We adopted Kasper when he was 9 months old – here he is on the first night, completely confused and stressed, bless him ❤
He was fearful – he was fearful of us (if we moved to stroke him too quickly he’d get his scared eyes on and cower); he was terrified of being left alone (he chewed halfway through a door); he was scared of having his harness put on; he was nervous of strangers; he was absolutely petrified of men; he turned from a playful pup to a nervous wreck when I jokingly called him “naughty”…
Oh, and he couldn’t stand any form of grooming – be it brushing, haircuts or body handling
For the first two years we had him we didn’t need to cut his nails, as he kept them worn down himself on walks.
I was a new dog owner. Kasper was my first ever dog; I’d never even lived with a dog before and I knew nothing about nail clipping and how important it was to get him used to it.
Sometime when he was about three years old his nails began to grow, no matter how much we walked him. It was then I began counterconditioning him seriously to having his paws handled, with the aim to cut his nails with a tradition clipper.
Kasper had already been comfortable having his hair brushed for months (it was very easy to countercondition him to being brushed), and around this time I was even able to cut the fur on his ears single-handedly. Big steps…but paw handling was still difficult 😦
Over the past two years I have sporadically worked with Kasper and the clippers, but progress was virtually non-existent.
I could handle his paws, I could get him to touch the clippers with his paws, I could even touch the clippers to his paws and build the duration with only very very mild discomfort…but cutting the nails always seemed so far away!
This video is from 4 months ago and is us doing ‘yay clippers are awesome’ training games 🙂
We had a breakthrough a few weeks back when Kasper let me cut some tiny slivers off one of the nails on his front paw ^__^
It wasn’t enough to the make the nail shorter, and Kasper wasn’t 100% comfortable, but it was the first time we’d ever managed it…however I knew I needed to try something else for speedier results.
So for my birthday I asked my parents for a dremel!
Now because Kasper is super sensitive, it will be months before he is ready to have his nails dremeled, especially because he is very sound sensitive! (it took 4 years of counterconditioning to get him like this with the vacuum!)
I’ve touched the dremel to his toes a few times with it turned off, with no issues 🙂
But I needed to get his nails shorter NOW! Bring in the hardware file 😉
The file is AWESOME!
Kasper has no issues with it at all. My partner feeds him high value treats and I file away, and we can do 2 – 4 minutes at a time!
I wasn’t sure how effective the file would be in terms of shortening the nails, but I’m actually really impressed! Here’s Kasper’s nail before we tried the file for the first time (I know they are hideously long, I do know)
After the first session
We had another filing session yesterday, but had run out of high value treats! This meant we kept the session really short and I didn’t put much pressure on Kasper’s nail, to keep him comfortable, so I doubt there was any progress yesterday!
Today’s session though 😀
Really chuffed we’ve found something that works for us, and I assume all the handling / paw restraint and various sensations will be helpful for dremel training too 🙂
*huge sigh of relief* Yay ^__^