Some dogs are fine with owners or groomers touching their feet and working on their nails. Others, not so much. Here are some simple everyday exercises that can make nail trimming and paw care easier.
1. Touch your pet often.
Sure, you pet your dog and that’s great, but make sure to touch areas you don’t usually pet as well, like the paws. If the pet seems disturbed by the touch or pulls away – assuming there isn’t an underlying medical condition – try giving a treat as you touch the area briefly and gently. Repeat this every day until he or she “gets” it. Once the brief touch has been associated with something positive, that is, getting a treat, you can increase the time of touching before the treat.
2. Add grooming tools
Whatever the dreaded grooming tool might be – maybe nail clippers or a brush – this can also be introduced with a treat. Show the tool with the treat without trying to use it. After a while, the dog will associate the tool with treats and think it’s the best thing ever. When that happens, you can try touching the pet’s body with the tool while it’s getting a treat, and step by step, the strange and scary will be less frightening.
3. Clip a nail
Once the pet accepts you touching its paws and the clippers, it’s time to start practicing for actually clipping a nail. Pinch a toe the way you would do if you were to actually trim the nail, release it, and give a treat. You might have to repeat this many times during a period of days or weeks. The next step is to touch the nail with the nail trimmer and give a treat. Once that is accepted, clip a nail and give a treat.
Before you know it, your pet will think that trimming nails is a great event.