Nail Clipping Anxiety Tips

If your Pekingese dog is anything like mine, you know what a daunting task it can be to clip her nails. Some dogs, in particular females, tend to fight their way out of this seemingly painless ordeal: whimpering, squirming and even attempting to bite their beloved owners. In fact, this type of behavior can occur anytime you come near your dogs paws which can be very frustrating!

It is important, if you are the owner of a Pekingese puppy, to get him used to having his nails clipped early on. Same as with housebreaking and teaching him to walk on a lead, the earlier you begin getting him familiar with it, the easier it will be for you, and for him, in the long run. On the other hand, if you are the owner of an adult Pekingese who simply won’t let you near her paws, this may be due to not being introduced to the clippers early and often enough as a puppy, or because she suffered some sort of traumatic/painful experience while having her nails trimmed at some point in her life. For instance, if the quick had been cut at some point (which is painful), either from her nails being too long or from clipping them back too short, she may associate that with having her nails trimmed every time and put up a mean fight.

I know it can seem hopeless when dealing with a Pekingese who has anxieties around nail clipping time, but it isn’t and there are ways to “re-train” your dog without it taking a team of 4 holding her down. It takes time and patience and, in some cases, many months, before you see results but it works and it will make the experience so much better.The first thing to remember is to take it slow. Especially if he is an older dog. Don’t attempt to clip more than one nail a day and make sure you allow enough time to ease your dog into it.

Things you will need:

– Good Quality Clippers
– Treats

What to do:

– Gently lay your dog down on her back. This procedure works best with two people, but I have done it alone.
– Rub her chest area, get her relaxed and let her sniff the treat but don’t give her one yet! If you have a partner assisting you, while you are clipping, he/she can be rubbing the dogs belly/chest area to comfort her. This may take some time.
– Use firm words, but reassure her and be calm. She can, and will, pick up on your anxiety!
– Once you have her somewhat relaxed, with a steady hand, gently grab a paw (keep talking calmly and rubbing her belly), pick a nail and quickly clip – being sure not to clip too close. As soon as you have clipped, offer her a a treat, praise her, and be done for the day. Repeat, on a different nail the next day.

It is important to note, that initially it is not necessarily the amount of nail you clip off, as much as it is the act of it and relieving her anxiety around the nail clipping procedure. If the nails have gotten long, you will want to start off short to prevent pain and bleeding which will set you back. Take it slow. Also, in the beginning, I suggest that you have a partner help you. You will be surprised how quickly your dog responds to the reward.

Lastly, and this is very important, do not do this immediately following bath time. If your dog actually enjoys bathing, keep it that way and do not add anxiety to the experience, she may start rebelling her bath. And, naturally, if your dog has anxiety around bathing, introducing more anxiety will only make matters worse.

They key is to take it slow. Be calm and know that in situations such as this you can re-train and older dog.