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How to and why cut your dog's claws

If you have a dog, there's a lot you need to think about, be aware of, and be able to do to make sure you and your four-legged friend are as comfortable as possible. One of the things that is necessary to do is to clip the dog's claws. It's a process that can feel difficult, especially if your dog or puppy hasn't had their claws clipped much before.
To make it easier for you as a dog owner, this article has outlined how to go about getting your puppy used to clipping its claws. Our explanation also includes tips and advice on what you can do to make your puppy calm and comfortable before the claw clipping - a very important aspect for everything to go well.

Clipping your dog's claws - preparation and waiting

Clipping your puppy's claws doesn't have to be difficult, it's just a matter of knowing how to do it in the best, safest and easiest way. To achieve this, it's important that you know how to do the actual claw clipping, and that you get your dog used to the process to make it feel comfortable.
Some training may be needed both before you as a dog owner feel confident with the clipping, and before the puppy feels comfortable with it. Both parts are equally important to get it right.

Training your dog to be confident with clipping

How the dog behaves and acts is crucial to the outcome - forcing something is rarely a good solution. Instead, you need to get your dog used to both the tools and the process itself to keep it comfortable and calm. Below, we give you our top tips on how to get your dog to see clock clipping as an okay thing to do.

Claw clipping is cosy

Let claw clipping become a cosy moment between you. It's a good idea to cuddle your dog, pat, cuddle and talk to him calmly before the clipping begins. Then start approaching legs and paws slowly, rewarding the dog all the time for letting you hold its paw, grab its claws, etc.
This will teach the dog that it's not a dangerous thing, but rather will associate clawing with just being cosy and having a quiet time together. Petting, cuddling and rewarding the dog while you're doing the hoof care will make a huge difference, and will also help the dog get used to it more quickly.

Step by step

It's important not to stress or push too hard when clipping claws. Let the dog get used to the movements, the feel, the pliers, the sound, etc. Test yourself and see how the dog reacts, and always reward when the dog does well.
Before you start clipping the claws, it may be a good idea to test a little gently to see how the dog reacts. Remember that a puppy that is not used to the process needs to get used to all the steps in a calm and relaxed way. If you are stressed, the dog will be stressed, and if you are calm, the dog will be calm - this is necessary for the dog to trust you, relax and feel safe.

Don't overstep your boundaries

In order to prevent the dog from getting scared of the bell clipping, it is important not to take it all in one day. Start with a waiting period, test a little, take a break and come back the next day. Then keep doing this until you get past all the claws. Stop and reward, don't rush but show that the dog can trust you. Puppies are also more sensitive to new impressions than older, more experienced dogs are - this means that you shouldn't overstep the mark just to get it done. However, all puppies are different, so feel out what goes well. Practice a little now and then and you'll see that the dog finds it quite calm eventually.

Why cut the dog's claws?

Just as we humans can get shoe scuffs and nail problems if we don't clip our nails regularly, our beloved dogs can get injured if their claws get too long. Too long claws run the risk of coming off, getting in the way when the dog is walking, or causing pain - this is what you want to avoid, which you do by clipping them. 

How often should I clip my dog's claws?

Different dogs need their claws clipped at different times. So it's individual from dog to dog - some need clipping more often, and others more infrequently depending on how fast their claws are growing.  To determine when your dog needs clipping, you should look at how fast they are growing. Then take a little at a time a few times to avoid the risk of clipping too much, too little or too often. 

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