Why Dog Fights Every Time I Try to Clip His Nails.
Max’s nails are too long for Mark and Jenni to trim. Max bolts and hides under the bed as soon as he sees the nail clippers. Max bites Mark if he attempts to take him out. Jenni may occasionally coax Max out of his hiding place by grabbing his leash and pretending to take him for a stroll.
Mark must sit on Max and keep his lips quiet as Jenni attempts to trim his nails after they get him immobilized. Max is yelping, snarling, and attempting to bite them or the nail clippers the whole time.
Max’s behavior has deteriorated to the point that even the groomer and veterinarian refuse to attempt to clip his nails.
This is a frequent occurrence among dog owners throughout the country. Many grooming and body-care operations, including ear cleaning, toothbrushing, and picking out burrs, may be uncomfortable for dogs and their owners.
Dogs’ reluctance to handle and upkeep, like your toddler’s reaction to the dentist, is not an effort at dominance. Fear, pain, and mistrust of the operation or the person doing it are all reasons for resistance to these procedures.
When faced with possible danger, dogs can run or attempt to drive the attacker away (fighting). These are biologically ingrained natural responses to threats.
You know that if you puncture a hornet’s nest, the insects will swarm out in defense and attempt to sting you to get you to leave. Similarly, if your dog perceives you as a danger to him, he may become violent. If you stop your dog from running away by grabbing or holding him, he may turn around and bite you to get you to let go.
Why would the dog you adore and who adores you be suspicious of you or believe you are a threat to him? Many of our interactions with dogs are misinterpreted: what we think is nice may be regarded by the dog as dangerous.
Maintenance procedures are also tasks for which dogs are not naturally equipped. Ear medicines, eye cleanings, toothbrushing, and nail trimming are not performed on dogs and their predecessors in the wild. A wild animal’s feet are fiercely guarded since they are used to flee and hunt, and damage to them frequently results in death.
A predator would also be the sole way a dog in the wild would be scooped up off the ground. To dogs, these are inherently frightening acts. When your dog rolls over onto his back or bows and flees as you approach with the eye medicine, he is respectfully telling you to halt and that he is concerned.
Another reason the dog could be wary of you is if he’s had a terrible experience with surgery before. Perhaps his ears are sick (or were already infected), and administering medicine to them is uncomfortable. The dog may not realize that the drug will help him feel better in the long run. He simply understands how much the surgery hurts now, and he won’t let you do it again!
To add insult to injury, we often get annoyed and upset with our pets when they are recalcitrant or, worse, aggressive. This usually leads to us yelling at or even spanking the dog in an effort to get it to “submit” and comply.
Our rage makes the dog even more afraid and suspicious. Now he’s scared not just about the treatment, but also that his normally lovely and loving owner is becoming “Mr. Hyde” on him, and those nail trimmers (or ear medicine, or whatever) are the first signs of the metamorphosis. It’s still more cause for him to flee when the trimmers come out!
So, how do we address this issue? First and foremost, don’t take anything personally. The good news is that your dog isn’t attempting to dominate you or take over your life. He is not being rude by cultivating opposition.
The bad news is that it indicates that your dog has not been appropriately prepared to feel safe and secure when you or another person performs these operations. But there’s more good news: you have the power to alter it! If a zookeeper can learn a rhinoceros to accept a needle prick, we can definitely train our pets to do the same.
Do’s and Don’ts in Training a dog
First and foremost, DO NOT attempt to fool your dog! Sneaking up on the dog and giving him medicine or clipping his nails while he is asleep, for example, can severely damage your bond with him. If you do this frequently enough, your dog may get terrified of sleeping in your presence. When he is asleep, he may become hypervigilant and begin to snap or bite if approached or wakened.
Distraction is sometimes necessary in the preventative and retraining process, but deception is never acceptable.
While you’re going through the training exercises, DO find a temporary solution to the issue. If your dog’s ears need to be treated, talk to your veterinarian about additional choices, such as oral medicine or a long-acting topical preparation that the veterinarian may have to deliver while your dog is sedated.
If your dog’s nails are in desperate need of clipping, talk to your veterinarian about having him sedated and the nails clipped short so you can work with him.
DO create a structured training plan to work through the problem.
If your dog is attempting to bite, seek the advice of a skilled behaviorist or trainer.
DO be patient and work through the issue at a speed that is enjoyable and non-confrontational for both you and your dog.
The success you achieve with one maintenance process will make it easier for you to deal with other handling concerns. Your dog will get simpler to manage as his confidence in you and awareness of what will happen grows.
Changing Your Dog’s Mind About the Nail cutting
Training must be done in very modest increments for this to succeed. The more fearful or reluctant your dog is, the slower you’ll have to go through the procedure. Plan to spend many weeks or more working through the issue if your dog has a significant response (screaming, yelping, struggling, snapping, or biting).
Your dog may not be violent, but if he’s squirmy all over, the process becomes much more difficult!
Time, patience, a comfortable environment to work with your dog, and, most importantly, some of your dog’s favorite things—treats, toys, anything he truly enjoys—are all things you’ll need. In a word, you aim to achieve two objectives:
Make the unpleasant experience (such as toothbrushing) enjoyable for your dog by pairing it with something he enjoys (such as chicken pieces).
Teach the dog to sit or lay motionless while the surgery is being performed.
Begin the training in an environment and at a time when your dog is likely to be quiet and comfortable. If your dog is really energetic, training can be best done after his daily walk but before supper, when he is little weary but still hungry. Remove all other distractions, including other animals, and let the youngsters out to play.
Using this method, you progressively train the dog to sit calmly while simulating the handling required for a maintenance operation in small increments. After repeating each step, praise calm conduct with delicious food (keep them small so you can move on to the next step fast). Remember not to go to a more difficult stage until your dog has mastered the previous one. Here’s an example of how to break down work into manageable chunks:
Trim your nails with your legs and feet, apply for ear medicine with your head and ears, wash your teeth with your head and mouth, and so on.
Gently touch his teeth with your finger or get the nail trimmers close to his feet.
Gently wash his teeth with a toothpaste-covered finger or trim his toes and feet with the nail trimmers.
Use a gauze pad wrapped around your finger to gently clean his teeth, or lay the trimmers over a nail without cutting it.
Gently trim one toenail or brush his teeth with a gauze pad soaked in toothpaste.
Move on to the following stage when the dog can accept one step reliably and peacefully. This fundamental approach may easily be used for other treatments that you want your dog to adapt to.
Multiple training sessions may be required for each phase. Your patience and how long your dog can remain calm yet interested will decide the length of the training sessions. Sessions might be as short as five minutes or as long as thirty minutes in length.
Because predictability reduces anxiety, holding training sessions in the same location, at least for the first few sessions, may be beneficial. Most maintenance treatments are simpler to do if you sit in a chair or on the floor next to the dog, so start your instruction there.
Only the first nail is being trimmed.
If you utilize a marker signal to alert your dog when he’s completed precisely what you want him to accomplish, he’ll pick up on the procedure quicker.
A specific phrase (such as yes, good, or sweet) or a mechanical sound (such as a clicker) might be used. When he succeeds, lavish him with calm and effusive praise.
A marker signal is a distinct sound used to enhance the training process, such as a clicker, whistle, or particular phrase or noise. The sound you chose is initially always followed by a high-value reinforcer (typically a special treat), and this is continued until your dog learns to expect the reward after hearing the sound. You may use the sound to signal when the dog performs the desired action, such as sitting motionless while lifting his top lip.
Keep in mind that this training should be enjoyable for both of you. Stop if your dog becomes scared, aggressive, or behaves as if he doesn’t want to be a part of the training session. Start from the beginning the next time. Restart and make it simpler and more enjoyable. Slowly work your way through the steps.
Dogs are often simpler to manage on one side than the other.
As a result, you may need to spend more time cutting the left paws than the right. You may need to put in more effort and patience on the “bad” side. Keep in mind that you are not on a timetable. Please take your time. You could only work on one paw one day and the others the next. If you perform it right, your dog should find the whole operation to be pretty routine.