TRIMMING YOUR DOG'S NAILS
Prerequisite socialization is described in other sections of the Portal.
You and your dog should be able to perform the following with competency: 1) sit, down, stay; 2) collar grabs; 3) your dog should feel completely comfortable with you you reaching over him or her and leaning over him or her, whether the dog is in a "sit" or "down" position; and 4) "steel and cloth" technique in regular position and sideways position.
Watch videos below in order (they are labeled 1, 2, and 3) after reading the text below. Proceed slowly and do not attempt to trim nails if you feel nervous or apprehensive. Spend significant time with each of the socialization drills before attempting to nail trim. Only move on to the next step if the current step feels comfortable, dependable, and easy. This may take days or weeks.
Once you have mastered the socialization exercises described in the text and video resources below, do not attempt to trim all nails the first time: practice in short intervals, working with one or two nails per interval, over several days.
Gently handle your dog's feet. Spread out the toes so that you can clearly view and touch the nails. Note where the "meaty" part of the under-nail ends. As you can see in the pictures to the left and below, this "meaty part" often ends where the nail begins to curve more sharply. The "quick" (the part of the nail that will bleed if you cut it) does not extend past where the "meaty" part of the nail ends.
Gently handle an individual nail. Touch the under-nail with your finger. Feel where the "meaty" part of the under-nail ends and the curve of the nail begins. In the videos below, the instructor will describe that when you begin to trim into the "meaty" part of the nail, take small cuts. You will see a white or grey circle begin to open up in the middle of the meaty part as you cut. As it gets bigger/darker, you are getting closer to the quick. As you get get closer to the quick, the dog may begin to feel discomfort. Do not continue with an individual nail to the point that the trimming near the quck begins to feel tender for the dog. If nails have not been cut regularly, the quick may have grown to extend further into the meaty part of the nail.