If you own a dog that gets nervous about nail clipping, griding, or trimming, then you know how frustrating these activities can be. However, nail clipping is essential for the dog’s health and it needs to be done regularly. Overgrown nails can break off and embed themselves in the dog’s paws. They can be painful for your dog and they can even change the dog’s gait thus causing even more issues. To prevent this from happening, you need to regularly trim his nails. However, as we have already said, it’s almost impossible to do this if your dog is nervous or afraid of nail clipping and trimming. Luckily, we have dog scratchboard to ease our suffering.
What is dog scratchboard?
Basically, dog scratchboard is a piece of board with sandpaper or any other abrasive material stapled to it. Dog scratchboard is a very useful tool to teach your dog to shorten his nails. They can be bought, but you can also make your own scratchboard.
How to make your scratchboard?
There is really nothing special or complicated about this. Simply choose a board that best suits your dog’s size. Now take a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper wrap it around the board and staple it behind on the side of the table your dog won’t use. Another option is to measure and cut the sheet of sandpaper in such a way that two ends meet at the side of the board where you can staple them. This way you will get two usable sides of the scratchboard. Once one side wears out, you can use the other. We use 80 grit sandpaper as it’s more beginner-friendly. Also, dogs are less likely to scratch your furry friend’s paw pads.
How to train your furry friend to use the scratchboard?
When introducing scratchboard simply put it on the floor. If your dog looks at it, touches it, sniffs it, stands on, or interacts with the scratchboard in any way, click the clicker and reward the dog with a treat.
Sit down on the floor. To give yourself some time to take another treat to toss the treat away from the scratchboard. As soon as your dog returns and places his paw on scratchboard, click and toss the treat.
Do this until your dog is confidently pawing at the board. When your dog reliably paws at the scratchboard, scatter some treats around the floor to keep him busy and change the position of the board.
Take the scratchboard and hold it at an angle. Eventually, we want to hold the scratchboard vertically but will get to this position gradually increasing the angle. We want to trim the dog’s nails of the top no of the bottom and we will achieve this by putting the scratchboard at the vertical angle.
Place the board at a 45-degree angle and repeat the previous steps with clicking and rewarding with a treat when the dog places his paws at the board. Also, gradually increase the angle until you reach the vertical position.
The next step is to hold your clicks and treats just a little bit just to get that scratching motion. If your dog gets frustrated or doesn’t understand the exercise, just take a step back, there is nothing wrong with that. Eventually, your dog will learn to associate scratching his paws at the scratchboard with treats and rewards.