Dogs just don't seem to share our love of mani-pedis. But can you blame them? Doggie nail trims often involve getting pinned down and possibly muzzled, plus enduring the crrrrrunch of the nail clippers on every toe and and the occasional sting of the hacked-up quick... The horror!
While there is no instant fix, you can help your dog overcome his fear of nail trims by following the steps in my newest video. In most cases, it's all about building trust and comfort. The first few steps are simply to get your dog to find the sight and feel of the clippers comfortable, and to show him that you won't push him beyond his comfort level. Taking this kind of slow and steady approach will ultimately yield faster results, as your dog will be willing to accept the clippers without a fight.
In the video, you'll see I used a nail file rather than clippers. This is because Beans had had a clippers-meltdown a few weeks earlier, and I decided to let her cool off from the clippers for a little while. Conditioning her to something new -- the nail file -- takes much less time than counter-conditioning her to her nemesis, the clippers. However, when I'm ready to re-introduce the clippers, I will use the same method as in the video.
This method works for nail trims, bathing, brushing, toothbrushing, and any other grooming activity that normally makes your dog squirm.
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY.