Advice for dremelling dog nails

How do you restrain your pup for dremeling nails? My Cardis are such a pain.

I teach them to lie down, on their side. I sit on the floor, and toss a leg over their body to stabilize. Easy peasy.


We tag team.

One person has dry cat food and slowly gives that (holding onto it a little so the dog has to work at it just a little) while the other dremels the nails on one foot.

Then we shower them with lots of praise and release them. We just do one foot per day, usually.

The dogs dislike the dremeling but put up very well with the process now.


This is exactly how I handled our American Water Spaniels (40# dogs). One of them, a rescue, always did need to be muzzled for it. I eventually asked our longtime groomer for tips (she groomed for us for 26 years) – thinking that she had some special routine, other than this – and she demonstrated the same technique.

With our smaller dogs (under 20#), we sit with them on the couch, dog tucked under an arm, and bribe them with occasional dabs of NutraCal (called “Magic Elixir” in our house, lol). Which works great, as long as one begins gradually with just a few nails at a time.

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Find a treat that your dogs absolutely love. Only give it after you have dremeled the nails. Start with one nail or one foot if the dog is compliant. Better to quit while ahead if you can only get one nail done.
I use bullies and that is the only time my dogs get them. I dremel once a week but my dogs are poodles. I do not restrain my dogs at all but I do ask them to lay on their sides. Small dogs go on a grooming table so they are at the right height for me.
It is easier to start with puppies but if you are willing to ignore your dogs for a couple of weeks you can have them looking forward to getting their nails done.
Ignoring dogs mean no talking to them, no patting and no looking at them. I know this is hard for you but ultimately the dog will be at less risk of reduced traction, deformed feet and injured tendons. You need to have all family support for this to work. The more ignoring the better. Still feed and walk etc just don’t talk to them or look at them or pat them. It is harder on people than dogs.
Make sure you are using the dremel correctly. Very short periods of time per nail and the dremel is at the correct speed. Do the nails once a week to maintain and every three or four days to shorten. If you burn your dogs nails they will not forget it and then it will always be a fight.
By ignoring your dog unless you are actually going to dremel the nails makes the dog eager to please you. If you can even get one dog looking forward to your attention it will make it easier to get the rest to comply.
When I give the bully I break it into tiny pieces. Each about the size of an eraser on a pencil. The original size for a standard poodle is about 1 inch by 1/2 inch so you could end up with 10 pieces.
I make a big deal of giving one piece at a time to the dog until all the pieces are gone. My voice is louder and higher pitched then normal as I say “oh here it the treat for dogs name” “good girl”, etc. drives everybody other dog nuts but they do not get the treat unless they had their nails done.
You do not have to ignore forever but corgi’s can be pretty stubborn!
Some people may call this brainwashing but I call it training! ( dogs run towards me when I pull out the dremel.)

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I taught mine to sit, then give paw, then lay down and give paw. Then started getting him used to the sound. Then did one nail, treat, etc.

Now he will lay down on his side and let you do his nails with no holding down. If the kids are home, they hold a lick mat for him while I do his nails.

This is why grooming tables with a noose were invented. It’s easier on you, it’s easy on them.

If you can, I would still use a friend to dispense treats while they get used to the table. But once your dogs are good on a table, it enables you do to lots of things by yourself. Nails, teeth, grooming, tick checks, whatever.

Once a dog is good with nails on a table, you can do them elsewhere if it’s more convenient. I will sit on my back patio with the dogs and do them there; but they learned on the table. They don’t love having their nails done, but they tolerate it because it’s been part of the routine forever.

But the grooming table and noose is totally worth the investment, especially for small dogs. Save your back. :slight_smile: And the tables for small dogs are small and light - so easy to fold and stash.

I own a grooming table with noose, but haven’t bothered with it for years. Easier to just sit on the couch with them, for us. Even when stripping the coats of the AWS, I liked having a dog across my lap, rather than doing it standing.

For after-bath blow drying the small ones, I prefer the height of our kitchen island (and there’s plenty of room to spread out). Current puppy’s breeder (long-time owner of multiple championship show dogs who does her own grooming and handling) has a grooming table, of course, but told me she also prefers her island. To each their own.

Well, if you don’t need one, you don’t need one. But the obvious answer to the question of “how to restrain your dog while grooming” is to use a grooming table with a noose. That’s what it’s for.

I don’t use mine for my dogs’ nails anymore either. But they do get groomed on the table regularly because it’s hard to groom on the floor. And an island is the perfect height for some people/dogs and not others. I totally get why groomers use hydraulic tables that can be adjusted based on the size of the dog and height of the groomer. If you ever groom for more than an hour it can be really exhausting!

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