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Touch Me Not Pets

Some pets are terrified of touch, especially when it comes to hygenic or medical procedures. What can you do about it? Here's one answer:

My rescue dog is absolutely terrified of nail clippers. She won’t even let me hold her paw. Her nails are getting very long. What can I do to help her?

To start with, have a vet or professional groomer trim her nails to get them in a manageable state. However, you need to be able to touch your dog wherever she needs to be touched for health purposes. If she had something embedded in her paw, you would need to touch it if only to see what it was.

Start by touching the top of her paw, not the pads. Use the word “paw” or “shake” or another word of your choice. If she doesn’t pull it away, “Good girl” then give her a treat. Increase the time in 5 or ten second increments. Work on this at least daily, better two or three times a day. When she will allow you to put your hand on her paw for an extended time (like 30 seconds or so), gently wrap your hand around her paw, still touching on the top, not her pads. When she is comfortable with that touch, offer her your hand, palm up. You may have to place her paw in it. Don’t latch on to start with. You are working to make her comfortable with the touch. When she finally accepts your offer of a hand, then gently grasp her paw. Next, work on using your word to have her extend her paw to you.

If she is still afraid of the clippers, let the clipping go by doing as earlier suggested, either sidewalk or asphalt walking or having your vet or professional groomer clip her nails.

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