Tips to Help a Dog Get Over a Fear of Having its Nails Trimmed

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 6, 2017

Nadiya is a four-year-old Black Lab / Pit Bull Mix who lives in Omaha. Her guardian set up this dog behavior training session to get her to stop acting aggressively to guests, stop leash aggression, anxiety around new people and not letting anyone trim dog nails.

Nadiya really lucked out with her new guardian after a rough start. Shortly after the session started I learned that she was rescued from a situation where she was being sexually assaulted by her previous guardian. I have spoken to a few dog behavior expert and trainers who have delt with this disgusting form of dog abuse before. Fortunately this was my first time, and hopefully the last.

Despite such a horrific backstory, Nadiya had a beautiful personality and was a pleasure to work with. She did some jumping up, but aside from that and invading personal space a little too much, she was confident, relaxed and fun.

Nadiya’s guardian had been watching the videos we post on these session write ups and had already started to introduce some rules and limits before the session started. I explained why there are important, suggested a few new rules and went over how to use the Escalating Consequences to disagree with Nadiya when she broke them.

I also recommended they start petting her with a purpose and reward her for desired actions and behaviors through passive training. This structure will help the dog start to develop control and self restraint and it will also let the humans practice the leader role.

If they can make these interactions a habit, each time they correct her, reward a desired behavior or pet her with a purpose, they will be engaging in a micro dog training session without even thinking about it.

While helping Nadiya develop self control will be beneficial, the more that the humans demonstrate their leadership through actions, the less reactive the dog will act. With enough demonstrations of leadership, its possible Nadiya’s aggressive behavior will stop for good on its own. In the unlikely event that it does continue after the next month or two, the guardian should let us know so we can discuss options. I stressed to let us know right away if things don’t improve.

While I was demonstrating the petting with a purpose method, Nadiya repeatedly put her paw on top of my forearm. This is a form of dominance in dogs and failing to address it reinforced the dog’s perception that she was in a dominant or leadership position. To help her guardian train the dog to stop trying to dominate her this way, I shared a dog behavior secret in the video below.

Although this may seem like a small thing, anything a dog is doing that we don’t correct is interpreted as having our blessing in the dog world. That’s why its so important to correct or reward a dog within 3 seconds consistently.

While we were wrapping up the discussion of dominance and placing a paw on top of our arms, I noticed Nadiya’s dog nails were pretty long. I have seen dogs who had to have their nail amputated after splitting due to being too long.

Many dogs hate having their nails trimmed and Nadiya certainly falls into that group. Often dogs dislike nail trimming due to someone cutting too much off which cuts into the quick, a sensitive blood containing section of the nail.

Some dogs don’t let people touch their paws because no one manipulated them while the dog was a puppy. So if you have a puppy, make sure you spend a few minutes every day playing with your pups paws until they are five months old; spread the digits, grasp each individual nail and give plenty of treats while doing so if your pup objects or pulls back its paws so your pup isn’t resistant to having their nails done.

To help Nadiya stop acting aggressive when her nails are trimmed, I spent a few minutes sharing dog training tips to help with this common dog behavior problem. These will help any dog learn to stop objecting to cutting dog nails.

As I mentioned in the video, I prefer to dremel dog nails over cutting dog nails. I would link the company I bought my dremel from, but since they make it extremely hard to find a dremel on their website, Id say got to Amazon and search the products they have there as its easy to find one. I recommend one with rechargeable batteries.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a Roadmap to Success video full of positive dog training tips and behavior secrets. You can get these free dog training tips by watching the video below.

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