Desperately need help with our V's nails - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Desperately need help with our V's nails

Well as the title states, we need help. Our 21-month old V doesn't like his paws touched, never mind nails trimmed. We started at a very early age massaging his paws and clipping one nail at a time as a puppy and gradually worked our way up to an entire paw and then all paws. Taking the lead from the book The Art of Raising a Puppy. This has worked for all our previous dogs with little issue.

But something snapped with him around 9-12 months of age. And it has become increasingly worse. To the point where he will now foam at the mouth and even blew his anal glands at the groomers the other day. We've tried several different groomers and all have literally politely asked us not to come back.

We recently tried, at the advice of our longtime vet, to use Trazodone (at 50mg) to see if that will calm him down. I'm very cautious with medicating my pets for any reason, but it was a last ditch effort. Well that had little to no affect, which was discouraging.

To that end, we're looking to see what others have done in similar circumstances. Any and all help is welcomed.

Thanks so much in advance........
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:34 PM
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My first V developed the nail clipping phobia and visiting the vet was also a phobia for her, so they couldn't help, unless she was under anesthetic for a major procedure.

So my solution in the end was to play and walk her on concrete or other hard surfaces. She would allow me to scrape each individual nail on the concrete to wear them down. It tidied them up but of course is not ideal but I couldn't bear the trauma for her. She was sensitive, couldn't be crate trained, gun shy and had separation anxiety, so I took her everywhere!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 09:54 AM
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You can try teaching her to use a scratch board. Mine you it's only helps with the front feet.
This video has more detail, than some of the others.
https://youtu.be/MKDb_M0YktI

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Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by texasred View Post
You can try teaching her to use a scratch board. Mine you it's only helps with the front feet.
This video has more detail, than some of the others.
https://youtu.be/MKDb_M0YktI

What a clever idea!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 01:04 PM
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50 of Trazodone doesn't work? Talk with vet, up the dose. That takes care of the nails, but the reason concerns me.

The larger issue here is why this would suddenly create such an intense issue, or at the least, exacerbate it. Yes, they do not generally like getting clipped, but once accustomed to it, you typically get the same reaction. I think in this case, you might want to look further into the change. Maybe he hurt one of his fingers and the next time you went to cut them, it caused excruciating pain? Like our toes, it doesn't take much to break one, and the pressure from the clippers can create bad pain. And, once he associates the clipping to that pain, it's all over.

I'd do two things here: The first is have the vet take a look. And the second is to take a step back, and de sensitize him to your touching his paws by first just gently brushing them with your hand, offer reward/praise/bribe, and then slowly up the contact as he tolerates it, eventually reintroducing the clippers w/o actually clipping. This will take a while, have patience.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update and maybe some clarification.

I do believe at some point when he had his nails trimmed at 9-12 months of age he must have had a bad experience. Either at the vet or at the groomers. I really can't pinpoint it because the take my V in the back room at the vet or in a separate room at the groomers we used to frequent. And then it just became progressively worse. I do know back around 9-months, one of the groomers used a muzzle. Obviously I was not happy and didn't know until after the fact, again because I was not in the room directly with my V. So at some point he must have become imprinted with his nails getting clipped.

Fastforward to yesterday, my wife who has a TON more patience than me, began using her nail file and slowly acclimated him over several minutes sniffing it, playing with it and then she began messaging each paw, etc, etc, etc. Then she began rubbing the nail file on each nail every so gentle and progressively kept increasing the tension on the file. She then stopped completely and left the nail file right where he was laying down. She left the room and I watched from a distance him playing with and licking the nail file.

Our obvious goal is to introduce him to a nail file and I ask my wife to pick up one that is more coarse so we can "try" filing his nails instead of clipping. I have no preference at this point, just the ability to trim his nails.

So the long and short of it, I agree, he must have had a very bad experience(s) and as you know dogs, and V's particular, have great memories. SO the nail clipper may never work again. My hope is a the nail file will do the trick and maybe months from now I can introduce the Dremel so we can speed the process up. BUT we're going to take it very slow in the interim.

Great feedback and insight, and please feel free to keep any/all coming.

Thank you very much........
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 07:33 PM
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What a great idea and job with the nail file. Unfortunately if the bad experience happens during a fear period, it can multiply and last much longer to cure. At around 9 months u had an high chance of that. But it looks like u are on the right path.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 03:20 AM
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Hang in there! I’ve had a similar problem with my guy and he’s almost 9yrs now. One really bad and bloody trip to the groomers changed the nail process forever. It’s been a struggle. I’ve found being very persistent was the key. It sounds like you’re on the right track with the file though. Some times I can get them all done quickly on my own sometimes I have to revert to the nail trim routine.

Here’s some things that really helped me:
I bought an extremely quiet dremel which helped immensely.
His nails are done twice a week.
It a two person job. One person firmly holds on to him while he’s standing, pets, and talks to him while the other does the nails.
Treats and praise are abundant during and after.
If he ever starts struggling he is let go to calm down and we try again later.
It’s much easier to accomplish on a well exercised and worn out dog.
He still hates it but has become much more tolerant.

Best of luck!!!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sharvani View Post
Hang in there! I’ve had a similar problem with my guy and he’s almost 9yrs now. One really bad and bloody trip to the groomers changed the nail process forever. It’s been a struggle. I’ve found being very persistent was the key. It sounds like you’re on the right track with the file though. Some times I can get them all done quickly on my own sometimes I have to revert to the nail trim routine.

Here’s some things that really helped me:
I bought an extremely quiet dremel which helped immensely.
His nails are done twice a week.
It a two person job. One person firmly holds on to him while he’s standing, pets, and talks to him while the other does the nails.
Treats and praise are abundant during and after.
If he ever starts struggling he is let go to calm down and we try again later.
It’s much easier to accomplish on a well exercised and worn out dog.
He still hates it but has become much more tolerant.

Best of luck!!!

Thank you for this insight and advice from your experience. We have slowly introducing him to the nail file each evening. We do one nail each night. And we leave the nail file with him so he can lick, smell and feel comfortable with it. It's not the best in regard to shortening his nails, but I will try the Dremel next simply to speed up the process.

BTW:" what Dremel model # does everyone recommend as the best for pet's nails???

Thx again
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 02:29 PM
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We have the Dremel model 7300, it has a paw print on the label. I use a small flashlight so I can see the quick so as to not grind too short. We took it slow, and have worked up to two paws at a time. If at any time he seems uncomfortable we stop. He doesn't not like it but will surely tolerate it. Cheese helps, and lots of praise too!! I also read somewhere and found it to be true, that if I keep his paw closer to this body rather than leg stretched out that Ernie doesn't try to pull his leg away while I am trimming. I hold each nail as it is being filed so as to minimize vibration/chatter that would be uncomfortable. Work quickly so that you don't build up a lot of heat/friction, even if you have to do a little, move on to another nail, and come back to it.
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