Poodle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last night I cobbled together a quick scratch board so Peggy can start filing down her own front nails. Used regularly between nail trims, this method should encourage the quicks to recede, much as they would with long, hard exercise on concrete (which Peggy doesn’t get).

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

474383


It’s 120 grit sandpaper, because that’s all I had in a large enough sheet. Once we’ve refined her technique and the angle of the board—so that she’s consistently scratching her nails and not her pads—I’ll go down to 80.

I wrapped it around a sturdy little cardboard box and used packing tape to secure the back. Fine for now, but far from ideal. The cardboard has a slight give to it, which I imagine limits its effectiveness. And the packing tape doesn’t hold up for long.

I would like to try an old cutting board next, with handles. And I’ll use a proper adhesive on the back, just layering new pieces of sandpaper on top, as they wear out.

Anyone else currently using a scratch board? Or wanting to try this method out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,552 Posts
Just an idea, what if you actually grabbed her paws and scratched them yourself ? It would go much faster.
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Just an idea, what if you actually grabbed her paws and scratched them yourself ? It would go much faster.
I’ve tried filing her nails myself, which she didn’t mind, but I saw no results. This way, she files them down efficiently while I continue to work slowly and separately on desensitizing her to having her front paws handled.

It took less than a minute to get her scratching the board with enthusiasm:

474384


And each scratch would be the equivalent of multiple swipes by hand. This makes my poor, chronically sore body very happy. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
I had wondered how it would file the nails without also filings the pads, so the visual helps!
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I had wondered how it would file the nails without also filings the pads, so the visual helps!
It’s mostly about the angle of the board. The photo I posted above shows good form.

When the board’s not vertical enough, her nails stick out from the pressure on her pads:

474385
 

·
Registered
Stella - Standard Poodle
Joined
·
92 Posts
Thank you for posting this! I'm thinking about doing this for Stella, and it looks pretty simple
 

·
Premium Member
Mia, Christmas in June 2010
Joined
·
2,702 Posts
It took less than a minute to get her scratching the board with enthusiasm:
Is it self-rewarding? I know cats scratch for a variety of reasons, but I didn't realize dogs would enjoy it, too.
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for posting this! I'm thinking about doing this for Stella, and it looks pretty simple
This is a good overview:


I like the idea of a curved board to get the outer nails, but it’s the front middles that seem to grow the fastest/longest on Peggy. I’m guessing they make the least contact with the ground.
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Is it self-rewarding? I know cats scratch for a variety of reasons, but I didn't realize dogs would enjoy it, too.
I think it must be, based on how quickly Peggy offered up the behaviour. Maybe it’s the natural digging action more than the scratching? She was thrilled when I pulled the board out again today.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,603 Posts
Hide the file between uses. Some dogs find it so self-reinforcing they'll file their nails short enough to bleed. Noelle has a board like this, too. I use the cue, "Dig!" which she happily does. Pay attention to the pads, also. They can get kind of beat up doing this.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,213 Posts
I wonder if this would work for Sophy - not sure how it would help the dewclaws, though, and those are the real problem. Poppy is very stoical about having hers done - anything for chicken - even though her nails are black and I have quicked her several times, but Sophy is hard work...

I also wonder if the angle of a boot jack would be about right? They are not expensive, and would just need covering with sand paper. Could even be dual purpose!
 
  • Like
Reactions: PeggyTheParti

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,050 Posts
Interesting. With past dogs that hated their nails done I've tried many methods to sand the nail down but mostly to no avail. Now, I'm really liking this new dremel I have. I may have to make one of these boards though, maybe my cats would use it too or more than that do their scratch posts. And if Renn likes it it will be a win win. Thanks for the ideas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
How do you get Peggy to scratch on it? Or is it a natural instinct thing? Winnie's nails are so long and I am to scared to try trimming so will leave it to the groomer next week. I had thought about a scratch board but had some questions about it.
1) how do they know what to do?
2) is it only for the front paws (sorry if its a dumb question but couldn't imagine them doing the back ones)?
3) will this encourage digging which I am trying to discourage (before she tears my sofa or duvet)?
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
How do you get Peggy to scratch on it? Or is it a natural instinct thing? Winnie's nails are so long and I am to scared to try trimming so will leave it to the groomer next week. I had thought about a scratch board but had some questions about it.
1) how do they know what to do?
2) is it only for the front paws (sorry if its a dumb question but couldn't imagine them doing the back ones)?
3) will this encourage digging which I am trying to discourage (before she tears my sofa or duvet)?
1) Grab a handful of yummy, easy-to-eat treats, and sit with the board held firmly, almost vertically in front of you. Give it some time and Winnie will eventually reach out a paw for it. At the moment she does this, capture the behaviour by marking it with a word like “Good!” or “Yes!” and reward with a treat. (I use a clicker for this because I like the precision.) With time, increase the requirements for a reward until she’s consistently doing good, hard scratches.

Here’s a video tutorial:

But you can find lots more online.

2) There are some tutorials for the back feet. It seems doable, but much more complicated, and some dogs struggle to get it. Thankfully, Peggy’s hind nails are naturally much shorter than the front. I think they wear down more with regular exercise. Plus, she doesn’t really mind when I fiddle around with her back feet, probably because I handled them a lot when she was a puppy, just lounging on the couch. Or maybe they’ve never been quicked by her groomer. I suspect the front have.

3) When trying to deter natural behaviors like digging, I find it very helpful to provide a preferred outlet for them. This could be a great way to teach Winnie “Dig this, not that.”
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I’ve refined my technique a little. I now sit on a chair and hold the scratch board tightly with my knees, and I hold the treats behind the board rather than keeping them in my pocket. This has increased Peggy’s focus on the board and also the intensity of her scratches. Now a treat can suddenly “appear” when she gives the board a really good, hard scratch, motivating her to keep focused on the board (and improving her aim), rather than switching her focus up to me and causing her to accidentally swipe at my vulnerable fingers - ouch.

So far, I’m still loving this system. Just need to get a coarser grain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,479 Posts
Wow, I didn’t know dogs would do this!
 
  • Like
Reactions: PeggyTheParti

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I picked up some 80 grain sandpaper today, and a cutting board to stick it on, and wow! One very short session and we’re right at the quick on her front middle nails! Only issue I’m having is that she must be applying pressure unevenly, because the nails are wearing down on an angle, from the outside of each nail towards the center. I need to figure out what she’s doing so I can refine her technique with the clicker.

Here’s my new-and-improved(ish) scratch board:

474863


Can you tell I was eager to try it out? That price tag is going to require more patience than I’ve currently got. ;)
 

·
Registered
Stella - Standard Poodle
Joined
·
92 Posts
I picked up some 80 grain sandpaper today, and a cutting board to stick it on, and wow! One very short session and we’re right at the quick on her front middle nails! Only issue I’m having is that she must be applying pressure unevenly, because the nails are wearing down on an angle, from the outside of each nail towards the center. I need to figure out what she’s doing so I can refine her technique with the clicker.

Here’s my new-and-improved(ish) scratch board:

View attachment 474863

Can you tell I was eager to try it out? That price tag is going to require more patience than I’ve currently got. ;)
Is that just a wood cutting board?
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top