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Hold Still Kolchak! Learning to Love the Dremel

Hold Still Kolchak! Learning to Love the Dremel

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It’s time to get our trainin’ on!

Every year, we look forward to Train Your Dog Month, not because we wait all year to work on training, but because Pamela and Honey at Something Wagging host their Train Your Dog Month Challenge. This year will be even better because Alfie of Alfie’s Blog and Kristine and Shiva (and the cat?) of Rescued Insanity are joining in as co-hosts.

The real challenge? Deciding what we would tackle this month.

Are you implying that I need training, Mama?


I had planned to order Crate Games to work with both Kolchak and Felix on their comfort level in a crate, but you know, it’s me and I kind of forgot and then I panicked. So I went to the book store to get it, but it’s the book store you guys, so I got distracted and I came home with like three zombie books, a copy of the Hyperbole and a Half book and a Starbucks latte, but no dog training book. I’m awesome that way. Turns out my local store doesn’t stock it anyways, so that was a total bust.

Good thing my dogs have no end to the training issues we could tackle, so there were plenty of other options. I considered and rejected scores of ideas, finally settling on an issue that while it isn’t a huge problem, it is a wretched inconvenience and everyone at Casa de Kolchak dreads it.

I’m talking about trimming their nails.

Ugh. Is there anything worse? I know it has to get done and I know all the reasons you need to keep your dog’s short. Leaving your dog’s nails too long can result in discomfort, broken nails which can lead to infection and overtime, even lead to skeletal damage. That’s scary stuff…but let’s face it, pinning a puggle down to get his nails done is pretty scary too 😉

It’s about a million times better since we abandoned the guillotine style clippers and switched to a Dremel. Both my dogs have black nails which means I can’t see where the quicks are. That rattles me, since if you cut too far, you’ll clip the quick, hurt your dog and the blood will be EVERYWHERE. The dremel has lessened my anxiety, since it give me a bit more control. Still, Kol sees that thing and start evasive maneuvers. I’d like to end that. Getting your nails done should be fun. Who doesn’t love a nice manicure?!

Here’s the plan:



  • Get touchy feeley. Kol actually HATES getting his feet handled. He pulls them away at the first nudge. I’m gonna be ALL OVER those feet this month. I’m gonna love him so much that he’ll think I’ve developed a creepy foot fetish.
  • Leave the dremel around. The dremel itself isn’t a huge source of anxiety for Kolchak, it’s more me grabbing at him and forcing it up against him. Still, a little familiarity can’t hurt, so we’ll be bringing it out more often, letting it serve up some snacks and making sure Koly knows the dremel is a good thing.
  • Distraction is the name of the game. Kolchak is hugely food motivated, we use this amazing trick to get him to stand still in the bath: I smear peanut butter on the wall. It’s like MAGIC. He get’s busy cleaning up the wall and by the time he’s done, I’ve washed his hair. I’m going to try the same idea here and see where it gets us. 
  • Take it slow. Let’s face it, I’ve got no where better to be. With a dog that’s afraid to get their nails done, you can’t go too slow. I’ll do one nail a night until one nail is easy, then maybe I’ll try two. Maybe. Let’s not rush this. Maybe, sometime before I’m in the old folks home, we can get all those claws under control.

What am I missing?

Is there anything I could be doing better? Do you have any hot tips to get this nail business under control??

Heeeeeelllllp Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!


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Train Your Dog Month Challenge: Finding Success in Failure | Kol's NotesKol's Notes

Thursday 6th of February 2014

[...] started January with some pie in the sky goals about teaching Kolchak to love the dremel. The weekly grind has long been something I dread. A moment that, though necessary, drives a wedge [...]

Ruckus the Eskie

Monday 20th of January 2014

My sapiens use this on me! I use to be mighty anxious with it...but now I know it's just my time for a mani-pedi

Laurie Luck

Sunday 12th of January 2014

I love that you're going to work on nail trims! It's one of the things I find most of us dog owners (and dogs) hate, but it's gotta be done, so why not work to make it at least *acceptable* to your dogs. Not many will actually LOVE nail trim time, but it'd be so much easier for them (and us!) if they at least accepted it.

I've done (and am re-doing) a video that helps introduce the dogs to the dremel tool. I find the dremel so much easier and love that it is much more forgiving than the nail clippers. It's really hard to quick a dog with the dremel!

I started with this (just getting the dog used to me handling his feet):

And then graduated to this (actual use of the dremel):

Hope it helps! :) and keep up the good work!


Saturday 11th of January 2014

Check out this video by Susan Garrett (the Crate Games author!) on playing the "nail trimming game".....some good ideas in this short clip!


Saturday 11th of January 2014

We have a similar issue and use similar tactics. But we've managed to make it so that Desmond can see the clippers and the Dremel and not run away. He isn't happy, but he just kind of submits.

We pretty much need both of us to accomplish this task, which is a hinderance for sure, but we use the Lickety Stik to get it done. And we never ever ever let Desmond see the Lickety Stik unless he has first seen--and sniffed--the clippers and/or Dremel. THEN we take out the Stik and he gets all happy.

From there, Joey does the nails while I hold the Stik for Des. I only let him lick it when Joey is actively clipping/sanding, and I take it away when Joey is repositioning or if Desmond is getting fussy.

All in all, it does the trick. It's worth the gas we have to smell after.

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