Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

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nean007
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Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby nean007 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:17 pm

Just recently Denny (my non-chow) has started growling at me whenever I get out the nail clippers. I have never hit his quick and I rarely trim them except when absolutely necessary. Last night he actually snapped at my face. I have pretty fast reflexes so I wasn't bit but he sure wasn't happy. I had been brushing him with him lying on his side and I was draped over his body so he couldn't bolt away. Somehow I stayed perfectly calm and sat back and talked to him until he relaxed on his side again. My husband came over and scratched his head while I trimmed. Hubby thought maybe he was overstimulated from the brushing and that I had him semi-trapped. He does have something wrong with his eye and I've noticed he has NO TOLERANCE for pain or discomfort whenever we go to the vet. (Yet he acts like he's some kick a** tough dog sometimes).

Any suggestions?
Hugs from Dargo and Denny!

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Re: Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby Zhuyos mom » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:20 pm

How old is Denny again? I think maybe you should get his eyes checked or maybe feel all around his paws just to make sure he didn't get something stuck or trapped in between his toes. Something might be sensitive around his paw that could have caused him to have a "knee jerk" reaction on you.

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Re: Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby kingalls » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:11 pm

So have you had this reaction from previous nail trimming sessions or is it just the recent ones? Can you handle his paws without him having a negative reaction? I suspect that Denny might be having some other issues and the nail trimming sessions are bringing out his intolerance.
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Re: Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby NanouetJon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:30 am

Traditionally I think most would say this is Chow's being temperamental. But from my experience this is your chow testing you.

I first tried trimming Maddoxx's nails and he threw a fit so I waited for him to calm down. Next time, same fit. He learnt a fit will get him out of the trimming. Then I realized I approached the situation nervous and getting ready for a fight, he sensed this too and knew I was preparing so he did too. An trainer helped me realize that trimming nails will only be nervous for him when I am nervous and until he does it a few times and realizes he is just fine and he trusts me for everything.

Today I have a set of nail clippers on a side table and randomly I will walk past, roll him on his side, grab a leg and trim one nail and tell him he was great and walk away. No treats just reassurance. Now he views nail trimming as an annoyance but realizes I WILL NOT give in before him. We also spent hours on the floor ( 20 mins sessions over weeks ) with me playing with his feet, toes , nails, holding onto his leg for 15 mins and he had to submit to it. Now he views my ministrations with a huff and submits.

Don't let your chow win or decide. We are the leader here. I also found out that I keep a running commentary when working with Maddoxx. My voice calms him

If you think there is something with his eye you should have a vet check it out. I don't see the two being related.
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Re: Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby nean007 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:12 pm

I definitely get what everyone is saying but I want to clarify a few things -- Denny is not a chow. I did do the scaffolding idea of grooming with the chow and everything is fine. That's why this was so surprising to me is that I'm getting more attitude with the non-chow than with the chow. Denny DOES let me handle his paws without growling but he does try to pull them away but I just keep holding them. I think his stress is coming from my stress because it really makes me nervous to clip their nails and I only recently started doing it. For some reason Denny's nails grow longer, faster, and thicker than Dargo's and they are solid black.

DENNY'S BACKGROUND: Denny's personality is so much different than my chow. I never have problems with my chow. Yet Denny is the barker, has a weird nervous energy, and is willing to fight back. Yet if you were to meet him all he wants is to be petted, he greets everyone with a smile, and he adores children. He's the mix of Great Pyrenees, Golden Retriever, and Australian Cattle Dog (a breed I grew up with on the family farm). Depending on the situation, a different side to his personality will come out. I've cried a lot of tears trying to figure this dog out the last three years (he's a shelter rescue -- we got him at about 6 months old -- and there have been many times, especially the first year, where I was convinced I would have to take him to my brother's farm. To this day I honestly think he would be happier there)

Sigh. I'm not trying to make excuses. Just trying to figure out the aggression.
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Re: Denny, Nail trimming, and new aggression

Postby NanouetJon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:26 pm

Something I learned about aggression is usually barking and aggressive behavior is out of fear. The dog thinks something might be a threat so it is better to growl, bark, snap and run at you before you get any further. When a dog snaps and growls I DON'T think he is warning, he is saying "I am afraid of what you are about to do, maybe this will make you stop" - Usually this works. He does it a second time and he now knows the trick to get you leave him alone and not do the scary behavior. If the dog was aggressive he WOULD have bitten you and given you a firm "NO". His reaction is trying to determine who will be the leader in the activity ( Nail trimming, grooming, walking )

Example: Maddoxx as a puppy would bark at anyone who went by the yard, even across the street, bark bark bark. Couldn't figure it out. That was the winter when we let him out and watched from the inside mostly.
Spring is here and I am sitting outside in the yard after doing some work. Someone walks by and Maddoxx barks and looks at me. I say " It's ok tough guy" and he sits and just watches. So I spent some time just sitting in the backyard and read a book or working. In under a week Maddoxx learned that I was ok with people walking by the yard , so now he was too. I wasn't nervous and he wasn't either. He runs to the fence and sits and wags his tail and gets tons of compliments.

Now a kid comes up to the fence to say hello, Maddox looks directly at me and sees I am not happy about it (grumpy type guy, who doesn't want the neighborhood kids to approach Maddoxx unless he is with me.) Maddoxx sees my displeasure gives 2 barks at the kid. Kid backs off. I snap Maddoxx on a lead and take him outside the yard to say hello. Everything is fine.

Like it was said earlier, its not an overnight thing. Hours and weeks and months are spent to bring in a new behavior. Maddoxx doesn't like being groomed BUT... He submits for it and tolerates it because he knows it is what I want and he gets hours of hugs and petting after because he smells great and his coat is nice to touch. But it took a week of sitting with the tools on the floor ( an not letting him chew them), then hours with just putting the comb in his fur to see how it felt, then we groomed for 10 mins for a week , then moved up in 15 min increments. I can now do a wash and dry in 2.5 hours and we need only 1 or 2 breaks.
Well worth the effort to get the excellent guy I have now! I am amazed how well behaved he his compared to neighborhood dogs.
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