There are a ton of dogs out there that find the process of getting their nails clipped to be horrible. In lots of cases it is down right traumatic. This makes clipping their nails often times impossible. Of course, when they struggle, it results in more people holding them down which just makes it even more traumatic.
While there are low stress handling techniques that I recommend for nail clipping, this article isn't about those. This article is about teaching your dog to file its own nails. This is a lot of fun to be honest. All you need is a little bit of patience, a board to tape sand paper onto, some high value rewards, and a marker word or clicker. In the video below you'll see how I teach this to my dog V. This is the first time we've ever done this so I left it long and mostly unedited. I want to show how the process works.
Something like this is beneficial in multiple ways. The most obvious is that your dog 's nails are getting shorter. The less obvious is the mental stimulation that comes from the training, the bond that you build with your dog with the training, and also it's another trick for your dogs arsenal. The cool thing is that the more tricks you teach, the easier it is for your dog to figure out new ones in most cases. V has done stuff like this before, so he was probably more prone to getting this a bit quicker compared to a dog that has never done anything like this.
When you start this off with your dog, like I mention in the video, look for small glimpses of the overall behavior. This is a process called "shaping." Shaping is about putting small behaviors together to get to your goal of the big behavior. And remember, as I mentioned, stay patient. Look at how long I am just sitting there doing nothing waiting for V to offer a behavior. Try not to give too much help either. Often times the more help you offer, the more dependent your dog becomes and it can stifle your progress.