Want to know how to clip your dog’s nails? First, find out if you should! Here’s 20 specific signs to help you decide.

“How do I clip my own dog’s nails?” is the number one question that is heard in the grooming shop from the conscientious dog owner. The real question is SHOULD you clip your own dog’s nails. The average owner doesn’t realize that nail trimming for your dog can trigger a huge fear reaction for your furry friend. The feelings it provokes for your dog are similar to those a human child would experience while having a needle vaccination. Children often throw tantrums and are impossible to comfort if they know they will be getting a needle immunization. Dogs are no different with nail trimming, except that their tantrums involve biting and releasing their bowels. This fear-driven behavior typically comes as a complete shock to the average dog owner, and the trust that is lost between dog and owner is significant and costly. The majority of dog owners find that the emotional and physical price to clip their own dogs nails, is simply too high.

Here are the factors to consider when deciding if you are in the twentieth percentile of dog owners that can clip their own dogs nails without causing emotional or physical pain to your dog (or to yourself).

.Do you consider yourself an anxious person?

.Do new experiences generally cause you to feel worried rather than curious?

.Are you afraid to give or receive a needle vaccination?

.Does the sight of your own blood freak you out?

.Does the sight of your own dog’s blood freak you out?

.Does the sight of your own or your dog’s blood freak your dog out?

.Can you handle having your dog jerking and pulling while you hold him or her?

.Can you handle hearing your dog whimper and/or cry out even when there is no physical pain?

.Can you handle having your dog experience sustained fear that you are causing him or her?

.Are you the first person to offer sympathy to a friend or child when they are worried or injured?

.Do people tell you that you wear ‘your heart on your sleeve’?

.When trying new things, do you tend to move slowly rather than quickly?

.Does your dog have black nails?

.Does your dog handle changes with high anxiety?

.Is your dog spooky when you hold or handle his feet?

.Does your dog have bad experiences with nail trimming by you or others?

.Has your dog ever been scared enough to bite you or someone else?

.Do you need a muzzle for your dog to brush him?

.Has the fear of making your dog’s nails bleed stopped you in the past from trying to clip his nails?

.If your dog’s nails do bleed on your floor, furniture or clothes, will that upset you?

If you have answered yes to any 5 or more of these questions, you may want to reconsider whether or not you really want to learn how to clip your own dog’s nails. Your dog may still feel anxious and worried during the nail clipping for a professional, but wouldn’t you rather have them feel mad at the groomer and not at you, just as a parent would rather have their child mad at the nurse with the needle instead of themselves? And, the nurse and the groomer have both been trained (and hopefully have experience) in the quickest and easiest methods to keep their subjects calm. Experience goes a long way when it comes to fear triggers, and nail trimming is the number one fear trigger for dogs in the grooming room. The fee for nail trimming is not time or cost prohibitive, generally ranging $5-$20.00 per visit, and many shops like the Pooch Parlor take nail trims as walk-ins and accomplish this task in under 5 minutes. The cost of losing your dog’s trust and confidence in you far outweighs the cost of regular nail trimming at the groomers.

For those courageous humans that are confident they and/or their dog can try home nail clipping, check out the step by step written and video tutorial at http://www.thepoochparlor.net. Happy clipping!

Copyright 2010 DuAnn Lustig Chambers

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