First Time Clipping Woes


Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:58 pm

So, I figured it was about time the girls got their first nail trim. It did not go as well as I might have hoped...

Sakura and Hitomi were as nervous about seeing the clippers for the first time as a child meeting their first doctor. They didn't like the look of them and attacked the shiny metal several times which, while cute, wasn't helping me get my aim. So I decide to go for back feet first.

I manage to get both of Hitomi's back feet with relatively little drama. They're now clipped and done. Sakura however decided she was in no mood to be handled and decided to full body spasm any time she was touched. After a few minutes of this back and forth, I decide to let her sit and over to the side and focus on Hitomi's front feet.

Now, at first I was trying this gloveless because I wanted accuracy above all else. This turned out to be a bad idea as Hitomi panicked and put her sharp teeth through the skin under my nail...


So, on went the thin leather gloves! But now I still cannot get Hitomi's front feet as she is in full panic mode with both the clippers AND these big black hands she's unused to, and so she clings to the green shirt I wear when I cuddle them for dear life and stares into my face quietly wheaking...

And that's about as far as I could get :\

I can't get a good enough grip on either of them to finish this job. So I think I'm going to have to wait until I can get a hand from one of my housemates. I just hope that by the end of it they aren't more afraid of me as a result :(

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Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:15 pm

Try another day. Be sure to have some tasty treats around to try to distract them! Whenever you pick them up and handle them, try to handle the feet a little bit too, just to get them used to it.


Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:28 pm

Mmm... Treats might help. They tend to ignore treats when being handled in my experience, but anything's worth a shot. I do handle their feet a little bit as I check their nail length most days. But I think the clippers themselves frighten them for some reason as they reacted negatively to them on first sight.

I picked up poor Hitomi just a minute ago for some cuddles and scratches to show her that she won't be attacked every time she's picked up, but she's definitely more skittish about getting lifted now...

I'll have to wait a few days to get reinforcements anyway as my housemate Wraith is currently sick and avoiding me so as not to infect me.

Quiet Wren

Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:30 pm

Maybe go a little slower. Pretend to clip her nails. Hold her foot like you would to actually clip them, but hold the clipper out past the end of her nail. Actually touch it if she will let you. If that is too much, don't actually touch yet. Pretend to do a few nails, give a treat. Put her away. The next day repeat. As she relaxes, actually touch the nails. Eventually clip one, fake the rest, treat and put her back. Then clip a couple, fake some and put her back.

Treats and repetition will help her relax. She will probably never like it, but she will put up with it.

Avoiding nail care because the animal hates it is a mistake that is made with lots of animals - guinea pigs, cats, dogs. The more frequently you do it, or even pretend to do it, the less of a big deal it is for both of you.


Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:35 pm

Oh I completely agree that it's a necessary evil. Their nails are already getting long enough for me to worry about comfort and they're only 8 weeks old or so. I just really don't want them to end up fearing/resenting me for it.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:24 pm

Ouuuuuch. That is a real bummer, getting bitten like that. My avatar pig used to try and nip my fingers when I went to clip her front feet. I am trying to remember how I avoided her teeth - she died over a year ago... I think I would burrito wrap her in a blanket and do her back feet first on day 1, and then do her front feet on day 2. I don't think I could ever do all 4 feet at once with her.

Having someone hold piggies while you clip nails definitely helps, especially with squirmy babies. Have their favorite treat ready, and feed a bit in-between paws. I also used to clip my baby pigs' nails more frequently - like every 3 weeks - to get them used to the clippers and force the quick back. Just take the very tip off each nail each time.

Good luck!

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Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:19 am

I have a ninja pig that hates being restrained generally and is a horror with nail clipping - even with 2 of us. She can't really be bribed with food either.

I've found that wrapping her front paws with a warm towel helps relax her and soften her nail. So far, our last 3 nail trims have gone well. This after 1 year of perservance.

Keep at it and remain calm. Do 1 or 2 nails if that's all the pig will allow and over time, they'll become resigned to the nail trimming routine. All the best. That's what mums are for. In addition to providing food delivery and a cleaning service.

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Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:15 am

As well as the above suggestions, I'd put the clippers on the floor of their cage and let them have a good old sniff and investigation. When I first got Robert, he was scared of my phone and would freeze up when I tried to take photos. So I put it in the cage with him for a few minutes and let him see for himself that it's not going to spring to life and somehow devour him.


Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:38 am

I tried that just now. They wouldn't touch it while I was watching, but I heard it clacking around for a while so I guess they messed with it and eventually decided it wasn't anything interesting.

Though Hitomi has become a lot more skiddish than she was :\

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Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:13 am

I recently did my first piggy nail trim and amazingly, got through it without bloodshed! (myself or the pigs lol)

I followed the tips on the GL page about trimming, using a human nail clipper. Both pigs were fairly cooperative with the back feet, but not the front! I had to get my Dad to distract Baozi with a cucumber, which worked. Ace was tougher, though. She nipped my hand (not enough to draw blood or even really hurt, luckily). She's such a fatty I had a hard time getting a secure grip on her (I don't have very large hands lol) so I ended up wrapping her in a towel and pulled the whole distract-with-a-cucumber thing.

Hopefully, I'll get the process down so I can do this by myself when I eventually move out.

The good news is that the piggers didn't seem all that traumatized. Baozi was fine as long as she was nomming a cucumber, lol. Ace has always been a scaredy pig in the near-two-months I've had her, so it's business as usual. I gave them both treats afterward for being good little pigs.

Ct daffodil

Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:20 am

We found wrapping the piggy in a littl fleece blanket works well, having someone keep the carrot held to the mouth works too, they bute that first. Keep trying.


Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:30 am

A lot of recommendations for burritoing the piggies I'm noticing. I've tried to cover them with towels before but they would have nothing to do with it haha. They kept shoving their heads up until the towel was completely off them. Still. I may have to force them into it if they keep up the attitude haha.

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Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:43 am

I was going to congratulate you on using the correct word above, Maverik. You used skittish. But then in a later post used skiddish! Anyway, the word is skittish and skittish only. See:

Ct daffodil

Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:44 am

Maverik, I figured out that fleece is a little easier to burrito wrap with than a hand towel, seems a little floppier and for me makes it easier to wrap quickly. Try not covering the head if possible - not many animals like that. I also have set them in a small basket or shoebox then started the wrap from above so the ends go under the belly as I lift. It's the same one I use to weigh them in.
Then they get a snuggle in the burrito wrap before clipping. I did learn that from the vet when one needed antibiotics.

Sounds like yours are young still so you could burrito wrap them and give them a bit of veggie snack and snuggle almost daily if you have time.


Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:43 pm

I'm sorry to have failed you! I'll try and remember which one's the correct one in the future :)

@Ct daffodil:
I'll give it a shot and see if I can't convince them to chill out in a wrap.

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Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:10 pm

Oh, don't worry. I do see it misused frequently (unfortunately more often than not). Just hoping my comment helps someone else!

Quiet Wren

Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:10 pm

I trim my pigs nails with them standing on the bathroom counter. I stand right against the edge of the counter with the pig up against my body. Then I pick up the foot just a tiny bit and angle it out away from the body just enough to see the nails clearly. They seem to tolerate it well. Maybe since they are in a normal and comfortable position with only one foot out of their comfort zone.

One of my boys is very very nippy (so far it's never been a real bite!), and he has even tolerated this well. He freaks out if you put your hand in front of his face (I tried this to keep him from leaping out of my hands into his cage) and also if you put your hand over his shoulders. He does not handle restraint well!

I think letting them see and play with the clippers is a great idea. They are so curious.

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Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:15 pm

Does the pig face away from you? Could somebody take a picture and you post it?


Post   » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:25 am

Mine? Hitomi spent most of her efforts trying to either climb my shirt or slip down over the side of my leg past my waist. So she was typically facing me.

Quiet Wren

Post   » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:03 am

My pig's side is against my belly. Facing to my right to do the left feet. Facing to my left to do the pig's right feet.

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