New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466


(If you need help with kitty nail trims please view our Feline Scratching web page)


On this web page we are providing instructions on how to trim your dog's nails.  Should you try this at home? Should you bring your pooch to us for trimming?  There is much to consider! 

But no matter if you bring your pet to us, or you master the skill of nail trimming, it is important that you train your dog to enjoy nail trims.  Home work to gradually and positively acclimate your dog to paw handling is strongly recommended!


Punishment should never be used if your dog resists nail trimming.  Many dogs find nail trims unpleasant, and some truly fear them.  Positive rewards and reinforcements need to be offered to help dogs tolerate and hopefully even enjoy a nail trim. 


To make nail trimming EASY for you and your dog--ENROLL IN SMART DOG UNIVERSITY!!

Doggy Nail Trims--Part 1: Get to Know Your Dog's Nails 


Doggy Nail Trims--Part 2:  Five Nail Trimming Mistakes!


Doggy Nail Trims--Part 3:  Paw Handling


Here are some links that illustrate the basic procedure of a canine nail trim.

Toe Nail Trimming A basic handout from Veterinary Partner on how to trim your dog's nails.


How to Trim Dog Toe Nails  Nicely illustrated instructions from the Washington State University Vet School's common pet procedures webpage.


How to Trim Dog Nails a nice video on the nail trim procedure.


Before we start with the actual trim, we need to teach the dog to enjoy having his paws handled. This is something that owners should start at home at the earliest age possible.  Expose your pup to frequent paw handling!  Reward relaxed behavior when the paws are touched and the nail trimmer is around. 


Even if you do not want to cut your dog's nails at home, these exercises are still important for your dog so that things will go smoothly for him at the groomer or the vets.  Try short 5 minute training sessions frequently to acclimate your pup or dog.  We strongly encourage all owners to do this at home.  Below are a couple of videos that demonstrate the process and shows how fun it can be for your dog!


10 Quick Dog Training Tips Before trying to train your dog to allow paw handling and nail triming (or training anything else to your pup) remember these important tips provided by Veterinary Behavior Specialist, Dr. Lisa Radosta. Stick to these rules and any type of training will be successful!


Be sure to pick a currency (treat or reward) that your dog will be willing to work for!  When treating for something difficult, the pay out needs to be something fabulous.  Figure out your dog's currency in advance; is it cooked chicken or beef, or peanut butter or chease, or is it some other delicacy? 

In the Video above from Dr. Colleen Koch from Lincolnland Animal Clinic
demos how to  teach nail trims with dremmel and clippers the positive way!

Dog Nail Trims: The Beginning   Great tips and a "How-To-Video" about nail trimming from KPA Trainer, Laurie Luck's Smart Dog University


How to Teach Canine Nail Trims with a Team Approach  from KPA Trainer, Laura Monaco Torelli


Overcoming Nail Trimming Hurdles


Training a Dog to Enjoy Nail Trims  A video of positive reinforcement training for nail trims by Dr. Sophia Yin.



Using Training and Treats To Make Nail Trims Fun and Easy  A great video by Karen Pryor Academy Faculty member, Laura Monaco Torelli demonstrates how to condition a dog to enjoy the nail trim process using training and treats! 


Video: Teaching Successive Approximations for Nail Trimming


Keeping Dog Toe Nails Short-A Video demo using clicker training by Donna Hill 


Spa Day: Training Your Dog to Love a Bath, a brush out, and a Mani/Pedi  More on clicker training to teach your dog to enjoy grooming procedures including nail trims.

Tucker's Toe Nail Trim Transformation!  Watch the transformation of Tucker's behavior and his biting/aggression during handling and grooming, followed by a time-coded progression of using clicker training and to successfully accomplish a nail trim on a very calm dog.

Do you have a dog that just HATES NAIL TRIMS & do you feel like just giving up on the hassle of nail trims forever? Here is a unique and different approach to keeping your dog's nails short and smooth! Using positive reinforcement training, this creative dog owner has taught her dog to file her own nails! All dogs seem to agree, this is way more fun than the Dremel tool or those dreaded nail trimmers! If you would like to teach this to your dog, click this link for instructions: How to make a doggie nail file and click the picture below to see the video demonstration!

Teaching Dogs to Enjoy Wearing Muzzles--It can be done!  Click to view our Muzzle Training web page to learn how to teach your dog to happily wear a muzzle!