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How to Clip Your Puppy's Nails

Learn how to clip your puppy's nails from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this Howcast video.


Clipping your dog’s nails is going to be a regular part of his and your life. So it's important that he's used to and comfortable with that sort of handling and that kind of activity.

So what I'm going to do with Apollo here is while I'm offering him a tasty reward in one hand I'm going to separate each finger on his paw. I'm going to squeeze his nails on each paw so he gets used to that sensation. All right?

We're going to do it on front and back feet, separating, squeezing, all the while offering something appropriate and exciting. Okay? Puppies are great about this because they have no blue print for it yet so they're not afraid of it and you can just start by saying, "You know this is just part of how you get pet, this is part of how you get treats, you get your toes touched and we squeeze your fingernail".

And then, we would introduce the clipper itself. Now they sell great clippers that have a little guard on the back. All dogs have what's called a quick in their nail. It's a little blood supply that is in their nail if you clip it a little too close it can clip the blood supply and it bleeds quite a bit and it freaks people out and it's not comfortable for the dog.

So you want to make sure that you have something that has a little guard on it. They also sell dremel tools for this sort of thing where you're just kind of filing down the pointy end. You just want to take the very tip of the pointy part off of the dogs nails.

Some dogs have light colored nails so you can actually see the quick. It's a little pink line in there however, for a dog like Apollo, his nails are dark so you can't really see it so you want to just air on the side of caution and get that little tip.

Groomers can of course help you with this and advise you on this as can your vet. Some dogs, if they're going for regular walks and going to the dog park regular really don't need their nails cut very often because they're grinding them down on the cement and they're grinding them down when they run in the park.

Some dogs have dewclaws which Apollo does not, which are little toes that are way up here and those tend to really need clipping quite a bit because they don't make contact with the ground.

So that would be my best advice on getting started and on how you would clip your puppy's nails.

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