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Eventually all dogs will need to have their toenails trimmed, their ears cleaned, be combed, bathed or maybe brush their teeth. If you try to trim a dog’s nails for the first time when he weighs eighty pounds, good luck. You will most likely have a wrestling match on your hands with both you and your dog becoming very unhappy.


How do you get a dog to become accustomed to these types of procedures? You need to start doing nail trims and ear cleanings when your puppy is eight weeks old. Get him used to having just the tips of his nails trimmed. Do one or two nails at a time and trim just the sharp tips so you don’t cut them too close and make them bleed. You don’t want to hurt your puppy and have him become fearful. After trimming a few nails reward him with a food treat or play his favorite game. Make him associate the event with something he really enjoys. You want him to know that every time he gets his nails trimmed, you are going to play fetch with him. Do the same thing when you clean his ears or brush his teeth.


When your puppy is near you, handle his feet, look in his ears and open his mouth. If you do this every time he is around, he will become desensitized to having it done. Anything you will ever have to do with your dog when he is older, you must first get him accustomed to between eight and sixteen weeks of age. Repeating these things frequently and making a game out of them will make these chores much more pleasant when he is older. Start now and get him desensitized to potentially unpleasant procedures. The veterinarians and staff here are more than happy to help with any demonstrations. Just give us a call. 


© Gary L. Clemons DVM

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