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How To Clip Dog Nails When They Won’t Stay Still

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Trimming a dog's nails can be a difficult task to say the least. If your dog won't stay still, it can be nearly impossible to perform this necessary grooming task. Many dogs have anxiety about getting their nails trimmed, but there is an easy way to learn how to clip dog nails when they won't stay still.

Using a dog grooming harness, like the Codeo harness featured in my video guide above, can make clipping a wiggly dog's nails much easier. The harness supports your dog while he is suspended in the air. He won't have any leverage to run, roll or pull away from you.

This solution is very effective for wiggly dogs. However, it's not going to work if your dog is aggressive when having his nails trimmed. If your dog tries to bite when you touch his paws, you will need to use a muzzle to protect yourself. The safest option would be to use a professional grooming service to ensure that your dog doesn't get hurt in the process either.

How To Clip Dog Nails When They Won't Stay Still

clipping a dog's nailsThe first thing to note when using this dog grooming trick is that it only works for small and medium breeds. You obviously wouldn't be able to suspend a 75-pound dog from a closet rod.

The next thing you need to know is that using this method is a gradual process. You cannot expect your dog to be comfortable in a grooming sling the first time you hang him up.

Begin by allowing your dog time to sniff and get used to the harness before he ever wears it. Once he seems comfortable with the sling itself, you can put it on him. Give him a chance to get used to wearing it around the house before you try hanging him up.

Once Fido is used to the sling and you're able to hang him in a closet or doorway, you've still got some work to do. Begin by getting your dog used to having his paws touched. Watch my video above and note the way I hold my dog's paw. Hold your dog's paw in a similar way and practice separating the toes.

After he's comfortable with this feeling, you can begin touching your dog's toenails. Rub them and squeeze them so that he gets used to the feeling of pressure on his nails.

You'll have to do this numerous times before you can even begin to cut your dog's nails. It's a slow process, but in the end you'll be able to cut your pup's nails quickly and it will be worth all of the fuss.

When he finally seems comfortable with you touching his paw in different ways, you can bring out the nail clippers. No matter which type of clipper/trimmer that you use, show it to your dog and allow him to sniff it until he no longer seems interested.

When your pet is finished investigating the tool, move it around and near his toenails and touch the end of his nails with the device. When he gets used to you touching his paws and has become somewhat comfortable with the clippers that you've chosen, you can begin cutting his nails.

SIMILAR: How To Cut Dog's Nails Correctly

cutting dog toenail

I've made detailed written and video guides for how to cut your dog's nails without clipping the quick. You can see them here.

My first piece of advice is don't be nervous. If you're nervous, your dog will sense that, and it will make him nervous too, making the whole process much more difficult. Start out by holding your dog's paw firmly and then separating the toe that you'll be working with.

If your dog has white or light-colored nails, you should be able to easily see through to the quick. Clip off the end of the nail that sticks out past the end of the quick.

If your dog has dark nails and you can't see the quick, I recommend just taking off the pointed end of the nail for now. As you continue to clip your dog's nails on a regular basis, the quick will recede.

If you clip just the tip now, you can cut your pet's nails again in 5-7 days and take off just a bit more. Continue with this pattern until the nails are short enough. This is a more safe approach with dark colored nails on dogs.

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