Getting a firm grasp of how to cut an uncooperative dogs nails is always a good idea as it can change the behaviors of your pet for the better.
You should learn the best practices instead of figuring them out yourself. Otherwise, you may increase the stress level your dog experiences and risk injuring yourself. Here is an explanation of your dog's response and a guide on how to deal with it.
Why Dogs Don't Like Nail Trimming
There are many things that can make your dog irritated when its nails are getting trimmed.
Dogs can get anxious when grooming.
First of all, you will need to restrain your dog and stop it from moving its legs. Of course, it doesn't love it because who would? On top of that, the sensation a dog feels when its nails are trimmed isn't pleasant at all.
Even quick trimming with sharp clippers still applies a lot of pressure to its sensitive claws. And when you aren't good at trimming or happen to get a blunt tool, your dog may experience a crushing sensation.
This feeling may make it remember the times when its claws get caught on carpets or brushes. Those things can hurt your dog or even rip apart the nails.
Badly made cuts prompt dogs to recall those painful experiences. They become fearful of cutting tools and their sound, and this aversion can stay with them for the rest of their life.
How To Cut An Uncooperative Dogs Nails
Make sure that your dog has become accustomed to the tool (clippers or scissors) first. If the sight of them brings a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety, you may need to desensitize that fear first.
We talk about this in the below sections. But if your dog is calm or even excited when seeing the clippers, go ahead with the next step.
The blades of those tools should be sharp tools. Otherwise, the trimming can be quite painful.
Hold the paw gently and touch the clippers to your dog's food. If it shows no sign of panic or aggressiveness, the actual trimming is ready to begin. You can get someone to gently restrain the dog if necessary.
Remember to trim gently.
Grasp the toe whose nail you want to trim. Cutaway the very tip first so you don't expose the quick, then trim little by little.
After each toe, give your dog a treat or praise as a reward. Talking to it during the session is also a great way to calm your dog.
Tips On Learning How To Cut An Uncooperative Dogs Nails
You can divide the trimming into several sessions. You can trim two nails and take a break, for instance. There is no need to complete all four paws in one sitting when your dog has a negative experience with it.
Look for signs like snapping, growling, panting, excessive drooling, and trembling. If you see your dog exhibit fear or pull its paw back, don't scold it. Try to calm it down before you continue, and feel free to stop trimming if you feel severe anxiety or aggression from your dog.
Punishment or pushing the issue too far can amplify the fear and make the problem worse. The dog may surrender to your restraint now, but its aversion to trimming only intensifies. You may have no luck with the next session.
Make sure you under the cutting tool you plan to use, especially a powered one. If biting is a concern, keep the face of your dog away from you.
Use rewards instead of punishments.
How To Prevent The Fear Of Nail Trimming
Early training is the best way to make sure a dog doesn't develop a fear of nail trimming. The younger your puppy is exposed to clippers (in a gentle manner), the higher the chance it becomes comfortable with trimming.
Introduce nail clippers to your puppy and let it examine them. Pick up, open, and then close the clippers near it so your dog can watch your action.
Make the puppy get used to pressure on its feet by holding and rubbing them. Finally, clip a tiny nail tip and give it rewards like treats and praise.
Can I Train A Dog That Is Already Scared Of Trimming?
With persistence and patience, any dog can totally overcome the fear of nail trimming and even look forward to it.
While it is always easier to teach puppies to pick up new tricks and skills, helping an older dog get used to grooming is not out of the question. Just be aware that you will need more effort to develop this habit.
Getting rid of the intolerance to nail trimming can be quite challenging, especially when the dog has had previous bad experiences.
In addition to learning how to cut an uncooperative dogs nails, you may need to use the desensitization technique. Its goal is to convert an undesirable reaction to a positive one.
Successful desensitization requires a good understanding of your dog's threshold and its behaviors. The focus is on rewarding it for desirable behaviors rather than punishments. Talk to a professional if you want to try this technique.
How To Cut An Uncooperative Dogs Nails If It Is Too Aggressive
When a dog gets violent to the point of biting, injectable sedatives are a last resort you can choose. They can buy time for you to get problematic nails out of the way before you have more success with desensitization.
Your vet may prescribe a sedative for your dog if they deem the nails are too long for your dog's own safety.
The drug enables safe trimming without physical restraint - a method you should completely avoid if your dog becomes struggling and tries to bite. Forced trimming can make it more fearful and violent, which could hurt you or the person trimming its nails.
The vet may recommend sedatives.
Injectable sedatives can calm your dog and lower the anxiety, fear, and stress potentially caused by trimming. But keep in mind that it comes with some risks too.
There are several side effects like heart rate changes and stomach upset, which can make it not a long-time solution. Talk to your vet about this and other low-stress handling solutions.
When you practice desensitization at home, supplements and oral medications can be a good alternative.
Knowing how to cut an uncooperative dogs nails can not just avoid anxiety in your dog but also prevent injuries if it becomes aggressive.
Always make sure your pet is accustomed to the clippers or scissors first before trimming the nails gently. When the dog displays too much stress or aggression, you may need help from a professional to desensitize it for the long term.