Nail trimmings...
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    So I had at one point been handling my girl's paws all the time and clipping nails once a week, just a slight bit to get her use to it and everything was fine, when suddenly one week I was met with growls and attempted bites mid process. Now I can still handle her paws and things but at times when I have the clippers she starts growling and biting. There are two methods of thoughts and I wanted the opinion of Shikoku owners.

    One is to nicely desensitize them and use treats. Touch a paw, treat, then use the clippers to tap on the nails, treat and build up to actually clipping the nails. This may take weeks to months.

    Second method is to show that growling and biting is not accepted and to get her use to handling by restraining and eventually build up to clipping when she is no longer growling on handling.

    What is your opinion?
    How is nail clipping with your pup, how did you get them use to it?


  • I am not a shikoku owner, I'm a Kai owner. But nevertheless, my opinion is that for all dogs growling is communication and needs to be acknowledged in the early going. When a dog feels nobody is listening, it then feels the need to escalate the growls to snaps, to bites to get anyone to pay attention. When a dog feels 'heard' you enter an understanding and he will tell you things. The growl can mean- "you are holding my toe too hard," or "hey, my knee is twisted- pay attention!," or "do this without leaning into my back please", or "I need a break to shake off," or "I just remembered that time you nicked my quick like three months ago, and require some reassurance."

    So- never punish a growl. Find out what the problem is. Give the dog a short break, back up a few steps. Do one paw, take a break *before* the growl point. You don't *have* to get all nails done right this second, or at least the relationship with your dog partner should be more important than "Stay still, shut up and let's get this done right now."

    If you have already been ignoring the growl and the dog is up to snapping and biting, you have to back up all the way to touch, click, treat, and advance again stepwise. If the sudden click of the nippers is a trigger for her, do the "dry spaghetti clip" trick to help her out. (hold a piece of dry spaghetti right next to her paw in the same hand you are holding her paw and instead of clipping the nail, clip the spaghetti to insert an extra de-conditioning step before actually cutting the nail) A dremel grinder is tolerated (remember to pulse/stroke the grinder against the nail, in short not press continuously- that gets hot and is painful) sometimes more easily by some dogs.

    It is all fine to say growling and biting is not accepted, but the dog needs to have an accepted way to tell you she needs support or a break. The way to do this is to notice and help her out before she feels she has no choice left but to bite. You can work it out- slow it down, break it up, add more incentive, don't push her beyond her cooperation too fast.
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    I was hoping to get more insight from owners but perhaps the lack of responses means that they are in agreement with you. Back to de-sensitization and baby steps. I just want to make sure she doesn't become a problem dog when she is full grown with an adult bite strength and teeth...
    Thank you!
    Post edited by Shibafox at 2017-08-18 22:03:17
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 216
    Ahhh sorry I would have replied as well but for some reason my brain associated this with a thread I read about dogs eating nail trimmings. Like mine does. Rofllllll. So I thought I'd already read it hahah

    Shikoku owner, here. Also a corgi chi owner. For my Shikoku, honestly I didn't feel comfortable trimming black nails so I purchased a dremel off Amazon (a real dremel and not a weak one aimed for princess pets). Kaja had to get used to it but it is now not a struggle to take care of her nails -- just have to keep her head away from the dremel so she doesn't lick it while it's in action (and hair. Keep long hair out of the way rofl). The steps mentioned above regarding heat are important. Do one pulse per nail and then switch to the next toe and return after that. Always praise and never make it a punishment experience.

    Now one more thing worth mentioning. It was a sudden change in behaviour? Have you investigated the dogs paws for any cysts, bumps, lacerations or injury? Our corgi chi got extremely sensitive to us touching her feet when she had a cyst between the toes of her paw pad. If not an injury on the outside is it possible the bones or tendons got injured somehow? Maybe have someone help you perform some physical tests and see.

    I definitely support using dremels. I feel I have much more control than with a clipper and my dog won't get a sudden and unexpected jolt of pain if I accidentally hit the quick -- it's much harder to do so accidentally. I also tend to round the nail so freshly done claws don't slice like razors!
    Post edited by Kaja at 2017-08-24 11:33:04
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 216
    Oh and I should add I second the comment above about not necessarily finishing all claws in one go. Just a little bit at a time over several attempts will help the experience be less traumatic for the doggo :)

    I do Kaja's nails every two weeks since running around already grinds her nails down and there's no need to. If you find the dogs claws are too short but you still want to desensitize them from the clippers or dremel, the spaghetti trick mentioned above sounds good (or for the dremel, just making the noise run and acclimating them to it). Treats and more treats. Getting to that point where they are comfortable enough to tolerate what you're about to do is the important thing after all (just like getting them used to a toothbrush). XD
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    Thanks! I'm not sure if I'll try the dremel route but I'll definitely consider it if we don't make any progress. She's generally ok with handling I'm not sure what the trigger is but there are times where she doesn't mind when I handle her feet, toes and tap the clippers but then there are times that she goes nuts just at handling, even a slight touch. I've checked her paws and there doesn't seem to be any cyst or injury. I'm trying to handle a paw and tap the nails with clippers and treat daily. Sometimes she just growls, gets up and leaves. I then also try to get her used to being on her back in my legs while handling...sometimes that's ok. Hopefully we can get over this :(....she's 5 months now so I was hoping I'd be doing this with no issues by now. She's definitely different than my Shiba. I'll keep working at it!
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 281
    Is there anything that would've triggered her sudden sensitivity? Could be an outdoor noise or maybe her paw is cut, etc.

    I would always recommend counter-conditioning. Great step by step guide here:

    Never force your dog to do it, Shikoku's are too stubborn/strong-willed to just give in = nail trimmings will become traumatic. It's better to slowly counter condition and create a positive association.
    Post edited by GrayJJ at 2017-08-24 23:24:21
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    I'm not sure. She's at home with my dad when I am at work. He didn't mention anything but I'm not sure what could have happened :(. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    The vid is what I've been doing with the tapping...the main difference though is that I'm left to do it by myself...another person restraining and giving treats would definitely help.., not sure if I should try it with a lead attached so she can't just get up and leave.

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