Problems with Ginger

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Lady Kate's picture
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She is also so darn SMART!! That's the only way I can get Sofia to stop pulling, is to turn around and walk the other direction

One morning that's all we did.. went in one forever circle. Probably covered a half a mile in a three meter area..

gingersmommy's picture
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Tee, hee!  At least you are persistent!

gingersmommy's picture
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Hi Everyone.  My husband and I clipped Ginger's nails for the second time on Saturday.  It went well until just before the end.  I cut one of her nails too short and got the quick (I swear I have been so careful, but it happened). It wasn't real bad, but she definitely felt it and it bled, and from that point on she started snarling, growling and biting.  I really didn't have any more to cut but I took hold of her paws just to pretend examine them so that the session didn't stop while she was being aggressive.  This time, she meant business and I got bit twice on the hand pretty good - and those were the ones I avoided.  My husband got it too.  I really tried to be calm and i guess I was, but it rattled me so bad. It really did; I was a wreck.  This time she didn't stop and it kept escalating and I was afraid to clip anymore.  It was bad enough just picking up her paws. I know what I'm supposed to do, however, it is a really daunting thing to have an aggressive doberman going after you with teeth flashing and bites landing - even if they are just "posturing."  I am really scared of her now - just with nail clipping.  With everything else she is fine.  (I am typing this on the bed and she is sleeping across me with her head just below the keyboard.  I'm using her as an armrest)  It depressed me, too, because I think there is no way she's ever going to be okay at the vet. I've thought about a muzzle and a dremel, but I'm afraid she will be aggressive with just having the muzzle on and the vibration/sensation of the dremel. 

jeshykai's picture
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As I've said before I used to work at a vet and I know how traumatic and frustrating nail trims can be.  One thing that I learned is that in use of a dremel you remove that pressure sensation that really freaks dogs out about impending pain.  I worked at one vet that had never used it before and a dog that came in that required ace (a sedative) and three people to trim his nails.. I was able to do on my own with a muzzle.  I had him tied up on a scale so his head couldn't turn towards me and a muzzle on just in case.  I then proceeded to very calmly dremel his nails.  He didn't flinch once.  He could tolerate that but he could not tolerate the feeling of trimmers.

 If you do dremel just be aware it gets hot.  I would never pressure Ginger for more than one paw a day until she feels confident about the situation.  You could start by getting her in the position you feel the most control about and turn the dremel on.. just let it run.. and get her used to the sound.  Then after this a few days in a row.. try one nail.. then two... just work your way up to it.

 Don't think that the vets hate her when she comes in because I know even the "land sharks" that wanted nothing to do but eat my face.. I still cared about because I knew that their owners loved them immensely.  You could always make drop bys to the vet where she walks in, gets a treat, and then gets to leave so she isn't ONLY going there for "bad things".  

gingersmommy's picture
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Hi jeshykai, thank you for the information.  This has me feeling a little better.  I am going to pick up a dremel and start out slow.  I am psyching myself out because now I am afraid of her again and projecting that "nothing is going to work."  I have to work on my attitude and fear before we try again. She really is the sweetest and most affectionate dog, except for nails and vet visits.  We just got a fence and I have been making a habit of washing her feet when she comes in, just to get her used to having her feet handled. I do the same thing with our other dog, Lexy, so Ginger can see that Lexy is so calm.  Although she doesn't love the feet cleaning, she enjoys the attention and does the "crazy dog" all around the house when we're dong.  THanks, again; greetings to Steve!

Lady Kate's picture
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 GM

Okay.. back to square one.. Just remember how you did it last time.. and proceed, knowing that you will succeed.. Confidence grasshopper.. YOU CAN DO IT!

Jeshykai, Thank you for your valuable input.

See everyone on Sunday.. we're headed South for a mini-moon.. this time taking our little girl with us!

jeshykai's picture
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Gingersmommy - here is a GREAT video on how to do this properly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IZEs4YOcRM

See how the dog is on a table and secured to the wall?  I don't think you need the table but find a way to have Ginger tied so that she can't reach you.  If I were to try this I think I'd try tying her to the fridge and doing the rear paw first.  This way she can't reach around and get you and you can practice the technique of holding the dremel and working it against the nails.  

Its not easy to feel confident when you are dealing with an aggressive dog, especially when its aggression over things that need to get done and then they are fine with you otherwise.  But you can take control of the situation through proper restraint.  If you want to muzzle her go ahead, it isn't that bad.  She can practice wearing her "party hat" by putting it on her, then removing it, and giving her a treat.  Do this before you use it for the nails so she is calmer about wearing it.  If you get her head tied so that she can stand and have her head not able to turn, this should remove the need for the muzzle.

I hope these techniques help you -- it's easier to show it.  If you need me to do a video of what I'm talking about I'll make one with little Stevie.

 

Good luck!!

Lori's picture
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We use a dremel on Rocky's nails and it works wonderfully.  However the vet recommended getting one at a Home Depot rather just a pet store.  The Home Depot ones are a bit better - they run faster. he said the longer you keep the dremel on the nail the warmer it will getdue to friction so you have to do it pretty fast or the nail heats up and it hurts them too.

 

Just keep working on it and I would seriously consider muzzling her - you cannot have your dog biting you.  I know it's hard but even if you try not to show your fear they really can smell it.  They know even if you think you aren't acting scared. 

gingersmommy's picture
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Hi Lori, I think you are right.  Even though I am acting calm, Ginger knows I am afraid.  Since the last time, we haven't attempted anything again.  I haven't purchased a dremel yet because I get ahead of myself and am afraid she's going to dislike it as much as the clippers (noise, vibration, getting on the table, etc.) I am really in a pickle again because I am even afraid to muzzle her.  I think what we may try is to keep her secured where she can't reach down and get me. Then she can fuss all she wants but I won't be so scared.  The way she was last time, I don't think she's going to stop biting otherwise.  When you dremel Rocky, how long does it take for one nail?  Just wondering how quick it is.

Lady Kate's picture
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I take Sofia in to get her nails dremeled every 10 days ( or so) I'm in and out within 15 mins. and that includes visiting with the groomer.

I'm thinking about getting my own dremel. It looks so easy to do and it's a 45 min. drive there and back.

jeshykai's picture
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LK - dremeling is very easy, the hardest part is getting used to holding their paws at an angle where you can get the dremel at the right position against their nails to quickly zip it back.  We did Steve's toes for the first time with the dremel this weekend and I'd say we were done with him in about 5 minutes, I just did the tips so he'd get used to it.  Your groomer might show you how to do this but as they are losing your business, probably not!  They might even try and talk you out of it, but with the dremel you can't even really quick them because it cauterizes a little as you do it.  I keep a septic powder on hand just in case.

Lori is right, it does get hot when you're doing it.  If you need to go slow I'd do a paw at a time, it shouldn't heat up that fast.  Then they aren't asked to hold still for very long either.  

Gingersmommy -- I think you are developing fears that you should try and get control of, but in steps so that you feel confident as you work your way up to trimming her nails.  Not every dog is good about this process.  With the trouble-maker Watson I worked with this summer he would growl, snap, snarl when you touched his feet but by the end of summer I was able to touch his toes, wiggle his feet, and tug on his nails.  If I kept working I probably could've gotten a trim done but we moved and his parents weren't interested in keeping up the training.

Is she trying to bite you when you go to muzzle her?  Why are you afraid of this step?  The easiest way to muzzle a dog is from behind, so you can quickly throw it over their heads, on their mouth, and tie it back behind their ears.

I think what would be a good exercise for you and Ginger would be to practice restraint without ANY nail work.  Just so she gets used to the process and so do you.  Once you grow confident at your restraint you will be able to tackle trimming ONE nail.  And then try again the next day and do ONE nail.  Work your way up.  

If you want, when Eli comes home, I will make some videos on different ways that you can restrain her.  Its hard to tyep out descriptions.  If you aren't ready for this yet thats okay too.  I just want to help you guys out.  

gingersmommy's picture
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Thanks, jeshykai.  I'm anticipating that Ginger will have a problem being muzzled because we were using a halty collar for a while and she hated that.  She would rub her face on the ground and really make a fuss.  I think anything that is combined with a nail trim is going to alert her to what is coming. She doesn't like being messed with unless it is to kiss or pet her. She had a terrible experience at the emergency vet when she ate the onion and had to go in, so I can understand why she is afraid of being handled for anything but affection.

Her nails are tapping on the floor again because I really didn't trim much last time (except for the one where I got the quick!), and she needs to have it done again.  I really don't want to do it.  It really puts me in an internal panic.  As it is, I'm not going to go with her to the vet anymore.  My husband can do that.  I just can't stand to see it and I'm sure I contribute to the problem.  I've never used a soft muzzle.  If I put that on her, she won't be able to bite me - or is she going to be able to pinch?  I don't know if we will also have to make it so she can't reach my hand by tying her leash a certain way.  Ugh.  I wish my husband would step up and take care of it.  Although he tries to minimize the problem somewhat, he's not volunteering to do it either.

KevinK's picture
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What if you go back to square one, and try to get her used to it and make it a positive experience.  What happens when you bring the dremmel into the room?  What happens when you turn it on, but not near Ginger?  If she freaks out at just the thought of dremel, maybe you can try leaving it out for a while, and when she's calm around it, she gets praised and a treat.  Then you can work up to turning it on for a while, and trying the same thing.  Once you get through that, and she's not afraid of it being around, then you can SLOWLY start, like maybe just one tip, very quickly, for a half second, and praise and treat.  If that goes well, you can start adding more and more time.  Maybe worth a shot!

Lori's picture
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Take small steps like they said - I would definitely muzzle her though.  Get her used to the muzzle first put it on her each day for a bit and then pet and love her with it on.  Once, and only after, she calms down and accepts it, you take it off and repeat for a few days. 

 

Now she's used that...next step, restraint - muzzle her and hold her down but do nothing except pet her and touch her feet.  Do that for a few days until it's not an issue -

 

Then brnig out the dremel.  Don't use it at first just let it run in your hand and do all of the above.  once she gets used to all of that....

 

take a paw and touch it to a nail - all the while talking to her softly and calmly and petting her.  it should take only 5-10 seconds per nail to file them down.  Don't worry if you dont' get them perfect the idea is to get her used to it, you can perfect your technique later..

 

Just keep trying though, if you give up you're back at square one and after all this have accomplished nothing.  Keep trying, it's as much for her health and safety as anything...

gingersmommy's picture
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Thanks, Kevin and Lori.  So far, I haven't even purchased a dremel as yet.  I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I can't even deal with it right now, so I'm ignoring it for as long as possible. (nothing bad is going on in my life either, just this).   I just hate doing anything with her nails. I was hugging and kissing on her this morning and she was all flat and snuggly. I wondered how I can be so intimidated by such a sweet girl. Just got to step up and take care of business - that is, until it comes to that time.  I definitely will muzzle her, though.  Not going through what we did last time without one.

jeshykai's picture
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That's great -- the more you walk her, the more you'll work out that nervous energy she might be carrying around.  :)  Keep up the good work!  She is smart!

gingersmommy's picture
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Still haven't cut them and they are getting longer, and longer. 

Lady Kate's picture
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Oh Oh.. The longer you wait the harder it's going to be on everyone.. It' kinda like the dentist.. teeth don't get better by themselves..

I know this might sound a little whacked, but is there a temporary tranquilizer available?? You know.. like doggie Xanax you could use?? I hate to even suggest sedating a dog to get her nails clipped. But it will soon reach emergency status. 

jeshykai's picture
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Here is what I suggest because long nails are a real issue for her health, it's not even cosmetic.  You likely won't have the nails growing into her pads (I've seen this) but it is very uncomfortable for her when they are longer than her paw.  

I have gotten the indication that she hates the vet and it stresses you out but until you are ready for the training, here is what I suggest:

call your vet and ask for a tranquilizer (we used acepromazine).  They can give you a few tablets to give her a few hours before she goes into the vet.  This will make her less stressed out about the ride and the entrance into the vet.  It's pricey, but I'd ask to have her anesthetized and a nail trim performed.  They will have to go shorter than her quicks for this to be worthwhile (back to a nice, short, workable length) and it's painful so best to have her unaware it's happening.  She'll wake up and behold -- her nails will be short!

Then you have 4-6 weeks to get to light trimming (or dremeling) or you can find a place that will do it for you. 

gingersmommy's picture
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I don't even know what to say; this is such an awful topic for me.  I'm okay with the sedative, although the vet gave her a shot at her annual and it didn't do jack.  It's not about the expense, either, but I won't have her anesthetized for this.  I lost our german shepard because of anesthesia with a teeth cleaning. It is serious stuff.  Plus, I don't want her nails taken down below the quick.  I don't want her to suffer or be uncomfortable at all. Thanks so much for your input.  I will keep you all posted.

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I didn't make the comment lightly, so I hope you know that.  I'm sorry that you lost your shepherd during a routine procedure but I hope you do recognize that that is a rare occurrence.  It doesn't mean you should knock your dogs out for everything or for unwarranted procedures.  I was just trying to make you understand that if you keep putting off her nail trims this is going to be your only option.  The longer her nails get, the longer her quicks get.  It will become so long that even tipping her nail you will hit the quick, and you will never be able to get them short unless you tip her nails every week for months.  Which is totally fine - and I'd even say if you could do it that way, do it.  But you aren't wanting to trim her nails at all and it is a real stress on you and Ginger.  Her nails may not even be long enough to warrant my earlier comment - it was more made so you could see that the longer you wait, the worse your options are.

I'm sorry if I upset you, I wasn't trying to do that at all.  I was trying to share with you the information that people don't always get when they are dealing with a problem at home.  I wish you the best of luck.

gingersmommy's picture
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jeshykai, please believe you didn't upset at all.  In fact, I appreciate your - and everyone's input so much -, and I feel bad that everyone is giving so many helpful suggestions and taking time to write and I'm still doing nothing.  That's what I meant when I said "I don't even know what to say," because I really don't. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. I guess with all this information it's just time to act, and I don't want to.  It can be very hard to communicate in writing because you can't pick up the "tone" of a communication like with the spoken word. I do not take offense easily, and as far as Ginger is concerned, whatever is right for her would not upsed me. Please know that I appreciate your posts and information very much!

I appreciate the info. about the quick. I didn't know that it grew longer as their nails grew.  I thought they were like human nails - nail grows but quick stays the same.  I know this is total avoidance, but I wish my husband would just take care of it. 

I will keep you all posted, even if it means walking her more to grind down the quick.  Thank you, everyone!