Why Nail Care is Important

Updated: Jan 14

As Wild Thing Dog Training prepares for the New Year, I find myself looking back to things my dog has struggled with and ahead to how I can help others overcome the same issues with their dogs. It's no secret I'm a huge fan of husbandry training, the majority of which is centered around helping dogs feel comfortable with routine grooming and veterinary procedures. Ideally, I want dogs to not only feel comfortable, I want them to be willing participants in this oh-so necessary part of their lives.

Because of this I will be rolling out a series of single husbandry topic online classes in the New Year. The first class is titled "Fancy Feet" and is a 4 week introduction to in-home nail care that has the benefit of not stressing out your dog (or you) in the process. Gone will be the days of carting your dog to the vet every time her nails need a trim.

So let's talk about why nail care is so important for dogs to begin with. First I'll talk about why it's so important to me personally and how teaching my dog to consent to having her nails trimmed became one of the most transformative aspects of our relationship.

When my husky was just a puppy, I would occasionally trim her nails with the typical pliers-style trimmers. Though she didn't love it, we soldiered through without much fuss. Then one day I clipped too far up, into the quick. She yelped as her nail bled, and that was the end of it.

From that point on until she was about 8 years old, I alternated between taking her to the local vet clinic and trying it at home when an extra set of hands were available. Both options included a lot of vocalizing and struggling. Because she was so desperately trying to get away, whoever was doing the trimming often ended up cutting the quick, causing pain and furthering her negative conditioned emotional response to nail trimming.

I recall one day being told by the receptionist at our vet clinic that their price had gone up for nail trims. No worries, I thought. Later as I reviewed the the bill, it occurred to me that we had been relegated to a different line item in the nail trim category - "Nail Trim II." This was reserved for dogs who required multiple techs and a lot of drama to accomplish what was seemingly such a simple task.