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Groomers BBS » Pet Owners Ask the Groomer! » TRIMMING NAILS » Extermely anxious dog with very long nails - help! « Previous Next »

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andria gordon (Unregistered Guest)
Registered Member
Posted From: 64.229.54.52
Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 - 9:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok, Siris has never liked getting her nails clipped. in fact, she downright won't tolerate it.. when we adopted her she came with one freak toe nail on her back leg - it sticks straight up actually - probably some traumatic experience before she came into my life although it doesn't hurt her or bother her at all now. She will not mouth or attempt to bite me when I try to clip her nails, my main problem is that she is all muscle (45lbs), really quick, and ultra squirmy. What I have managed to clip has been a teeeny tiny little bit off of one toe nail, and that took two human assistants to help me out in restraining her - not exactly a comfortable experience for poor Siris.

Here's what I've tried:
- handling her paws for 10 minutes per day - massaging and playing with them gently, getting them used to being touched. she is fine with this.
- taking the clippers and running them lightly along her legs and paws, just brushing the fur, all the while making happy noises and praising - she's fine with this also.

Then when it comes time to do the snip for real, she gets completely frantic, will yank her paw away and run. I've tried having her on lead and attached to a doorknob (she nearly pulled the doorknob off the door). I've tried putting a towel over her head so she can't see what i'm doing ... no go, also.

I'd much rather send her to the groomers - but all the groomers near me want to board her for 2 to 6 hours - she has separation anxiety and while she is fine in a crate at home, she will freak out in a crate at the groomers, waiting for her turn. It's going to be a traumatic enough experience getting her nails trimmed - I'd rather not have to have her go through minimum 2 hours of crating in a strange scary place on top of that.

My vet suggested I bring her in to the clinic where they could give her a mild sedative and then we could attempt to clip her nails. I'm wondering if that is too extreme? Obviously I'd prefer not to medicate her if I can avoid it - but I'm at the point where I'm open to anything right now. Should I go for it?

Anyone have any suggestions you think might help?

Thanks!
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dhcrew
Registered Member
Username: dhcrew

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2003
Posted From: 24.121.39.201
Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 - 10:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hello, i can not believe the groomers who you have tried, want to keep her there for so long just for a nail trim. i dont think you need to drug her, but you do need to get her nails clipped. it kinda depends on how you are handling the way she tries to keep you from doing it. if you let her pull her foot away and run, then that is what she will always do cuz she knows she can, i have found that dogs are alot like kids, they learn what they can and cannot get away with. i would recommend going to another groom shop where there are a few extra hands around to help with a double or triple handful of dog, have them understand that you are just there for a nail trim, and that you will wait and help if needed. please let them know that she may be a handful before they get started on her and find out the hard way. i will also let you know, that if she already doesnt like it, it is going to be traumatic for her no matter what, but with more people to help, it will be over quickly. good luck to you.
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gravy_train
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Username: gravy_train

Post Number: 30
Registered: 2-2003
Posted From: 207.177.64.217
Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 - 10:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi,
Have you tried a Dremel? or just a regular finger nail file? Sounds like behavior modification you need to do. She knows that you will eventually give in. Have you asked the vet if they could try without sedation, without you present? I have seen dogs act better when owners are nowhere in sight. I had a lady that said not to do her German Shepherds nails because the vet has to come to the house, sedate the dog to cut it's nails. I forgot that one day and cut the nails. The dog stood perfectly still and did not bite me. The owner couldn't believe it. I save her tons of money. A lot of dogs act different with a strange place and strange people.
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starterdog
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Username: starterdog

Post Number: 240
Registered: 1-2000
Posted From: 24.156.198.252
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 12:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It can also make a difference where the dog is when you attempt the nails. If they are on the floor, they know they can get away. If on a table, or in the tub, it can often be easier. With an extreme reaction like she has, it may not make a big difference, but worth a try. If she is at the groomer or the vet, and is put up on the table, it may make the job a lot easier and quicker. And feel free to explain all your concerns to the groomers; a caring groomer should not subject your dog to a long, stressful stay at the shop just for a nail trimming.
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progroom
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Username: progroom

Post Number: 902
Registered: 2-1999
Posted From: 65.28.99.45
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 6:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would try a dremel and in a complete different place than usual.
If you are at all nervous about doing it, arrange with a Vet or groomer who is confident. She can feel your nervousness and it makes her think she should be too.

I find a lot of dogs that don't like something done, be it ears, nails, feet, etc, are much better if they are done outside of the normal routine. -- dogs that you can't cut nails on the table are fine if done in the tub.

There are some however that do need sedation to get the job done. After it, try to walk her often of concrete or pavement to keep the nails wore back naturally.

Barb
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spottydog (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 152.163.189.173
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 3:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also, I would like to add that when I am cutting the nails on a dog who is freaking out about it, I find that holding the leg further up, rather than grabbing the paw, usually helps. For our 50 lb dog who didn't like having her nails done, hubby would sit on the bed with her in his lap, and he would bear hug her. I held her leg above the paw and snipped away. Remember not to let her get away, or she learns that struggle=release. Don't cut the quick, and in a few times she should start giving in. Also, I have "good" treats on hand to be given immediately when they're done, i.e., cheese or something they don't usually get. Most of my own dogs now stare at the cheese while I cut, and all are very good about it. Persistence, positive reinforcement.
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pugsly_sue
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Username: pugsly_sue

Post Number: 41
Registered: 1-2003
Posted From: 64.18.105.214
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 5:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Siris get upset when she hears the sound of the clipping or when the clippers are around her nails? Sometimes you can say Good Girl (or what ever) while the clipping noise is going on and the dog never notices what is happening. If she objects to the clippers around her nails, you may want to practice just that part with her. Then when she gets used to that move on to the actual clipping. As for the groomers that want to keep her for a long time, have you tried a PetSomething? They won't keep the dog there just for nails.
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groomerjc
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Username: groomerjc

Post Number: 54
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 66.185.84.202
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 11:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hello
Try laterial most dogs handle this better and the person holding her has control and its quick and safe
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scottygirl
Registered Member
Username: scottygirl

Post Number: 101
Registered: 1-2003
Posted From: 65.129.28.106
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 7:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Before I became a groomer we always put our dogs on the washing machine at home, standing on a rubber mat for brushing and nail clipping. They couldn't get away and learn very quickly to stand still because there isn't much room on top of the washer. On a different note, years ago my sister had a dalmation that was very strong and would literally scream and thrash like he was being killed if you tried to clip his nails. It took 2 people to hold him and one to clip his nails, and it was like a wrestling match w/ all of us worn out when it was over. We gave up after he hit my sister in the jaw with his head one time and practically knocked her out. The vet clipped his nails from that point; no sedative, 1 helper, 5 minutes w/ a muzzle on and it was all over. He behaved much better w/ the vet (probably because the vet knew what he was doing better than we did LOL). If that dog were still alive I would try my dremel grinder on his nails to see if he could tolerate it. I swear by that grinder. I groom a westie that will try to tear my hands off if I even show him a nail clipper, but he will sit and give me his paw for the nail grinder. Anyway, if you don't want the vet to sedate Siris then can the vet try clipping her nails first w/out sedation? Also, I groom two dogs who are mildly sedated beforehand, and it is so much better for the dogs (and me!). They are sedated enough to take the edge off of their anxiety and the effects don't last long at all (an hour or two at the most). It's so much better to go that route than to traumatize a dog if they really can't tolerate something. Also, I'm very suprised that no grooming shops near you will just clip her nails w/out keeping her there. Most grooming shops near me will do just nails w/ no appointment necessary, just walk in w/ your dog, walk out 10 mins. later w/ nails done!
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dawg
Registered Member
Username: dawg

Post Number: 249
Registered: 12-2002
Posted From: 142.16.22.18
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 11:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

this kills me!! i am a mobile groomer and for $10 i'll come to a client's home and clip and/or dremel their dog's nails. dogs more than 20kms, i refer to other groomers. it takes less than 5 minutes and i've rehabilitated dogs who used to climb the walls, with the owners' help, of course. i cannot believe groomers would require your dog to take up space in their shop for a 5 minute procedure and a quick 5-10 dollars!! not even to begin to point out the obvious needless stress for your dog! that's pure baloney! every shop here handles nail clips, in & out, as long as you call before you drop in. some even do it for free with a purchase of dog food (the last i wouldn't recommend... they are usually people who wouldn't know how to handle a special girl like yours).

i hope you can find one understanding & competent groomer in your area who can ease your baby's fears. not all dogs can get over their fear of this, mind you, but there is hope for some!
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vroomvroom
Registered Member
Username: vroomvroom

Post Number: 155
Registered: 1-2003
Posted From: 204.30.204.204
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 5:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is already so much good advice on this string that I hesitate to add more but here goes: When I have a squirmy dog, I put a leash around the head and attach it to something stationary, then I stand over the top of the dog facing the rear end. I pick up each foot like shoeing a horse and I do use a dremel since most dogs seem to recognize the nail clippers but they dont have a clue what the dremel is. I do both of the back feet that way and then I back up until I am standing over the dogs neck and then I do the front feet. I stand slightly stooped and use my knees to hold the dog in place. I always make sure the leash is streched as far FORWARD as it can go as it is pretty easy for a dog to slip forward out from between your knees but much harder to slip backwards. I do lock my knees right at the hip joint loosly at first and more firmly if necessary. And if I have a dog that is always antsy, I change the location of the nail clip everytime I do the dog. Just make sure to use a quiet dremel.
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sandy
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Username: sandy

Post Number: 295
Registered: 6-1999
Posted From: 207.218.233.136
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 6:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree, for a nail trim, it's in and out. We do walk-ins all the time. It's a hassle when you have a dog on the table that you have to then put up for a minute, but it's a service we offer and it usually is no problem. I can only think of one dog in the seven years I have groomed at this shop, that we have had to say we can't do the nails. There are usually enough of us around to hold and clip- even a big dog, I just do it FAST. With a muzzle, if need be- and you are right about the dog behaving differently for us than for the owners. We see it all the time- and I already posted about the smart a$$ who asked me if I tied his dog up to do the nails or what- he is a viscious biter for him-- gee thanks for telling me, mister- but no, he was perfectly fine and I didn't even muzzle him...
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suez
Registered Member
Username: suez

Post Number: 82
Registered: 12-2002
Posted From: 162.39.36.146
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 5:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just had a Shar Pei who wanted to remove my fingers in the worst way. I took an extra leash and looped the handle around her neck and then made an extra loop around her muzzle (like a horse halter) and then tied that to my grooming post. If I had an assistant I would have had them hold the leash instead but I was alone that day. The dog immediately backed up into the loop and I was able to safely trim all four feet without a lot of struggle on my part. This controls the nose so they aren't able to spin around. I got the idea from watching "Animal Cops" as they use this arrangement a lot of the time (with an assistant, not a post) We call it a "Michigan Muzzle" in their honor.
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pugsly_sue
Registered Member
Username: pugsly_sue

Post Number: 43
Registered: 1-2003
Posted From: 64.18.105.214
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 3:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Great idea Suez! Is there a picture you can post so we can see? I think I understand what you did but a visual would help confirm it.
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puppymom
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Username: puppymom

Post Number: 179
Registered: 8-2001
Posted From: 67.242.85.185
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 7:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sometimes, not always, I find that if I don't pick up the dog's foot, I can clip the nails.
Also, using my homemade sling, I can hang up the little guys and get it done that way.
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suez
Registered Member
Username: suez

Post Number: 83
Registered: 12-2002
Posted From: 162.39.36.115
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 9:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't have a picture to post, just watch either Animal Cops or Animal Precinct, they use this idea all the time to control dogs when they are working in the field. I have an Elkhound mix that we clip standing. Her owner told us not to even try but we couldn't resist because she was so good for everything else. I use the type of clippers that look like pliers and open completely up so they go around the nail. It does take a little practice to get the length right when doing a standing dog.
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andria gordon (Unregistered Guest)
Registered Member
Posted From: 64.229.54.52
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 10:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

thanks for all the responses, guys. a lot of great stuff in here. at time of original posting I had called up about 5 local groomers. You have inspired me to keep calling until i get someone understanding who is willing to take on my girl under my conditions. in and out in under an hour and it doesn't have to be drop in at all - i would prefer to set up an appointment and speak with the groomer before hand. i've posted on a local dog board asking for reccomendations - but thought i'd give it a whirl here anyhow - know anyone in toronto, ontario, canada who could help Siris out?
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billylove63 (Unregistered Guest)
Registered Member
Posted From: 67.217.74.200
Posted on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 7:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

jenny my black labhas very long nails and it is starting to bother her to walk they are also very thick and the clippers i have seem to be too small they fit one way but not the other can you use them backwards or is there only one way to use the clippers
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rev
Moderator
Username: rev

Post Number: 6588
Registered: 1-1999
Posted From: 64.12.97.9
Posted on Sunday, November 9, 2003 - 7:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Billylove, either you need larger nail clippers or you should take your lab to the vet or to a groomer to have her nails trimmed. You're right, it can throw off her stance and hurt her feet, hips and shoulders. The clippers should cut vertically through the nail, not side to side.

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