Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busted Pedicure Means Time Off

I'm done trimming Kona's nails. From here on, it's a monthly dew claw trim. That's it. What happened? I only got through five of Kona's rear nails yesterday and managed to cut down to the quick on three of them. One of them is really bad. I know, it happens to everyone, but I've never done that before and nail clipping is horribly stressful for Kona to begin with.

I spent many many weeks several months ago desensitizing Kona to nail trimming. I went through everything you can think of and she was fine with it all. I could handle her feet, her nails, put the clippers around a nail, put pressure on the nail with my fingers. Here's the problem. Kona is scared of the actual clipping part and there's no way to slowly increase the intensity with that.

So what happened during this process is that I would get her tolerate the whole nine yards over many days, then would clip one nail. She would become terrified. She hid, tucked her tail, avoided me. Then we'd have to start the desensitizing processes from scratch, only to end with the same result. The whole thing became stressful for both of us, so I ditch it and took the thinking that, well she'll be scared with the nail clipping but it will only happen once every four or five weeks.

Now Kona is terrified when I bring out the clippers. The poor soul doesn't have it in her to bite me, but she manages to make her little body weigh 200 pounds and her eyes bulge out of her head. It kills me to see her this way.

So in my attempt to get things done quickly yesterday while Kona pulled her feet away from me, I did a really bad job. What kills me with things like this that don't seem like a big deal is that I lose Kona's trust. It's happened with different things before so I know we'll be back to normal soon enough, but it's still a stab in the heart.

What do I mean? After something scary happens with Kona, she'll avoid me, scurry around with her tail tucked, hide from me, and even shake when I come too close. I've learned to leave her alone when this happens. If it was something small, it'll only happen for a few minutes. More often, it's several hours. Unfortunately, there have been times when she has been afraid of me for several days. (This happens mostly after trips to the vet.)

So, that's the nail trimming saga. Kona's a little on edge today, but she's doing alright. I'm making sure not to ask much from her. Unfortunately, she is a bit of a physical mess. I cut one of her nails so short that it keeps reopening. I thought she would be able to handle playing in the grass, but after a couple of minutes she gave me "the look" and hunkered away. Her nail was bleeding again.

Kona will be taking time off from her trails. I unfortunately think it may be several days before she's able to romp again. If anyone has had experience with a nail reopening like this, I'd love any advice. I'm aware of things like kwik-stop. The problem isn't the initial bleeding not stopping, it's that any activity reopens the nail. I was thinking of bandaging it, but I'm not sure how much that will help. For now, I'm just trying to keep Kona from moving around too much.

Until our next run together, we'll keep dreaming of sunrises and mountaintop views.

On the Training Front

Kona has started a new class! Nose Work. She went to the first class on Sunday. I'll write more about that in a later post. We're also getting ready for her final CGC classes. We're preparing mostly by working on heel-walking in different settings. Several of the texts require her to keep on walking/sitting and ignore a distraction of sorts, so I'm trying to nail down her ability to focus on me.

We've also taken the advice to work on distant sits. This is something we had worked on some in the past, but it still needs work. I've noticed that Kona gets stressed when I ask her to do anything from a distance. She usually won't sit on the first command and she gets real squinty eyes and will often tongue flick. I think I need to approach it more slowly with her.

Small steps.


Sara said...

Ugh, nail clipping. I can't do it myself. It is too stressful for ME! LOL. We've used a bowl of ice water to clot the blood, but I'm not sure if that would help with one that keep reopening, it probably just needs some time. Misty had one that reopened a few times, I think it healed on its own in two days.

Your new class sounds interesting. Can't wait to hear about it.

Sam said...

The best home made remedy I know of to stop nail bleeding is flour. I don't know how it would work in your case, but what's what I've used when I've gone too far when doing her nails.

Any chance you can get Kona to accept a dremel? The first time I tried to clip Marge's nails, I quicked her, and pretty badly. Now she won't let me get near her paw with the clipper, but she's okay with the dremel, as long as someone's there feeding her to keep her mind off it.

Kathy said...

nail clipping is the bain of my existence, and Lizzie has nails that grow at atomic speeds, wish I had any answers on that front! Unfortunately I can only offer sympathy, no knowledge, ;-), but hope the feet are all back to normal soon. The classes sound terrific

KristenT said...

My Sol will let me handle his feet, but forget about trimming his nails!! Shark teeth, snarly face, growling... not fun for anyone. I take him to the vet and when they knock him out to do his teeth, they do his nails at the same time.

We walk on a lot of concrete, asphalt, and hard surfaces so I'm hoping they wear down his nails enough.