Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wednesday With Willow - The Tale of the Nails

Mum struggles with me and my nails. You see, every time she tries to trim them I fight her like a ninja. She must not touch my paws.

She says they look like talons. I agree, they do a bit. She’s worried they’ll start to cause me problems. She also said she’d get the vet to do it, but I fight him like a ninja too.

At the moment, they don’t cause me any problems - Mum’s having a few with them though, she says I sound like a tap dancer when I trot across the floor and asked if I would refrain from doing my performance of Riverdance at four in the morning – spoiling all my fun.

She’s started this new training regime, whatever that is. We’re doing something called ‘paw de-sensitising’. I don’t care what she does as long as she DOES.NOT.TOUCH.MY.PAWS.

She says she’s going to try again tomorrow – just clip the tippy-tips of them off to let the quick recede. I’m not sure if I’m going to let her. The alternative she says is that I do a lot of road walking so the rough surface wears them back naturally – but we all know how I hate any kind of walking – so that’s not the answer is it?

I shall report back. I don’t hold much hope for her to be honest – but you can’t fault her for trying can you?

She says if anyone has any ideas she’d be most grateful to hear them – just make sure that it doesn’t involve the touching of my paws at all, ‘kay.


  1. Teach her to give her paw (shake hands) with lots of treats xx If you use a clicker you can shape the behaviour and reward for any slight progress. Good luck xx

    1. Thank you - we're doing just this - little by little - she doesn't really get the concept of training at the mo, although we have got recall now! I think she worries what on earth is going to happen to her. Baby steps (with big nails!!) :D

  2. I am sure somehow your mum will find a way to trim those nails, Willow. However, Riverdance or not, you are the most beautiful little lady!

  3. Hi Y'all!

    My Human had a pup like you so she learned to use lots of treats and a dremel. I had to get used to the sound and the funny vibration, but getting a treat for each nail...well, let's just say, all those treats...yum! Totally worth it!

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. My Shyla was terribly afraid of everything when I met her. I thought that I might have to have the vet sedate her to clip her nails. But, the desensitization went faster than almost anything else in her learning. I used bison lung (that seemed to be key - Shyla adores it) and I only used it for touching her nails. I touched her paws multiple times every day, and soon I was touching her nails with the clippers. The first few clips came a few months after her arrival, at which point her nails were so long that I was terrified that she would split one. (R has split nails in the past and has had to have surgery to totally remove them because they were so mangled and infected).

    I guess the only advice that I have is to try to choose times when your little ninja is sleepy and relaxed. Pet her and then stroke on down to her paw - then give her bison lung as a reward for letting you stroke her paw. As she gets used to you touching her paw, then progress toward acting more like you're manipulating it.

    In retrospect, I cannot believe this worked for Shyla. She's still scared of walking between our car and another parked next to it when we're in the city... but she lets me clip her nails with almost no drama? Seems unbelievable (but it's true). I hope for the same for you.

    Good luck to you both!

  5. Awww man, we have this same problem! I thought we had it beat, here is what we did:

    Recently though her fear has come back up to the surface, maybe we got too close? We never hit the quick but the clippers are quicker so we wanted to go back to using them. Any who...we can pet her with the clippers, give her treats, touch her paws, touch her paws with the clippers, tap her nails with the clippers, but go to clip and she jumps a mile and YELPS as loud as possible when we haven't even done anything yet!
    Very frusterating...i'm having to now go back to square one, desensitizing, treating, and clipping one a day..good luck! Hope our article helps!
    ~DZ Dogs

  6. I'm a bit late to the post - but thought I'd throw in my two cents. My Blueberry isn't a fan of the dremel or clipping of her nails either. The best I can do is use a human nail file (or a raspier heel file). I try to only touch her nails, which is fairly easy since her nails are about like Willow's. I grab the upper part of her nail and file back and forth a few times, treat her before she pulls away. At first, I would stop after one nail. It's a pretty long process - but the good news is, as long as she knows some kind of treat is involved, she'll let me sometimes do an entire paw. I tend to file her nail at the top first so that way even if I don't get the bottom half, it will often naturally wear away on our walks. Her nails are still longish - and yes, there is still that tapping sound - but at least when she goes to the vet for her yearly dental cleanings - when the techs have her under, they can trim her nails back a good way since the quick is not as long. Also, I usually stop when she's indicated she's had enough.


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