Grooming is a huge part of basic animal husbandry that when you purchase a dog you are also taking on the responsibility of keeping them healthy through regular grooming. This includes bathing to keep the skin clean, brushing to prevent tangles or impacted undercoat, ear cleaning and of course - nail trimming.
Trimming your dogs nails has many benefits from preventing them from breaking off if they are too long, keeping floors or furniture or skin from getting scratched up, and preventing health issues from developing in your dogs feet. Nails that are too long will push the toes uncomfortably up or pull them away from each other. The nail can also start to curl and eventually grow under the foot and puncture the paw pad. This can be painful for the dog, cause infections in the foot or even cause lifelong pain from the toes not sitting properly when walking.
But nails also play important roles in your dogs daily lives so they should have some length to them. Dogs may use their nails for grip, stability and traction when turning while running.
Ideally the nails should not touch the floor when your dog is standing comfortably on all four feet. However some dogs have flatter feet than others which makes the nails touch even at a shorter correct length so if you are unsure how long your dogs nails should be, talk to a professional groomer or veterinarian. In some cases you can go by the sound of the clicking on hard surfaces however this is not always the best way to determine if your dog needs their nails done. Some dogs click all the time even with short nails because of how they walk or the shape of their feet. Some dogs may never click when they walk even with nails that need to be trimmed. Nails that have been trimmed too short can also affect your dog and it is usually unadvised to create "nub" nails where there is hardly any nail left on the foot.
Part of a responsible owners job is to provide training and conditioning for their dog to get them comfortable with having routine care procedures done including nail trims. Even if you plan to take your dog to a groomer or veterinarian to have their nails trimmed, you still need to make sure you are working toward making sure your dog knows how to behave.
Handling your dogs feet is a great way to start but its important to combine it with something positive such as a high value treat (hot dogs or peanut butter). If a dog does not enjoy having their feet touched they will never magically just accept it if you play with them constantly without providing a positive association to it. All it may do is make the dog dislike it more. If I hate being poked and someone continues to poke me in an effort to "get me used to it" I'm never going to decide I'm ok with it. I may however start getting grumpy when someone goes to poke me. However if every time they poked me they handed me $100, eventually I'd be okay with dealing with being poked even though I still didn't enjoy it for the sake of getting the $100. So while handling your dogs foot let them lick some peanut butter or eat hot dog bites. They will start looking forward to those handling sessions.
Willa working on her nail trim manners
We have the adorable miss Murphy here for day camp this week!
She's learning some obedience foundations and learning about the world.
Daphne graduated from our Puppy Head Start program today!
She also earned her AKC Virtual Puppy Home Manners Title while she was with us!
Every year we take a trip to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon and take photos of the boys and get flowers for our home. We sadly missed last year as they were not open due to Covid but we were able to go this year and continue our wonderful tradition. We arrived before sunrise and got to watch the hot air balloons take off as well.
I get asked quite often what someone should do first when they get a new puppy. So here are 5 things I usually recommend:
1. The first thing is to teach engagement. Teach your puppy how much fun you are. How to get attention from you. You don't want to have to go begging after your puppy for attention when they would rather go visit other people, dogs or smells. Flip that and make them want to beg after you to be included in your fun games.
2. Don't start with a sit. This is a very easy behavior to teach. It can be taught at anytime. You do not need to focus on it the day or even the week your new puppy comes home. Both my boys learned down before they were taught to sit because I didn't want them to think they needed to glue their rear ends to the floor every time they wanted something from me. It gets more challenging to encourage them to offer other behaviors or to keep their butt up off the ground when working on other positions if they think sit is the ultimate command to get things in life.
3. Encourage your puppy to come into your hands for food. You don't need to tolerate biting your hands or not being gentle but knowing how to follow food in your hands and keep their nose to your hand for food is a valuable skill for all sorts of training.
4. Help them safely explore and investigate the world. Work on teaching them how to handle stressful or scary situations. Set them up for success so they can build confidence.
5. Educate yourself on how to socialize your dog appropriately. Socialization does not mean they have to interact with every person or dog on the planet. They do not need to go to daycare or dog parks to learn to play with other dogs. You don't need to let every person pet your puppy. Teach them to focus on you and relax when other dogs are present. Let them play or visit with people and dogs you know can create a positive experience with your puppy instead of shoving them into situations with unpredictable outcomes.
Stella graduated from Puppy Head Start today!
She also earned her Virtual Puppy Home Manners title!
Burkhardt and Marek competed at another dock diving trial this weekend at Paws Rehab!
Burkhardt raised his average up and is now ranked as the #2 Rottweiler in NADD! He also earned his Air Retrieve Senior title!
Marek had a good weekend and earned more jumps toward his advanced title!
Burkhardt and Marek competed in a dock diving trial over the weekend!
This was Burkhardt's second Air Retrieve trial and he got a personal best of 16 feet! He just needs two more jumps to get his first AR title. He also got some successful distance jumps and is currently the #4 Rottweiler in NADD.
Marek got some successful distance jumps and is so close to his Dock Master Advanced title. He got a personal best of 22 feet 6 inches! He is currently the #1 Beauceron in NADD.
Margo completed puppy head start training today!
Very excited to see this girl head off to her show career!
We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
Burkhardt and Marek had a little Christmas photo shoot at home today to celebrate the season!