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Do you really have to do this?


Dog Tails

How about nail tales


I met Tyler the other day, and he asked me about his Pit Bull cross Jessie. “She is such a good girl, but she absolutely will not let me trim her nails!” He has to take her to her vet, just for nail trims. This is more common for pet owners, then not! It is good that he is conscientious enough to have them done regularly. Dogs that do not have nails trimmed regularly become even less tolerant of having them done. Secondly, as your dog ages, long nails will lead to arthritic problems in the feet.

What is it about vets that any animal so readily accepts this simple action? That is simple to explain. Well, they do it with dozens of animals every day, as they trim almost every fur kid’s nails that enter their clinic each day. It is like breathing to them! I have a whole lot of pet nails in my home, so it is fortunate that I have a live in vet. I don’t have a problem doing them, but I am particularly slow in comparison, so I just let Ken take a few extra deep breaths several times a week.

The most important reason that you have a difficult time is your attitude the very first time you attempt this simple procedure. You have hopefully been told that if you cut too close, you cut through the “quick, which is actually a blood vessel. Not only does it hurt, but also it bleeds, and bleeds. As I have said before, your emotions transmit directly into your canine buddy, whether positive or negative.

Be sure to make a point of having your vet explain and actually show you how to identify that “quick” in your dog’s nails. Be sure to have a septic stick, or an appropriate powder purchased at you local pet store to stop the bleeding if you do cut too short. You may have, actually, probably already have, made that mistake. This makes you very nervous and frightened that you may hurt her again. That fear in you will make her anxious and unwilling.

OK, let us make this right, for both of you! Turn any negative thing into a positive experience. Get her accustomed to you messing with her feet. This will desensitize the experience and you can actually bond with her by giving her pleasure. Start manipulating her feet while she is relaxed and lying down. Massage her feet by spreading her toes and rubbing between them. Work out to the end of her toes and hold her nails between your thumb and forefinger. Do this all slowly and delicately. Make this as normal and common an experience as stroking her neck. If she lies on the couch with you while you are watching TV, just make a habit of keeping your hands busy bonding with your dog’s feet!

You should very soon in this process, put the nail clippers under a foot while you massage. Everything will remain non-threatening and normal. Then, after a few weeks of this constant pleasure, put the clippers around each nail, without clipping for a few days. Then when you are ready to try, you relax, don’t even think about possibly hurting her. Carefully, shave just a tiny sliver every day until the peoper length is achieved. If you continue to do a nail trim regularly, the "quick" will move back more and more, allowing her to have shorter nails. Even if you do manage to hurt her, you will be the rock that will gladly comfort her. You are now her hero!

Eureka! Mission complete.

Cat Tails

January 9, 1:25 PM

BR said in comments on my last column, "
LOL...cute video. We have a feral/domestic cross bred cat that we adopted from the local humane society. They found him in a feral cat trap. My husband wasn't a cat person when I met him years ago, but every cat we've had since has been his best buddy. This one in particular is his favorite. He loves it more than our dog.

Thank you for your comment! I am, and always will be a dog person! But I truly adore these very special creatures. If you are a confirmed dog person, and have never had a cat, adopt one, and then see how you feel. If your dog is a confirmed cat hater, there are ways to adapt. They can become part of your fur family, and it is sometimes fun to watch them learn to interact, and even take care of each orher.

I see so many unique qualities in every one that passes through our door. There are many that come as either fosters, or they seem to fall out of the sky and into our laps. I have learned so much about them by watching their interactions with each other. Besides the joy they give us, they are truly empathic and take care of each other. There is another examiner who will be sending me a video of her cat grooming her dog. I can't wait to share!

I take pictures and videos every day. I just got a new camera that takes High Definiton video. I filled my new disk taking video of Annabel, a beautiful jet black kitten that goes to her new home today. I will send that to utube soon and share. Annabel and I shared an interesting behavioral journey, with a very happy ending. Please enjoy seeing my pictures as much as I enjoy taking them.

Keep sending comments. They are fun to share!

Oops! The examiner publishing tool is not allowing me to place pictures or slideshos. I am so sorry to tease you. I am requesting help from the brilliant tech department and hope that this issue is soon resolved. Please check back on this page soon.

If you have any questions about either dog or cat behavior, or a fun or interesting story or experience, please leave them in either comments, or email me at



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