Best position for trimming nails?

gngracie

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#1
I posted this in the puppy forum, but I'm not sure if it might be more appropriate here, so I apologize for the double post...

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.
 

Maxy24

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#2
In my experience it's easiest to see the nail and avoid the quick if you have the dog standing and lift their foot backwards. You want to see the underside of the nail where you are cutting pieces off so you can see when you are near the quick. You stand or kneel facing the dog at their side. For small dogs and cooperative dogs you can sometimes do all four feet from one side of the dog, for bigger or more difficult dogs you may need to switch sides so you can see the foot better and/or restrain the dog better.

I'm trying to find videos but a lot of them are super close up of the foot, often with the foot in the best position for the camera, not for the person cutting, or have the dog lying down. Lying down on their side or back is another good option if your dog is okay with that position but it can make some nervous dogs panic.

Here's one that shows what I mean about lifting the foot back. He's very cooperative (up until she quicks him) so doesn't need much restraint
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5h-FuCHN7c

Here's another more nervous dog. She's able to restrain with her left arm by reaching over his back and then under him to hold up his feet while pressing him against her chest to keep him still. On a big dog she wouldn't be able to reach all the way around him like that but would be able to reach over and pick up the feet on the side opposite her and maybe she could get the back foot on her side too (if he has a small enough waist). She'd just have to go over on his other side to get the other foot/feet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSVBbmPbdzw

On a larger dog
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH0Y07tgsec
 
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#3
So I totally cheat with Pippa and stick a plate full of peanut butter on the floor so she is occupied while I'm working. I like to just dremel with her feet on the ground, and since we do it every couple of days I don't really have to worry about quicking her: I just take a tiny bit off during each session.
 

Maxy24

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#4
I also smear food all over the table in front of Tucker while I do his nails. I started trying to clip one then treat him but it didn't work at all. Having him actively eating while I clip works much better, he's distracted by the food so less focused on me clipping.
 

Maxy24

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#5
I'd also encourage dremeling if you have trouble not quicking the dog. I HATE HATE HATE clipping nails at work. I feel like I either hurt them or do a crappy job and barely take anything off. The exception is dogs with super long nails where you can actually see where the quick begins on the underside of the nail. But I love dremeling and very rarely quick the dog because I can take off such fine layers of nail but I also get them super short, right up to the quick. That said some dogs (like my dog) won't let you use the dremel on them because the noise terrifies them. But if your dog will let you, dremeling really is the way to go. If you do choose to clip make sure the clippers are really sharp so they put less pressure on the nail and so you can take the thinnest slices of nail possible.
 

Brattina88

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#6
My real answer is standing, as if standing for a vet exam.

But my parents GSD lays on her back with her legs in the air :rofl1: and that's soooo much easier for me :p LOL
 

*blackrose

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#7
I just flip my dogs on their sides and trim their nails that way. No wiggling, no shifting weight, no picking up feet and juggling the trimmers, feet, toes, and their weight all at once. I sit along their back with their feet sticking out away from me so I'm able to a.) bend their feet back to gain access to and trim their nails and b.) place an elbow on their neck as a reminder they need to stay laying down and/or lay on them. LOL

My dogs are much more happy relaxing and staying on their side than being "held in place" by me holding their foot. If I have a helper, them standing while being distracted by treats and/or held in a "bear hug" (one arm around the neck, the other around the abdomen holding the dog close to your body) while the non distracting/restraining person picks up the feet and trims is my next favorite way.

But teaching the dog to just chill on its side is soooooo much easier.
 

meepitsmeagan

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#8
I flip mine upside down in between my legs with their butt facing me and dremel away. With a squishy puppy, I used a frozen kong as a reward system.
 

gngracie

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#10
So I totally cheat with Pippa and stick a plate full of peanut butter on the floor so she is occupied while I'm working. I like to just dremel with her feet on the ground, and since we do it every couple of days I don't really have to worry about quicking her: I just take a tiny bit off during each session.
Love your signature quote! That cracked me up. :rofl1:
 
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