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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we have a 22 month old mini. He hates anyone touching his paws which has made it difficult to cut/groom them. Rather than continually stress him out anytime he goes to the groomers, they have suggested leaving his hair longer in his paws and having it all same size in length as the hair on the rest of his leg. We are okay with this, can you think of anything we need to be aware of? We have tried everything to desentisize his paws to clippers, giving him treats, stroking them etc. He his just about publishing them but hates slippers on them. I would appreciate any advice you can give on this, many thanks.
 

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I’ve been keeping Peggy’s paws the same length as her legs, but it’s still very important to clear the hair out from between the toes. It gets slippery fast.

How do you clip his toenails?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi, he will let the groomers clip his nails. I'm an inexperienced dog owne and can't do them myself. I think there is something about the vibration the clippers which upsets him, particularly his front paws.
 

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That’s good he’s okay with nail clipping!

Peggy’s very protective of her front paws, but she’s fine if I use scissors on them. I see nothing wrong with your groomer taking this approach.

The only caveat is that—since the groomer won’t be shaving his paws, and you’re not clipping nails at home—your pup is going to need very frequent groomer appointments. I would say every 4 weeks max. Depending on the type of nails he has, maybe more.
 

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Have you ruled out any medical issues that might be bothering your boy?

Have you tried desensitizing him to grooming tools while at home? If the sound doesn't bother him, you're already half way there... you can hold the clipper (off to start) to his feet for a couple seconds, take it off, give him his favorite treat, repeat over and over for until he wants to take a break. Since he's pretty sensitive, I would keep the contact short and do this for a few days. Then, you can try the same process but with the clippers on -- at this point he might just be willing to put up with it if he knows now he gets treats when he sits nicely.
 

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Poppy hated clippers on her feet, but would let me do them with small, ball ended scissors - may be worth a try. The hair on them has all fallen out now due to 18 months on steroids - something she considers a definite silver lining!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Have you ruled out any medical issues that might be bothering your boy?

Have you tried desensitizing him to grooming tools while at home? If the sound doesn't bother him, you're already half way there... you can hold the clipper (off to start) to his feet for a couple seconds, take it off, give him his favorite treat, repeat over and over for until he wants to take a break. Since he's pretty sensitive, I would keep the contact short and do this for a few days. Then, you can try the same process but with the clippers on -- at this point he might just be willing to put up with it if he knows now he gets treats when he sits nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, I don't think there are medical issues. I have tried for the last two months to desensitize using a pair of clippers I bought during lockdown. I never need up using the clippers. I carefully put the clippers on each paw and reward with a treat. He's still not comfortable with that even after 2 months. I suspect he would even let me use scissors on his feet, I wouldn't because I'm not confident about using them.
 

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There's grass seeds and sap that gets stuck in their paws. You should totally be persistent and keep trying to find ways to make it work.

Have you tried using elevated grooming surface or a dremmel?

You'll save a boatload of money.

I told Basil in the beginning that she doesn't get a choice. The poodle life chose her not the other way around.
 

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I think the only thing you can do is try to desensitize over time. I agree with the groomer though that trying to do it all at once under a time constraint isn't going to work and stressing him out won't either. I would get something that vibrates like an old toothbrush or clippers without a blade but it on the paws for just a second or two and then feed high value treat and let him run away. Keep doing that for as long as it takes gradually building up the time as he shows progress. By giving him a treat and letting him run away you're applying premack principle to an undesirable activity, hopefully over time he'll start to feel differently about having his paws clipped and associate it with great things rather than stress and adrenaline.
 

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When I play with my dogs, I am always fiddling with their paws. Rubbing, maneuvering, tickling, all that and more. I’ve done this since the day they come home before slowly working up to using nail clippers and clippers.

Despite all that, my Shih tzu at 8.5 years still hates getting nails done so we put her on the grooming table. With Whiskey being a spoo and much larger and stronger, the first few times he was given a high value chewie while we did the grooming of paws, which he still hated but was sufficiently distracted.

Following that I gave him no choice in the matter, struggle means I hold the paws longer, relaxed means we get through it faster and get to treaties quicker. After 4 months of this, he lets me do the shaving of paws while upside down on my lap, at least whatever part of him that can fit in my lap. We’re getting there with nails but he still pulls away lots of times so doing nails can take a few 30 min sessions.

I heavily treat good grooming behavior so all my dogs know grooming = compensation in the form of special high value treats and a round of play.
 

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My mini really hates his front paws being trimmed. Always has, and it's something I've had to work on a lot. I would recommend getting a grooming hammock that fits him (check etsy or you can make your own). Have a person there to slow feed him high value treats (maybe a licky mat with peanut butter or something) while you use a trimmer. It is something I have been working on for two years, so I would not be discouraged with little progress in two months.

Keeping the paws in round style (same length) will reduce the amount of trimming required, but as @PeggyTheParti said, the paw pads will still grow hair and need to be trimmed out. In addition, when I kept my dog in round feet, I found that he was so much more likely to encounter issues with thorns and burrs. I would find thorns embedded in his pads. This will happen less if you are able to shave in between the toes on the bottoms of the feet even if you leave the tops of the feet fluffy. It is also necessary to shave between the toes to prevent matting and yeast infection which are terribly painful for dogs. So basically, yes the groomer is right that round feet will make it easier. But that doesn't mean the feet won't need to be trimmed. Just trimmed less. So desensitization is still necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Many thanks for all of your advice. I will keep up with the desentizing. I'm a first time dog owner and want to do what s best for him. Do you think I should try, as best as I can, to cut the hair around his pads, in between his toes with a pair of round edged scissors? I do have clippers but inexperienced about using them (even if I got near his feet) and don't want to risk hurting him. I do worry and hadn't thought about the increase risk of grass seeds etc. Thanks
 

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They are special little scissors with sort of ball ends on the scissors, not the kindergarten variety of round edged scissors.

What my breeder said to do from day one was to play with his feet and between his toes every morning before getting out of bed. First I gave him a lovely massage to get him relaxed and used to being touched. Then she had me buy a little massager, and told me to rub him all over with that too. Then what I did was put it on the floor while it was running. Every time my spoo would go near it I would give him a treat, and then quit doing that unless when he would touch it, then when he would play with it. It took quite awhile, but once he was playing with it and batting it around with his feet, I would just do one second at a time on his feet and then treat him. I never did this for more than a couple of minutes at a time, once or twice a day. But it finally worked.
 

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How has the progress been?

I’m not too sure about using scissors, seems more risky than clippers. Clippers won’t cut skin unless you really dig into it or the webbing between the paws get into the teeth. But it may just be me.

Do what makes you feel comfortable. The last thing you want is a jittery groomer and an equally jittery dog.
 

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Many thanks for all of your advice. I will keep up with the desentizing. I'm a first time dog owner and want to do what s best for him. Do you think I should try, as best as I can, to cut the hair around his pads, in between his toes with a pair of round edged scissors? I do have clippers but inexperienced about using them (even if I got near his feet) and don't want to risk hurting him. I do worry and hadn't thought about the increase risk of grass seeds etc. Thanks
You're in good company. I'm a first time dog owner too. What's great is that you have the full spectrum of experience here.

You and your poodle just take baby steps. Grooming isn't a sink or swim life or death decision. It just needs to be part of your routine and life since you signed up for a single coated breed with hair that never stops growing.

You can use it on yourself first to make you feel more comfortable.
 
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