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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trimming Nails

Mischa's nails grow fairly rapidly and taking her to the groomer every two weeks is no longer in my budget and I have decided to practice nail trimming with her. I quickly found that this is not easy or fun to do. It requires a boat load of patience and determination. First, I make sure she is calm and lying down. Taking her for a long walk or having a play date will drain the dogs energy. Second, I present the clippers to her letting her smell them and check them out. Using the standard clippers works fine and they are widely available at all pet stores. Third, about 15 minutes later I return to her with the clippers and some treats. After I present the clippers, I give her a treat to reinforce that the clippers are a positive thing and when they come out she gets a treat. Fourth, about 15 minutes later I return to her with the clippers and treats repeating step three. Then I proceed to start with her back paws and only clipped one nail. Then I praised her and gave her a treat, then walked away.

Below I have included a short video on proper nail trimming and locating the quick.

The next day, I repeated steps one through three and at step four was able to cut ten nails before she started to fuss too much. I am always careful not to cut too much nail or hit the quick, which is a vein in the nail. If your dog has black nails it is best to trim more frequently and only take a little at a time off. Just snipping a little at the end of the nail will work. Working with your dog will create trust and in the end it will prove to be time well spent. Some dogs will not need this much reinforcement but it is always good practice to introduce new equipment to them with something positive. Remember, lots of praise and a reward for your brave companion.

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