Much easier to cut when claws are wet and soft -- after bath or a wet walk. I sit on floor with dog upside-down between my legs.
Al used to panic, squeal, almost snap, like I was amputating his head. At first, I thought I'd never be able to do this unassisted. It still sometimes helps to have a helper distract him with attention (I learned this from my dentist, who would pinch my cheek and wiggle it while inserting the needle, which I would not notice). I gently reassure him that I am merely going to cut off the ends of his feet. :)
You can practice with mock-cuttings to get him and yourself used to this, but they always know exactly when you're gonna cut for real.
I use the pliers-like guillotine tool with the U-shaped guard. I cut backwards, front-to-rear, with the round end of the U guard against the flat back of the claw. Backwards. It seems more with-the-grain.
Try holding the claw, not the toe, very firnly between your fingers. If it wiggles even slightly when you cut, they feel that, and it alarms them. I grip the CLAW (not the toe), set the tool, and once I'm sure, SNAP! Lightning-quick.
Cut small, cut often. I cut just a little corner off the tip, letting wear-and-tear do the rest. Once every week or two. Write it on your Mycorgi.com calendar. The black claws are scarier 'cause you can't see the quick.
Lavish treats afterwards. Do not ask him to "come" for this or any unpleasant experience, if you want him to come the next time you call. Go get him.
It's hard to sharpen that tool, but I've disassembled it and run it on a fine whetstone.
Our dogs are well-used to having their feet inspected, poked, prodded, examined. Do this regularly. I once found a foxtail buried invidibly in the deep pocket between the toes.
With my first corgi I made the mistake of not getting her used to having her nails done as a puppy and often. So my method now is to use the dremel and have them lay on their sides. I give them a bully stick to chew on (the only time they get one so it's an extra special treat) and let them get started chewing for a couple minutes but laying on their sides and then I start with the back paws first and then the front. If they don't cooperate the bully stick goes away, so they quickly learn to cooperate so they can chew on it and I think it helps distract them too. I try to do their nails weekly so they are never too long. Our newest dog might have been quicked as a puppy because the first time I took the Dremel to his nails he freaked out but I just slowly re-introduced him to it - first the sound then gradually lightly touching the nails until he saw that I wasn't going to hurt him and now he lays there chewing his bully stick and completely relaxed like he's at a spa.
I use Petsmart, not that expensive and a lot less drama. Having them use the grinder costs a little more but is better.
also, see the FAQ on this topic
After many battles we take Bear to the vet or groomer to have his nails trimmed. He tolerates them doing it with no fuss. We're all happier!
I started mine young using a human nail clipper because their nails are so tiny when they're puppies. I use a grinder, I do not cut. Both of my dogs took to the grinder in different ways. With Roxy, I sit down with my legs crossed and sit her in my lap with her back to my chest and one arm holding up the center of her chest for a minute with the dremel running. Once her heart beat gets normal, I lean back with her against my chest using my left hand to hold the paw I'm working on and the right to hold the dremel. I lay her on her side to do her back paws. I guess she feels like she's submitting and lets me go about my business.
Sam is a lot easier. I just get him up on my table, open a bag of treats and feed him one or two. From that point I'm able to turn the dremel on, pick up his paw and get to work. As long as I periodically give him food, he doesn't seem to care. lol If you want to use a dremel (grinder), please note it takes them a while to get used to it. We ran it while we practiced obedience and they eventually learned to tune it out like white noise. Introduce it in stages. You'll want to bang your head on a wall, but it's worth it (it's nice not to have to pay $20 to get both their nails done at the vet).