Last week we took Swoozie and Ebby to get mani-pedis. I tend to feel guilty when I spend money on goods and services that aren’t necessary purchases in the sense that I could make or do these things myself, but I relish spending the $2o plus tip we pay the groomer to trim their nails because it means that I don’t have to do it.
Brent and I have tried to do it ourselves, but it is traumatic for both humans and pugs. You try to hold their little paws, but they’re squirming and pulling away. You either barely clip the tip of the nail, or cut back too far into the fingernail meat. Then you feel like a jerk for making something that looks like this bleed:
Giving credit where credit is due, dog nail clippers are an ingenious contraption. You position the nail against the safety guard, squeeze the handles, and the blade that comes out will chop that nail clean. It’s like a portable, handheld guillotine. In fact, you could probably use dog nail clippers as a guillotine for wayward Littles.
I hate the dog nail clippers more than the dogs. A psychiatrist might tell me that the dogs are reacting to my anxiety. If there was a medication that treated anxiety in humans and pets, the psychiatrist would probably write me a prescription for that. I would like for the pills to be in the shape of the human heart, which will serves a second purpose of preparing me for cannibalism should the need ever arise.
I dislike the feel of the dogs’ nails breaking under the pressure of the clippers. Have you ever bit down on a popsicle stick with your front teeth and then pulled it out, so that the wood scrapes both your top and bottom teeth? It’s not painful but the sensation is like a mental queasiness that makes the back of my neck crawl and my ears itch. Nails on a chalkboard are bad, teeth on wooden popsicle sticks are worse, but the baddest cat of all is clipping dogs nails. Kuh-rack!
A couple years ago, I bought the Pedipaws from the As Seen on TV line. It is a motorized nail clipper that works like a dremel.
I thought it looked like the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother who deals with helping people clip their animals’ nails.
The instructions for the Pedipaws cautioned that you have to train your animal to not be terrified of the Pedipaws. A training booklet was provided and I set out to train the pugs to love their nail clippers.
The first step was to place the Pedipaws in the living room, where the pugs would see it and get used to the sight.
Then, after a few days or weeks or something, you hold the Pedipaws (don’t turn it on, though!) and show it to the dogs.
If that goes well, you turn on the Pedipaws and let them get used to the noise. As I recall, you praise your dogs for being cool around the Pedipaws and then they are supposed to associate the vibrating wand thing with happy times.
After that, you finally use the Pedipaws on the dog’s nails. Congratulations and don’t forget to try other As Seen on TV products!
But we never made it that far.
I managed to set the Pedipaws in the living room, because that is the easy step. I left it on the side table next to Brent’s end of the loveseat. I figured that was the most visible place for it. I did that for a couple weeks. I never managed to make it past the next step of holding it out to the pugs because even with it turned off, they flinched and cowered like beaten dogs. I didn’t understand why they were so fearful. I never turned it on in front of them. For the next couple weeks, I’d sit with them in my lap, trying to show and explain to them why the Pedipaws was so awesome. They didn’t get it. I wondered whether they, with their special animal insight, somehow knew that the Pedipaws was for trimming their nails, which they hate. I remember thinking this made sense because “dogs can sense things”.
Well, that wasn’t the case. While I was marveling at animal intuition and trying to coax them into trusting the Pedipaws, Brent was using the Pedipaws to scare the dogs when they were being annoying. I found this out one day when Brent and the pugs were on the loveseat and the pugs began to fight. When they fight, they don’t really bark or growl, but they make loud gobbling/screaming sounds. It’s like hearing a banshee dying in a chicken coop and is impossible to ignore. Also, as they fight, they roll around and bump into things, and seem to prefer fighting on top of us. You can push them away, but they’ll just fight-roll right back to you.
So all that was going on while Brent was watching a movie, and without taking his eyes off the screen, he reached to his side table, picked up the Pedipaws, turned it on, and waved it, saber-style, at the pugs. “Get away from me! Bad dogs! Shoo!” he shouted, and they immediately disbursed and ran away.
I watched him in disbelief as he turned off the Pedipaws and settled back in to watch his movie. He left it beside him on the loveseat, apparently as a warning signal to the dogs
“Have you been disciplining the pugs with the Pedipaws?” I asked him.
“Maybe,” was his defiant answer.
“But it works so well!” He patted the Pedipaws beside him. He was remorseless. And I had grown tired of training the pugs anyway, so I was okay with giving up on it altogether.
This why I take my dogs to a groomer.