Do you love the idea of grinding your dog’s nails, but worry that he’ll hate the grinder?
As long as you introduce the grinder slowly and associate the noise with really good food, you’re likely to have a dog that wants to see and hear the grinder! If your dog already has a bad association with the nail clippers, using a grinding tool might help your dog move forward more quickly with nail trimming. Why? If your dog has no experience with the grinder, you have the chance to make a WOWZA first impression! I use the Dremel grinding tool for my dogs, so grinder = Dremel in this article.
This is the fourth article in a series. If you haven’t the first three yet, it’s a good idea to start with Get to Know Your Dog’s Nails, Five Mistakes When Trimming Dog Nails, and Handling Your Dog’s Paws.
Dog, meet Dremel. Dremel, meet Dog.
So here’s how easy it is to introduce your dog to the Dremel tool. You must have delicious food. People food. This won’t work if you don’t use the best food you’ve got, period, end of story. Think: canned cat food, salmon, pepperoni, steak, grilled chicken, cream cheese. It’s got to be something to make the dog go “Gimme more, gimme more!” For the video, I used cat treats from a company called FreshPet. Their treats are in the refrigerated section of your pet supply store (I got mine in WalMart).
You’re now armed with food so delicious you’re drooling, right? Good. The next step is to turn the Dremel on. As soon as you turn the Dremel on, begin feeding your dog the yummy goodies one at a time. Feed your dog for about 3-5 seconds, then turn the Dremel off. When the Dremel turns off, the food goes away. No Dremel = no food. Continue this pairing (Dremel = food, no Dremel = no food) several times until your dog looks at you happily when he hears the Dremel turn on.
Things to Remember
- Use the best food you’ve got. Now’s the time to be generous, not stingy.
- Be sure the dog doesn’t touch the running Dremel! (In the video, Tango wanted to sniff the Dremel when it was turned off. I wouldn’t have let him do that if the Dremel was spinning.)
- Be careful! The Dremel will put holes in your clothes (and you) if you let the spinning barrel touch you.
- If your dog is noise sensitive, have a helper in another room turn the Dremel on and off while you feed your dog delicious goodies. As the dog gets more comfortable with the noise, your helper can move a bit closer for the next round of training. Gradually move closer at the dog’s pace so the dog and the Dremel are in the same location.
- If your dog isn’t happy about having his paw held, watch our video that shows you how to get your dog to tolerate paw handling.
- The dog should have the choice and ability to leave whenever he’d like.
- Go at your dog’s pace and stop before he wants you to.