How To Trim A Timid Dog's Nails

Some dogs sit still and let you trim their nails without issue. Others put up such a fight that owners don't even attempt the trimming anymore—they just let the vet do it during their annual appointment. If your dog is truly vicious and dangerous when you try to trim their nails, you are probably best off leaving this to your vet so you don't get bitten. However, if your dog is just on the timid side (acts shy and tries to get away when you trim their nails), it is usually safe to trim the nails at home. Just follow these steps to show your dog that nail trimming is not something to be afraid of.

Show them the clippers first.

The first few times you bring out the nail clippers, you won't be using them at all. Just show them to your dog so they get used to them. Rub the clippers over their fur and down their paws. Talk to them in a soothing, gentle voice so that they stay calm. If your dog acts fearful of the clippers even in this situation, just set them near their food bowl and let them eat next to them. Then once they are comfortable eating near the clippers, move on to rubbing them over their fur and down their paws.

Play with their paws.

Once your dog no longer acts nervous or timid when you touch them with the clippers, your next step will be getting them used to having their paws handled. Just gently rub your hands over their paws when you're petting them. Take a paw in your hand and just hold it. Then, eventually progress to where you're gently squeezing their paws as you would if you were clipping their nails. Give them a treat after each session so they know they are doing what you want them to do.

Clip one nail.

Do not do this until your dog is entirely comfortable with you running the clippers down their paws and with you handling their paws. Stroke your dog to get them comfortable, and then clip one nail. Immediately praise them profusely, and give them a treat. Let them wander off. Then, repeat this process again a day or so later, again offering praise and a treat immediately after just one nail clipping.

Clip the rest of the nails.

Keep clipping only one nail at a time until your dog no longer acts nervous or shy about the process. Then, you can progress to clipping a few nails at once. If your dog get nervous, stop, give them a treat, and leave the rest until another day.

With time and patience, your dog will learn that having their nails trimmed is not that scary after all. Make sure you keep handing their paws between sessions so the next time they need their nails clipped, they are still used to it.

For professional assistance, contact a location that offers pet grooming services, such as Kenhaven Animal Hospital.