Camden, my ever social loving 8 month old, is normally well behaved and if not, is easy to correct. Except for when it involves trimming his nails.

He's always been a drama queen when it came to his feet, but it has only gotten worse. What started out as whining and crying (which is bad enough) he now will snap at your hands if you even touch them with a trimmer. My sister (who has a Great Dane that is easier to work with) tried to help me, but without a muzzle, we couldn't risk it. In fact, after that attempt, Camden pooped in her hallway (thankfully my 3 year old nephew started yelling "Camden poopied!") in retaliation.

I am trying to associate the nail trimmer with treats to get him to calm down, but in the mean time, his nails are just too long. Last resort is for me to take him to the vet to get trimmed up- I'm on a bit of a tighter budget this month (waiting on financial aid to start up- yay spring semester). Any suggestions?

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Use the muzzle if you have to. I take Sparty to the vet because he is absolutely nuts when it comes to his nails. My other two dogs are OK for me to do. Really great treats while trimming a nail is a good way to get him used to it but you have to move slow and just do one or two nails at a time so if his nails are long it is better to just get them done.

I took him to visit my parents and sister today (nephew's birthday party), and my sister brought her trimmers (mine have gotten dull and do not cut cleanly- working on getting a replacement). We had to muzzle him, and my mother held him (thank goodness for 14 years of her working for a vet). My sister trimmed his nails while I pet him. We followed it up with lots of treats. He wasn't pleased during the trim, but he was happy as all get out about the treats- so no retaliation (YAY). I hate using the muzzle, but there is no way I can risk Camden biting anyone, especially after he snapped at me before involving his feet.

Good news it that it is done for now- still going to work on his phobia for next time.

Do you use the electric dremel type? The noise might be scary and you could try good associations with the noise first without him being touched. Snickers hates being handled, especially her feet. She snarls and growls, but doesn't bite. She is 4 and I just switched to the electric trimmer recently. We went slow with lots of calm talk and treats, she is doing ok with it. You might try playing with Camden and/or going for a walk after doing something he doesn't like to make him forget the retaliation. He is young- work with him now; I waited until Snickers was 3 before I started trying to condition some of her bad habits out of her. We are making progress but I wished I had started sooner.

No, but I keep hearing that it may help, especially since he associates the clippers with bad things, not a dremmel.

It's reassuring to hear that Snickers has made progress at an older age- This issue just makes me nervous because it is the most aggressive he has ever been. Local law states that if a dog bites twice, it could be required by law to have it put down. I don't want to even have one bite on his record.

We smear peanut butter on my daughter's arm and let her hold Jackson while I do his.  We started really slow with the dremel and treats also...he's so busy licking her arm he doesn't care what we do to him.

That is too funny! I may have to invest in a dremel trimmer since I'm replacing mine anyways. Any recommendations?

I thought the peanut butter was a great idea too. I looked at the electric trimmers at the pet store, and said gee that is just like the Dremel my husband has in the garage! He even had the same type of sandpaper drum the pet store ones had. I switched to the Dremel because if you go to deep you will know before you get far, which is much better that a hand clipper, especially with a twitchy dog. The electrics are slower, so if you have a calm dog with clear nails, I would use a hand clipper. Dremel even makes a pet nail trimmer that is less expensive than getting one of their tool sets, and based on reviews on Amazon is probably quieter than mine. I notice that Dremel makes two, that seem to be the same tool- the 7300-PT has instructions for nail trimming and only comes with the accessory you need. The 7300 N/8 MiniMite comes with a couple more accessories and costs about the same + you could use it for other projects around the house. The Dremel brand got good reviews on Amazon and it is a trusted brand with a 2 year warrantee. It costs $24.97 on Amazon. (spend 3 more cents for free shipping)

I used to get the $20 one at Wal-Mart, but the battery sucked and died anywhere from 6 months to a year.  After buying three, I got so disgusted that I splurged and bought an electric "Oster" one.  It works great, and you can adjust the was $60, but has lasted over a year.  I'm assuming since it's a plug-in it'll last way longer.

In the short term, you can walk him on pavement a lot to keep them not to long.   

Jack is awful about his feet.  I wrote a blog post and discussion detailing what I did, here:

Beth thanks for sharing your blog, it is great. I got Snickers used to having her feet touched by holding a treat in my closed fist and touching the back of my hand to the top of her foot. If she didn't pull away she got a GOOD and the hand opened. We then slowly progressed from there. She will now do Shake!

Poor Jack tried so hard for so long before he got it right!  His left front is his worst; I think maybe because that's the one I started trying with and we worked on it so long that he's got a hang-up about it.  Anyway, I'd lay out the treats, do a back paw (after we worked on that), then pick up his left front. He'd hold still, I'd turn on the Dremel, try to touch his nail, and he'd jerk the paw away.  Then he'd whine a little and pick his paw back up on his own and hand it to me!  The gestures and vocalization, combined with his facial expression, said as clearly as words "Oh, I messed up, let's try again!  This is so hard!"   

He's still not good with that left front.   He's beautiful with the back paws, and so-so with the right front.  

When he sees me get the nail stuff out, he runs into his spot and sits down and picks up a foot.  So cute!   Proof to me that he's not being stubborn;  I think some dogs are very ticklish and it's genuinely very uncomfortable for them.

Unfortunately, snow has attacked- so the pavement is inaccessible. But thank you- the blog was helpful!


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