Foot sensitivity and nail trimming

We currently have 3 dogs in our home.

A 1 year old female Basenji/Hokkaido mix (Vixen), a 1 year old Female Basenji that we're fostering for BRAT (Abby), and our 9 year old male Basenji (Willy).

We rescued Willy about 4 years ago through a co-worker of mine that owns basenjis of his own and fosters as well. When we got him, we were told that Willy's previous owners had abused him by dangling him upside down by his paws. So, we were told to be careful about his paws, and that he was extra sensitive about anyone grabbing at them.

Well, as you can imagine, this makes things difficult in keeping his nails trimmed. He's normally a very sweet boy that has never shown any aggression. We can hold his paws now that we've built up trust, but if we're holding the nail trimmer, he gets very nasty and bites at whoever holds his paw. One time we tried taking him to Petsmart for them to do the trimming, and they couldn't do it because he made so much noise in the store that people were coming over to see what they were doing to the poor thing.
We've been taking him to our vet so they can properly restrain him, but that gets expensive over time.

I'm wondering if anyone can give me any suggestions on how I might be able to do it. Should I invest in a muzzle to keep him from biting? Will that even work? Or, is there something else I could be doing?

Oh, he doesn't like the dremel much either…

Have you tried distracting him with a nyla bone or some high value treat while you touch his paws and maybe he can associate the behavior with something very positive. It's also important that you ease into it with baby steps & rewarding every time.

C3PO is very fussy but not agressive with his paws. We use a dremmel because that's what our breeder used & they are used to that. But usually my husband is in charge of his top half (distracting him with a yogurt dripping nyla bone) and I only do 1 paw at a time! It takes a whole week to do his nails but hey whatever works!

Also I used this website for some assistance using the dremmel…I know you don't use a dremmel but some tactics on how to get to a dogs paws & making it a positive experience is key & this site does explain some of that.

http://homepages.udayton.edu/~merensjp/doberdawn/index.html

Let us know how it goes!! I like to hear what's worked & what hasn't 🙂

Good Luck

Distracting him with his favorite treats (beggin strips) doesn't work. As soon as his paw is brought near the clippers he gets aggressive.
We even tried human food, which he prizes more than anything..

how about taking up jogging w/ him? running on pavement may help wear them down so you don't have to clip them so often. Since this dog has an abuse history (which is just SO SAD), I think you're better off to keep having the vet do it. OR perhaps consult a bahviorist or professional trainer to give you some one-on-one techniques.

The abuse part is sad, because other than this one issue he is the sweetest, most lovable guys you could ever meet.
He grooms my 8 month old grandson, and loves just about anyone. When people come over to visit, he sits next to them and then leans on them because he loves being around people so much.

In this case, I might consider using a muzzle. And just doing one nail…done. Next day...another nail...done. And as soon as you are done doing the one nail..a huge jackpot of one of his favorite foods...steak if it has to be.

You are right that you will not be able to lure him with food because he is in a state of panic when the nail clippers come out. But you can still reward him for it afterward..and keep yourself safe with the muzzle.

One thing to consider is, how aversive do you think the muzzle will be for him? If he totally flips out, you would need to condition him to the muzzle first; and if that is the case, it might just be better to take him to the vet, and let him/her be the bad guy.

I've been considering trying a muzzle. I may go ahead and get one at least to try it out.

I don't know if he would hold a grudge or not. Aside from making him go out during rain storms and not letting him under the covers some times to sleep, I've never done anything to make him distrust me. 😉

Using clicker training you can train him to scratch a board with sandpaper attached so that he does his own nails. I have not tried it with my dogs but my obedience instructor has and it does work.

@lvoss:

Using clicker training you can train him to scratch a board with sandpaper attached so that he does his own nails. I have not tried it with my dogs but my obedience instructor has and it does work.

What a super idea.
A friend has a chihuahua that was also flipping out when it came toes to clippers. She was always skittish to clip nails (the friend) and so her chi would get such LONGGGGGG nails and then where she went would clip short irregardless of the quick.
We finally found someone to use a dremel and WHAT A DIFFERENCE.
No more screaming or yelping. that was BEFORE THE nails were cut

Stormie is a challenge when it comes to nail trimming time, as well - luckily not a biter, however. I've found that covering his eyes with an old bandana or tee shirt when it's manicure/pedicure time seems to soothe him a bit - plus he doesn't see the clippers coming, so that's a bonus.

We always have to take Ash to the vet and have two people hold her when she gets her nails clipped. I think the reason why she freaks out though is because her nail bed is lower down on the nail than alot of other dogs and she usually ends up bleeding a little because of that fact. Muzzle would be best or you could try and wear the nails down by taking her along the beach if you live close to the beach, that always helped.

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