Fear Free Nail Trims at home

Getting the dog comfortable with being in position for a nail trim is first. Before trimmers are ever presented you should pick a nice quiet spot for nail trimming and work on reinforcing the position you will be using for nail trims. For most dogs, a down is easiest and most comfortable. Small dogs can be done on elevated surfaces such as grooming tables but the position must also be taught on the table. Once the dog can be in the designated area and settle into position calmly and quietly it’s time to move to the next step of having the dog target the nail trimmers with their feet. By encouraging the dog to touch the trimmers they become less scary and the dog makes the choice to interact in a safe and predictable manner. Targeting the trimmers may take some time, especially if there is a past history of stressful nail trims. The following video link shows the above-described steps.

Once the dog is familiar with targeting the trimmers and having the trimmers around their feet, you can then work towards positioning the trimmers around the toenail as seen in the next video

Lastly, we progress to actually trimming the nails. Don’t feel the need to trim all the nails in one session. It’s actually more beneficial to only do one or two nails per session. Remember, we want to set the dog up for success and our goal is low stress. Once the dog gets more comfortable with the process, you will be able to trim more nails per session.

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