Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today's excitement

We went to the club this morning for some practice. Practiced lead outs which for some reason terrify me in competition. I just need to get over it. Its not like anything will explode if it goes wrong.

Also fast fast fast weave poles. I want to get away from baby sitting DJ through them and actually pick up some speed and he does rip through them if I run faster. Its still a delicate balance though, if I get too far ahead he pops out.

And! We also practiced leaping over the A-frame contact a LOT this morning. Hooray, let's practice what not to do. Eventually got that sorted out.

As we were leaving I noticed DJ worrying his back foot, it looks like one of his pads got a little chafed, or rubbed a bit. That's the only thing I could see and by the time we were home he was no longer favoring it. Thank goodness, there's an emergency vet right next door to the club so I would kick myself for not just going there if it was a serious injury.

I also noticed* that the nails on that foot are so long that his foot looks a little weird. Splayed. Probably because he was standing on it weird but still it freaked me out and I decided those nails Must Be Done Right Away. I tried to get it done the easy way, nice click and treat but eventually just picked him up and cut one off.

Lots of treats but I could not get the clipper on the middle nails because he was clenching his foot. I just need one more hand and it would be much easier. In general he's better about the rear feet than his fronts but maneuvering him into position is the hard part and why I was putting off trying them.

So far, the best way I've found to get the back nails trimmed is by holding DJ in my left arm and then trying to lasso a nail with the clippers. It really helps to have another person to wrangle the foot and spread the toes. But I'm trying to get away from methods that involve wrangling and multiple helpers.

I may try to work on him when he's relaxed and enjoying a belly rub. Just desensitizing. The problem with that is that he's not really thrilled with going belly-up on demand. Sometimes you can roll him over but if he stressing over something or anxious or otherwise not in the mood, its like trying to put a recalcitrant cat into box. Legs everywhere, stiff muscles, anger and vindictive words – from him, not me.

Another option is to teach him to give me his back feet. That way we're not already starting from a place of him going, hey what the f…when I pick up his foot. I think that's what I'll do but first these nails have to be cut before he's permanently deformed.

Any other suggestions would be well-received.

I expect tonight will be fun. We're going to trim one front nail nicely and then see what happens to get another of those monstrosities trimmed down. When I say we, I mean DJ and me. As one of us is a very reluctant participant at best, I really mean me.

All of the nail stuff sounds incredibly crazy I realize. Most dog people look at me like I'm either incredibly negligent or just a moron. If I had to choose it would be the latter rather than the former but considering his go-to strategy when I first got him was a well placed bite or threat, I think we're doing well.

*Heretofore its not as though I didn't notice that those particular nails were growing into serious Guinness world's record longest nail contenders, I guess I just hoped that a method for getting to the nails would present itself with a minimum of effort. Surprisingly that didn't happen.


  1. Nails with MinPins are always an issue, it seems. Have you tried the dremel? All my MinPins are much better with the dremel. I also warm up a towel in the dryer and wrap the dog in that when doing nails. They LOVE that and settle a bit. Of course, I am in Maine and you are in Florida and DJ may not care about a warmed towel. LOL!! But, I have found all my MinPins MUCH prefer and fight less with the dremel. I took a week to train them to it, but now it is SO much easier. Xanax helped with my most troublesome. I no longer need it, but it broke his pattern of anxiety about nails so it worked pretty well.


  2. Thanks Amy!

    What a good idea with the towel. I have tried a dremel, I do have one, I really have not done enough work desensitizing DJ to it.

    He was fine with it in theory but the first time I touched a nail with it, the look of horror was, well kind of funny. After that the sight of turned him into a crazy hell hound.

    Everyone told me he would be so much better but so far its proven more difficult. I'm going to buy a dremel with a cord though eventually and give it another try! ;)

  3. Well, here's what I did..........I bought a MiniMite Dremel. It is cordless, quieter, and very small and easy to handle. I turned it on when they were eating. Each meal I slowly brought it closer to them, until they were eating with the dremel pretty much next to their food dish. Then I started with smoked turkey sandwich meat and turn it on with the dog in my lap. Turned it off, fed treat. Did that a couple times and quit. Then the next session (maybe 1 hour later, or so) I did the same thing, but after turning it OFF I touched the nail with the sander head. You see where this is going. Each session was about 2 minutes long, then I quit and came back an hour or so later. I got to where I could touch one nail, briefly with it on, turned off, fed treat, quit session. Slowly progressing to where I could touch several with it on. Then I actually used some pressure. One thing I do is sand all around the edge of the nail and hardly ever directly on the center. That essentially makes a pointed tip to the nail with the quick in the middle of that point. It's the quick that hurts when touched, so I avoid that area for a while. If all the edges are rounded the dogs nature weight should push that quick back, slowly. Does that make sense?

    The biggest mistake most people make when doing nails with a dremel is advancing too quickly. Be patient, go REALLY slow and use roast beef or turkey ham or smoke salmon!!! Treats he would never get any other time!!! And don't discredit the Xanax!! Seriously, why not??? Get it so the nails are not so bad, then wean off the meds. You are already in a pattern of anxiety about nails, so do what it takes to over-come that.