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Thread: Trimming nails

  1. #21
    Senior Member Schmemdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Saint Louis, MO


    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Read View Post
    Throw the clippers away. Teach the dog down and if you have to lie on him. Then begin with one paw a day with the dremel. It will take 4 days but then the next time do two paws. It will get easier the more you do it.
    Agreed. Down is possibly the most useful thing my dog does, second to a really good recall. Also, I use a trick I borrow from training horses and bill murray- baby steps. Reward lavishly even 2 seconds of holding his paw, or a few seconds with the dremel near him, then go about your day. Find out what his major hangup is, whether allowing you to handle his paws while he's still or the tools or the sound or whatever- find out what is causing him to move away. Take the smallest step toward what you want and act like he just won you the lottery. This kind of thing is what I save hunks of sausage or a long bout of fetch in the woods for. In training it's called the jackpot- progressively reward the little steps he takes, then on the day he allows you to hold his paw for an extended period, or stays relaxed while you fire up the dremel, drop everything and take him out for fetch- no requirements from him other than having fun, whatever his jackpot is, for Remi it's fetch, pure and simple or maybe playing in the lake. Then wait a full day or so before you ask it of him again. For horses (esp young ones) the jackpot is usually being turned out in the pasture as soon as they finally do the thing you've been working on shaping.

    The key is looking for the smallest, most minute step toward the behavior you want. For horses it's often as slight as shifting weight in the right direction. For more info, I suggest the book "Don't Shoot the Dog" or googling "shaping."

    For the same reason Remi goes nuts when I get out the prong collar (it means OB training, which he loves), he'll start to associate the tool with reward- and a jackpot size reward if he really gets it.

    For my cattle dog the jackpot was jerky. I'd go to the gas station and when he saw the beef stick, he knew it was nail time, but that he would get the jerky when we were done. He always has been smarter than the lab though

    ADD: the flip side of this is not to move faster than he allows or you'll throw it all away. If he lets you pet him with the dremel on today, but he didn't yesterday, call it quits and go further tomorrow, or the next day. It sounds like you may be going a bit fast.
    Last edited by Schmemdog; 10-04-2012 at 05:27 PM.
    Lauren Burke
    "Sometimes you eats the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you." Daniel Boone, Davie Crockett, or a stranger at the bar?

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  3. #22
    Senior Member Lonnie Spann's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012


    Never trimmed my dogs' nails. Run em enough and they will wear down


  4. #23


    i tried the lay down method tonight and I felt like I had a little more contol but I had my right side by his head laying over top of him. it was easier holding his leg. It appears at this point he does not like the noise of the dremel. I can turn the shank of the tool when off on his nail and he has no problem with that. Which is a major improvement. the moment I turn it on he starts to jerk.

    thanks for all the help, I think posting and reading is helping me in the process. I would have given up on my own.

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  6. #24


    I have lost track what day I am on, but today he actually let me grind on one for about 20 seconds. It was pretty exciting and this is the farthest I have ever gotten with him in 2 yrs.

  7. #25
    Senior Member Daren Galloway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012


    Quote Originally Posted by Lonster View Post
    Never trimmed my dogs' nails. Run em enough and they will wear down

    Same here, between a few walks a week and cement kennel my dog barely has toenails.

  8. #26


    my guy is an inside dog and I run him every night but on grass / field

  9. #27



    I wanted to end my thread with a huge thank you to everyone who replied and helped. Tonight I did all his nails and he only pulled away a few times. This was a 1 1/2 yr struggle with this guy and without help from everyone on this forum I would have given up.

    Thanks again to everyone - I attached a pic of the big lug also

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