Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stewie's First Toenail Clipping

Oh, the horror...

Stewie had his toenails clipped while under anesthesia for his "fixing", but today I started working on clipping his toenails while he was awake.

Midge used to be really good about getting her toenails clipped, until she saw how traumatic it was for Scrappy.  Scrappy struggles and screams and bites, as if his life is in peril.  I was lucky to get one toenail clipped a day with him, so I started paying the vet's office to do it, but even they had issues with causing Scrappy that much stress.  The old guy has a weak heart.  So, now I only clip Scrappy's toenails when he is asleep, and I do just one or two before his panic can escalate to epic proportions.  I think having the vet's office do it was a mistake, because they had time constraints and would physically restrain him, which just added to his fear.

One prerequisite to toenail clipping is that Midge has to be locked in her crate, because otherwise, the second she hears the clink of me picking up the toenails clippers, she comes running and jumps nervously all over me, trying to stop me from "hurting" Scrappy.  All I can figure out is that someone must have cut Scrappy's nails past the quick and caused him pain at some point, because he has such an intense reaction to it, even though I have never hurt him during the process.

I was determined to let Stewie's first conscious toenail clipping be a positive experience.  I let him sniff the clippers, and then just dragged the instrument across his nails while petting him in my lap.  Unfortunately, I forgot to put Midge in her crate, so her nervousness rubbed off on Stewie and he kept trying to climb out of my lap to get away.  I already screwed up.  Oh well, may as well work on both Midge's attitude and Stewie's toenails at the same time.

The next big challenge was getting him to stop sticking his nose onto the clippers, because I didn't want to clip his whiskers.  I was trying to keep my energy low and relaxed, so that he wouldn't think the clippers were a toy, and start biting them.  As soon as he turned his nose away, I clipped off the very tip of the longest nail.  I didn't want to inadvertently twist the nail by attempting to clip a thick midsection.

At the sound of the clip, Stewie immediately inspected the remaining portion of his nail that was still attached to his paw, and he discovered that he enjoyed licking and biting it.  Soon he sniffed out the tip that had been clipped off and tried to eat it.  Mmmmm.  Good as bone.

I clipped a few more, praised and petted him, and then gave him a break.  I think it worked out well for Midge, because she discovered that not all dogs freak out when their toenails are clipped.  Hopefully, Stewie will continue to be good-natured about it, and Midge will learn to relax like she used to before Scrappy conditioned her to fear the clippers.


Cindy D. said...

Isn't it funny how different dogs react so differently to having their nails clipped? When I do Mason, he lays o his back with all four feet up in the air and waits patiently to have them all done. He never flinches, never moves, wags his tail and is just as happy as can be. Smarty takes 2 people but I only ever have to cut his dewclaws as his other nails do not grow. Dakotas grow fast, and she is the worst to do even though she is very well trained. Old Butchy tolerates it but only because he is a good dog.

Perhaps you should try using a dremel? It is better for them and once they get used to the vibration is much less traumatic.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy D - I actually have a dremel tool specific for dogs and cats, but it only worked with my Labrador. It would suck the smaller dogs' toenails into the safety cover and get jammed.

achieve1dream said...

Stewie is so cute!!! I've clipped nails while the dog is sleeping before lol. Sadly the vet does just make clipping worse... :( You're on the right track with both Stewie and Midge!