If you have an anxious dog, it might be a challenge to keep their nails trimmed. Some dogs become scared and upset when you try to use strange, confusing tools too close to them. However, trimming your dog’s nails is critical for their health and for the safety of your family and property. Dog nails grow quickly and can be sharp and cause serious damage, so keeping them trimmed is the best way to avoid issues.
Read on for some tips for clipping a nervous dog’s nails.
Train Your Dog to Allow Their Paws to be Touched
As early on as you can in their life, try to get your dog used to having their paws handled. The more accustomed they are to this, the more comfortable they will be when you try to trim their nails. If they are nervous when you touch their paws, try approaching them gently.
Start with their arms and move slowly down to their paws. Use a soothing voice to praise and affirm your dog while you are doing this. You might even want to reward them with a treat if they let you handle their paws.
Over time, you can try touching their nails more to introduce them to the sensation. If they ever become too nervous or begin to get aggressive, it is important to give them their space and remove yourself from the situation.
As a dog owner, you likely know that your pet reacts to your emotions. One of the most important things to do to keep your dog calm while trimming its nails is to remain calm. If you seem anxious, nervous, scared, or hesitant, your dog will sense this. It will likely make them feel the same way, and they will start trying to get away.
Trim at Home
If your dog is anxious about having its nails trimmed, it is best to attempt to do it at home. Having a stranger attempt to restrain and clip your dog’s nails will only make the situation worse.
In some cases, it may not even be possible, especially for larger dogs or dogs who tend to get aggressive or snap when they feel threatened. The best option is to avoid a stressful situation for everyone involved and trim your anxious dog’s nails at home where they are more comfortable.
Use a Dog Nail Trimmer Tool
The easiest way to trim your dog’s nails is with a Dremel-style dog nail grinder tool. A trimmer tool makes minimal noise to keep your dog calm and relaxed during the process.
Instead of having to clamp or clip down on their nails, which can easily result in injury, use the grinder head to gently erode the sharp edges of each nail. Trimmer tools, like the RexiPets Pet Nail Grinder, come with multiple heads for use on large, medium, and small dog nails.
Familiarize Your Dog with the Tool
Most dog nail trimmer tools make a noise, whether it’s a slight buzzing or loud clipping sound. Unusual noises startle and confuse dogs, which adds to the general anxiety surrounding nail clipping. A major benefit of using a Dremel nail grinder is the low, non-startling sound it generates.
Try to familiarize your dog with the sound before attempting to groom their nails. Operate the tool around them a few times, and if they seem uncertain or scared, try to gently introduce it to them. Make sure your body language is relaxed, calm, and respectful.
Avoid Restraining Your Dog
Dogs do not like to be restrained. For most dogs, restraints will make them even more scared, anxious, and aggressive. Some traditional methods of nail grooming involve placing dogs in restraints, but you are unlikely to achieve positive results by doing this. Focus on comfort rather than restraint, and if your dog tries to pull away, allow them to do so. Forcing them to stay still will create a negative association with the experience.
Create Positive Associations
Giving your dog a reward when they allow you to trim their nails is just as important as avoiding negative associations. Have your dog’s favorite treats on hand while grooming. When they allow you to complete a nail, give them a treat. Later on, you may not need to reward them as much, but starting out this way will help your dog think of having their nails trimmed as a positive experience.
If your dog is nervous about having their nails trimmed, you might be looking for a solution. For some dogs, using a professional groomer or asking your vet to trim their nails is not a possibility. Fortunately, there are a few best practices and useful tools you can implement to make the experience a positive one for you and your dog.