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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    Default My dogs crying when I cut their nails

    I have 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks who make such a fuss when I cut their nails, you'd think I was killing them. They haven't always been this way, I always thought that it was just them being dramatic. I know a lot of my clients bring their dogs in and tell me good luck with their nails because they won't let them touch them, and I have no problem with them, so I chalked it up to them just being dramatic and able to get away with it because I'm their owner.. But lately I have been double thinking that.

    I just feel absolutely horrible when I have to cut their nails. They simply act like I am killing them and it's just something that needs to be done. They are both around 95-100 pounds each so I am wondering maybe my nail clippers are not sharp enough? Is it squeezing the nail and causing them pain? I use Miller's Forge scissor type clipper.

    Any suggestions or other products that maybe would help and why would be extremely helpful. I hate feeling like the bad guy with my poor babies! Or do you think they are just being drama queens? Oh, and, they also completely hate the dremel, they dont' want anything to do with it, so that is out of the question as well.

  2. #2
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    honestly..... they are probably acting that way BECAUSE you "feel bad".... take charge, they don't need to act like big babies, nor should you feel guilty about it.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2010
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    Default

    You said they haven't always been this way, so when did it start? More info please.

  4. #4
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    May 2010
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    Texas
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    Dull clippers can definitely cause that. I would get a super sharp set, then see if the dogs are still crying. It might take a few clips for them to realize it's not painful anymore--many dogs will cry in anticipation of pain.

    Also, try pairing each nail clip with a fantastic treat. Make sure the nail clip predicts the treat, not vice versa! Worked like a charm when my Poodle suddenly decided he didn't like face shaving anymore.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Florida
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    Default Hard to tell but...

    It SOUNDS like they are just being babies with you. The scissors-style clippers don't twist the nail like the guillotine type can, so I doubt there is something going on there. And since you say they will not accept the dremel from you, I seriously suspect they are just playing it for all it's worth, since dremels are MUCH more accepted by most dogs. I think they have figured out that you fooling with their feet is a tense thing, and if they cry through it and then you quit, they are mistakenly thinking that their fussing EVENTUALLY makes it stop. So now you have to do things differently.

    I think you may be indulging them because they are your dogs, so you don't give off the same confident vibe that you do with your client dogs. PLUS - they are not likely up on a table when you do this, which makes dogs more prone to fussing (in their home on the floor is THEIR territory, and they sometimes think that nothing technical should happen there, lol).

    Besides a food treat, there are other ways to break this cycle - for instance, when you are going to take them out (either for a walk or going out in the yard), snip one nail of each dog at the door when they are all set, then let them out. After a couple of days, snip two nails, or at least grab a paw (make sure it is not always the same paw or only the front paws - rotate) and fiddle with the nails, holding the foot as though you will be making a cut. Within a few days you should see a change for the better - if not, switch tactics.

    Something that often surprises dogs is to GROWL at them if they fuss. Your dogs may be too familiar with you to take it seriously, and you don't want to do this with an aggressive dog, but it is amazing how many dogs will go "Uh-oh! Boss dog! Better quit and be good!"

    There are other things, but I suspect that it is mainly you "worry" that is creating this. Remember, do NOT let your dogs pull their foot away from you, even if you are done. YOU are the one to put the foot down. Don't go faster because they are agitating, go SLOWER and they will give up and relax more (after a few sessions of doing it "the new way"). During each day at random times (before their meals is another GREAT time), pick up a foot and mess around.

    You should probably introduce dremelling again once you see that they are starting to improve; it makes trimming nails less stressful for the nail-cutter, because you will not make a mistake that quicks the nails, and besides, they have just been playing you, so they should be able to be dremelled.

    I rehabbed my ex-husband's panicking Shepherd mix about her nails. She was 8 years old, and fortunately she was a food pig, so within about 5-6 sessions she was lying on the floor RELAXED and thinking she was really special getting her nails done! Not every dog will be that great so fast, but there is NO reason why your dogs should not simply stand or lie calmly while you do nails.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornpuff View Post
    I just feel absolutely horrible when I have to cut their nails. They simply act like I am killing them and it's just something that needs to be done. They are both around 95-100 pounds each...I hate feeling like the bad guy with my poor babies! Or do you think they are just being drama queens?
    Drama queens.

    I have dogs one-tenth the size of yours and have had several that went through a period where they got so wild on the table when I trimmed their nails I actually had to muzzle them, put them on the floor, stuff them backwards between my legs and SIT ON THEM to hold them still enough to trim their nails.

    Prior to that they had been good for it.

    The clippers were sharp, the nails were white, nobody was quicked before they started acting up, but there you have it. It was like a phase they went through to get out of something they didn't like - sort of like the little kid that tells you he is going to hold his breath until he turns blue and faints if he isn't given his own way. Same idea.

    Once they realized they weren't going to get away with anything, the drama and screaming stopped and they went back to being no problem for their nails.

    What they want is for you to hesitate or stop completely because you are "killing...your poor babies". If you stop or hesitate, the bad behavior is reinforced and they will keep up the antics.

    They aren't "poor babies". They are dogs and they are trying to get their own way on this matter. And as long as you view them as "babies" instead of dogs, they will keep it up.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2009
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    South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownlikewoah View Post
    honestly..... they are probably acting that way BECAUSE you "feel bad".... take charge, they don't need to act like big babies, nor should you feel guilty about it.
    I agree, ask your self this question, does it hurt when you trim you nails with nails clippers, NO!!! Same with the dogs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Indiana
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    Default

    I had figured they were just being drama queens, but my husband is actually the one who really started freaking out about it asking what am I doing to make them scream so bad!! I'm like nothing, I swear! It is so bad every time I go to cut a nail, they scream out so bad I am sure I quicked them but look and, nope, not even close. I had a feeling it was just because they were my dogs, they feel they can act that way and get away with it! But I figured I would make a post here and get a couple second opinions. Now that I think of it, maybe it is my husband's precense that is setting them off.

    Also, they are by far the biggest dogs I have had to clip nails for. So, I was wondering maybe with their monstrous nails, they are more sensitive or something. I have no other dogs that size to compare to, so I wasn't very sure.

    For the record, I do not stop trimming their nails just because they are fussing, haha! And yes I have had to sit on the one wilder one (Ajax) because he will go so far as to even bite me while I am doing his nails. I do not know why I never thought to give them actual treats afterwards. They are definitely food hounds, I praise them but have never actually given them treats.

    As for more info.. It all started happening when I adopted Ajax's brother from a family that no longer wanted him (Bear). I adopted him December, which also happened to be the same time I graduated from grooming school. I will admit before grooming training I was not aware how often the nails should be trimmed, I think I neglected Ajax's nails a little longer than I should have at that point. It had probably been months. He had just turned 2 so he had done a ton of growing and bulking up since last I trimmed his nails. Anyhow, when I went to trim Bear's nails, he was super insecure about it. I think we'd only had him a couple weeks at that point. He is actually the better of the two, he will lay there, but he cries and screams. Then, I went to do Ajax's, and low and behold.. Ajax, who I can NEVER remember ever fighting me on nails before or even caring I was doing anything to him at all, is whipping his head around to bite me, screaming, crying, trying to get away.. what a nightmare. He has been that way ever since.

    So, I had a couple suspicions. 1, Bear had a bad nail clipping experience and Ajax watching him cry and carry on made Ajax nervous and he learned his behavior. 2, The clippers I was using had gotten dull. or 3, Ajax's nails had grown bigger since the last time I trimmed them and had since become painful to trim.

    I think I might get another pair of trimmers and see if that makes any difference. If they still are spazzing out on me, I think I'll take the advice of just working with them with the dremel and know they are being drama queens. It figures that the one dogs I have the most trouble with are my own.. and these 95 pound ridgebacks that are supposed to go up against lions.. scared of a little nail trim!

    This is the nail trimmer I am using: http://www.petedge.com/product/Groom.../501/44067.uts

  9. #9
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    Aug 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornpuff View Post
    my husband is actually the one who really started freaking out about it asking what am I doing to make them SCREAM so bad!! I'm like nothing, I swear! It is so bad every time I go to cut a nail, they SCREAM out so bad I am sure I quicked them but look and, nope, not even close... he will lay there, but he CRIES and SCREAMS...Then, I went to do Ajax's, and low and behold.. Ajax, who I can NEVER remember ever fighting me on nails before or even caring I was doing anything to him at all, is whipping his head around to bite me, SCREAMING, CRYING, trying to get away.. what a nightmare. He has been that way ever since.
    Okay - I am going to make a suggestion here, with all this SCREAMING they are doing.

    Muzzle them. Muzzle them tightly enough they can't SCREAM. Use cotton clothesline or a nylon lead of you have to but keep their mouths shut tightly enough they can't open them and let the whole neighborhood know by the SCREAMING you are killing them.

    It is important to STOP THE SCREAMING as I have frequently found that dogs that SCREAM not only drive themselves into a state of panic with it but the SCREAMING freaks out other dogs who then fear they will be the next victim on the chopping block. They feed off each other that way. So, when you finish with the first dog that was SCREAMING and reach for the second, the second dog is already thinking, hey, man, no way is this chick with the hatchets and chain saws going to touch me, and if she does, I'm going to SCREAM LIKE THE OTHER DOG DID!

    Make sure which ever dog is going to be second for a manicure is not present when the first one gets trimmed and both walk into it stone cold.

    But stop all that SCREAMING from even getting started! They are scaring each other.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Maryland
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    Another thing get them off the floor and onto a table. you are doing them on their territory.

    Hate to tell you this, but every Rhodie I've ever done has been a drama King or Queen. And would bite and scream.

    Just like a Weimie.

  11. #11

    Smile

    My dog is a pain in the butt for her nails, she just gets a muzzle and we do what we're going to do.

    I would definitely reintroduce the dremel, usually what I'll do with nervous dogs is have it on and making noise for a few seconds before touching their feet while I pet them, then I rub the battery end on their foot so they can feel the vibrations before I finally go for the nails. It works, I don't think I've met a dog yet whom I couldn't dremel his nails.

    Also, I just wanted to note that the nail clippers you linked are smaller than what I prefer for Rhodesians, I would use something like these. At Ryan's they are made be Millers Forge, very sharp and great for big dogs.

    http://www.petedge.com/product/Groom.../501/43485.uts

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Edmonds, Washington
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Ellie View Post
    Another thing get them off the floor and onto a table. you are doing them on their territory.

    Hate to tell you this, but every Rhodie I've ever done has been a drama King or Queen. And would bite and scream.

    Just like a Weimie.
    yup... this too. You may want to try doing them in the bath tub too, sometimes they are distracted enough during the bath they forget to be drama queens (or kings) for the nail clipping.

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