restraint of aggressive dog/follow-up soluction

luvdogsJuly 30, 2011

I posted a month ago on how to restrain an aggressive dog for nail clipping.

Some said to train him to accept it. Don't think this blind dog would be amenable (sp?) to training for this.

Well,it took some brain-storming but this is how it can be done.

Tie your dog with a leash to a solid object. Collar should be a martingale type so he can't slip out of it but choking is minimal to moderate. This is a quick procedure.

Then get a beach towel and wrap it around the dogs head. Must be a large, loose towel so it's easy to rewrap if the dog comes out of it and loose enough so there will be air in the towel but still covers the head.. Also, if he bites, he'll bite towel. One person holds his head and keeps the towel on.

Then the other person clips the nails while this restraint is going on.

After this stressful event, let the dog relax for a few minutes and then give him his favorite treat.

Great idea, if i do say so meself!

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if you follow this method, it will get harder and harder each time. blind or not, he will anticipate what you are doing and he will stress more and more every time.

you might be better off asking your vet for a mild sedative to give him an hour before a nail trim. put yourself in your dog's place. would YOU want someone manhandling you to trim your nails?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 2:28PM
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This dog is not aggressive, he's terribly frightened! I agree completely with ninapearl that this approach will make things much worse not better.

You need to desensitize and countercondition him to nail trimming so that he associates it with something good (treats) instead of with something horrible. It will be more difficult with a blind dog because you can't show him the clippers or dremel and combine that low threshold experience with a treat. So perhaps use his hearing. Let him sniff a treat, turn the dremel on briefly or TOUCH his paw briefly with your hand, then treat. You need to plan 10 minutes a day of desensitizing and counterconditioning.

This WILL work. I adopted a 9 year old in November who was terrified of clippers, and screamed and ran the first time I naively thought I'd trim up her nails. We took it slow - will lots of rewards and one nail at a time over weeks and months. Little mini sessions as slow as needed. Nothing is gained by forcing the dog. Within 3 months she was bugging me to do her nails when I was working on one of my other dogs :) Go slow, be positive and your pup will get there. It's worth taking the extra time and training to have a cooperative dog who isn't fearful about basic grooming.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 5:14PM
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cynthia, you said it a thousand times better than i did!

i, too, had a fearful dog. she was fearful of pretty much everything when i first got her and nail trimming was flat out OUT of the question. it took months of slow, steady work with LOTS of rewards. today, i have a 156# great dane that goes belly up when i get the nail trimmers out. i can't begin to imagine the fight i would have on my hands if i tried the OP's method.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:14PM
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I have just cracked the toenail clipping problem too with changing my approach to patience, rewards, stopping and calming, and more rewards. He was just petrified. He isn't anymore.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:01PM
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If he is this frightened the last thing you want to do is traumatize him, it will make his fear and aggression 100x worse over time. I agree with nina about asking your vet for a mild sedative to calm him down, or be patient and gain his trust with it.

Get one person to hold him, calm him, rub his chest and reassure him, then cut *one* nail, then lots of praise, a treat and let him go. Do the same thing each day. He will quickly learn it's over and done with in a second, and he'll start seeing it as more of a positive experience. If you try to force him and stress him out more then he's just learning he does have a reason to be anxious about it.

I worked as a dog groomer for a number of years and I've had to work with lots of nervous biting dogs, and the one thing you never do is stress out an anxious dog, you have to work on keeping them calm and over a short period you gain their trust and they get over their fear and nervous biting.

I know it's frustrating for you, you just want to get his nails done, but the last thing you want to do is make him fear it more by stressing him out because I can tell you that even the most mild mannered sweet dog can be aggressive in a fearful situation - it's just a natural response for them and the way to deal with it is the exact opposite of what you are doing.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Yes, but... My dog used to be fine with nail trimming. I had a rule that if you wanted up on the couch I got to mess with your feet. For years I could keep her feet clean and trimmed (her nails grow fast) without having any problems, she would sleep during the clipping. Then all of sudden after years of no problems she started acting like it hurt her and wouldn't play along. I never quicked her. Her feet weren't cut or damaged in any way. She just became super sensitive to anything that involved ME and her feet. Now the only time her nails get trimmed is if she's sedated by the vet for her teeth cleaning. So things change, and not always for the better.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 10:16AM
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I took in a pitiful little shelter dog, a one-eye lhasa, who had also done the dog pound routine and was continually returned by prospective owners. He had been obviously abused, and I'll say at this point, he did find a forever home with us until he died of complications of advanced age. He was a terror however, when it came to messing with his grooming, and that included necessary nail care or even removing his fav sweather to wash when it became funky.

I had an epiphany when I was bathing the poor little thing. He allowed me to do whatever needed done as long as he was in the tub standing in water. It dawned on me that at one time he had to have been somebody's beloved pet and explained why he loved the company of older men, was comfortable around canes yet terrified of brooms. At one time, he was regularly groomed.

I had to bend over to groom him in the tub, because wouldn't you know it.......we had a sunken tub at the time. LOL. I had to comb him wet with a conditioner, hand trim him with scissors, and do his nail care the tub.

There are always quirks with dogs and they may never be understood by their humans, although it must make perfect canine sense to them. Bless their hearts. If you look hard enough, you can find a way to work around what needs to be done most times in a way not to contribute to the problem. It doesn't always come easy or instantly.

I sympathise, John. Been in similar sitations but somewhere there was a trigger. Maybe a bad experience at a groomer, or a hidden fracture or torn nail. Hope it gets better for you.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 1:58PM
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john, you may not have ever "quicked" her but you may have gotten a little too close. it doesn't necessarily have to bleed to bother the dog. while toenail trimming seems to be a pretty straight forward thing, many people don't realize that when you clamp that nail down in the clippers, the dog is actually feeling some pressure which can, indeed, cause significant discomfort. i'm not saying you are/were doing it wrong, just saying that some dogs are just more sensitive than others. have you thought about trying to dremel your dog's nails instead of cutting with clippers? obviously, dremeling takes some practice but it can be much safer than using cutters.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:00PM
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You mentioned she was fine until years many years? Is it possible she could have developed arthritis in her feet or other areas of her body.

I once had a poodle that was great at grooming for years but reached the state where my picking his feet up for trimming caused pain in his back.

calliope....great story. How devoted you are to do all that in a sunken tub!

My heart still goes out to luv's dog. I really think the user name needs to be changed after that story.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:34PM
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