cutting regularly helps them understand this is what we do. I trim on a 2 week schedule. It may take a few months for the real stubborn ones, but they will eventually let you cut their nails with little or no fight at all. When I had my 3 dogs, they would line up. Kinda gross,  but my Jack Russell would eat the clippings of all the other dogs (silly things dogs do sometimes! LOL). 

Gracie Loo my little girl Min Pin was really bad. I heard it's because they instinctively protect their front feet. Apparently the ratters got their front paws nipped when trying to dig out a rat. But she has learned to cooperate. 

Personally I don't mind, it saves me some money and I don't have to schedule a groomer trip to get the nails done. Heck I can't even schedule to get my nails done. 

For larger dogs, I've actually found they are way easier and more cooperative. Sometimes I get another family member to hold them, but most of the time it's not necessary. I've cut Dobermans, Australian Shepherds, Frenchies, Hound Dogs, Jack Russells, Dachshunds, and Miniature Pinschers. 

If going through this ordeal is not for you, there is nothing wrong with getting the Vet Assistances or Groomers to do for you. If you do it yourself, it's advisable to have a really good set of clippers that are appropriately sized to your dog. Once they start to get dull and you feel you have to put to much pressure replace them.

Do you want to hear a funny story about nail clipping?

I was blessed enough to have our Gringo (mini dachshund chihuahua mix) for 18.5 years. For about 15 of those years it was pure hell clipping his nails. He was little but boy oh boy was he stubborn and strong. Despite all that, I still insisted on clipping his nails, however it was such a fight. I did let them get longer than I would like just because he made such a fuss. When he was already quite old, about 15, he had to get some suspicious lump biopsies and while he was asleep he also got a couple teeth pulled. Of course I asked them to please cut his nails as short as possible.

Well when Gringo woke up after surgery I am convinced the only thing he could figure out to explain this horrible vet visit, was that his nails were noticeably shorter. I can imagine him thinking "if this is what's going to happen, I better start cooperating"  I say this because the next time it was time to get nails trimmed, he stood in line and got his done without so much as a whimper or a wiggle! LOL From that day forward he willingly got his nails cut. He was one smart and analytical little fellow. I miss him everyday. 

All the best in your 'Spa Days' with your pups. 

Any nail trimming tips? I'd be happy for you to share them

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