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Tuesday Training Byte: Nail Trimming

I am curious as to the percentage of dog owners who have someone else, such as a vet or groomer, trim their dogs toe nails? Not only can that be expensive, but can actually make your dog more anxious. This can be trained to older dogs too, so it is not too late to start. Here it is helpful to "chain" behaviors as discussed in a previous blog. Here we start with the dog sitting and facing us while we start to teach the "shake" command. While sitting on the floor, hold a treat in your closed fist and say shake. As soon as your dog paws your fist, say "Yes!" and give him the treat. At first your hand will be low and in front of the dog's paw. Repeat this behavior 3-5 times. Now lift your hand up a bit and do the same thing. The next step is to hold onto the dogs paw before treating. Slowly increase your time to holding the paw about 10 seconds. If at any time things don't seem to click, start back at the beginning. Once the dog is consistent we will increase how high we hold our hand and the time we hold onto their paw. Then add the snip of one toe nail, treat and release. Now make a big deal and call it good for the day. The next day clip a couple of toe nails before treating and releasing. Before you know it, when you sit on the floor with the nail clippers, the dog is ready to extend his paw because he knows treats and pats are coming!

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