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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're working on handling Roscoe's feet and associating the nail clippers/dremel with good times. (Roscoe's our 8-9 week old puppy terrier mix that we adopted 1 week ago.) I'm also trying to learn how to hold/handle him when we do start trimming his nails again. The last time I attempted I cut one too short, so right now we're just focusing on getting him comfortable with handling, the clippers, and the dremel. Not surprisingly, I don't think he trusts me much right now. :(

I've been watching lots of videos and these people make it look so easy, but I swear I don't have enough hands to hold him and trim his nails and I don't know how to position his body. He has black nails and right now they're very tiny, so I need to keep him as still as possible to decrease the chance of me hurting him, but I swear he's a slippery, wriggly little guy.

My question is what is the best way to hold your dog/the best position for them to be in when you're trimming nails? I'm a visual learner, so videos and/or pictures are greatly appreciated if you can point me in the right direction. Many of the videos I'm watching show close ups of the dogs nails, which is great, but I can't figure out how to hold Roscoe.
 

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I always have my dogs flat on their back. It's easiest for both of us. But I also don't have to really hold them, they all just lay quietly for it.
 

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I've been told a grooming table is a good investment as unless they're very large dogs it's by far ideal to have them up there.
 

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When I do get around to doing the nails of my three, I try to get them up on the couch, and then make myself comfortable on the floor in front of them. All the while, I'm showing them the clippers and speaking to them in a low and calm voice, and they know the routine. Sometimes Tiger won't get up on the couch or chair, so I have to lay on the floor with him, but so long as they're where they want to be and least stressed, I can make do. (I've been reading the latest dremel nail trimming threads and checked out the very helpful DoberDawn link on all the what/why/how's, so we're going to be starting all over from scratch as soon as I get all the supplies in! :rolleyes:)

Anyway, they'll still usually pull their feet away and try to hide them underneath themselves, so I get the ones that are accessible and then have them get up and lay on their other side so I can get the others. I'm still telling them how good they are and speaking in a comforting tone.

Yes, it gets messy with nail pieces everywhere, so after the really excellent after-trimming treats are consumed, the vacuum comes out afterwards.
 

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Ditto on backs for smaller dogs (if comfy) and on couch for bigger dogs. My doberman used to lay on his side on the couch for dremeling. I sat on the floor. Really helped to see well. My small dogs normally lay on their backs between my legs for nail trims/dremeling.
One way to teach it:

I'm still working on settle on back between my legs with my puppy. So for the now I normally just do his front feet while he sits in my lap or next to me on the couch. Back feet are trickier so often have my husband hold him and feed treats for each clip/dremel touch if I want to get done quickly. :)
 

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I love my grooming table. It makes things so much easier. I can put my adult dog up there by himself and he will stay while I trim his nails though he doesn't enjoy it. On the ground he would struggle and try to get away, but he knows that the table means he just needs to sit there and cooperate. I used to do him on the couch, but it became a game of his sitting on the couch running away, coming back, running away again, and the whole thing got drawn out and annoying.

It's also useful for my puppy. She is too wiggly to sit quietly, but my husband puts peanut butter on a spoon and lets her lick it while I do her nails or other grooming. The height of the table makes it much easier to see what we're doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ditto on backs for smaller dogs (if comfy) and on couch for bigger dogs. My doberman used to lay on his side on the couch for dremeling. I sat on the floor. Really helped to see well. My small dogs normally lay on their backs between my legs for nail trims/dremeling.
One way to teach it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EITYvqs32Hg

I'm still working on settle on back between my legs with my puppy. So for the now I normally just do his front feet while he sits in my lap or next to me on the couch. Back feet are trickier so often have my husband hold him and feed treats for each clip/dremel touch if I want to get done quickly. :)
Thank you all for the extremely helpful ideas, videos, and articles! I've become a huge fan of kikopups (from this site) and love this video!
 

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gngracie,

8-9 week old pup and trimming nails, you have a wonderful opportunity since the pup is so young. All too many people end up making the same mistakes in the beginning and I know this firsthand. FWIW, at the proper times and with a gentle touch, massaging and exploring a pup's body with absolutely no resistance from the pup and force from the human, get your little dude used to your touch and the comfort it brings him. Pups crash hard when they finally decide to flip their own off switch, those are the times to take advantage of, from the tips of his ears to the ends of his paws to the tip of his tail to his gums and teeth to the soft of his stomach and everywhere in between, gently give your pup physical contact which he loves and becomes used to. Nails grow slowly and so should your pursuit of subjecting a pup to any physical situation which will be lifelong.

My personal experience is for the dog relaxed and laying on her left side because I hold the clippers in my right hand. She freely allows me to trim her nails and it takes a couple of minutes at most. Better to always cut a bit less than too short as you know, I cut my first pup's nails to the quick twice in one session because I was impatient, struggling with him and never earned his complete trust of handling sensitive areas of his body. Live and learn I did but I blew it in the beginning and it was always more of a struggle clipping his nails.
 

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I tend to do Toby's nails with him laying on his side. Flat on his back he can't breathe properly, and standing - well, he's a little flighty about having his feet touched especially if he knows I'm coming to do his nails. So I get him on the floor or on the couch and have him lay on his side and then I just pick a paw and start clipping. If the angle is weird, I move him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
gngracie,

8-9 week old pup and trimming nails, you have a wonderful opportunity since the pup is so young. All too many people end up making the same mistakes in the beginning and I know this firsthand. FWIW, at the proper times and with a gentle touch, massaging and exploring a pup's body with absolutely no resistance from the pup and force from the human, get your little dude used to your touch and the comfort it brings him. Pups crash hard when they finally decide to flip their own off switch, those are the times to take advantage of, from the tips of his ears to the ends of his paws to the tip of his tail to his gums and teeth to the soft of his stomach and everywhere in between, gently give your pup physical contact which he loves and becomes used to. Nails grow slowly and so should your pursuit of subjecting a pup to any physical situation which will be lifelong.

My personal experience is for the dog relaxed and laying on her left side because I hold the clippers in my right hand. She freely allows me to trim her nails and it takes a couple of minutes at most. Better to always cut a bit less than too short as you know, I cut my first pup's nails to the quick twice in one session because I was impatient, struggling with him and never earned his complete trust of handling sensitive areas of his body. Live and learn I did but I blew it in the beginning and it was always more of a struggle clipping his nails.
Thank you DriveDog and BostonBullMama. You're absolutely right about them crashing hard (and FAST)! I love the idea of using that time right before he falls asleep and right after he falls asleep to help him get used to being handled from toe to tail. I'll add that to my handling routine and also try to get him comfortable with lying on his side while I handle his paws and mouth, etc.
 

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Thank you DriveDog and BostonBullMama. You're absolutely right about them crashing hard (and FAST)! I love the idea of using that time right before he falls asleep and right after he falls asleep to help him get used to being handled from toe to tail. I'll add that to my handling routine and also try to get him comfortable with lying on his side while I handle his paws and mouth, etc.
Just one quick thought, the old saying " Let sleeping dogs lie" has merit. Even though the saying doesn't directly apply to a sleeping dog, I'd choose a time when the pup is relaxed and starting to unwind but I don't know that I'd purposely wake the dog while sleeping during this practice. But, you might find that once you start this process the pup might fall asleep while you are applying this approach. I think your " using that time right before he falls asleep" would be a wonderful time to give the pup a massage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good point. :)
 
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