Trimming your dog’s nails can be a stressful process for both them and you. This is a common fear for dogs, and rightly so. But there are a lot of things that you can do to ease their fears and make it a much more enjoyable experience for both of you.
These are tips to help you create a less stressful and scary nail trimming experience for your dog.
1. Create a Calming Environment
When you are trimming your dog’s nails, it is important to have a calm environment. This is important for any dog but especially for one that is scared. Being in an environment that is noisy and hectic is only going to enhance that fear, making them much jumpier and even a bit nippy sometimes.
You want to set your dog up for success by clipping their nails in space that will make them feel safe and taken care of. Doing this can really take great strides towards conquering their fear.
You can create a calming environment by clipping your dog’s nails in a separate room, preferably away from anyone else and away from other animals.
2. Keep Yourself Calm
Another very important thing that can help your dog is your temperament. Nail clipping might be just as stressful for you as it is for them, but don’t let them know that!
If they sense that you are also scared or stressed out, they will feed off of that negative energy.
You will want to keep yourself calm and composed. Send out good energy and approach the situation with confidence.
If you are nervous about cutting your dog’s nails, do some online research. Watch some tutorials until you are 100% confident in your abilities. This way, you can approach the situation cooly and calmly, encouraging your dog to also feel calm and relaxed throughout the process.
3. Use Good-Quality Nail Clippers to Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Sometimes a good or a bad experience when it comes to nail clipping can come down to the clippers themselves. Are they a good quality pair?
If you have a poor-quality pair of clippers, they may not clip correctly. This can not only make the process more complicated, but it also actually be dangerous for your dog.
You also want to make sure that your clippers are sharp. If they are dull, they will not clip the nails cleanly. This can lead to splintering or accidentally cutting too high.
You can experiment with different types of clippers to see what scares your dog less. Some prefer grinders that grind the nail down, while others feel better with clippers. It depends on what kinds of noises your dog finds most scary.
Buy a few types of clippers and test them out. Your dog’s fear could very well come down to the type of clippers that you use.
4. Give Them Rewards
One great way to help your pooch overcome their fear of nail trimming is to give them generous rewards. All dogs love a reward or two, maybe even three!
Bring some tasty snacks with you when you go to trim your dog’s nails. If they are really scared you could give them a treat per nail, slowly only giving them one per paw, and so on.
This is a great way to turn an otherwise scary experience into a fun one where they will learn to expect some great things when they have to get their nails trimmed.
Dog’s can remember just about anything if it involves food, so bringing treats along is a great way to create a positive experience rather than a scary one.
5. Do a Paw a Day
If your dog is very scared, to the point of making clipping their nails dangerous, you may have to start out at a crawl by clipping the nails of one paw per day.
This, of course, is not ideal, but it can help extremely fearful dogs. A very fearful dog may be tempted to nip you or jerk away, making nail trimming unsafe for both of you.
By doing a paw a day, you are making the process so fast that they can’t even get too upset about it.
This is also a good option for dogs that are extremely fearful no matter what you do. It still gets the job done but without stressing them too much in one sitting.
6. Turn it into a Massage
You can also help to ease the fears of your dog when trimming your dog’s nails by giving them a paw massage.
Not many dogs like their paws being touched, so turning it into a massage can help to trick them into thinking that this is a special cuddle time. It is soothing and can help to ease their fears when you go to trim their nails.
Give your dog a full-body rubdown before starting, massaging and petting their paws before starting to clip their nails. Hopefully, the extra attention will help to take their mind off of what is happening, making this necessity much less scary and possibly even enjoyable!
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