Teaching Dogs to Enjoy Nail Clipping

Most dog owners prefer to have either the groomer or vet clip their dogs nails because they don’t want to hurt their dog in any way. The outliers who take the clipping into their own hands have to battle with their dog to sit still. When done correctly, there is no pain. When the nail is cut too short, some bleeding and pain can occur. Regardless of the outcome, most dogs are frightened of the task.

Paws are a very sensitive part of your dogs body. Many even pull away their paw when you grab it. If you just snatch their paw and start clipping their nails, the dog might become frightened and then aggressive. Some dogs just suck it up and let you keep on, while some are the complete opposite and try all they can to get away. By being patient with your dog and using positive reinforcement you can teach them that this task isn’t as bad as it seems.

Start with a bowl full of your dog’s favorite treats while also having the nail clippers by your side. Some dogs know what the nail clippers look like so you might have to keep them a little further sway from you. When your dog approaches you with the nail clippers close to you reward them with a treat. Slowly reach for your dog’s leg and move your hand down until you have their paw in hand. Give them another treat if they don’t full their paw away from you. Keep trying different paws and each time your dog doesn’t pull their paw away reward them with a treat.

Slowly bring the nail clippers towards your dogs view. Repeat lifting up her paw and raising the clippers to it. When they seem comfortable with this put the clippers on the nail. If they seem okay with the movement give them a treat and then try to clip the nail.

What’s the most important thing during this process is letting your dog understand that they are free to walk away at any time yet they can stay because they know that they are doing something right to deserve the treats. Teach your dog that sticking around is rewarded!

When the fear and anxiety go away, so does the aggression towards you. In it’s place you have a dog that is now running towards you when they see the nail clippers in your hand.


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