A Force Free Way to Trim Your Dog’s Toe Nails

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 10, 2024

Trim Your Dog's Toe Nails

For this Omaha dog training session, we go over a force free way to trim your dog’s toe nails with Boxer puppy Pneuma.

Many people dont like trimming thier puppy or dog’s toe nails because of how the dog usually acts or the human’s fear of cutting the toe nail too close. But cutting your dog’s toe nails doesnt have to be a difficult task – if you set your dog up for success.

An Easy Way to Trim Your Dog’s Toe Nails

When you grab a dog’s paw and hold it, the dog can easily feel trapped or at a disadantage which is why they pull their paw away. Most people grab the paw and hold it or pin their dog down so they can cut their dog’s toe nails. But forcing a dog to do anything is a good way to make the dog hate the activity. And like most animals, humans includes, this is going to cause the dog to resist and try to get away.

The secret to cutting a dog’s toe nails is to practice the exercise in stages before you actually do any cutting. You need to watch for cut off signals, a dog’s way of saying they are uncomfortable or dont like something. When that happens, you need to stop and go back a step so the dog doesnt resent any part of having their nail’s trimmed. This may be the most important tip on cutting a dog’s toe nails.

If your dog hates having their toe nails cut, you are going to definately want to check out the free positive dog training video below on how to teach your dog to enjoy having their toe nails cut or trimmed.

One of the secrets of training a dog to not mind having their toe nails trimmed is to practice these tips when the dog is feeling mellow. Doing this force free dog toe nail cutting exercise 15 mintes after returning from a walk, play date or when your pup is just chilling are the best times to practice.

The Two Stages to Successfully Trim Your Dog’s Toe Nails

The first stage to training your dog to feel ok getting thier toe nails cut is to go through all the steps featured in the free positive dog nail cutting video above first. By holding the treat to the dog’s lips until you can do the step without the dog pulling their paw back, trying to move away or offering any other cut off signals, you know they are ok to move forward.

Once your dog is comfortable with the first dog nail trimming stage, you need to move on to stage two; holding the treat on your chest while you touch the paw, hold it or hold out the digit. While its important to focus on stage ine until your dog is comfortable having their toe nail cut, you need to make sure to flip the exercise so the dog expects the treat after.

After each step, you need to give your dog the treat. Dont try to go for two or more touches before you deliver the treat. Remember this dog toe nail cutting exercise only needs to be practiced until your dog is comfortable getting their nail cut. Once this is the case, and you are cutting your dog’s toe nails easily, you can start giving the treat after two cuts. But go slow now, so you can go fast later.

At this stage, we are trying to teach your dog that after you cut each dog toe nail, they get a treat. This process takes some practice up front, but if you go at your dog or puppy’s pace and stop when they offer cut off signals, your dog will be ok with you cutting their toe nails as an adult and you wont have to give treats for eeach step.

How to Make it Easy to Trim Your Dog’s Toe Nails

When you get ready to cut your dog’s toe nails, we recommend getting a higher value treat as the cutting is a big step. We like to use warm pieces of chicken, roast beef or other meat. By using a higher reward for the more difficut step, cutting a dog’s toe nails, the dog or puppy likes having their toe nails cut!

Also make sure the environment isnt distracting or exciting. Don’t have kids running around, people eatig food or other distractions that may make your pup or dog want to partake in instead.

Having a calm dog and a quiet environment are two dog nail cutting secrets that many people overlook. So set your dog or puppy upfor success when you trim your dog’s toe nails.

Pro Tips to Remember When You Trim Your’s Dog’s Toe Nails

  • Puppy toe nails should be cut every 2-3 weeks
  • Adult dog nails should be cut every month or so.
  • Practice when your dog or puppy is calm.
  • Use a meat or fish based treat your dog really likes. Avoid cookie treats.
  • Give one treat to your dog after each touch.
  • Its ok to practice in parts. One paw now, another paw later.
  • Its crucial you stop moving forward when your dog offers a cut off signal (pulls paw away)
  • Find a way to make the previous step easier; reach part way or use training wheels version.
  • Its ok to flip back to the first stage (holding the treat to your dog’s lips) when needed.
  • But make sure to practice until your dog is comfortable to go to stage 2, no treat on the lips.
  • Practice this entire exercise before actually cutting your dog’s toe nails for maximum benefit.
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This post was written by: David Codr