Last night, I worked with Abe on his nails again (like every night) and got some useful video from the session.
Abe lets me hold down his paws and pretend to clip the nails. The next step is actual clipping. Abe is very sensitive to noise, so I need to get him used the SOUND and the FEELING of a nail clip separately. Most dogs are startled by the noise at first but quickly get used to it, so this step isn’t always necessary. But for this doggo, it is. So I used uncooked pasta as a substitute for his nail; I held his paw down like normal, then clipped the pasta by his foot with the clipper. It’s not as loud as the nail will be, but it didn’t seem to bother him. Next I’ll probably go to a tiny wooden dowel to make the noise louder.
We ran into a snag in this session. I was pretend-clipping his nail when he tried to move his paw. I wasn’t holding it firmly enough, and when he moved, his nail got caught on the clipper. It scared the shit out of him, and he yelped and went toward my hand with his mouth. He didn’t come close, and his intent was not to nip at me. After this, he was really scared. He tried to slink away to his crate in my room with his tail between his legs, but I didn’t let him because I wanted to have the ability to end the session on a good note. You’ll see in the video how I handled it.
Here’s the video. The yelp happens around 6:45.
This setback was MY FAULT, not his. I should have been more careful to keep this from happening. It’s not ideal that it happened, but it happened, and it could actually benefit us. He got scared, but he didn’t get hurt!
I’ve still got a lot of work to do before he’s comfortable with actual nail clipping, even though he’s come so far already. We’ll keep at it.
On a more positive note, Abe has earned full off-leash privileges! The only time I’ve used a leash in the last few weeks has been when I’ve taken him to the dog park (required) and to class (also required). He LOVES to go exploring in the hay field and pastures when we’re at the barn. He is really enjoying having this freedom, and as weird as it sounds, our bond has become stronger. The fact that he can run free and go exploring as long as he checks in with me every few minutes and comes when I call him has really strengthened our relationship. He’s a good boy.
Here he is yesterday at the barn while my dad and I cleaned the barn with the tractor.
My doggo is the best doggo.