01/15/2017: Abe’s new project

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on a new project for Abe. I’ve been thinking… While I’m working on desensitizing him to having his nailed trimmed/filed, I need some way to keep his toesies in decent shape; if I let them get too long, his quicks (the blood-vessel-filled part of the nail) will get too long, and I’ll have a lot of work ahead of me to bring them back. So, as I typically do, I did some research.

I’ve run across several blog posts about people making their own dog nail file and teaching their dogs to use them. Just google “dog nail board.” Essentially it’s a piece of wood that’s covered in sandpaper, and you teach the dog to scratch his nails on the board to file them down. Like this:

Image result for dog nail board

Click here to go to the post that inspired me to try this!

So I went to Menards and got some adhesive anti-slip stair tape. It’s basically 60-grit (very coarse) sandpaper with an adhesive backing designed for outdoor stair treads to prevent slippage. I stuck long strips of the tape side by side along a spare piece of wood I had lying around (I do a lot of projects, so I have a lot of scraps…). Then I had to teach Abe to use it!

First I put the board on the floor in front of me and lured him on with food. Recently I’ve started using his wet food for training. Once his foot touched the board, I gave him the food. I would have used a clicker if I had another hand! Once he was comfortable with stepping on the board, I propped one end up on my crossed legs and continued. I continued to make it a little more challenging bit by bit once he understood that foot on board = food.

Click here to see a video of his first two sessions. Most of it is sped up so it’s a little easier to watch the whole thing. You can see my microscopic, elderly pup, Ginger, make a few appearances! It also should be noted that through the duration of the video, my whole fam-damily was downstairs in the room with us. Even my dad! And Abe was able to focus on learning! So much improvement from this little guy.

f you have questions about any individual part of the video or the process, let me know! I’m still experimenting with the best way to do this!

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