Is your dog a little touchy about her feet?
Do you struggle to wipe her paws or trim her nails?
We’re on Part 3 of our multi-part series on dogs and their paws. We’ve already covered the anatomy of a dog’s nail, the mistakes people make when trimming their dog’s nails, and in this article we’re going to present the first step of the solution to struggle-free nail trims.
If your dog won’t let you handle her paws, you’re not going to have an easy time trimming her nails.
Let’s start at the beginning. You’re going to need some really delicious, mouth watering, delectable treats. I don’t mean dog treats, either! I mean real people food! I mean: cheese, steak, chicken, salmon — the good stuff! Now’s the time to be generous, not stingy! You won’t need a leash or a collar for this exercise — we’re letting the dog choose whether she wants to stay or not. You read that right: it’s the dog’s choice.
Step by Step
- Allow your dog to mosey on over while you’re sitting on the floor. Give her a few treats just for free (generosity!).
- While she’s hanging out with you, start high on her front leg and gently slide your hand all the way down to her paw. Click (or yip!) and treat the instant you’ve reached her foot.
- If your dog jerks away, don’t worry. You’ve just gone a little too far too fast.
- Start at the top again and click right before you reach her paw. Always treat after clicking.
- Repeat steps 2 – 4 until your dog allows you to gently slide your hand down her leg and touch her paw without pulling it away.
- Gradually increase the amount of time your hand rests gently on her paw before clicking and treating. GOAL: Your dog doesn’t mind you resting your hand gently on her paw for at least 5 – 10 seconds.
When #6 has been accomplished, you’re going to change it up a bit. Instead of working on how long you can rest your hand on your dog’s paw, you’ll be working on the pressure. So don’t worry at all about the length of time your hand is on her paw, you’re just adding the slightest amount of pressure now. Click and treat instantly if she kept her paw still. Remember, if your dog pulls her paw away, take that as a signal that you’re moving forward too quickly with your steps. Go back to when it was easier for the dog and spend some time at those easier steps before moving forward.
Gradually add gentle pressure until you’re able to actually hold your dog’s paw. Again, don’t worry about how long you’re holding onto the paw — it’s easier for the dog if you work on either the length of time you hold her paw or the pressure with which you hold her paw.
Combining Time with Pressure
Once you’re able to hold her paw for 10 seconds, and separately hold her paw in your hand, then (and only then) are you ready to combine those two elements. Begin by holding her paw ever so gently for two seconds. Click and treat if she didn’t pull her paw away. Continue to systematically increase the amount of time or the gentle pressure until you’re able to successfully hold your dog’s paw with gentle pressure for ten seconds.
Next up is introducing your dog to the grinding tool! Stay tuned!