Thursday, September 15, 2011

Manicure Success

One of the issues we've had with Vinson is his high-energy resistance to clipping his nails. So, I spoke with one of the long-time Pro's at The Seeing Eye, and today, she successfully clipped Vinson's nails while sharing lots of great tips for success.

If your pup is extremely resistant to the idea of you holding his paws and accessing his nails, you might want to start simply working on holding and handling his paws and praising him, and then move on from there.

In the beginning, nail clipping requires lots of calm patience; and in Vinson's case, this approach worked very well.

If you start the process of clipping, letting the dog finish the process on his terms (squirming away before the job is done) will only strengthen his idea that resistance ends the nail clipping session. Also, it's important to be doubly careful about how close you get to the quick, as any discomfort early on in the process will only make it more difficult to progress. If a nail tip looks too close to the quick, leave it for next time and keep the overall process positive.

Ideally, the goal is to get the dog comfortable with laying on their side, making it much easier to see the quick in the nails and also taking away the dog's "mechanical advantage" that he would have with his legs touching the floor.

Then the patience comes into play. Puppies will inevitably be resistant the first few times, but holding and calmly reassuring them helps. We made no attempt to clip any nails when Vinson was tense, but waited to try (and try again) until he was obviously loose and comfortable. If he pulled back and squirmed, we stepped back to calming and petting him and then would try again after he was calm.

The process took about 15 minutes this time, and with repeated work and consistency, it should get easier and easier every time as the dog gets more comfortable.

Finally, we ended the manicure session with a relaxing belly rub and a few bits of kibble placed near the nail clippers.

Vinson is still great friends with my fantastic coworker and gave her kisses on her way out of the office. Now he's all ready for meeting lots of people at this weekend's events!

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