Grooming Your Toller

Regular Nail Trimming

To get puppies used to nail cutting and foot-hair trimming, I as a breeder handle their paws from day one.  Their nails are trimmed every 5-7 days from birth.  Hopefully you've kept up the regimen in paw handling/touching at the very least so that they are not fighting with you when you want to do some grooming on them.

Getting Started

Many people set up an area on the floor with an old towel, or maybe even use a grooming table, or in nice weather, outdoors is ideal as cleanup is a breeze.  I always seem to groom feet in front of the telly with whichever dog snuggling in my lap.  We are both at ease and there is very little stress involved.

Paws should be relatively clean, that is free of mud and burrs, etc.  Give your dog a bath or at least a foot bath first if the feet are filthy.

Nails need to be trimmed every 2-4 weeks depending on how fast your dogs' grow and how much they are wearing them down in their day to day activities (easier to wear them down in warmer weather.)

Tools of the Trade

Set of nail clippers, scissor-style.

Use kwik stop, styptic powder, flour, cayenne pepper, or a slimy bar of soap to stop cuticle bleeding if you cut too far.

Your goal is to trim all the nails: 5 on each front paw (including the dew claw) and 4 on each back paw

DO NOT trim aggressively.  Concern yourself with just taking the tip off, which is completely white on most Tollers.  Don't go near the pink bit you can see through the nail.  It WILL bleed and you WILL hurt your dog.  LESS IS MORE.  You want your dog to let you do this again, so don't go all Rambo and try to take more than you should.

You can speak lovingly to your dog while you do this, or remain quiet but most of all you need to stay calm.  Continue to work on one nail after another, taking just the tip and then a little more if you can.  I often look underneath- the hollow bit is ok to take off, and you can see where the nail connects to their skin from this angle.

If you get frustrated or your dog gets impatient/squirmy/stops cooperating, do one more nail so you finish "still in charge and on your terms", and make a mental bookmark of where you left off.  Having a big fight with your dog over nail trimming is just kind of silly.  Try again another time when you are both relaxed.

Worst case scenario, your vet or local groomer will be able to offer this service for you for a nominal fee.

COMING SOON: foot hair trimming (prevents snow balls in winter, and helps feet dry faster after rain, swimming & puddles during the rest of the year.)