How Often Do You Trim Your Dogs Nails?

Discussion in 'Dog Grooming' started by 648117, Oct 3, 2012.


How often do you trim your dogs nails?

More than once a week 1 vote(s) 6.7%
Once a week 2 vote(s) 13.3%
Once every two weeks 4 vote(s) 26.7%
Once a month 4 vote(s) 26.7%
Once every 2-6 months 1 vote(s) 6.7%
Once a year 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Never 1 vote(s) 6.7%
When needed 6 vote(s) 40.0%
Other 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. MaryK Honored Member

    You have to be VERY careful with dog groomers, check them out thoroughly, as not all are gentle in the way they handle dogs. They could well muzzle him, which may make him even worse, so I would keep trying yourself to clip his nails. Plus if he's not good with new/stranger people, then I personally wouldn't put him through that stress.

    Have you tried feeding Brody when clipping his nails. What I do with a 'difficult' dog is to have a handful of high value treats in my hand, close my hand ALMOST over the treats so they have to 'dig' for them. Then whilst they are 'digging' for the treats, I can clip the nails as they forget all about the 'horror' of nail clipping. You may only get one or two nails at a time, don't try to do them all in one hit, and it may help to have a second person holding the treats as described above. Keep try with Brody, it does take time and patience, but eventually he'll at least get to tolerate having his nails clipped.
    brodys_mom likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    He gets very suspicious of any attempt to hold his toes firmly. I mentioned it looks like his dewclaws may have been a home job. Maybe if I used something like a gristly piece of raw meat that he would really have to focus his energy on. I should have done it last night as he was cleaning out the peanut butter jar, but he uses his front paws to hold it down.
    MaryK likes this.
  3. MaryK Honored Member

    Ouch! Poor baby! In that case, if you suspect he's suffered pain in regard to his paws, I would first work on just getting him used to having his paws held. Treat with a high value treat, the meat sounds grand, and just hold his paws for a second, not too long. Don't hold his paws 'hard' either, just lightly, so he can pull away, which he may well do straight off, just a nano second hold is good enough at first, click/treat and relax. Even work just on touching his paws if he's really super sensitive about having paws held.

    Does he react when you groom down his legs onto his paws? If he doesn't, then click/treat when you get to his paws. If he does, then stop grooming and just gently touch, even with just one finger, his paw and click/treat when he doesn't react.

    Work on this until Brody's able to allow you to hold his paws without him getting stressed out. Then hold the nail clippers but DO NOT attempt to clip his nails, again slowly, slowly click/treating all the time. If he's had a botched, painful job done on his dew claws he's certainly not going to like having anyone touch his paws.

    You may have to put up with long claws for a while until Brody can accept having first his paws held, then sighting the nail clippers and then, again taking it VERY slowly, allowing you to actually clip his nails. I definitely would NOT take him to a grooming place, no matter how good they may appear. He needs some one on one with you to help him understand that not everyone is going to perform a brutal act on his paws.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  4. 648117 Honored Member

    This was my experience with Lewis:

    When we got Lewis his nails were way too long and he would often scratch me and leave long red marks down my arms. He wasn't a confident dog and I didn't dare try to trim his nails straight away. I think he really didn't trust us and didn't understand why he couldn't go back to his old owners.

    Lewis needed a lot of grooming but he was very nervous about being brushed (which I understand because it probably did hurt a bit dispite all efforts to be gentle). I had to do two or three 5 minute grooming sessions a day and it took a couple of days to get one leg half done then I'd give him a day off then start on the next leg then return to the first leg etc. It took a couple of weeks to get him good and now I can get him completely brushed in about 10 minutes (I brush him (and Holly) 2-3 times a week so he never has knots to work on).

    At the start he never actually snapped at me but he did the quick head movement towards my brush hand that could have easily been a snap and I had a leash on him that I tied to a chair so he couldn't reach me (although the leash was a bit slack so he didn't feel trapped) and I constantly watched his face to see if he was getting too stressed. He is a bit of a snappy dog at times so I really didn't trust him.
    In that state I decided I didn't want to risk doing his nails incase it did make him snap. Dogs seem to often object more to getting their nails done then being gently groomed. I think if I had gone straight to the nails it could have damaged the trust I was building with him and made it hard to not only cut his nails but also groom him.
    But by the time I had his coat in order he trusted me a lot more and I trusted him more (I had stopped leashing him for grooming by then) so I decided to have a go at cutting his nails.

    The first time I tried it I had him leashed with someone else feeding him really yummy treats. Then I clipped one nail (I think it was a back one) and watched carefully for his reaction. He was fine and I was able to cut all his nails in one go (I didn't cut them short, just to about half way to where they should be). Then a week later I did it again (on my own) and he was fine.

    I don't know if Lewis would have been fine with his nails being done all along or if the time spent grooming him and gaining his trust was essential (I suspect the latter).

    So I would suggest that you could first start with grooming (if you don't groom Brody already). I find grooming is a good way to calmly bond with Holly and Lewis and to let them really trust me manipulating their body and touching them everywhere. I groom them on my own in the kitchen away from everyone else. Although they clearly look forward to being groomed and do get excited when they see the "grooming matt", but once we start they calm down and stand still. It's kind of like a different sort of training where instead of being rewarded for activity they are being rewarded for calmness and stillness.
    From there it might be easier to work on Brody's nails.

    That was my experience anyway. I don't know if it will help with Brody since he really does have issues with his feet. But I do understand the pain of long sharp nails. It was such a relief once Lewis' were done, it was so noticable and I no longer got scratched (y)
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  5. brody_smom Experienced Member

    He doesn't really need regular grooming and he doesn't enjoy it much, so I haven't pushed it. I will start, though, as I sense that it will make a difference.

    It's kind of funny that he uses his paws a lot. He actually grips things with them, curling his toes down like a cat. I can't remember seeing a dog do that before. He will offer a paw quite readily, sometimes resting his curled up paw in your hand, but, go for a toe, and he snatches it away.
    MaryK likes this.
  6. 648117 Honored Member

    I really would recommend grooming him, it really does enhance your bond with the dog.

    Just start the grooming really slowly, just one gentle brush stroke and then give him a treat and that could be it for the day. Then the next day two brush strokes and then a treat. Always end with an awesome treat and try to start the grooming in areas where there are no knots so it wont hurt him. I brush Holly and Lewis in the evening and when I'm done with each they get a dried rib or a deer tendon or a stuffed kong, things they don't generally get at other times and that take them a while to finish so they go and lie down and relax and chew after the grooming and are then pretty calm for the rest of the evening.

    You are at an advantage that he doesn't actually need to be groomed because there will be no pressure to push him into being uncomfortable, you can stop well before he gets upset so you can teach him to enjoy being groomed. Holly doesn't really need grooming but I used to do it every day because she enjoys it (I had to cut down the frequency when we got Lewis because it takes longer to do them both), I started grooming her because I wasn't sure how long her coat was going to get but she loves being groomed and I'm really glad I started it. Now they line up for grooming :LOL:, I do Lewis first because he takes longest and Holly sits and waits patiently beside me, my family laugh that she's in the waiting room of a salon!
    I think I will groom all my future dogs no matter what type of coat they have :)

    I hope it goes well for you and Brody,
    keep us updated on your progress :D
    MaryK, southerngirl and brodys_mom like this.
  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    He let me give him a good all-over brushing today. I was surprised by how much hair came off, and he looked lovely! The only problem was getting him to let me do the second side. He was so relaxed he didn't want to get up to flip over!:p
    MaryK likes this.
  8. 648117 Honored Member

    That's awesome!
    So he likes being groomed then?
    Just think all the hair that you got out of him is that much less hair spread around your house :LOL:, and if you groom him again tomorrow I bet you will still get more hair out, I always get a handful out of each of my dogs.
    Since he got so relaxed with the grooming do you think you could get one of his nails done while he's in that state. If you could get one done and then give him a treat it would be an awesome start and you'll have a way to slowly get all his nails done.
    brodys_mom and MaryK like this.
  9. MaryK Honored Member

    Great Posts Holly and 648117. Grooming is a wonderful way to bond and gain trust with your dog. I groom both my boys, Zeus is first and even though he doesn't really need grooming hair wise it does get rid of any dust (shock horror the boys a complete 'clean freak'} and then Ra Kismet, who's into the grunge look and gets mud in places I've never seen a dog get mud in before. So glad Brody loved being groomed, just take it easy with the nails, build up the confidence and he'll allow you to clip them also.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I will give it a try tomorrow. After his run this evening, I thought he might be tired enough to let me trim one or two. I had my teenage daughter sit with his head on her lap on the sofa and feed him bits of chicken while I attempted to work on his claws. No luck. He wised up to what I was doing right away and curled his paws under so I would have had to grab them out from under him to do anything. I decided to just let him nibble at some larger pieces of chicken while I held onto it, and rubbed his toes with my other hand while my daughter was petting him. If I had a third hand, I might have been able to grab the clipper! Oh, well. I just need to keep getting him more relaxed with me handling his toes. His claws are getting really long, though. I am worried that the quicks are going to start lengthening before I am able to get to any trimming.
    MaryK likes this.
  11. MaryK Honored Member

    You've progressed a step, albeit a small one, he let you hold his paws, even though he knew you had clippers handy!(y)

    When he will actually allow you to clip his nails, if they have grown really long, only take off the tips at first. That way you will not cut into the quick and will be able to do a little bit off the top until they are down to short nails. Don't try for the entire length at first as you may well cut too deeply.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  12. Gordykins Experienced Member

    I just take tiny slivers off at a time, so I end up trimming about once a week. Sometimes with foster dogs, if their nails are long, I trim every few days, so the quick recedes, and I trim as soon as there is nail, so they get shorter faster. I like for the adoptive families to be able to start with manageable nails if at all possible. Gordy's quick just is always so close to the end of the nail, that if I don't do those small slivers once a week, they seem to grow too fast with the quick too close to the edge of the nail.

    Also, in place of nail clippers... I use one of those foot file things... not the metal part... but mine has those sandy kind of files on the sides... I use that to file the dogs nails down because the squeezing of the clippers too close to their quick can hurt. Gordy doesn't particularly care for the loud Dremel types of trimmers (he'll sit for them, but he stresses about it) so I just use the files. A few swipes a week usually keeps his nails manageable.
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  13. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I thought about using a file, too. His claws are almost pointy now, so even just filing a bit would be of some relief. He uses his paws a lot.
    MaryK and Gordykins like this.
  14. MaryK Honored Member

    Good post Gordykins.(y) I don't have any problems with my two boys but it's always good to keep in mind a tip like that. You never know what the future may hold.
    Gordykins likes this.
  15. stdpoodad Well-Known Member

    I use a Dremel. I do them when they look too long, or when I can hear them scrape on the floor.

    I use the Dremel 8200. Teaghan has really thick black nails. Pedipawas and the like are not good at all, even at high speed they go way too slow and heat up the nail.

    MaryK likes this.

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