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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PeggyTheParti’s thread where she shares her struggles and successes with learning to groom Peggy at home has inspired me to talk about my biggest grooming struggle.

This is long, as many of my posts tend to be.

Nail clipping became one of my biggest home grooming struggles, despite my consistent effort. My struggle came with nail clipping as Lacey got older.

I used millers forge clippers, they cut very well. I started the training from the moment she came home, just holding toes and squeezing her nails between my nails while treatng, then taping nails with clippers, then squeezing without clipping. I worked my way to clipping all her nails. It didn’t take very long to progress if I remember correctly.

I’d hold her on her back in my lap and clip all her nails about every 3 weeks, and smooth the ends with a glass nail file. She did well with tolerating it for a treat after each toe. I always projected calm and confidence when I did it. I never quicked her. I did this frequency for quite a long time. But clipping every 3 weeks wasn’t keeping the nails short enough.

I started clipping every 2 weeks, and that’s when I first quicked her and would hit one quick about every other time. I was being very careful of the length and angle I cut, understanding how the quick grows within the black nails, and worked in good light. I had quick stop with benzocaine at the ready. I would apologize and give extra treats. She started to become less tolerant of nail clipping. Every 2 weeks still wasn’t maintaining an acceptable nail length, they would get overgrown because I couldn’t ever take much off.

I decided I would clip once a week to keep the nails maintained. I would take off the smallest amount off I could possibly do. Three weeks in a row I quicked her about 2 times each session. I couldn’t take any less off than I was. I tried a small size clipper but it made no difference.

I never quicked her badly, but blood would ooze from the end of nail and it was painful. I went back to every 2 week frequency. I would hit one quick about every other session.

By a year old, Lacey had become completely intolerant of nail clipping as you can imagine. She would slowly bite down on my hand VERY hard and continue to be clamped down on my hand while I tried to clip, baring her teeth. To the point where I’d be bruised if I allowed her to be clamped down for 60 seconds. This biting and teeth baring is not something she does any other time and she was sending me a clear message. But she’d always tolerate me using the glass nail file afterward.

I started to feel extreme guilt and dislike of nail clipping because I was sick of hurting her and her hurting me. I further decreased the frequency of nail clipping and would flare up carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrist with the filing by hand to try and make up for it.

3 months ago (Lacey was around 1 year 3 months old at the time) I remembered that my boyfriend had a cordless dremel that he’s never used. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? She tolerates nail filing and is used to the sound and vibration of Andis clippers on sensitive areas. I did some research on the proper technique, speed and bits to use. There was a super helpful article about this.

I watched lots of videos.

Then began the training process. I used a very special treat that’s just for dremel sessions, cheese cut up in tiny chunks. I worked in short sessions with her in my lap nearly every day. I’d turn it on and tap it to a nail, turn it off, feed a cheese, then calmly stroke her chest and belly and tell her what a good girl she was. Then I’d do the next nail if she stayed calm and allowed it. I’d end the session while she was still tolerating it and wanting more cheese. The same as desensitizing to nail clippers when she was a baby.

she took to it much quicker than I expected, no pun intended. I was able to take off an appreciable length from all the nails in one session by the time I got to the 8th session or so. Now I’m doing every 1 to 2 weeks and feel like this is good for maintaining her length, especially as I continue to learn.

I like how I can be extremely precise and work the tops and sides of the nail around the quick once I’ve taken length off the end. I couldn’t do that with clippers on her small nails.
Im very careful not to heat up the nail and switch between them on each paw. my wrist is saved!

I really hope she continues to tolerate it. I’ll keep up with the cheese for a long time and will always treat it in some way. As of now when I pull out the dremel, she doesn’t run away. Unlike when I pull out the brush and comb, which she still gets treats for tolerating.
 

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What an emotional rollercoaster this post was! Thank you so much for sharing.

In addition to just being super proud of you for problem solving and being so patient and diligent, I’m encouraged to know that even after all those negative experiences, she trusts you. And for good reason. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much, Robin. It means a lot coming from you because I admire how you handle Peggy. The patience you have with her and the lengths you go to try to understand her is amazing. And also how candid you are when you run into problems.

I’ve spent so much time on training good grooming behaviors that it was really heart breaking that nail clipping got to the point it did. I always continued to frequently touch and hold every part of her body and treat her for allowing me to do so in non grooming contexts. I think that was helpful in her not completely shutting down from trying a different method for her nails. If I didn’t figure something else out there’s a good chance our relationship could have been damaged.

I realized that my post might scare people about clipping nails after I posted it. But I feel like my issue is not typical, whether it’s difficulty with the shape, color, small nail size, or something else entirely.


Another example with her is shaving clean feet. I nicked the webbing in between her toes once because the 30 blade on the trimmer is pretty dull, and we were both learning how clean feet are done. She bled a little. I didn’t make a big deal of it. There wasn’t any change in behavior the next time I went to shave her feet. While the treats are plenty, I’m also firm and no nonsense with grooming, which helps her trust me more. I know that’s much easier to do when your dog is a small package like Lacey.

I’ve always thought Peggy and Lacey have VERY similar temperaments, and I really think she’d bounce back if you accidentally hurt her.

Although poodles are smart and sensitive, I think they’re forgiving of the people they love if you accidentally cause an ouchie once in a blue moon.
 

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I think you’re right that all the paw touching and holding laid a great foundation. We’ve always done a lot of that, too, so I’m hopeful it’ll pay off with longterm trust. I feel like those earliest life lessons are almost unshakeable.

And I like thinking Peggy’s got a little soulmate out there in Lacey :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the heads up on the diamond bit, @Charmed !
I tend to do a lot of research the for most effective/quality grooming supplies to make the job easier. Im a little too obsessed with that if I’m being honest :)

I had the diamagroove bit from Whitman’s on my radar. But it’s $150 plus another $20 or so for shipping... I just can’t bring myself to spend that. Plus, there isn’t a lot of reviews online for it.

I saw the one your shared on Amazon and I read hundreds of reviews. There were enough negative reviews that made me second guess it. But I totally trust the recommendation of a seasoned fellow poodle owner.

Have you had yours for awhile? I would love something that lasts long term. Also, how does it compare to the 60 grit sandpaper band? I love how quickly the coarse grit takes down the nail, just not how quickly they dull.
 

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I got in January of 2019, and it is still going strong.It works much faster than any other bit I have used. I have been doing my own dogs with a dremel for over twenty years. I did opt for the bigger bit for large dogs because I was doing my daughter's pitbull's thick nails. I trim my two Standard poodles and the Jack Russell terror's nails about every two weeks.This bit is a game changer. I am going to have to go read the bad reviews because I have no problems at all. The little terror hates being groomed and screams the whole time, but it does not matter if I am doing his nails or just brushing him. He got Lyme's disease when he lived in Tennessee and I think it left a residual effect on his whole body's nerve endings. I have learned to just groom him as quickly as I can. Good luck on your nail grinding.
 

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I have gone through something similar with Merlin. At first he was tolerant of the nail clippers, until I made him bleed. In his case it only takes one time because of his anxiety issues (and mine). Once I’ve hurt him, I can’t do it anymore, I have mini PTSD.

I then bought a very powerful dremel of unknown brand and he was okay with it at first. Until I made him bleed (again). I didn’t think you could make a dog bleed with a dremel... Then I stopped touching his nails for a good two years (went to the groomer’s) until the pandemic started. I then didn’t have a choice but to do it myself.

I bought a dremel 8050 with a light on the tip to see the quick better. Merlin would try to bite me so I had to put a cone on him. So now that’s how we do it. I start by doing Beckie, who doesn’t mind too much, to gain confidence and calm myself down, and then I do Merlin.

I do their nails about every 2 weeks and I’m very careful not to get to the quick. I also dremel the top and sides, it helps the quick to recede.
 

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Thank you for this post, Porkchop - it's a great tutorial on how to desensitize your puppy to nail trimming!! His breeder used a Dremel, so I got one and use it in our grooming desensitization sessions two or three times a week. I just turn it on and hold it near his paw, and if all four paws go well and we still have treats, I actually do a nail or two. I am very thankful that I found a groomer who loves poodles and likes to work with Topper. She does his nails "for real" with the assistance of her co-groomer. I will keep working on the desensitization and may get courageous enough to do it myself some day!
 

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thank you for sharing!!

I was too chicken to get a nail clipper but have had success with the dremel....taking it slow!!

I do some paws (usually alternating front and back) every couple of days - she is 14/15 weeks so I want her used to it.

dew claws are the worst for me, though....harder to see and manipulate them with all that hair!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Dechi My boyfriend got me the 8050 for Christmas (I specifically asked for it so I had my own dremel). I love that it has a light on the end! I wish it didn’t automatically start on 15,000 rpm speed but instead remembered what you last used. Although that’s the speed I like for most of the job.
I didn’t know the quick would bleed if you got it with the dremel. I read that it would cauterize it (but still hurt of course). I will keep the quick stop ready just in case. I hadn’t been since switching to the dremel.
That’s a good idea to use a cone. It’s got to get done somehow.

@PowersPup and @Tierney im glad my post was helpful in some way! Most dogs need their nails shortened about every 2-3 weeks, which is more often than they see the groomer. Some dogs have slow growing nails and can go 4 weeks. Good job working toward learning to do your dog’s nails!
 

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@Dechi My boyfriend got me the 8050 for Christmas (I specifically asked for it so I had my own dremel). I love that it has a light on the end! I wish it didn’t automatically start on 15,000 rpm speed but instead remembered what you last used. Although that’s the speed I like for most of the job.
I didn’t know the quick would bleed if you got it with the dremel. I read that it would cauterize it (but still hurt of course). I will keep the quick stop ready just in case. I hadn’t been since switching to the dremel.
That’s a good idea to use a cone. It’s got to get done somehow.

@PowersPup and @Tierney im glad my post was helpful in some way! Most dogs need their nails shortened about every 2-3 weeks, which is more often than they see the groomer. Some dogs have slow growing nails and can go 4 weeks. Good job working toward learning to do your dog’s nails!
I'm in the market for a Dremel and was just searching for the Dremel 8050 based on recommendations here and what I've read online. It looks like the 8050 has been discontinued, and I think it's been replaced by this one. Does this look like the replacement for the Dremel 8050 or am I looking at the wrong one?

Thank you!
 

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Oh it’s too bad they discontinued the 8050 ! The 8050 micro also has a light but it’s a lot smaller. They say it holds between fingers, like a pencil. The only other one with a light is the 4300, it’s not cordless and it’s more powerful. Probably an overkill.

Look up « dremel comparison chart » and you will see everything they have. I would try to find out if groomers are using the micro and if so, then it’s a good choice.

If not, I’ve heard of another brand that makes a rotary tool with a light. I just can’t remember what it was. You might find it on a groomers facebook group.
 

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Oh it’s too bad they discontinued the 8050 ! The 8050 micro also has a light but it’s a lot smaller. They say it holds between fingers, like a pencil. The only other one with a light is the 4300, it’s not cordless and it’s more powerful. Probably an overkill.

Look up « dremel comparison chart » and you will see everything they have. I would try to find out if groomers are using the micro and if so, then it’s a good choice.

If not, I’ve heard of another brand that makes a rotary tool with a light. I just can’t remember what it was. You might find it on a groomers facebook group.
Thank you for your help Dechi! The 8050 micro is also unfortunately discontinued. I'm so bummed, I really liked the idea of the light, too. I'm going to have to do some research.

I just had a really bad nail clipping session tonight with my toy poodle, and I need to find an alternative. I'm hoping he'll accept the dremel.
 

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It says « out of stock » where I looked. It might be because of the pandemic. Until the stocks replenish, you could buy a cheap one like the one they show on tv (I don’t know if they still do). I have one like that, it’s still working after 20 years. It turns really slow but it does the job and it would be a good way to accustom your dog until you can find one with a light. It’s not as noisy as a dremel.

I can take a picture to show you tomorrow if you want.
 

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It says « out of stock » where I looked. It might be because of the pandemic. Until the stocks replenish, you could buy a cheap one like the one they show on tv (I don’t know if they still do). I have one like that, it’s still working after 20 years. It turns really slow but it does the job and it would be a good way to accustom your dog until you can find one with a light. It’s not as noisy as a dremel.

I can take a picture to show you tomorrow if you want.
Thank you for the info Dechi. From what I've read online at several retailers, the 8050 micro is discontinued. It seemed like the model a lot of groomers were using, too. I'm a bit surprised they discontinued it. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope so....

I just ordered the Dremel made for pets, which has set speeds of 8,000 and then 14,000. I've heard 10,000 is the ideal speed for trimming dog's nails, but it doesn't give that option. I don't mind starting at a slower speed anyway until l figure out how to use it. I'll give it a try and see.

Thanks again!
 

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Thank you for the info Dechi. From what I've read online at several retailers, the 8050 micro is discontinued. It seemed like the model a lot of groomers were using, too. I'm a bit surprised they discontinued it. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope so....

I just ordered the Dremel made for pets, which has set speeds of 8,000 and then 14,000. I've heard 10,000 is the ideal speed for trimming dog's nails, but it doesn't give that option. I don't mind starting at a slower speed anyway until l figure out how to use it. I'll give it a try and see.

Thanks again!
That looks like a fine tool ! I use my dremel at the preset level, I think it’s 15 000 rpm. 8 000 is perfect to start learning. The trick is to not leave the dremel on the nail for more than one second at a time. Once I’ve taken the tip off, I mostly do little taps of a fraction of a second on the sides and top of the nail. Also look directly into the nail, you will clearly see when the quick is starting to show, even if the nail is dark.

Have fun with it !
 

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That looks like a fine tool ! I use my dremel at the preset level, I think it’s 15 000 rpm. 8 000 is perfect to start learning. The trick is to not leave the dremel on the nail for more than one second at a time. Once I’ve taken the tip off, I mostly do little taps of a fraction of a second on the sides and top of the nail. Also look directly into the nail, you will clearly see when the quick is starting to show, even if the nail is dark.

Have fun with it !
Thank you for the tips! Have you ever gotten hair from the paw caught in the dremel? That's my biggest fear and the main reason I've stuck with the nail clipper (even though I make at least one of my toy's nail's bleed every time with the clippers....ugh.)
 

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Have you ever gotten hair from the paw caught in the dremel? That's my biggest fear and the main reason I've stuck with the nail clipper (even though I make at least one of my toy's nail's bleed every time with the clippers....ugh.)
Oh yes I have, and it’s very important to make sure you won’t. Before doing my dogs’ nails, I trim the hair on their feet. I give them poodle feet, just below the second knuckle. I also trim Beckie’s hair around the dewclaws, as that’s where I had the hair get stuck. I push the hair upwards and clip and it doesn’t show.

It takes 10 minutes more per dog but it gives me peace of mind.
 
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