View Full Version : Nail Clipping Trauma

28th March 2007, 02:54 PM
Hey All!

So, we're in a real quandry with Willow. She has SEVERE anxiety regarding getting her nails clipped. She doesn't really like having her paws touched at all, but when it comes to trying to clip her nails, she totally loses it. We had another battle last night, and I managed to clip a grand total of 5 nails before giving up. And this is with DH holding a peanut butter filled kong with her to try and distract her - it's her favourite thing, and she wouldn't even come back for it once she realized it came with nail clipping....she went and pouted over across the floor. At one point DH was trying to hold her while I clipped, and she was actually trying to nip at me - I was not impressed.

We're at a loss as to what to do with her - it's been ages since we've cut her back claws, and they really need to be done. Should we take her to a groomer, or will that just make her anxiety worse? DH was wondering if we could get something from a vet to calm her down, but I don't really want to drug her to cut her nails - it semms ridiculous. Any suggestions?


28th March 2007, 03:00 PM
The only thing I can suggest to you is to make it one of your number 1 priorities to make willow comfortable with you touching every part of her body. When she's sitting on your lap, grab a paw and start massaging it. Flip her on her back and rub her tummy and then grab a paw and start rubbing it. This will make her more comfortable with you being around that area and make your job a little easier. If nothing else works and you guys are still uneasy, you can get a groomer or a vet to do it for you :flwr:

Kosmo demands to have his paws massaged sometimes :yikes

28th March 2007, 03:04 PM
all i can suggest is exactly what sara has said get her used to you touching her paws and and then once she's comfortable with that then try to clip her nails. That's what were trying to do with lady a vet clipped her nails for us because i was scared of hurting her and he was so rough with her she's now nervous of having her nails clipped. Also could you try to clip her nails when she's really sleepy or asleep.

28th March 2007, 03:13 PM
Dogs pick up on your anxiety too-- so if you are worried, upset about doing nails-- the dog will think it has something to worry about. I can't take my dogs to the vet to do their nails every 4 or so weeks-- so we just have someone hold and someone trim.

28th March 2007, 05:21 PM
I'll add to what arasara said about conditioning her to be touched on her feet. Before you attempt to trim her nails, condition her to the clippers being around. Let her sniff them. Let her taste them. Touch her all over with them, and especially on her feet. Once she isn't skittish about having the clippers touching her feet, advance to placing the clipper on her nail WITHOUT actually clipping it. Practice this until you can place the clipper on all her nails without nervousness. Once you've reached this stage you can actually clip a nail... HAVE A PARTY THEN! :lol: and give lots of praise and treats.

This can take weeks! Honestly, try to be patient and extremely calm while doing these things. Think of it like a human overcoming a true phobia... you must desensitize her slowly and calmly, and build her trust. Good luck! It's not fun to have to proceed so slowly!

Maggie's Mom
28th March 2007, 05:24 PM
Maggie hates having her nails done. I bring her to the vet and for $10. they clip her nails in under 2 minutes. If she is in for something else they do not even charge for nails. They are equipped to handle the dogs and she doesn't even cry. If she gets mad, she will be mad at them not me. icon_whistling

Cathy Moon
28th March 2007, 05:38 PM
I would suggest having the vet do it every 4 weeks until you can do it yourself. Watch the vet or vet tech while they trim her nails so you can learn how to hold her and how to hold her paws.

If her nails aren't being trimmed regularly her paws may be in pain or discomfort, which could make it even more difficult to trim her nails. That's why at this point I'd take her to the vet for trimming. :flwr:

28th March 2007, 08:29 PM
Brodie will not allow me to clip his nails despite my valiant efforts...lots of yummy treats. I've tried to condition him from the very beginning but no success. I take him to the groomer or vet. He doesn't fight them at all...just me. I guess he knows I'm weak :p

29th March 2007, 04:05 AM
Hey Krista

When we adopted the 2 year old Sonny he was exactly the same problem. Here is what I do with Sonny, and also with our little 12 week old Beau...

During cuddles I play with all parts of the dogs body (with a few exceptions :badgrin: ). For feet, I touch & tap the toenails, spread the toes, wriggle them around etc. This is desensitising the dog to having his feet touched.

Show your dog the clippers, let him sniff them & give him a reward. Without actually cutting the nails, touch the clippers onto his toes & reward him. Keep this up, daily if necessary until he actually looks forward to you bringing out the clippers.

As to the actualy clipping... stay calm & don't ever let the session become a battle of wits. Sonny & I now have an agreement re his nails. I start by giving him a tiny treat and I show him the nail clippers & tell him, 1 nail, 1 treat.

Don't be upset that you only got 5 nails cut. That is a start. You might like to try sneaking up on your puppy while he is asleep. If all you get is one nail, that is one nail less to worry about.

The really important thing in all of this is to keep it fun. Never let it become a drama.

In the meantime, yes get someone to clip them if they look like they might become a problem. You don't want them curling around & growing into the dogs legs & feet.

29th March 2007, 07:56 AM
Kodee is a figidty lil gal and I thought we'd never ever get her nails cut. To brush her or wipe her eyes I put a smudge of cheeze whiz on the side of the fridge to distract her - hey it works.

So for the nails we wait until she is very soundly sleeping (best after dinner when she is really zonked. We sometimes only get a nail a day and other a good 4. We just plug away till the are all done a few at a time.

Much of this will disappear over time when they are older. Our lab was the same as a pup but got used to it and just laid done when she saw the clippers.

Scouty girl
29th March 2007, 02:31 PM
Everybody has great ideas. Such good information on this site.

I take Scout to PetsMart every four weeks. As a matter of fact this Saturday will be her nail trimming trip!!! I'm afraid to cut her nails. I would probably make her bleed, then she would be afraid. I've been doing this since she came to live with me. At first she was very wiggly, but after three or four times she just stands patiently, well as patiently as a puppy can stand. icon_whistling