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I have a 6 lb Yorkie that is a rescue, we've had her about a year, and the vet thinks she's about 3 years old - when I take her to get her nails trimmed it's EXTREMELY traumatic for her.  they have to put a muzzle on and she jerks around, and tries to bark and bite, which is not like her at all - she NEEDS to have her nails trimmed about once a month, but it's SO traumatic that I hesitate to bring her, how can I make this situation better?

Answer
Chinooks
Chinooks  
Thanks for asking your question.

Additional information may be found on my web site -- Outlaw Chinooks -- http://bit.ly/kHmbeH

I've had dogs that were really adverse to toenail trimming and now I use a Dremel tool to do their nails. The toenail gear bag also has pig ear pieces in it so everything in there smells like pig ears -- a treat they only get when their nails are done -- and now the dogs all love toenail time. Tips and links follow

Dog Toenail Care and Trimming -- http://bit.ly/gPmBJj
Diagrams of toenails are on my web site at the link above.

Pooch Pedicures are generally a simple procedure, like brushing, ear-cleaning and bathing. Events that you have trained them to accept calmly since puppyhood. There are, of course, exceptions to all rules, including the normally obedient and docile dog that simply will not tolerate having toenails clipped and in some extreme cases won't allow their feet to be handled at all. This aversion can sometimes be traced back to a painful experience involving toenails and/or feet, but nonetheless, you must trim the nails to maintain healthy feet and body structure. This is especially important with less active dogs as their nails do not wear down as rapidly.

Behavior modification techniques will help ease the trauma for you and your dog when nail trimming is due.

SESSION ONE

   Begin by touching your dog on the leg, or the place closest to the nails that does not cause the dog to object.
   Reward this tolerance with a very small, very tasty treat. Next, touch a little closer and again reward with food.  
   Keep repeating, perhaps many, many times, each time moving a little closer to the toes, stopping when the dog seems about to resent the intrusion.

SESSION TWO (Should be the next day.)

   Repeat the steps from day one.
   When the dog lets you touch the toes, move on to the next step, picking up the foot.
   When this can be done without causing objection, touch the toenail clipper to the toes.
   Remember to reward the desired behavior as you progress.

Eventually, you should be able to begin clipping one toenail. Avoid the temptation to clip all the nails at once. Clip ONE NAIL A DAY, after rewarding the dog for tolerating your touching the handling all the feet. Spend the time to recognize how far you are able to move with each day's training and remember to reward the dog for accepting the handling of legs and feet. Given persistence, your dog should accept nail trimming routines without difficulty.

TIPS ON CLIPS

   Use toenail clippers that are made specifically for toenail trimming.
   Cut nails perpendicularly to the long axis of the nail, and about one-quarter inch away from the quick (blood supply.)
   If you cut too short and the nail bleeds, draw the nail across a bar of softened soap to control the bleeding. You can also use a styptic powder or stick that will clot the blood quickly. (Kwik Stop is a brand commonly available at your local pet supply retailer.)
   If the dew claw nail (on the inside of the leg above the foot) has become embedded in the flesh of the leg, cut the nail at the proper place and extract the embedded tip. Treat the small wound with an antibacterial dressing. (You can also have your veterinarian or groomer do this.)
   If a toenail is broken and hangs by a small piece of tissue, pull the broken piece off with a hard twisting motion. If it bleeds, use the Kwik Stop or soap method mentioned above.


Dog Toenail Care and Trimming

TOENAIL END VIEW

The left drawing show the end view of a dark nail correctly cut. The quick is just barely trimmed and will not be bleeding.
  
Dog Toenail Trimming and Care
  
The right drawing show the end view of a dark nail cut too close to the quick. This is a big OUCH! and will be bleeding. The quick has been cut into.

Toenail Grinding

Rather than reinvent the wheel, Dober Dawn (You will leave this site to see this article -- http://www.doberdawn.com/ ) has the most informative site I have seen on how to properly grind dog toenails. There are fantastic photos and tips on the entire process.  

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Kathleen A. Riley-Daniels

Expertise

I am known for my originality, creativity and flexibility in dog training, and I specialize in everything from training and handling skills to behavior challenges. All breeds, personalities and skill levels are welcomed including handlers and/or dogs with physical limitations. I encourages students to work outside their comfort zone for enhanced learning and utilizing skills that best fit the needs of each team. Keeping the focus on fun, play and praise. My enthusiasm for training is contagious and all efforts of both dog and handler are rewarded. If you are looking for assistance in house training or other training areas, please visit my web site or blog first and see if the information there is helpful to you: http://www.outlawchinooks.com/ or http://RileyTrainingCenter.blogspot.com or YouTube Channel http://bit.ly/bhTHTb

Experience

I have trained and participated in many canine performance events including obedience, rally obedience, field, herding, tracking, conformation, weight pull, training and judging 4-H, assistance dog training and wrangling for movies. I teach private and group lessons, workshops, seminars, camps, lecture internationally and have written award winning articles for numerous publications. I was voted one of the Twin Cities Top Dog Trainers by the readers of Twin City Tails Magazine, I am a certified in Animal Nutrition, Animal Training and Behavior and am an evaluator for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen program.

Organizations
Various local, regional and national breed clubs.

Publications
Have worked as an editor, on staff and as a volunteer on a variety of community, local, regional, national and international publications.

Education/Credentials
College degree and life-long learning with multiple certifications in training, behavior, nutrition and education. I am a life-long learner and I accentuate the positive for both dogs and handlers and my training methods are specifically designed to bring teams to their full potential by customizing training plans and focusing on training exercises that best benefit each individual team.

Awards and Honors
Voted one of the top trainers in the Twin Cities.

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