Clipping your puppy´s nails at home can save you a lot of time and money, but it can also be rather stressful if you don´t prepare your puppy for it. Making sure that a dog is ready to have his nails clipped is easiest to do when they are young, so start getting your puppy used to the idea early on and you´ll have a more compliant adult dog when it comes to nail clipping, whether you do it at home or take your dog to a vet.
When your new puppy first arrives home, you will want to make sure that you play with his paws frequently. Lift them up one by one, rub the pad gently, tap the toe nails and just generally get him used to having his feet handled. This should not be playtime. Make sure that your puppy understands that he needs to sit still while this is going on.
Since puppies are much like small children, don´t expect yours to sit for very long. Keep these sessions quite short to begin with, just one minute to begin with. Then increase by 30 seconds as your puppy shows the ability to sit calmly for longer periods of time. This will greatly benefit you in the future when you need to clip the nails of an adult dog.
These early sessions are very important. You can use a small dog treat to reward your puppy afterwards for letting you handle his paws. Get him used to you touching all parts of his foot and moving the nails gently, touching between the toes, etc. Most dogs won´t like this much, but by teaching him young, you´ll find that he´ll let you do it later on.
You might also want to practice filing the nails to get your puppy used to having things done to his actual nails. Again, short sessions are a good idea here until your puppy is a bit older and able to sit still for a while longer.
Making Nail Clipping a Pleasant Experience
By getting your puppy used to having his paws handled, you are preparing him for a more intense experience, actually getting his nails clipped! This can be a big deal for dogs, even if they are used to having their feet touched and played with. The fact is that it´s not exactly the same and your puppy may be quite anxious as you actually begin to clip.
Make sure your puppy is comfortable. Unless the puppy is quite large, it will likely be easier to put him up on a table or counter with a non-slip surface. Make it a gentle experience and start off by handling the puppy´s paws like normal, then begin to clip. Take care not to cut too far down or you´ll get the quick and your puppy will be in a lot of pain. This will obviously not endear him to the process, so be very careful. You may even want to have a professional do the first nail clipping and teach you how if you find that you are nervous about the process.
It´s also important to use the right equipment and sharp cutters, to speed up the process. Your puppy probably won´t be happy to sit still for a long time, so you´ll need to work quickly and carefully. Once the whole process is over, go ahead and give him a treat to let him know that this is a good thing.
Nail clipping can be traumatic if you haven´t prepared your puppy, so make sure that you do put in the time to train him.