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Clipping Nails
  • I've got a question....It seems Shibas don't like their feet touched too much. MoJo doesn't mind his feet being touched, but he doesn his shiba scream when I try to clip his nails. He gives us such a hard time and he's really afraid. Today we put peanut butter into his Kong toy to try to distract him, but it didn't work too well. I talked calm to him and showed him the clippers (even put peanut butter on that) and finally he let me clip his nails...Do any of you have some ideas/angles that you use for clipping your shiba's nails? Just thought I'd ask.

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2014-08-07 12:11:47
  • tobyshibatobyshiba
    Posts: 1121
    Usually how I get them done is one person lays on the floor and lays Toby on his back and then someone else gives him love and attention while his nails are getting clipped.
  • I use a dremel to do Saru's nails. He would put up such a fuss with clippers that I finally decided to try out nail grinding. OMG it was amazing the difference it was for Saru. Now Saru still doesn't enjoy having his nails done but he nolonger puts up a huge fight and he doesn't scream anymore. I would suggest trying to find a local place that offers nail grinding services and take MoJo in and see how he does, you may find that he takes to it.
  • There's an excellent video on Youtube (that I can't seem to find!) about nail clipping and positive reinforcement. It worked wonder with Akira, I went from a wiggly screaming dog to a sleeping on its back shiba when I clip his nail!
  • There was a great article in Whole Dog Journal about how to train your dogs to enjoy trimming their nails. You can download it right off their site.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Manual held guillotine clippers have not worked out well with most Shibas we have had here....honestly I think the clippers must hurt since they really do crush/apply pressure to the nail in the cutting process once cutin gets thinker with age. Once a dog has been pinched by the hand helds it is hard to get the trust back.
    So therefore around here the clipper method nail trim was tossed a long time ago

    Currently I use a dremel without fuss from the dogs, and I start the conditioning process early if it is a pup. I train all my dogs with a clicker starting at an early age as well....So start conditioning them to dremel it is just an extension of what the pooches already know.......

    We use the clicker and just click and treat as I hold dogs and the dremel is near them, in off position, sometimes touching a toe.... sometimes not (depends on dog and reaction). The dog can sniff the object and are rewarded for just relaxing around it. Essentially to get then used to how they will be held. This is done daily for a bit of time. Eventually, I would turn dremel to on, so they could hear it, and I reward pup for staying relaxed. Later after about a week (depends on the dog), I complete only one or two toenail trims and would add a few more as things progressed. When done we always make a game out it, tossing treats as I fling them across the floor for dogs to chase etc.

    Overall trimming should be a calm process without anyone freaking out. Once you hit an escalated level, you have lost the battle and you will have to back track to the beginning of conditioning. It does help if you have another person to help treat when you are trimming.

    If you are unsure or not comfortable, I would take the dog to a decent groomer that uses the dremel but does not grind too close. The last thing you want is some one who believes in what the profession calls "wacking" with either trimmer or dremel. Yeah there are some callous groomers out there too!

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-03-02 15:56:16
  • sjp051993sjp051993
    Posts: 249
    I use a dremel on all my dogs. I start them as puppies so they quickly get use to it.
  • The type of nail clippers I have is the same kind my vet uses. It looks like some type of scissor (it has a safety shield so the nail doesnt go in too far). It isn't an actual person type of clipper. I am going to google dremel, as I have never heard that word before. I want to see what that is.
    Anyway, I've always clipped all my dog's nails, so I am comfortable with it. I always get my husband to help me when I do it. Calmness is the key. That I can see. I've been clipping MoJo's nails since he was 8 weeks old, and I do it on a steady basis (they grow so fast!), so I would have thought he would be used to it by now. Thanks for all the suggestions.
  • KoryBKoryB
    Posts: 19
    Yep, a dremmel works great for larger dogs.

    Diane, to see the concept, with a built in cover or guard, google Petipaws or Peticure. They seem to be not as powerful, and the build quality is a bit less, I would say. Dremel makes a few nice small battery powered ones. I think they all have an adjustable speed but make sure it does.
    Post edited by KoryB at 2010-03-12 12:41:23
  • You can actually buy just the cover/guard from those companies and put it on your dremel. That is what we did.
  • KoryBKoryB
    Posts: 19
    Oh, good point. I forgot about that.
    \My peticure is dying and I've been meaning to look for a cordless dremel that the attachment would work with.
  • YoshiMitsuYoshiMitsu
    Posts: 318
    I hold Yoshi down and feed him pieces of Pupperoni as Chris cuts his nails and that is it. I am going to cut my sister's Chihuahua's nails today.....wish me luck.
  • TraceyTracey
    Posts: 7
    When i got my kaison....i was scared to clip his nails. Scared of hurting him really. Keep in mind he was my first dog and a Shiba. So i figured i would just take him to the groomer, its only $10. After all Shibas dont need alot of maintenance and i wanted to bath and brush him myself. I discovered that most groomers in my area were quite learly about doing Shibas. One groomers had been bit quite badly and the other said most shibas were just crazy. I assured them that my Kaison was pretty relaxed most of the time and i dont think he would be that bad. He was acutally excellent really...reluctant of course but really didnt put up much of a fuss...and no growling or crazyness. Not keep in mind i think my dog is quite different from the norm from what i have seen and heard. I fully believe he is so relaxed because he has a heart murmur which he has had from birth. Thats a whole other story but i feel lucky because kaison has been a great dog and i havent had any real problems with him. We get his nails clipped regulary with no real problems, he tries to move of course but has never put up a fuss or even a bark. So the other day my roomate and i decided to do it at home. She was reluctant but i assured her he has always been good, and that i would hold him like usual. So we did...and it went great. She was very surprised. So today i thought i would try it on my own. To my surprise Kaison was accepting and let me trim his front paws, i really didnt even have to hold his paws hard. He was good, and very interested in licking my hands and the clippers excessively. So Im gonna try the back ones later on......he doesnt really liked the back feet touched and pulls away but im sure with my some treats and positive reinforcement little by little we will accomplish them. I am amazed everyday by my dog, he is truely an amazing Shiba, i would love to get another but am worried that Kaison is one of a kind and that the next one wont be so easy and calm as him. Also bathing him has never been a problem, he doesnt like it but he lets me do it without a fuss at all, right from day one....i hear that is very rare?
  • kojichankojichan
    Posts: 178
    When I first got Koji, he was leery of virtually anything in my hand or any touch of his body, but especially his paws -- and the front ones the most. So forget nail clippers! I tried the dremel approach and read all the advice on how to get them started. Forget about it!! : ) So in the beginning I decided to try a scratchboard as an alternative. It works very well, I still use it, and it's one of Koji's favorite activites. He goes nuts scratching to get his favorite treats, and his front nails are filed down short in no time.

    But I made the effort early on to densensitize him of having his paws held, using clicker training. I would just hold his paw, and then click and treat, rewarding him with longer and longer intervals. Now I can hold his paw all day, and he barely acknowledges it. I combined that with all the logical steps one would think of to get him used to the nail clipper. Not sure how it long it took, but one day I just grabbed his paws, started clipping his nails, and he didn't offer the slightest bit of resistance.

    Now I clip them all the time, a little here and a little there, so that he gets at least some clipping 1-2 times a week. He is so relaxed about the whole thing, I can't even believe it. I think that "short and sweet" approach helps because it's never long enough for him to lose patience and/or build up anxiety. Plus, I think the frequency of the experience helps reinforce acceptance of it. Also, a little nip more often, is safer than attempting to cut a big chunk after they have grown quite a bit. I sometimes use a nail file afterwards, or in place of a clipping.

    So the point of all this is that they can surprise you about what changes in behavior they are capable of. Like most anything, the right approach is the key, and that includes figuring out what will work with your dog. Like in Koji's case, it just wasn't happening with the dremel. Have a plan in mind, and work it, little by little, but be flexible. If that doesn't work, try something else.

    BTW, this a video I shot maybe a couple days after I introduced Koji to the scratch board. Even by then, he was loving it. Now he jumps on it the second I put it down and starts going crazy. Just for fun, I'm starting to teach him his left from his right. ; ) It also helps me have more control over the amount of filing done on each paw.

    Post edited by kojichan at 2010-03-14 18:06:41
  • Amanda...I cut MoJo's nails like you do with Chris. My husband gives him something to eat (peanut butter in his kong toy distracts him for a while) and I clip. I can't believe how DAMN FAST his nails grow!!!!!!! I keep at them like once every 2 weeks so that the quik (I don't think I ever spelled that it quick? LOL) doesn't grow long and then you need the stiptic powder. A whole different story (but I always keep it handy). MoJo has every nail black except for one white one. That one is easy to see how far down you should go. The black ones aren't!

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