www.drsophiayin.com brings you an example of how to train a dog to enjoy having his toenails trimmed. This dog hates having its toenails trimmed. Once we demonstrate that he dislikes having his toenails trimmed, our goal is to fix the behavior while no longer eliciting any more aggression. That is, we are using counterconditioning (which changes his emotional state from fearful or angry to happy because he’s thinking about food) and desensitization (starting with the stimulus small and gradually increasing the intensity with a goal of never getting an aggressive response). In a hospital situation you would place a muzzle on this dog for safety; however, you might have to train him to like having a muzzle first!
For this video we elect to not use a muzzle because we are pretty confident we can do this without eliciting any aggression, and so that you can better see his facial expression.
Using DS and CC we are able to trim all nails in a much shorter time than it would take if we tried to muzzle him and had 2-3 people holding him down. Now the owner can practice at home and with each visit the dog will get better. Eventually the dog won’t need treats during the procedure. How long will that take? If the owner were to practice every day it might only take several days to a week. It depends on the owner’s technique and how bad the dog’s experiences have been in the past. If having problems weaning off food, then you’ll need to see the additional steps in the Low Stress Handling Book.
To see more videos in greater detail as well as photoillustrated instructions on this and other behavior modification and handling methods go to www.AskDrYin.com. This video is from the low stress handling, behavior and restraint of dogs and cats book and DVD which has 1600 photos and 105 instructional clips. Available at www.AskDrYin.com and amazon.com. Online subscription-based version will be available soon through the www.AskDrYin.com online education center.