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Why won’t my dog let me cut his nails?

Why won’t my dog let me cut his nails?

You probably know that dogs need their nails trimmed. When your pooch won’t let you trim their nails, it becomes stressful for both of you. You dont’ want to force them to have their nails cut, because this is traumatic. However, it’s important to get it done. What do you do? 

Why won’t my dog let me cut his nails?

A dog hating their nails trimmed is actually a common problem. There are several reasons why your dog won’t let you cut their nails. These range from previous traumatic experiences to your dog simply not liking their feet touched. 

Painful Past Experience 

Have you ever trimmed your nails too short? If so, you may have been surprised by how painful it is. Your pooch can have the same experience if their nails are clipped to the quick. 

Dogs have a strong associative memory. This means that they will remember the pain. When a similar situation, occurs, they will be afraid the pain will be a part of it. So, when you trim their nails, they are afraid it will hurt. 

Improper Restraining

You may be restraining your dog the wrong way when trimming their nails. Some dogs are  more sensitive to this than others. Some dogs do not like being restrained, while others don’t seem to mind it at all. 

If your dog is scared of being restrained, or you aren’t restraining them the right way, they will not let you trim their nails. 

Using the Wrong Tools 

Many times, it’s not the process of nail clipping that’s the problem. It’s the tool you are using. Some dogs don’t like the feeling or the sound of nail clippers. Others hate the feel or sound of a nail grinder. If your pooch hates these tools, there are a few other options. More on those soon. 

Dog Doesn’t Want Their Feet Touched

Some humans hate having their feet touched. After all, our feet are extremely sensitive, and you may feel vulnerable when someone touches them. Your dog may feel the same way. 

If your dog doesn’t like their feet touched, you’ll notice it doesn’t only occur when you are trimming their nails. If your pooch is in your lap, try touching their paws. If they protest or pull away, they don’t like you touching their feet. 

Lack of Training 

This is a surprisingly common issue. Your dog isn’t born knowing that they should let you clip their nails. In fact, they are born with the instinct to protect their feet, which includes their nails. They may also be reluctant to allow new experiences.

It’s important to train your dog to accept having their nails trimmed. If you begin when they are young, this process is easier. However, no matter their age, it’s possible to train them to allow you to clip their nails. 

You should know that this takes time and patience. You’ll have to work with your dog, instead of forcing them. 

How to get my dog to let me cut his nails?

If your pooch won’t let you clip their nails, there are ways to get them to accept it. Don’t rush the process. Pushing too hard will actually cause them to hate the process even more, so you should keep it positive. 

Choose a New Tool 

Its’ best to assume your pooch has a negative association with their current clippers or trimming tool. The first step to changing this is to get a new set of clippers. 

If you suspect your pooch has an issue with the type of tool you are using, switch to a new type of tool. 

Scissor clippers are the most common. They work similar to scissors or clippers for humans. They are best for large dogs. 

Guillitone clippers have a hole that you put the nail through. These are a bit easier to control, and are suitable for small to medium dogs. 

Lastly, you can use a nail grinder. Instead of clipping the nail, these grind the nail down until it’s the desired length. These make it easier to avoid cutting the nails too short, but it takes longer to use. 

Treats and More Treats 

Once you have the new clippers, it’s time to introduce them to your dog. You’ll need to show lots of excitement, and present the clippers as something positive. 

Give them treats, while allowing them to check out the tool. After a few minutes, put the tool away, along with the treats. Later, you can repeat the process. Do this as many times as needed until your dog seems excited rather than scared of the tool. 

Paw Practice

This is particularly important if your dog hates their paws touched. However, all dogs can benefit from this step. Start by gently touching their leg. 

Slowly make your way down being gentle and slow. As long as your dog is relaxed, continue moving down. Stroke their paw. If they allow it, hold it in your hand. 

Throughout this process, you or a helper will give the dog treats. If they become stressed or pull away, stop the session. Keep repeating the process in short sessions, until your pooch is comfortable with you holding their paw. 

Next, you’ll want to touch their nails. Start with a light touch. Work your way up to putting slight pressure on the nails, to simulate the feeling of cutting. 

Cutting Simulation 

Next, you’ll need to touch the clippers to your dog’s nails. Don’t trim. Simply tap the nail lightly with the tool. Do this with all the paws at different times, so your pooch is used to the process. 

The other aspect of simulating nail trimming is using the tool without trimming their nails. Hold it close to them and operate the tool. This creates the sound of the tool, without actually cutting their nails. Continue until your dog is unphased by the noise, offering treats throughout the process as long as they remain calm. 

Make it Positive 

Now your ready to actually trim their nails. You’ll want to give them treats and praise throughout the process, particularly the first few times you trim their nails. This helps solidify it as a positive experience for your pooch.  

What happens if I do not cut my dog’s nails?

Some dogs need their nails cut more often than others. Dogs who are outdoors or go for walks on concrete or other rough surfaces will wear their nails down, which reduces the need to cut them. 

However, they should still be cut occasionally. This ensures that they are a healthy length, and keeps your pooch accustomed to the process. 

Nails Hit the Ground 

One of the biggest concerns if you don’t clip your dogs nails is that they will grow until they hit the ground. This can cause a wide range of issues. It can cause injuries to the feet and legs, because it interferes with proper gait. 

It reduces traction, which makes accidents more likely. If the nail gets caught on something, it can be ripped off causing pain and bleeding. 

Nail Pain 

 Nails that are too long can also cause nail pain for your dog. The nail beds become sore. This causes pain when your dog walks. 

Damage to You or Your Property 

If your dogs nails are long and sharp, they may accidentally scratch you, or themselves. They may also scratch or tear your belongings or furniture unintentionally.