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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I say disconcerting because this pup is my 6th Scottie. We've purchased older pups previously but this one came to us at just 8 weeks. Our other dogs were at least 6 months old.

The breeder brought our puppy to us and spent some time with us showing us how she did things, including foot trim with portable clippers and a nail trim while she cuddled the pup in her arms. Well now comes yours truly who tries to trim the puppy's nails and I get myself bitten. I tried the same method the breeder demonstrated that the older and wiser pup decided not to tolerate. So, now I've started work try to soften her up by gently touching the feet while she's up on a table gobbling treats and trying to crawl up on me like a tree whining the whole time. And, she's quite the wiggle worm, so sit doesn't cut it. I've rubbed the feet and toes and tried to distract her, but she's getting too smart for me. In the meantime, the nails are getting longer & longer. I've only done the foot rubbing routine for a few days but haven't seen much progress. Scotties are not the easiest to exert dominance over, but this puppy is the toughest I've had to deal with.

I don't want a dog who is terrified of me or the grooming routine, so suggestions as to what I should try next would be appreciated..or just continue on with "the foot rubbing and showing the clippers to her routine" ? Thanks
 

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A couple of things come to mind. I’m not sure if the first will be much help but I will point you towards it, you will know better than me if you might make progress.

its Chirag Patel’s Bucket Game - it’s about consensual handling.


A little tip I read was using the clippers to snip dry spaghetti to desensitise your dog to the sound too.

What might work better is to start over using a grinding tool like a dremel.
 

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The big problem is time. Almost anything you do to modify his behavior is going to take time, and the nails are going to continue growing, and aside from tearing things up, long nails are a danger for breaking. It took me 2 months of daily work to get my German Pinscher puppy to let me Dremel a nail. A vet visit where he had to be knocked out and they trimmed his nails short helped us get through that time, but you don't wish for the kind of problem we had that required anesthesia.

Even so, in your shoes, I'd get a Dremel and start the process of getting her used to it while seaching for a more immediate solution. Mine is cordless and was just under $30 from Chewy.

Can you visit with the breeder again for help? Or at least get some advice? My breeder's advice for the Dremel was really good (on a table, treats in sight), but my puppy isn't as feisty as a Scottie.
 

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How old is your puppy now? Really young puppies can be pretty intolerant of being handled, and will often get bitey. Particularly if the puppy hasn't been with you long, building up your bond and developing trust can go a long way toward what the puppy may tolerate.

Of course, I'm not suggesting puppies don't need to learn to allow handling of all sorts. Just that it'll likely be a lot easier as she matures a little.

Personally, with my own dog, I didn't trim her nails until she was 3 years old. At that point, with no buildup or desensitization, I just had her lie down, I trimmed her nails without an issue while she calmly looked at what I was doing. No fight, no problem.
 

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Really young puppies can be pretty intolerant of being handled, and will often get bitey.
Wow. We've had very different experiences. Every dog I ever had from a puppy had been handled from the day it was born at the breeder's. They were good about their feet, head, ears, everywhere. Adult rescues I fostered were different, of course, but even rescue puppies came around fast. They were all Rottweiler or Rottie crosses.

My current guy, the Geman Pinscher I mentioned above who took 2 months of daily work to get to where I could Dremel a nail, resisted nail clipping and grinding with all he had, but I could handle paws, feet, and nails fine even with the clippers or Dremel in hand. His resistance, screaming and trying violently to get away, only came when I tried to clip or grind a nail. He never tried to bite.

You actually didn't trim nails for 3 years? Do your dogs walk on a lot of rough sidewalks or something? At my place 3 months and they start to look like weapons.
 

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You actually didn't trim nails for 3 years? Do your dogs walk on a lot of rough sidewalks or something? At my place 3 months and they start to look like weapons.
Well, her nails were quite long, but yes we did lots of practice walking the neighborhood learning to heel and to stand, sit, and down out of motion. On many of those occasions I wouldn't return to her to release her, so she was running on the recalls. It trimmed her nails nicely!

ETA: good breeders should desensitize puppies to being handled, absolutely! And most do. But most puppies have entered their bitey stage at that point! My GSD puppy would make you pay in blood for the first few months LOL! After that, she calmed considerably.
 

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ETA: good breeders should desensitize puppies to being handled, absolutely! And most do. But most puppies have entered their bitey stage at that point! My GSD puppy would make you pay in blood for the first few months LOL! After that, she calmed considerably.
I'm always covered with small wounds and bandaids over larger ones the first months of having a puppy. Fragile old lady's skin made it worse with the last two. This time I was aware that the worst wounds and probably at least 50% of them weren't from teeth but from nails. My German Pinscher puppy was, and to a lesser extent still is, quite a paw waver. His bite inhibition has been excellent for sometime now, but he still uses his paws a lot. One or both of us must be more careful, though, because I haven't had one of those long, deep scratches on an arm for months - he's 10 months now.
 

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I'm always covered with small wounds and bandaids over larger ones the first months of having a puppy. Fragile old lady's skin made it worse with the last two. This time I was aware that the worst wounds and probably at least 50% of them weren't from teeth but from nails. My German Pinscher puppy was, and to a lesser extent still is, quite a paw waver. His bite inhibition has been excellent for sometime now, but he still uses his paws a lot. One or both of us must be more careful, though, because I haven't had one of those long, deep scratches on an arm for months - he's 10 months now.
Yeah, older skin and all! I had a puppy jump on me at the dog park, which at the time I didn't even think about...until a minute later when I felt the blood dripping off my finger.

Turns out he gave me a 4 inch scratch on my arm! Fortunately, having just raised a puppy, I had a few paper towels with me to sop it up LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I recently took Charlotte to the vet for shots and told the dr of my dilemma. He smiled picked up the clippers and did all 4 feet in under a minute and she didn't know what hit her. He then picked her up under her arms, looked her in the eyes and drama was over. That was three weeks ago. The nails are getting longer, she's getting bigger and more assertive. When I get her up in the morning, I put her up on a table show her the leash for potty time, rub each of her feet and she seems to be tolerating this better.

She's only 5 1/2 months old, so we've got some maturing to do, but like I said my other dogs tolerated being on their backs, having their tummies rubbed and no fuss about nails or grooming. I've got special treats for the massage sessions and will see if I can get a nail or two done at a time. Like I said, our other dogs were older and were not such wiggly worms as this one.

The idea of the spaghetti sound is intriguing and easy enough. She doesn't mind being near the clippers and tries to play with them. We do have a dremel tool in the house I got many years ago for another dog but haven't used it much. It's worth a shot.

Thanks for all your help and to all who took the time to tell of their experiences.
 

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I recently took Charlotte to the vet for shots and told the dr of my dilemma. He smiled picked up the clippers and did all 4 feet in under a minute and she didn't know what hit her. He then picked her up under her arms, looked her in the eyes and drama was over. That was three weeks ago. The nails are getting longer, she's getting bigger and more assertive. When I get her up in the morning, I put her up on a table show her the leash for potty time, rub each of her feet and she seems to be tolerating this better.

She's only 5 1/2 months old, so we've got some maturing to do, but like I said my other dogs tolerated being on their backs, having their tummies rubbed and no fuss about nails or grooming. I've got special treats for the massage sessions and will see if I can get a nail or two done at a time. Like I said, our other dogs were older and were not such wiggly worms as this one.

The idea of the spaghetti sound is intriguing and easy enough. She doesn't mind being near the clippers and tries to play with them. We do have a dremel tool in the house I got many years ago for another dog but haven't used it much. It's worth a shot.

Thanks for all your help and to all who took the time to tell of their experiences.
Ask yourself, what was the difference between the breeder and the vet and your approach to the nail trimming thing?

The answer is, they just did it without hesitation, in a matter of fact - this is what we're doing - kind of way. I think that's the key. If your approach or handling is at all tentative, it puts the puppy or dog on edge. If you're confident and matter of fact about it, it makes them more at ease. I don't try to trick or fool or coax my dog into anything. I just do it.

I think when you first tried to do it like the breeder showed you, you were a bit unsure and the puppy felt that. When the vet did it, since he's done it countless times, he just did it...and viola, the puppy was again fine with it!

Maybe for now it would be best to just have a vet or your groomer trim the puppy's nails, and spend more time and focus on building your relationship and bond with your puppy!
 

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Scotties are not the easiest to exert dominance over, but this puppy is the toughest I've had to deal with.
Pease stop thinking of this, or anything else with your dog, as exerting dominance over the dog. This is not what you want to do under any circumstances, and most especially when you are working with helping a puppy to learn to accept something.

the whole dominance theory has been 100% debunked. It was based on very faulty "research" and modern trainers know that it is not the way to approach training or conditioning dogs.

If you have only done the routine of rubbing paws and so on or trying to get her used to the clippers or grinder for a few days, you are only at the very beginning, and simply need to give it more time. And not with an attitude of exerting dominance. If you go at it with that thought in your mind it may be part of what is making it so difficult. Instead, approach it as something you and the dog need to learn to do together as a team.

If you need to have the vet or a groomer do the nails while you are developing a relationship with your puppy, there's no harm in that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The vet and breeder performed the nail trimming w/o hesitation. That was not how I behaved after I was bitten. I am not about to give up just yet. About the dominance thing, am I not supposed to be the "leader of the pack"?

I am working with her every day. What do you think of placing Charlotte in my husbands lap so she's facing me....rubbing her feet, giving her treats and see if I can get a nail or two done that way. Then, if she gets wound up just end the procedure for the day and do the same thing later in the day, and tomorrow and then tomorrow and another tomorrow until we get over all the drama? I'll do the feet rubbing, treating and a nail or two until they're all done.

Thanks for all the input and sharing of experiences. On top of all this, she's teething. Have a nice day everyone.
 

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The "leader of the pack" theory, as I said above has been completely debunked. As I mentioned, it was based on very faulty "research" and is not true,
@JoanneF has a good article she can refer you to on that. Maybe she will post it here.

Leadership has nothing to do with dominance or creating a hierarchy or being "pack leader". Think about the leaders (parent, teacher, scout leader, boss) that you have admired. They led by good example, kindness, encouragement and patience and people automatically respected them. they had no need to throw their weight around, or be controlling or dominant. It is the same with you and your dog. Throw the dominance/pack leader idea out the window, and instead create a strong loving bond with your dog in which you and the dog are team members who have the same goals.

there is no doubt that you are in control already. You control the food, the doors, where the dog sleeps, and a lot of other things. You do not need to assert some kind of deliberate or attitudinal dominance on top of that.

going at things the way you are sounds good. This is what I did with my cat in teaching him to accept nail trimming. Lots of pets, a few treats, and waiting until he was very relaxed, then I would do ONE nail per day. I kept that up for a few weeks, then I could do two nails. Now, years later, I can simply get the clippers out when he is settled on my lap and do them all. but if he asks me to stop after one paw, I do, and don't do the other until later or the next day.
 

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Thank you @Madra Anamchara

As above, the dominance, pack leadership theory has been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack used in the original study was not a real pack, it was a group of individuals thrown together and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. And dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees - in both cases there was a shared ancestor but the species evolved in different directions. That's why we have humans AND apes, wolves AND dogs.

This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal

Nobody disagrees with boundaries and good manners, but these can be established through training, building a mutually respectful relationship as Madra explains, and without forcing submission from your dog.
 
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