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How To Cut An Uncooperative Westie’s Nails Safely

Do you want to know how to cut an uncooperative dog’s nails? If you have a Westie, you likely already know how important grooming is in keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Dog nails need regular trimming, but this can be difficult if your Westie is uncooperative.

Your Westie may squirm, try to get away, or even snarl and growl at you when you attempt to go near their nails.

How To Cut An Uncooperative Dogs Nails

This can make it so much harder to trim their nails, and you may even try to avoid doing it as a result.

But Westies need their nails trimmed every six weeks or so, depending on the surfaces they walk on most.

On harder surfaces, nails will wear down quicker, but they may still require a trim every now and then.

So, how can you make nail trimming an easier experience? In this post, we’ll guide you through how to cut your uncooperative Westie’s nails safely.

How To Cut Your Uncooperative Westie’s Nails

Your Westie may run for the hills whenever you get the nail clippers out.

Most dogs do not enjoy having their nails clipped, and may try to get away from you or act out. This is because it is uncomfortable and unnatural for them.

They may act out because they have been injured before when the nails have been clipped too short. Some may even pick up on your anxiety about clipping their nails, and they may become fearful themselves.

When a dog does not want its nails clipped, it can bite or scratch you when you attempt it, or even become aggressive and try to flee. An aggressive dog is not safe or good for either of you.

So, you will need to know how you can trim your Westie’s nails even when they are not cooperating.

You have to start by desensitizing them and handling their paws without the use of tools at first. Then, you can introduce them to the clippers.

Step One

The first step is to prepare your dog. You do not want to just grab them and start trimming their nails. You have to desensitize your dog to the nail trimming experience.

Start by holding and touching your dog’s paws for about 5-10 seconds at a time. 

Get them used to you touching their paws and in between their nails, and reward good behavior. Do this daily until your Westie does not care about you touching or handling their paws.

Reward each time.

This can take a few days or even weeks for your dog to get used to it.

You can also introduce them to the sound of the clippers by pressing them together but not actually using them on your Westie. This gets them used to the noise without any fear.

Your dog needs to grow accustomed to the idea of nail clippers before you start trimming their nails.

You can pretend to clip the nails near the toes without actually clipping the nail to get your dog used to it and comfortable with it. If your dog is fearful, start out with a pen or pencil at first, and replicate the motion of clipping the nails.

Step Two

Be sure to reward your dog.

Try having a short playtime to lessen any feelings of stress or anxiety.

You could even take them for a swim or a paddle in a pool (in your backyard) to soften up the nails. This should make them easier to trim.

Exercising and playing with your Westie will also wear them out so they are less likely to act out when you attempt to cut the nails.

Step Three

Once your Westie is calm and more used to you touching their paws, try using the clippers.

Start by clipping the very tip of the nails at the end, away from the quick, so that it doesn’t cause pain or bleeding.

You can use a distraction such as peanut butter or a toy. Or ask someone to help you if needed.

Step Four

Begin by just clipping one nail at a time, and gauge your dog’s comfort level. If they are stressed, then just clip one, and come back to clip another one the next day and so on and so on until all the nails are trimmed.

Once they get used to it, you can clip all nails in the same session.

Be sure to reward every time so that your Westie sees it as a good experience rather than a bad thing!

What To Do If Your Dog Keeps Pulling Away

If your dog keeps pulling its paws away, you have to return to step one, and you have to familiarize your Westie with the notion of having its paws touched.

If they are not comfortable, do not force it. This can lead to aggression and makes nail clipping a negative experience.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Getting Anxious Or Aggressive

If your Westie is becoming aggressive, growling, nipping or trying to bite you, then you may have to use a muzzle during nail clippings.

This can be unpleasant, so try to desensitize them first or keep clipping sessions to short, brief ones.

Alternative Tools You Can Use

If the nail clippers are causing fear or discomfort for your dog, then you could use alternative methods to trim the nails.

Some dogs can be wary of the clippers, particularly if they have had a bad experience with them in the past, so you can try filing the nail down manually instead.

Nail filing is more time-consuming but it can be less stressful for pets.

You can also try using a motorized Dremel tool instead as a grinder to wear down the nails so you do not have to pinch or hold the nails.

Whatever tool you use, make sure that there is a positive association with it. Try giving your dog treats or food while using them so that they know it is nothing to be afraid of.

Final Thoughts

If your Westie is not keen on getting its nails trimmed, then you have to get them accustomed to it. Practice makes perfect, and creating a positive association with nail trims is key.

Try getting your dog used to the clippers, the sound, and the feel of you touching their paws before attempting to clip. Then, try clipping one nail per day until you have cut them all.

Once you have done this a few times, they should get used to nail trims!

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