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Does your Labradoodle freak out every time you go touch his feet or trim his nails? Then try changing up both his atmosphere and the surface beneath his feet.
For example, dogs who are foot phobic at home sometimes get downright easy-natured when groomers or veterinarians lift their feet.
It's not because experts have a magic touch. It's because they put dogs on tables, which are often made of stainless steel.
The combination of height and a cold, slippery surface makes dogs think more about stabilitythan about what's happening to their feet.
A high table is a great tool because owners who put their dogs on the washing machine or the dryer to trim their nails have no trouble at all because of the surface.
Another reason that dogs are so cooperative at the vet's is that they're unsure about the whole situation. Dogs are big on routine and hierarchy, both of which get confused when they're away from home.
The resulting uncertainty puts them off-guard, which makes it much easier to trim their nails or check their feet.
You can achieve the same result by trimming their nails away from home or even by asking (or bribing) a friend to do the work.
Dogs are naturally protective of their feet, but they can learn to accept claw clipping and simple exams when their owners regularly handle their feet, preferably starting when they're young.
You should be touching, rubbing, and holding the feet for a few seconds every day. Gently press your fingers between the toes. Squeeze the pads. Spread the feet and feel around.
Get your dog accustomed to the idea that foot touches aren't a sign of uncomfortable things to come. The more gentle contact he experiences, the more likely he'll be to accept pedicures and exams as he gets older.
Dogs get very nervous when there's uncertainty in their lives, and objects that people take for granted, like nail trimmers, can seem foreign and frightening.
A quick solution is to put the clippers somewhere that your dog will see them, like on a low table or a shelf in a bookcase.
Don't merely put them out for a few hours on the day that you're going to use them.
Leave them out all the time. This will give your dog a chance to sniff, see, and generally get used to them.
He still won't enjoy having his nails trimmed, but at least your Labradoodle will be less nervous about the shiny object that you're holding in your hand.
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