Nail grinding versus nail clipping

I am a Belgian Pet Behavior Consellor. I teach behavior modification, handling techniques, aggression- and fear management, etc.. for students at a few groomer institutes in Belgium. I have a question concerning nail-clipping. Is there anybody who has experiences with clipping AND with GRINDING. In Continental Europe Dog groomers tend to clip the nails. I saw Grinding equipment in a few postorder catalogs and I just wander what the effect is from a behavioral point of view. Are dogs calmer, easier to treat, not that much stressed, when you grind their nails or not. With clipping, a lot of dogs tends to become aggressive out of fear. Is this also when grinding the nails?
Thanks. Dany Grosemans

Replies To Dany;

Here is my two cents...I USED to clip nails, I do not anymore, I grind them, but not with a groomers grinder, I use a Dremel, it is much, much quieter and runs on two speeds, slow and fast, the bands are alot cheaper and it is battery charged, I have seen a drastic change in dogs once they realize it does not hurt, at all. I learnt this trick from a handler, and many many breeders are using dremels also.
Terry Phelps
Hi Dany:
I clip the dogs nails followed by filing with an "dog emery board". I use a wooden paint stick to which I glue #80 sand paper on both sides -- TA DA!! - one dog emery board. The dogs don't react to the filing any different than to the clipping, and if you have nails that the quik is too close for clipping - you can still file them a bit to take the edge off.
I have also used both methods of nail care, clippers and a grinder. I am very sensitive to the dogs reactions and absolutely believe that they prefer a nail clipper. The grinding action also builds up heat rather quickly and can be source for discomfort for the dogs.
My best results are achieved by clipping the dogs nails with a clipper and following it up with a manual file. I purchase files at local beauty supply store that are made for working with acrylic nails. They are very easy to use and inexpensive to replace.... Cathy
I regularly grind dogs nails using an Oster nail grinder. The finished effect is a nice, smooth, short nail. I can only reccomend using a grinder on easy to handle animals. The grinder is very loud, and can frighten even a normally calm dog. It is best to get the dog used to grinder when they are small. A groomer must use care when using this tool. A common problem is the fast spinning head can catch on long hair around foot or on a waving tail and cause injury. I hope I did not discourage you from trying this effective grooming tool, but did want to point out the disadvantages. You might try using a carpenters file, (a long, fairly heavy rasp) to manually file dogs nails. I have had a lot of luck with this on dogs that hate to have their nails done. Good luck....Daryl
I have done both, but will never use the grinder again, it makes me nervous because I got my Papillons tail caught in it right before a show. The dogs I have used the electric grinder were just as nervous if not more so that with trimming the nails. So nice to hear from you in Belgium!!!
Rebecca Hardgrave
Clarksville, ARkansas, USA
We use both methods in our shop. I, like Cathy use a Dremal tool. Some of the dogs don't seem to mind it as bad as clipping, although there are still many who don't like it at all. I have noticed that it can heat the nail because of the speed. This may cause a little discomfort for the dog. One way I overcome this is to grind the nail in short strokes. Holding the grinder on the nail really generates heat. One word of caution! If you use the Dremal tool be very cautious. At low speed the tool turns at 15,000 to 20,000 rpm. At that speed the dogs hair can tangle in it before you can blink an eye. I try to use this only on a short hair dog to avoid this problem.
S.W. Blackburn