7 January 2012

Nail trimming can be fun!

Nail trimming is an incredibly stressful experience for many dogs and their owners, but it doesn't have to be that way.  It is completely possible to train a dog to accept having its nails trimmed or filed, and if done correctly it can take as little as 5 minutes to completely desensitise the dog to the experience, however, handler timing is of the utmost importance and in my experience, most people's timing is too poor to bring about an effective and lasting result. 

Another way to keep on top of the task of nail trimming is to clip just one sliver from just one nail per day, which if carried out with confidence can be over and done with before the dog even realises its nail has been trimmed. 

Lots of walking on concrete or tarmac helps to keep the nails short, but even though I do around 20 minutes of brisk walking/jogging on pavements with my dogs every day, this isn't quite enough to keep their nails at the perfect length, so they still need some extra attention every so often. 

The method that I use is the most fun way to trim nails.  It requires no clippers, no file, no treats, is completely 'hands-off' and 100% effective. 

Are you dying to know what I do?  Okay then, I'll tell you ...

We play 10 minutes of fetch along the concrete path in the garden.  That's it.

Here's the result ...

... Tilly's nails, perfectly filed. 

Throw the fetch-toy so that your dog has to turn to run and fetch it from alternate sides ~ this ensure that the hind nails wear evenly.  If your dog is a really frantic fetcher, throw the ball and make her wait, before releasing her to fetch it ~ that way she'll be facing in the right direction and won't need to turn, so she won't wear the hind nails down quicker than the fore nails.  Certainly with Tilly, her hind nails stay pretty short anyway, so it's the nails of her front paws that need a bit of an extra trim now and again.  If you don't have a concrete path or similar area at home, use a concrete or tarmac footpath or cycle path instead (not right next to a road, obviously!)

For dogs with joint problems this method may not be suitable, but for fit and healthy dogs that need a pedicure just once in a while, it really is the most fun that a nail-trim can be.  It gets a big 'paws up' from my two anyway! 


  1. You just don't know....... nail trimming is awful, literally takes 3 of us to do it!! I have Huskys, they CANNOT EVER be off leash or they will run, we do have a concrete driveway but they would have to be on a lead, I don't like leaving them out on a lead that long. They like being on the lead to lay & soak up the sun, when they are ready to come in they start pacing.... I guess I could let them pace a few minutes before bringing them inside, but they are spoiled they want in when they want in!!

  2. Martha, have you considered giving Husky racing or CannyX a go with them? Great exercise, and fulfils the dog's need to run but whilst still attached to you! If you can get them interested in fetch-play (I know of several Huskies who really enjoy a game of fetch) this could be done on a long-line on your driveway, or if they're not interested in fetch-toys, try a flirt-pole to get them running about out there. Just a few ideas!


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