Find someone else to trim nails

One of the big revelations from our consultation with the dog behaviorist is that Loki has fear-based aggression with handling. In particular, she explained to us that it was not dominance aggression.

In addition to slow desensitization with positive reinforcement, the dog behaviorist also told us to find someone else to trim Loki’s nails. Because he’s aggressive during nail trims, we’ve always done it ourselves by putting a muzzle on him. We didn’t want to subject anyone to the possibility of being bit.

But the dog behaviorist recommended that we no longer do Loki’s nail trims for the time being and find someone else, either a professional groomer or the vet.

Why?

Because Loki perceives the ordeal as an attack and that breaks down his trust in us. He doesn’t trust us 100% to handle him. And doing his nails could undermine all of our other handling work (collar grabs, picking him up, handling his tail, handling his feet, and touching his teeth, brushing, etc.). For me, this sort of resolves the mystery of what I felt was his unpredictable nature. That 97% of the time, Loki would be okay with me taking his martingale collar off, and then randomly 3% of the time, he would be snarly. Even with all of the positive associations I provide with the collar, he might not trust me 100%. Perhaps his trust in us is only 97%, because 3% of the time we randomly “attack” him with the nail clippers. Even if we never actually hurt him, he still perceives it to be an attack.


"So… doesn’t that mean he’ll learn to not trust the vet or the groomer?," I asked.

"Yes, but better that person that you."

This is supposed to be just a short-term solution. In the meanwhile, the behaviorist recommended that I slowly desensitize Loki to nail trims. Yikkes! I’ve tried that before without success. The behaviorist tried to encourage me, saying that Loki’s tolerance might be greater now than before. Personally, I’m not convinced. Aren’t things like that supposed to be easier when they are pups? Why in the world would it be easier when he’s older? I’m ready to find a professional to do Loki’s nails as a permanent solution, rather than a temporary one.

10 comments:

Bravewolf, Shassi and Tierce said...

I pay $5 at my local grooming salon. Easy, cheap and more than worth it to not have to clip nails myself. I can do it, but if I can pay for it done, I'm not gonna!!!

Jen said...

After all is said and done, don't you want to work on getting to a point where your own dog does trust you 100%?

I can't trust groomers, regardless of what facility they belong to... we had a foster dog come home sore and with a laceration on his leg because "he wouldn't cooperate"... so what exactly where THEY doing to MY dog??!!

Jen said...

Have you considered something like the dremel instead of the guillotine-type nail cutters normally used?

I knew a guy who set up sand paper to a wooden board and taught his shiba to scratch it to file his own nails! He has a youtube vid of it...

Vi said...

Bravewolf & family --
Five bucks? Good deal!

Jen --
Wow... a laceration? Yeah, I'll be very careful in selecting someone.

Yes, we did try a Dremel. Didn't work out so well.

Hm... sandpaper on a board sounds interesting. Seems plausible for front paws, but not sure about back ones.

Masako said...

Loki and Winnie have so many similar issues, it's crazy! Every now and then, I'll read about Loki and nod in agreement/empathy...

One of Brian's tips on earning trust with Winnie was to flip her around on her back and carry her like a baby. (You can massage or scratch their neck, etc.) Once they are like a "sack of potatoes", then you release. It was a lot easier when Winnie was a puppy - now that she's larger she flails a a bit and I get a few scratches, so I now do this when I'm sitting on the ground. (Just so that I don't drop her.)

Brian had told us that it was a trust exercise. And, he advised that we practice it at least 3 times a day. Now we do it occasionally...

As for the groomers - we found one that is right around the corner from us. Winnie hates going, but she comes out looking beautiful, the anal glands are expressed and the nails are taken care of. I ask them not to put her in the hair dryer contraption, though. (Either dry naturally or use a stand dryer, but no cage dryer thing...)

There was a recent article on MSNBC about cage dryers: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25966380/

lifewithaservicedog said...

I have been struggling with trust issues with Kumiko for a while now. With all that is going on, I know she doesn't trust me. I need to work on that. I hope I can find more ways to work on this. Personally the hurt that happens between me and her after nail clippings and bathing is so bad that she won't listen to me or be around me at all for days and sometimes weeks after. I think this is a really good idea. I have used a dremel on Kumiko but even still it is horrible for her. Poor girl.

I hope we can work it out. I would love to hire someone to give us some pointers too, but we are strapped right now. I guess we will have to wait.

Mongoose said...

I've never once had to trim my shiba's nails. She wears them by walking.

Shiba Inu Sephy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lindsayt said...

I use a grooming table with an arm and dremmel the nails from underneath to train them back. There is zero struggle. It is also no coincidence that the dog who is easiest to work with had this done regularly by the breeder from a very early age so it's no big deal now.

Vi said...

Thanks all for your comments. I think I'm just going to take Loki to the vet to have his nails done.

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