Posted by: ashburnreviews | September 15, 2009


One time Daisy had a really bad /damaged toe nail that was split from the tip of it back to the paw. This accident happened at a local dog park last year. We don’t know if she had caught the toe nail on something or someone (there were a lot of kids there that day) stepped on it. But that night and the next day, all she did was hold her paw up and limp around everywhere. It was so sad to see.

We brought her to the vet so they could check it out. The vet said that the nail had to be cut back all the way to have it heal properly. And to do this, that they would need to put her lightly under. So they did put her under and did trim her toe nail, and we brought home one very sleepy puppy with one very trimmed nail. My husband and I believe that it was this experience that turned Daisy very against any nail trimming experience.

Before this event, she would allow – begrudgingly – groomers to trim her nails. One of us would have to hold her while the groomer cut but it was possible to trim her nails.

Afterwards, for all nail cutting events, Daisy would fight every time. On a typical appointment, myself or my husband would attempt to hold Daisy, and the groomer would trim as many nails as they could. And Daisy would fight and fight and fight, until we were all just so frustrated and tired that we gave up.

ppAwhile back, in an attempt to fix this situation, we bought the PediPaws. PediPaws is a nail grinder that grinds off dogs nails. The tool is just like a dremel tool except it has a protective guard over the sander bit to help prevent you from grinding the nail too far. The PediPaws is an alternative to regular dog nail clipping, and I had seen it advertised on TV, so I thought what the heck.

Unfortunately, after we bought the PediPaws, both my husband and I were too chicken to use it. We didn’t want to hurt Daisy. And she fought so much with the professionals, we didn’t want to make a fool of ourselves. So Daisy’s nails continued to get trimmed unevenly – one here and one there when a groomer could get them. And the PediPaws lived in a drawer for a few months.

But I’m happy to say that the toe nail nightmare – and all the toe nail clicking on the kitchen floor – has appeared to have ended.

(As you know, if you know me (which you probably do if you are reading this blog), Daisy has been in training lately with a local trainer that comes to our house. This training is primarily to combat her Dog Aggression tendencies (to some dogs sometimes, she can be a real meanie when she wants to be). Thankfully after 3 visits from the trainer, we have seen a world of difference in her behavior. She is a much better leash walker then she ever was and she doesn’t run out the door when we open it. And now when she shows aggression, we are much better able to control it. We still have some to go with the aggression training, but all signs look hopeful.)

Last Tuesday, our dog trainer showed us how to condition Daisy to the PediPaws, so that we could trim her toe nails with it without a big struggle every time. The process involved treats, verbal correction for struggling, and approaching her gradually over time with the tool.

The first time, we were just touching her toes with our fingers (and saying the word “touch”) with the PediPaws (on and buzzing) nearby. And giving lots of praise when she let us touch her toe nails. And any struggle from her, we verbally corrected.

(The way that our trainer uses verbal correction is by making a quick sharp noise that mimics a growl. Through the training, Daisy has already been taught that this noise means “quit it”. It has been a miracle noise.)

Then for the next time, with a great treat in sight (we have these little dog chewies that she just loves), we touched her toes with the PediPaw (off) and us saying the word “touch” and we gave lots of praise. When a couple toes we touched without struggle, the treat was given. Again, verbal corrections used when needed.

Then, with verbal corrections still used when needed, onto touching her little toes with the PediPaw (on and buzzing). This time, not necessarily “using” the PediPaw, just touching it too her. When one paw was touched (with the word touch) the treat was given.

The above conditioning steps are to get Daisy not scared of the sight of the PediPaw. And instead, for her to associate it with treats.

Next on actually trimming a (just one) toe nail with the PediPaw. Verbal corrections, “touch” word, and delicious treat (with lots of praise when she let me do it) still in play.

Once she let me trim one toenail that way, the next time I trimmed a couple toe nails.

And then next time 3 toe nails.

Then 10 next time. Etc. Each time with less struggle for her. Just praise and treats from us.

And then on Saturday – by some miracle and great perseverance – Daisy let me buzz all her toe nails. Although I held her down when I was doing it, this time she needed very little verbal correction. She mostly just stayed put. As a result, I wouldn’t say that all the toe nails were trimmed as much as they needed to be, but it was still a strong victory for us as at least all the toe nails were touched by the PediPaw.

On Sunday, I buzzed a few toe nails some more, to clean them up a bit. I think I only verbally corrected her once that day.

And last night I buzzed 4 toe nails that were a still a bit long, and Daisy didn’t fight it at all. She just laid where she was laying when I started and let me do it.


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