Saturday, February 5, 2011


Photography is a hobby of mine and my friend Denise and I love to dress the dogs up for holidays and have a photo session.  We learn about our cameras, lighting, and in the process the dogs learn to tolerate our antics LOL!  They actually like it because they get  lots of treats and attention.  Of course this is not the only reason I groom my dogs, but they learn early on to tolerate grooming and nail trimming with a dremel tool.

I try to get Sunny on the grooming table every day - even if just for a minute.  I give her lots of treats for being there and make it as pleasant as I can.  I haven't tied her to the grooming arm because she is not leash trained yet (we're working on that.)  I do have a leash attached to her collar though while she is there to help manage her - she is wiggly and I don't want her to fall off! I start by getting her to settle and feed her something really good.  Then I brush her a little, handle her all over, down to the feet and toes and that is it, we go and do something fun together.  Sunny likes the brushing part.

When I start with the dremel I just turn it on and hold it near them the first couple times so they get used to the noise.  I will do this until I see that the puppy is not afraid of the noise.  Sunny was never afraid of the noise, as Cathy had used it on her as a tiny thing.   Then I start by touching each nail quickly and moving on.  I am making the nails a separate process so that every time Sunny is on the table it is not about nail trimming.  Sunny does not like her nails done!  She is a determined little girl, quite strong for her size and age, and she can put up quite a fight.  I just persevere until I get every nail at least touched with the dremel.  I am always working by myself so I have to hold the pup and trim at the same time.  Of course if you have someone to help you (that knows what they are doing) that is a plus, but I don't.  A friend suggested wrapping her in a towel, so I tried that and it worked pretty good.  I didn't have to wrap her in the towel, I just threw it over the top of her back and surrounded her with it.  I was able to get to her feet and touch each nail with the dremel.   It did seem to calm her down about the whole thing.  But basically I just stick with the program and do her nails a little every day until she gets used to it.  The wrestling match will subside as they learn you are not giving up.  Be it young or old, I never let dogs win when it comes to nail trimming!  I will get the job done.  It is just a part of life that dogs have to learn to tolerate and none of them like it.  Much easier on both human and dog to start when they are young!

One thing I am careful about when doing nails - I do not want to reward bad behavior!  So if the puppy is being a brat I am not going to give treats for that.  I wait to give a treat when the pup is settled and not fighting.   That might be after it is all done.

I prefer to dremel because I can keep their nails really short and not quick them.  Once the dog learns to tolerate the noise and vibration, it is really easier on them as there is no pressure like there is in clipping.  Once you have a feel for using the dremel you can actually feel when you are getting close to the quick.