White puppy holding up his paws

My paws

Do not touch my Paws

Last week, I was helping a groomer with a dog who was strongly objecting to anything near his paws.  He was saying “Do Not Touch My Paws” The problem is that the rest of the body had been clipped and so had most of the legs.

No-one was speaking harshly to him, and we spent ages trying to get the poor dog to cope with either a muzzle being put on, or scissors being near his paws.  Once a muzzle was on, we had to hold the front legs anyway because he was going to rip his face trying to get it off!

I felt so sorry for the poor boy

He was terrified and he wasn’t being aggressive or nasty, he was just trying to stay safe in the only way open to him bearing in mind he was attached to a grooming table.  The option to run away had been removed.  He had no idea that we were not going to hurt him.

Many parents know how difficult it is to try to break through the panic of a child.  The child has language and it is still hard.  Your dog doesn’t, the words are just a sound to him.  Shouting and anger, just adds to the stress.

I have no idea what had happened before as he had obviously been groomed in the past.  It is entirely possible that he hasn’t been hurt previously, he has just always been scared and no-one has ever taken the time to help him.  He needs daily work to move him towards being able to cope with the grooming of his feet.

We did finally manage to get the feet tidied and nails clipped as he loved being under a spray of warm water and was much more docile like that!

It’s not fair

Vets and Groomers face scared dogs on a daily basis.  It is not fair to them to have to risk being hurt by a scared dog.

But more importantly, it is not fair to the dog.  He was very seriously stressed and scared.

That stress may have stayed in his system for a while and would have made his ability to cope with other stresses more difficult.

What can you do to help?

Add it to your puppy’s and dog’s socialisation plan.  It may not be a quick exercise so be patient, go at your dog’s pace, not yours.

Add a check of his

  • legs,
  • feet,
  • ears,
  • eyes,
  • mouth
  • teeth and
  • tail to his training plan.

Get your pooch to happily accept his feet being touched.  If having his nails cut and being clipped  is something that will happen in his life, get him used to the smell, sound and feel of clippers.

Work with a hairdryer too, not just the sound, but the smell of it and the feel of it blowing warm air on him.

It’s your responsibility, you own the dog

You do it, don’t abdicate responsibility to your groomer.  Have other people touching him.

Book in a trip to the groomer to introduce him to the people and the smell of the place.

Also, take your puppy to the vets a few times so that he has a chance to get used to the smell without something happening to him.  Most vet practices will be happy for you to visit for a few moments.  Make the vets and super place in your puppy’s experience.

Choose a training program that includes socialisation to grooming and how to do it.  It’s important.

It’s one of the items I cover in my puppy classes and with my private clients.  I always go at a pace that the puppy can cope with and make it as stress free and as much fun as possible.


Peaceful Pups