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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20179
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our retired greyhound keeps using his front legs and nails

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Our retired greyhound keeps using his front legs and nails to get what he wants like a walk or his food but his nails are clawing our legs leaving scratch marks on our legs and we just cannot get him to stop.he is four years old and has been with us about eighteen months. Can you help.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How old is your dog?
Is he neutered?
are you keeping his nails well trimmed?
What obedience training has he had?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He is four years old and gets his nails cut as and when needed.he has not been neutered. He has had some training by us as we had another retired greyhound before this one

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful to me. Right now when he scratches in this manner he gets what he wants. You either take him for a walk or give him his food. So by doing so, you are actually encouraging the behavior. I do understand that it is hard to ignore behavior that is physically hurting you. I do have a few suggestions that might help.

It is important to stop giving him what he wants when he scratches. So you might purchase some inexpensive shin protectors and use them so you can ignore the scratching at least until you have him trained to give you a different type of signal. Now there is no guarantee that he won't drive you crazy with the new signal.

A signal that many owners use and I recommend is putting a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that he needs or wants to go out. You might have a second one with a different sound near the kitchen that you use before feeding. Dogs catch on quickly and in many cases it only takes a week or so before you see them start using the bell.

I also suggest you step up on obedience training for him. I know you have been training him, so I want to give you a site that can help teach how to train a dog effectively. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

An important thing to note is that you need a release command. I use GO but any word will do. When you have a dog come to you or sit or lay down, you want to keep them in that position until you release them. So train for the command and initially give the release command pretty quickly but gradually extend the time they must sit or stay until released. Reward the release as well.

Once he listens to a sit command consistently and stays, you can use it or the down command to keep him in that position. If he has all his feet on the ground, it is hard for him to paw you especially if you command them to sit a foot or more away.

If he is jumping up to paw, they do make a no jump harness that might help prevent the behavior as well. You can see one here:

You should also keep a leash on him and give a correction each time he starts to paw or even looks like he is going to. A correction would be a short tug to get his attention and a firm low toned NO. Most dogs will stop the unwanted behavior after a few corrections in a row. When they do stop even if you know it is just for a minute, reward with a trasty vienna sausage slice or liver sliver. Be sure not to give the treat until he stops the pawing either because he isn't getting the desired response (shin protectors) or the correction stopped him. Combining these techniques will teach him that pawing no longer get him the food or walks but not pawing gets him treats and ringing the bells get him the other things he wants, he will change his behavior appropriately.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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 .
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