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  • Lori Nanan

Cooperative Nail Care is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Updated: May 21


Nailed It! A Course in Canine Nail Care was just launched this past Thursday and so far, I am simply blown away by what I am seeing and hearing. I think I secretly really thought I was alone, that I was the only one who found cooperative nail care stressful, overwhelming or scary and believed it would always be that way.

What I’ve seen right off the bat is that I am definitely not alone. Trimming dogs’ nails can become a very loaded thing for people and dogs. Whether it’s because of a previous bad experience, or their dog has thick, black nails or they simply don’t feel comfortable with a particular tool, lots of people and their dogs struggle with this.

My big hope for the course is yes, I really, really want people to get comfortable with trimming their dog’s nails, but I also want people to know that they are not alone. I felt a great deal of shame and guilt over not being able to take care of my dog, Rocco’s nails. I also felt inept and worried about him all the time. It was not pleasant, fun or easy.


Rocco inspired me to help other dogs feel better about nail maintenance.

I want for people to enjoy as much of their dogs and their lives together as possible. For many people, cooperative nail care isn’t part of this equation because it’s not a problem for them or their dog. Others among us aren’t so lucky. Believing that I was capable of doing this was a big deal for me. Despite being a trainer, this was one area I felt totally ill-equipped to tackle.

Thanks to my education at The Academy for Dog Trainers, I learned a great deal. I learned how to write training plans, I learned what desensitization was and I learned about things like evolutionary biology and why restraint to a leg can be so scary for dogs.



Here’s the thing, though: knowing these things intellectually didn’t immediately allow me to put them into action. My fears, my past bad experiences and my own lack of confidence added up to a whole lot of inaction. But, even while I wasn’t actively taking steps to overcome those things, my mind was marinading on a plan, on reminding myself of how many fears I have overcome and how this was really no different.

Overcoming the Fear

For everyone just starting Nailed It!, remind yourself that this is a marathon- not a sprint. Fears, stressors, issues and concerns can take time and space to resolve and once a fear has taken root, it can be hard to get rid off. For those of you thinking of diving in, know that you aren’t alone. That others share your fears or concerns.

Also know that I am here cheering you on. Your little victories are huge victories to me. I’ll be beside you whispering “You can do this” and ready with pep talks if you are feeling frustrated. I’m eager to learn of your journeys and will be jumping for joy when you nail it. The transformation in your approach to cooperative nail care can be dramatic and so can the way your dog looks and feels! 💅🏼🐾



If you and your dog struggle with nail care learn more about Nailed It!

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