When she came home until a year and a half old, we lived in a neighborhood and walked on concrete for a couple miles a day, so her nails stayed worn down on their own and never needed cut. When we moved to this house in Podunk, Florida and the concrete wasn't available, they grew. Fast.
She would absolutely panic when I attempted to trim them. She's not an easily rattled dog, but she couldn't handle nail clipping. Shaking, panting, thrashing so hard I couldn't do anything without the risk of cutting her, the whole nine yards. It'd frustrate and make me anxious on top of her panic, so we stopped, and I started counter conditioning. And bought a Dremel. So much easier to work with for a flightily dog, IME.
Counter conditioning is the process of s-l-o-w-l-y reteaching your dog that something that used to be negative and scary is a positive thing. For Nola, a highly food motivated dog, this meant giving her a fantastic treat whenever she was near the Dremel. After a while she realized that Dremel = amazing treat, and looked forward to it coming out. Same with handling her feet. Slowly I connected the two, and made having the Dremel touch her nails a fun, tasty and positive experience.
It took a while, but the complete 180 from her prior behavior is incredible. A positive reinforcement miracle if there ever was one!
|Her quicks are still a bitch to keep back and I want them shorter, so they're dremeled 2-3x a week.|