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Nail Clipping

By Robin Tierney

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Following is Pauline Mercier's advice for no-more-tears nail-clipping, as practiced on her Sam, a pit bull she adopted last year.

I would wait till he was relaxed at night, and go over and gently touch one nail very briefly -- saying "Boop" at the same time. I would immediately praise, "Good boy, Sam!" Then I gave him a treat.

The next night I did it again. On the third night I touched two nails before the praise and treat.

Within a week-and-a-half to two weeks, I gradually built up to massaging Sam's paw, including the nails. He always got the praise and treat after.

I then very gently flicked his nail with my first finger, made the "Boop" sound, and it turned into a game. Shower with praise, then treat.

Next, time to show the clippers!

That night, I showed him the clippers and gently touched one nail while saying "Boop." I did not attempt to cut; instead I gave immediate praise and a treat. Then I put the clippers away. When he was comfortable I touched two nails, then three.

When I decided Sam was ready for a cut, I waited until he was asleep. I gently massaged his paw while talking softly, and was able to clip one. When he jumped up, I showed him the clippers and praised enthusiastically, and gave him the treat.

Each night I clipped one more. He did get antsy the first week I started to cut, so I did a massage one night and did not cut.

Now I am able to do one paw one night and the other one the next. I always start with the dew claw first. His back paws have not needed them in awhile, probably because we walk everyday.

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Last Updated: February 01, 2015 (LET) PawSupport