But you can't just rush in, hold the dog down, trim the nails, and get out. Well, you can, but you'll be paying for it the rest of the dog's life. Do that and you're setting yourself (and your dog) up for a battle at nail-trim-time.
There isn't any reason a dog needs to be muzzled, sedated, or restrained for nail trimming. Especially if you've got a young dog and you can teach the dog to tolerate nail trims.
How do you teach that, you ask?
It's pretty easy, really. You'll need some really fantastic treats. This works regardless of the age of the dog. You can teach an old dog new tricks. (Note: If your dog growls at you when you work on this, stop immediately. Call a professional dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement – call me if you need a referral to a trainer in your area.)
Not dog food, Pupperoni's, or dog biscuits. Get the good stuff: steak, chicken, ham, salmon — real meat! You want your dog to look forward to your handling his feet, so make it worth his while by getting the best of the best treats.
You won't trim nails right away either. This is all about getting the dog comfortable with you handling his feet.
I'm working with Talos right now on this very thing. When he was a small pup, he accepted nail trims very easily. Sometime over the last three weeks (the last time I handled his feet) he's decided he's not a fan of it.
Not a problem.
We'll take a few steps back, remind him how much fun it is to have me handle his feet, then we'll move forward to nail trims again. Watch this video for the first step: