The usual process…
“Come here sweetheart, it’s oookk….come on out. Please??” After 30 minutes of searching, pleading, and negotiating you finally get them to come out, but only to be tasked with another half-hour of uncomfortable interaction as every nail you trim is met with a “how could you?” look of despair. It breaks your heart and sometimes you don’t even want to go through the whole charade, because you feel the trust bond you’ve built with your dog somehow takes a step in the wrong direction.
While nail trimming is of vital importance to keeping your dog healthy, it’s not something they understand right away and is a process that can be bewildering and frightening to them. So how can you flip your pup’s frown upside down when nail-trim time comes around?
Why is nail trimming so important?
Before being domesticated, dogs and their ancestors’ nails would be worn down naturally through constant daily use in the wild. However, nowadays many dogs aren’t nearly active enough for this to happen, and so their nails keep growing. Trimming isn’t all about looks. It’s a very necessary routine that can directly affect the overall health of your pet. If your dog’s nails get too long, they become brittle and eventually break, leading to pain and infection. Over time, living with long nails can cause your dog to develop an irregular gait, leading to joint and skeletal damage. Nail trimming should be a part of your dog’s regular grooming
How can I make the experience better for my dog?
Many people are as uncomfortable trimming their dog’s nails as the dogs themselves. It’s something that can make both owner and pet very nervous and anxious. What if you cut in the wrong place? What happens if you cause your pup pain? These are both founded worries, but both can be dissuaded as long as you regularly practice a couple of techniques.
Positive Reinforcement by Association
You probably use this technique already when you want your dog to learn a new trick. Treat nail trimming much the same way. Dogs often become very anxious when they associate a particular object with uncomfortable or traumatic experiences. You can reverse this reaction by reconditioning your dog to associate that nail trimming with something they love. Only you know what your dog can’t resist. Don’t wait to finish for the positive reinforcement to start. Early on you may want to reward them with a treat after every nail or two you clip. Whatever it is – a walk, a treat, a new toy or trip to the dog park – over time, whenever you pull that nail clipper out of the drawer, your dog will go bananas and actually look forward to having their nails clipped.
Familiarity through Regularity
Has your dog ever seemed like they were fine in a certain situation then acted differently in a similar situation later on? Although dogs have remarkable instincts that they use to find their way home or remember people they haven’t seen for years, it’s important to remember that they are still different from humans when it comes to processing and remembering an experience – especially if that experience is irregular. If you trim your dog’s nails twice one month, once in the next three, and then not again for the next four, you may find yourself in an endless process of reconditioning as your dog “forgets” the associations (the things they love). Maintain a consistent schedule and you will experience more consistent, positive reactions from you pal.
What Pawderosa offers
Still feeling a bit anxious about nail trimming? We’ve got you covered! At Pawderosa we offer more than just dog boarding, we offer full-service dog washing and nail trimming services too! We will bathe your dog based on your shampoo preference, dry them, brush them, and clip their nails. Or if you’d like to be more hands on, we’ve also offer self-service dog washing and nail trimming stations onsite. Just leave us the mess and we’ll take of the rest!