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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18804
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My little x terrier has problems re;her nails being

Customer Question

my little x terrier has problems re;her nails being cut,recently she caught her side nail on her blanket ihad to cut the blanket to release her nail ,she cried like a baby ,an appointment has being made for today for nail trim, she does have 8wk grooming program but for her own comfort how can i relieve her fear of this issue ,she does have plenty daily walks
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

This is a common problem especially if the nails become long since cutting them back in one session can cut the quick and lead to pain. Now there are ways to help her get used to having her nails trimmed and have less anxiety. It isn't a overnight solution and will take time. You will want to have lots of hot dog slivers. You cut them paper thin and you can get 30 or more pieces from one hotdog.

Every day you will want to have her on your lap or table and pick up her paws and feed her a hot dog sliver as long as she isn't crying or fighting you. If she fights you just hold her until she calms down a little and release the paw. When she allows you to pick up the paw without an issue, give calm praise and extra treats. It shouldn't be long before you can pick up any of her paws easily. At that point, repeat the exercise with nail clippers in your hand but do not clip the nails. You are getting her used to the clippers being in your hand while you have a paw. Remember to warn her when she doesn't fight you. Once she is great with that step, go ahead and put the clippers on her nail but do not cut the nail. I would take extra time on this step because if you rush this part and spook her by cutting the nail, it can set yo all the way back to the beginning. Remember treats for good behavior and praise and treats for excellent behavior.

Remember during these exercises to push the nail down so it is at the proper position to be trimmed. You might start touching the paw without pushing the nail and progress to pushing the nail. If you don't do this, then she will know the minute you push the nails down that you are going to trim them. You don't want there to be any sign she can use to know when you are trimming and when you are not.

Eventually you will be trimming the nail so it is important to know how to do so. the following page has a good explanation on how to do it properly.

Some people use a rotary nail trimmer and the same technique can be applied to using that tool instead. What many people do is to naturally keep the nails trim by walking on concrete for a certain amount of time each day. In the summer you do need to be sure this is done in the cooler parts of the day so your dog's pads are not burnt on the hot concrete. The natural walking wears down the nail tips naturally eliminating the need to trim the nails.

I have some clients that have created a concrete foot wide strip on the fence line so when their dogs run back and forth at the fence, the nails are natrually worn down. It is effective.

You might also have her wear a dap collar to help with anxiety. It uses pheromones to keep a dog calm. They can be purchased at pet stores, online and your vets office. Prescription medications, of course, can help sedate a dog while their nails are trimmed but it is much better if you can help her get used to having her paws touched and nails trimmed since as you found out, it is often necessary even if you do have them professionally groomed.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

I haven't heard from you about the answer I gave and was wondering how your little girl was doing>

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