Many of you have probably seen the video going around of a lady putting PB on her forehead to trim her dogs nails…..
PLEASE just DON’T… It seems clever and cute but could spell disaster for some owners and dogs. Face bite anyone??
Why you would put your face/head in the face of a dog while you weild a sharp tool on their toenails is beyond me. But that’s probably just my dog trainer side showing.
Plus the angle this affords is so not ideal for actually seeing what you are clipping off in relation to the structure of the nail. Which increases the chance you will quick your dog, which is no fun for anyone and can be painful for some. It would be easy for the dog to quickly redirect on the person right in front of them.
Here are several other options that work wonderfully for many dogs. .
First you could simply teach your dog to tolerate nail trims and general handling. Yes this is easier in theory for some dogs than others, heck my own vizsla doesn’t enjoy trims but she allows it and has learned it’s just part of life. But there are tons of resources out there and tons of local trainers who would probably be happy to work with you on this issue with your dog.
I use a variety of positions with my own dogs and clients when trimming. It depends on personality usually. I like the angle of view the above position affords but some may not be comfortable laying like this for you. It’s also super easy to simply take a slip lead and secure your dog to your deck railing or fence nice and short so they don’t have access to your arms and face as you work around and trim. Keeps the wiggles down too. Similar to how farriers trim horse hooves. Work to the side of each foot so you can see what you are doing.
Here is a video of me doing Oakley’s nails in a similar fashion.
If you would like to go the distraction route or add that PB reward in you can actually just take some PB and smear on a plate, or a tub wall, or even have a helper hold a spoonful and let your dog go to town. Safe for all and just as effective.
There are also other things suction to surfaces to hold a reward like this Lick Lick pad or this Aquapaw from Chewy. People also like Lickimats which can be found several places and offer a fun way to feed foods too.
If your pup is nervous or fearful during exams or nail trims it may be wise to muzzle condition your dog. These are amazingly useful tools that allow dogs and people to remain safe as they work through issues. When conditioned properly even the most sensitive and wary dog (like Mr. Brawny above) can learn to tolerate these tools. I found I really like the Italian Basket muzzle as a light comfortable option for dogs like vizslas, labs, and Catahoulas like Brawny. Affords a lot of room to pant and take treats but also isn’t bulky. Obviously for more serious powerful dogs you may want something more along the lines of a Baskerville, which you can actually warm up and custom fit a bit too.
Now I will get off my trainer soapbox. I hope this gives you more ideas on how to tackle nail trims with your pets.
Stay safe everyone.