Yay Raiden yay 🙂
So you might be wondering what I’m going on about. Well!
It has been *hard* to trim Raiden’s nails (as in impossible hard) because he is impatient. Training has to go something like this:
# train Raiden to be calm & happy with offering me his paw
# build time I can hold his paw up to 10 seconds (I am between this and the third step)
# repeat with me now touching / stroking his paw as I have it
# build up the amount of time I am holding his paw and the things I am doing…so each of these next steps would be separate:
# holding & messing with his foot fur, trimming the hair, holding toes, touching nails
# next we have to intro the clippers!
# click & treat for looking, sniffing, and touching his paw to the clippers
# get used to me touching the clippers to his paw, lining them up with the nail, then removing
# repeating above step and trimming off a sliver of nail
It’s impossible to predict how long each bullet point would take.
If Raiden got anxious (or, more likely, impatient and began yapping or chewing me) as I was doing it, then we would have to go back a few steps and take it slower. It all depends on the dog’s comfort level.
Rey’s nails grow super quick (combination of hairy paws which don’t wear down on walks, and I’ve read ‘working’ Terrier breeds tend to have faster growing nails too) so obviously we need a way to work on shortening them in the meantime.
Cue the scratch board!
To get Raiden to use it I first taught him to dig at other things.
I began with a bath mat, and hid treats underneath it. When I encouraged Raiden to find them, he dug, to turn the mat over. I clicked and rewarded him. Once he understood the ‘game’ I stopped hiding treats under the mat and just asked him to dig.
We practiced with other things (a towel, jumper, dog bed etc) and, when I asked him to dig at the scratch board, he did 🙂
Today we had our second session. The first session lasted no more than 30 seconds, so here we go:
You can see Raiden has the frustration, with the chewing at the board, but hopefully you can also see the amazing improvement in just one short session!
What I did was ask him to scratch the board, click & treat, then we’d go play, he’d chew an antler etc. After a few minutes we’d repeat; over and over.
Gradually the scratches got bigger (moving the board really helped) and, even though Raiden only did around fifteen swipes in this session, you would not believe the difference in his nails!!!
Since he came home Raiden’s nails have been like needles (and they’re black too, which made me scared to clip them). After just this session the sharp point is gone, and his nails are significantly shorter. I am over the moon!
Now to concentrate all my handling on the back nails, which aren’t quite as bad, so they can be trimmed 🙂