Do you have a dog who is TOTALLY stressed about the nail clipping process? Are YOU stressed about clipping your dog's nails? Instructor Robbie will work through the different steps that you can use to get your dog more comfortable with nail clipping.
Looking for more technical tips for trimming your dog's nails?
Get that energy OUT before you start to trim with THESE:
Here are 5 puppy care tips you didn't even know you needed:
We Now Have A Puppy Essentials Training Program Online!
Train With Us To Make Your Puppy Training More Enjoyable And To Give Your Puppy The Best Start Possible:
Are you looking for a more personalized training plan for your dog? We now have a Life Skills program for dogs over 5 months old. The Life Skills program is fully supported by a McCann Dogs trainer for YOU. Check out:
Save 20% on "Nailed It!" Our Nail Trim Prep Workshop: mccanndogs.link/happytrims
Don't Forget To Subscribe:
You should check out the video that we JUST Published:
We Currently Have Some Of Our Signature Training Equipment Available Online! (Limited Quantities) To Get Yours, Visit:
We Also Have A Podcast!
Listen On Apple Podcasts:
Listen on Spotify:
Visit Our Amazon Store And See The Dog Products We Love:
Are you a brand looking to showcase your dog-related product or service? Email HERE: firstname.lastname@example.org
00:00 Dog Nail Trimming Doesn't Have To Be Stressful
00:33 Dog Nail Trimming Is An Important Part Of Health Care
01:50 Make Things Easier With The Right "Tools"
02:28 The BIG Picture Approach To Cutting Dog Nails
04:38 The Nail Trimming Step That EVERYONE Forgets!
07:06 The Nail Trimming Step That We Haven't Mentioned
07:21 Choosing A Position For Cutting Your Dog's Nails
08:02 What If Your Dog Won't Take Food During Nail Clipping
08:32 Now We're Ready For The BIG Step
09:04 Adding The Sound Of Nail Clippers When Cutting Dog Nails
10:37 Adding The Nail Clippers To Your Dog Training
12:38 Cutting Dog Nails Might Not Be A Linear Process
13:56 The BIG Mistake People Make When Clipping Dog Nails
14:38 How To Cut Dog Nails
Thanks for watching,
Happy Training! ~Ken
This is extremely helpful! We get so impatient to get the job done, we forget to take the dog’s state of mind into consideration. I need to back up a step and work on it more often~ thank you so much for this!
not so sure we are impatient. If they are stressed we don’t want to prolong it and make it worse – and harder for next time. Seeing this video shows it is about trying to gradually show them it is mostly a pleasurable time with good things in it.
I like the idea that we can accidentally reward them for pulling away, and the idea of not doing everything in one session, however that means going thru the build-up EACH time so owners need 4x (or 20x) the patience suggested here 🙂 I have HUGE respect for dog owners who can calmly and gladly give their dogs the copious amounts of time they need for this and all the other things. A person with a happy dog who lets them do anything tends to be a beautiful soul.
@Leon Bosset how much does a good Dremel cost & do they come with attachments needed or do you have to buy them separately?
Ive seen a few reproduction Dremels (probably made in CCP) in cheap shops but the metal broke the first 5 minutes & wondered what is a reasonable brand or price.
You need to stop it and let the dog do their own foot grooming and claw shortening. Like nature equipped them all to do.
The Mama Bear Life
@Peter Simmons I’m in a rural area, & I find that if I don’t take my dogs to a place where they can walk on a sidewalk (that files the nails down from the action of walking on it), then their nails get to long. This is uncomfortable for them. If I didn’t trim their nails, it would be painful for them to walk.
@The Mama Bear Life You couldn’t hsve seen all I said.
1. They are claws, not nails, our nails are vestigial, they have no purpose, a dog’s claws are different, they are an essential tool.
2. Dogs are same as wolves, who don’t depend on humans to trim their claws. They pay a ;lot of attention to their feet, clean them frequently, and chew at them. When a nail becomes too long, they chew it until the top layers separate, like the layers of an onion. If you weren’t continually trimming them, and makeing them next to useless for their purpose, you might find one of these lying about. They look like claws but are hollow. The claw left is new and shorter.
My German Shepherd can climb near vertical banks and cliffs, without her claws she wouldn’t be able to. As she looks after them herself, she knows she can do it, and does so at speed, confident of her ability. She also goes down at the same speed and with the same confidence.
I have never trimmed the claws of any of the nine dogs I have had living with me. I have also never shamppoed any dog, their coats self clean from oils secreted in the skin, a brush is all it takes to spread the oil and draw away any dirt. They smell of fresh air. To shampoo them you strip all the oils friom skin and coat, and lay them open to skin complaints as the skin also has a microbiome which is part of the innate immune system, it protects them from infections through the skin. All basic biology. Dogs are natural animals despite all the fiddling about humans do to them.
I have a very anxious high strung chow husky mix, she absolutely hates to have her feet touched. I tried everything clippers, scratchpads and numerous grinders. I even tried putting sandpaper on the door hoping she would wear her nails down on that 🤦. I found a small nail grinder by Casfuy, very quiet with minimal vibration, discovered my dog enjoys the vibrations if I rub her with it like a back massage 😆 I massage her belly with it and then just quickly tap her nails when the opportunity presents itself, it’s taking a bit to wear them down but much less stressful
A chow husky mix?! Wow I cannot even imagine the personality that dog must have! I have a beagle Jack Russell terrier mix and it took me my roommate and my boyfriend to hold her still enough to only end up get two nails clipped. She was really starting to freak out so I didn’t want to go any further but there was two that just really needed to be cut. I don’t know if these techniques are going to work with her but I’m definitely going to try it. But just in case it fails, can you leave the brand or possibly a link to the electric file that you’ve been using? The technique you have come up with is actually genius to be quite honest lol
Extra quiet grinder was also the only way I could get my dog’s nails done. My dog was fine with nail trims as a puppy until a groomer made almost all her nails bleed cutting them to the quicks. After that she became very anxious and refused to let anyone clip her nails. ONE bad experience and my dog has been anxious for 10 years.
Of course she does, it’s unnecesary and painful. Leave her to do her own claw grooming.
McCann Dog Training
Interested in even more Care Tips for your dog? Here are 5 Puppy Care Tips you didn’t even know you wanted: https://youtu.be/qhKJPktZmgg
Thanks for watching!
Jesus has given you all. Repent or die.
Repent to Jesus Christ
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
Such an amazing training for dog to reach their good behavior in trimming their nails 😀😀😀
Please, do the “horse-shoeing method” of lifting the foot and trimming the nails while leaning over the dog’s body. It’s physically more comfortable for the dog; you have more control of the dog; easier to see the impending nail quick after each tiny snip-snip of every nail; and, makes it almost impossible to be bitten.
This is VERY helpful! Started training this morning. Got to clip one nail. Just tried again and got to clip 4!!!! Super calm 5 month old puppy! AMAZING 😍
High value treats are key here for sure! Can’t thank you enough. Good job McCann Dog Training!
Wait till you do it a 2nd time…I had it easy first time ,harder 2nd time..now impossible!
@Oo just curious what treats did you use?
Peanut butter on a wooden tongue depressor works like magic.
@Pril Knight my pup doesn’t like peanut butter.😔
My silly labs used to flip on their backs and dangle their toes at me. They were easy to trim. This was all their idea, not mine. They even taught another dog to flip on his back for nail trimming.
@Detroit Oneness train them to file their nails on sandpaper. Tape sand paper to a wooden board then give them the “dig” command
I LOVE that!!😄
@Solitude excellent instructions (just hard for a new one here to picture but I know if I was savvy then everything your saying would be brilliant). Any chance your in So Cal or have a video of you clipping one of yours? You sound so safe and professional I just have a bit of a challenge visualizing. I have two Toy breeds. More challenging I’m sure.
Aww, so sweet! Wish they could give lessons to my dog, lol.
@Solitude Thanks! That’s great advice. My dog is happy to hand me her front paws, but when I am mid clipping she’s upset. I could tell it is hurting or uncomfortable but not sure how to do it differently. Also, she isn’t as helpful with the back paws. Maybe she will be more helpful when I get better at it.
Okay, so i just fell in love with Lucy. She’s an awesome pupper!
Good process. Great video.
I tell people the key to training ANY dog is PATIENCE. Hurrying the process ruins it every time.
McCann Dog Training
We will be sure to let Lucy know 🙂
There are not enough Instructor Robbie’s in the world. Excellent job – especially the reminder to go slow and focus on the dog’s feelings. The job isn’t going anywhere. Thank you.
The only thing I disagree with on this video is that larger dogs should be taught to lie down for nail trims. There’s less wrestling, they’re taught to relax into the process and you can easily see the quicks so there’s much less chance of cutting them. Other than that her technique is spot-on!
After getting the dog to accept the sound of the clippers alone you can also hold their paw and use the clippers to cut a length of regular spaghetti. For larger dogs use elbow macaroni. The sound is very close to what they will experience and is highly effective at desensitization.
@grlnexdoorable Sheesh nothing, it’s you who isn’t paying attention. I’ve said this so many times: Their claws are not nails, unlike nails, they are composed of layers, like an onion, and the out layers come away looking like a claw, but hollow inside where the claw left has detached. They do this by grooming their own feet, they chew at the claws that need it, and the top layers come away. They are not ‘worn down’ and no amount of walking could do it. They will mostly swallow the released layers, which are eaily digestrible in a dog’s stomach.
By the way. I walk my dog at least six miles a day, and when I was fitter it was more like ten miles. All in forest/woodland, hillsides, quarries and seashores. With intact nails, that grip any surface, they can climb near vertical cliffs and go down them. Nature makes a good designer, and as far as I am aware, human interferance breeding different sizes of dogs hasn’t changed what evolution created, canines who are self sufficient and don’t need anyone to attend to them, whether that be cutting their claws short or shampooing their oil-protected coats. They are natural animals, which is why many survive feral when abandoned or left alone in the environment.
It’s a myth put about by dog groomers, mostly it seems in the US where everyone is too rich and has money to waste. Groomers make a good living from this ignorance, and the dogs are abused regularly with unnecessary grooming and trimming, no wonder they have to be chained by the neck to do it!
@Peter SimmonsLOLOLOL!!! How does one person become so uninformed and still have the energy to spread that information? I am a rehabilitative groomer. I’ve been doing it 18 years. If you walk your dog 6 Mi a day of course you’re going to think nails take care of themselves. I often see people who never walk their dogs whose toenails are so long the dog can’t uncross their toes and they’re basically crippled. If you saw this on a regular basis you would understand why trimming nails is not a myth. For your information, nail trims are usually a financial loss for any pet related business. Most mobile groomers refuse to trim nails because it’s not enough money to cover the gas going out there. Not me. I’m mobile and I actually lose money trimming nails for customers, but I do it because it is a necessary component of basic animal husbandry. If they love their dog enough to keep the nails done I’m going to show up and do them.
You need to study a little bit of basic anatomy and physiology. It’s cats whose nails grow in layers that peel back. Dog’s nails are solid like a hoof on a horse or cow. They are curved underneath because that’s where the quick is, but the entire nail grows the same length at the same time.
You go ahead and live in your little fantasy land. You have the right to do that. What you do not have the right to do is spout bull crap to try to make yourself sound as if you know something you don’t so you can argue with someone on the internet. You’re putting out information that in the long run will harm people’s dogs. If the nails are not kept short enough so they don’t touch the ground the dogs pads will not be touching the ground or the floor. When that happens the joints in their feet and legs are out of alignment and, instead of walking on the pads that nature designed, (bursa) they start walking with bone grinding on bone. This creates calcium deposits which leads to deformations and deterioration of the joints and arthritis.
I’ve always got my dogs to lie down, but now they’re ten years they’re getting upset having their nails done. I noticed that I’m pulling their paws forward to see the nail and maybe that hurts them. I’m going to try putting their paw back, like farriers do for horses to see if that’s less painful.
@Dee F it is less painful and that is how you do it. The general thing to remember is you move to where you can see, don’t pull or twist the dog.
Good advice. My dog isn’t interested in food as rewards. He is, however, interested in whether I’m going to be a safe bet; in other words, whether he trusts me not to hurt him. I talk him through it, halting when he’s anxious and waiting until he’s calm. I’m constantly talking softly and encouraging him to trust me. I use a grinder because he’s more comfortable with it than clipping. After the first few times, he’d hide under the blanket when I told him that we were doing nails (preparing his mind to accept). Now he wags his tail and doesn’t hide.
Brilliant tutorial-it’s nice how Lucy was listened to-my dad always use to trim his big Alsatians laying down but I realise it’s not always possible with an abused reactive dog. Definitely will give this ago . Thank you 🙏🏻
Which type of Alsatians does your dad have?
Alsatian Shephard, more commonly called a German Shephard? Or American Alsatian, like the breed bred to look like a Dire Wolf?
@Marisa M very funny, but, we don’t call them Alsations in the USA. My GSD weighs 120 lbs, straight-backed and is my shadow, guarding me from anything smelling of danger. Dire wolf? I wish he looked like that just to scare people away, but, he has deep brown eyes and a little worried look that melts your heart. I had to teach him to bark at the door by woofing myself..such a wuss. His line comes from West Germany and was bred to be large, no sloped back and great family personality. Show dog, no. Beautiful, yes.
Cats and Dogs
As a veterinarian I only have 15 minutes for an exam, vaccinations, sometimes a blood draw, a mail trim, and a discussion with the owner. This training is virtually impossible in that setting and we resort to tranquilizers which works maybe 50% of the time. I wish owners could be this patient at home and do it at home, because situations at vet like
this just make it more traumatizing every time.
@Peter Simmons Seriously? Have you ever seen a dog? Do you have any concept of anatomy? More to the point you obviously haven’t seen the many poor dogs with crippling long claws that seem to have forgotten how to ‘peel them like an onion’ Omg. 😂🤣🤡
@Broken Butterfly very well said!
@Divine Light I don’t think that the vet is saying that. But simply asking pet owners to try to do more at home if possible. They get busy and can’t take the time to build a proper relationship with every patient. Think about that for a bit! We, the owners should be willing to work with our veterinarians when necessary. Be willing to try. Maybe this approach will help with the overall vet trip.
Maybe you should not be on a ridiculous time schedule and treat the dogs and humans with the respect they deserve .
Cats and Dogs
@hitchhiker Hitchhiker wish I could, but if you don’t want to multiply the office visit cost by the time factor, we would not be able to stay open to see your pets. Veterinarians don’t make much, maybe a quarter of physicians, plus he average graduating debt is over 200k. We wouldn’t be able to keep the lights on to see your animal, so your pet would not receive medical care when needed. Honestly, cutting nails is not part of an exam, it’s very time consuming, and that is what a groomer is for. I have never asked my pediatrician to clip my child’s nails….
Nice breakdown of steps! My dog hears me clipping MY nails and runs! I got her at 6 months and something bad had happened. She was terrified of everything!! I was told by 2 professionals, that she should be put down. I understood her. She needed very slow, non traumatic introductions with rewards!! Now she’s happy and loves people!! Thank you for reminding me of how slow to go with many rewarding steps!! Excellent!!
@Denice Sanders breaks my heart. Your breed is awesome!!! Go to another vet….drugs are BAD, BAD, BAD for any living thing!! Holistic IS key to normal well health!!
The Mama Bear Life
Very well said @Sheryl Reed! I find that many “professional” trainers only know how to teach a dog the basics. Like “sit”, “stay”, etc… They have NO idea how to work with a traumatized dog. So instead of admitting that, & referring them to a more qualified trainer or behaviorist, they recommend putting that poor innocent dog down.
I work with & train the most behaviorally challenged pets that are in danger of being euthanized at the Shelters because of their behavior. I have also worked w/many dogs after another trainer could not help them. I hear from SO many owners on how their last trainer told them to put their dog down. It just infuriates me that they would say that to someone!
@The Mama Bear Life if u ask me it’s not an ‘animal problem’s it’s a hooman problem’s. Funny, and yet NOT FUNNY. TRAUMA as a child, for myself and siblings AND OUR PETS has taught me that much. Sit down, shut up, and just be STILL! LET THEM come to you. There’s wisdom in the Word of God.
Bless your heart! This info is very helpful. So glad you didn’t listen to the doc!
I have found that flipping the dog’s foot backwards, similar to shoeing a horse, instead of picking it up in front of the dog seems to be less stressful and less painful for old arthritic dogs. I have Dobermans and can stand next to them or over them, facing their rear, and pick up their feet backwards to trim their nails. This allows me to easily see the end of the nail while trimming a little at a time. When you see the color of the center of their nail start to change to a darker spot, stop cutting because you are getting close to the nerve ending & the quick.
Coincidentally, I JUST watched a video in which the person held the dog’s foot backwards, and it made lots of sense to me. Minutes later I came across your comment. Thanks for your assistance with this (usually) difficult chore.
Kim Krivach, I agree
@Andrea Dingbatt I enjoyed your comment about the back pain; I relate to it and I also do it for my dog’s comfort , to hell with mine 😉
Yes i like them to lay on side on a folded blanket and work from the under side of the paw as it is easier to see the quick and not hurt them. Had horses too.
Thanks for this thorough example of positive training, lots of patience, and seeing the good in small victories. It makes me feel so much better that it’s not a perfect situation every time, but it will pay off in the future.
The easiest way that I’ve found to “trim” my dog’s nails is to walk him everyday, at a brisk pace, on the sidewalk as one of his daily walks. This keeps his nails at a good size and filed down. The only ones I have to take care of are his front dew claws, but i do this with a Dremel and a lot of ham. 🤣
work hard play hard
Precisely ! You are a great example of what responsible pet owners should be doing. 👏 People need to consider the amount of responsibilities that come with that cute little puppy , before taking it home.
work hard play hard
@Carla Taylor if you play fetch it will take care of the front too .with all the quick stops and starts and pivoting.
work hard play hard
@Julie Singleton little breeds just need more active play
@work hard play hard Thanks for the suggestion! My younger dog will love that – my older girl isn’t really up for fetch any more.
Yeah that used to work on my Labrador but not my little Havanese she’s not heavy enough I don’t think
Had a German Shepherd who would let me clip one nail at a time if he could chase his frisbee. Clip one, throw one, retrieve frisbee, then repeat 20 times. I think it helped him through the anxiety.
20? Or do you mean 18? 5 on the fronts, 4 on the hinds….. or did he still have his dew claws?
Anxiety, doesn’t that tell you something?
None of my German Shepherds or Belgian Shepherds have ever had their claws cut. They all do it themselves with their teeth. As wolves and other canines do in the wild. See a dog claw on the floor, it’s hollow, and mostly eaten to recycle nutrients.
@Peter Simmons i get you want to be the smart one but not every dog is the same. some dogs will bite them some dogs dont need it because they trim them as they walk and play. some dogs have back dew claws that need to be clipped no matter how much they run and play. also when you find a claw like that it just means they broke it while playing and it can hurt them just like a human and if not treated it can get inflamed and infected. so yea your wolf bs is not logical.
Soaking the feet in warm water softens the nails. This is helpfull in preventing the squeezing of the whole nail by the clippers. It also makes grinding faster! I had 12 large breed dogs..gave two baths every day…trimmed nails before using the dryer on them.
Before you start clipping, be sure to have a very small container (about a teaspoonful) of flour right by your side, and about a teaspoonful of water too. If you happen to cut into the quick of the nail, dip your finger just a bit into the water and then into the flour. This will make a paste on the tip of your finger. Take your flour coated finger and press against the bleeding area as quickly as possible. HOLD it on the area for at least a minute. If it still didn’t quite stop all of the bleeding, simply repeat. I have tried steptic sticks in the past, but they did nothing to stop the bleeding. I heard that cornstarch also works in lieu of flour.
Corn starch is great. I’ve used it for years.
Holy cow- totally works! I just trimmed most of my dogs very over grown nails after watching this video. I used cat kibble for her treats, she loved it. Now I need to watch how to trim curled dew claw nails- gulp!
I took my puppy to McCann’s 15 years ago and they were fantastic. Thanks to trainers like Robbie getting us through puppy training and grade 1 obedience, my Cocker Spaniel Maya was an amazing pet. Sadly I had to say goodbye to her a year ago. Thanks to all of the fantastic McCann trainers for my 14 years with my fur buddy.