NAIL CLIPPING MADE EASIER
One of the most troublesome aspects of canine grooming is the process
of trimming nails. First the dog gets upset. Then the owner gets upset.
The end result is often long nails that only get trimmed at the veterinarian's
office, thus giving the dog yet another reason to hate his annual physical.
While most breeds resist trimming, it seems that terriers are particularly
sensitive and Norfolks can be among the most expressive in voicing their
displeasure. While we can't promise a complete transformation of this well-ingrained
character trait, here are some tips that may make the nail trimming process
- Handle your dogs feet when you aren't about to cut his nails.
When he's lying beside you in the couch, massage his paws. Get him used
to having his feet touched without "penalty".
- Using blunt-tipped scissors, trim the hair around the feet and on the
pads. Just do one foot, instead of all four, if he begins to resist.
- When you are sitting quietly with your dog, place the nail clippers
in plain sight, so the dog learns that he doesn't have to flee in terror
at the sight of them.
- Teach your dog to shake hands! If he learns that giving his paw results
in a reward, he won't be so resistant to letting you touch his feet.
- Cut one nail . . . and only one nail . . . a day and follow it with
a treat. Do this until multiple nails can be cut in one session without
- Until your dog gets used to the process, start by cutting the toenails
on the back feet, first. Most dogs are less resistant to having their back
- Keep a neutral tone of voice! Don't get angry or excited yourself.
Yelling never makes the situation any better, and cooing sympathy only
convinces the dog that there really is a problem.
- Make sure the clippers are sharp. Either replace, or sharpen, as necessary.
- Try putting the dog in different positions. A dog that won't sit quietly
may do much better standing on a grooming table. cutting nails while the
dog is having a bath is also an alternative.
- Have some Kwik-Stop handy. It's available at most feed stores, pet
supply houses, and at dog shows. It is used to stop bleeding if you cut
the nail to the "quick". If you should cut the "quick",
don't act as if its the end of the world. It no doubt hurts, but a simple
apology, on your part, should suffice.
- And finally, if it's not too late, start the above process when your
dog is a puppy. It is possible
- to teach an old dog new tricks, but it's easier not to let him get
into bad habits in the first place.
ANTIC, Fall 1993
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