Ever want to give your dog a relaxing spa day but you know she just hates having her feet touched? Well here is a nice and slow process you can work on to rebuild her confidence with paw touching or nail trims. This slow and gentle approach will be relaxing and help you both start fresh.First - remember your dog's feet are sensative and ticklish. So be gentle.Paw handling: Repeat for several days even up to a week. Take your time and relax. You are looking for her to not pull her paw back away and just relax.
• Start by having some high value treats ready (turkey, liver bits or chicken) Super high value.
• You want to make sure she is comfortable with you touching her paws and picking them up before you introduce the clippers. So don't skip this step!
• You can work on this when she is already relaxed by gently run your hand down the leg and foot. Say “yes” and give her a treat as you pass over her foot.
• Next, touch her foot briefly, say “YES” and reward.
• Next step is to pick up the foot, hold it briefly and then say “YES” and treat.
• Gradually increase time holding foot and try give a brief gentle foot massage.
• Once she’s responding well to this, it could take a week or so. Start to pick up the foot in your hand and put light pressure on the toe above the nail, then say “yes” and treat.
• Work on all paws in short sessions until she is accepting of having her paws picked up and touched. This may take several weeks.
Introducing the clippers: (or nail polish **)
• When she sees the clippers give treats. You are not touching her with clippers at this point. When clippers go away- treats stop. Just pull it out and put it on a table, chair, floor, etc.
** Nail polish is much easier than clippers but your dog may still be bothered by the process. So same approach applies.
• Next, pick up a paw and pick up the clippers, but do not bring the clippers close to the nail. Again when she is calm say “YES” and treat. Practice this with all paws.
• Now pick up a paw and touch it with the clippers. “Yes” and treat. Repeat until she does not pull paw away at all.
This is a step you may stay at for a while so be patient!!
• Do this with all four paws and if she accepts it then you can try to clip one nail. Only the tip!
• Always mark behavior with YES! and treat.
• Do only one nail at a time until she is very comfortable.
You can try to do one toe a day.
Slow down, stop for now or go back a step if she acts uncomfortable during the process.
I have found that my dog doesn't like the clippers but will tolerate a nail grinder better. There are a lot on the market now that are not as noisy and do not vibrate as much so do your research. You will also need to start with the same process above to introduce the grinder. However, your dog's nails need to already be trimmed when you start to do the grinder, I couldn't grind the longer nails very easily so I had to wait until I could get them shorter with the clippers first.