The Best Rated and Most Comprehensive Dog Nail Cutting Course Available Online

This course is designed to help dog owners become comfortable and confident when maintaining their dog’s nails at home. When you’re able to clip your dog’s nail yourself, you can avoid the stress that comes with going to the vet or groomer as often as proper nail care necessitates.

People fear cutting their dog’s nails too short, hitting the quick and cutting black nails. Many dogs are nervous, afraid and stressed about nail trims. Following a training plan and using the process of desensitization can make a big difference for people who wish to be able to trim their dog’s nails at home.

The Story of Me & Rocco

I would like to introduce myself and explain my interest in learning to maintain dogs’ nails without pain, stress or trauma. My name is Lori Nanan, and I’m a dog nerd and professional dog trainer. I am certified through The Academy for Dog Trainers (CTC) and the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA). I work for The Academy for Dog Trainers, am the president and founder of the nonprofit Your Pit Bull and You and will be your guide through the course.

Like me, many people struggle with nail care because it can be overwhelming and a bit scary. If your dog gets hurt during a nail trim, it can be hard for him to bounce back. Not only is getting ‘quicked’ (cutting into the blood supply) painful, the sensation of having his leg held can be panic inducing. The thing about it is: with something like this, all it takes is one time. One bad experience can cause nail maintenance to be difficult (if not impossible) for the rest of your dog’s life.

I know this because I’ve been there. In the course, I’ll introduce you to Rocco, who was the love of my life for 13 and a half years – through all of which nail care was virtually impossible. I subjected him to traumatic trims at the vet for his whole life, and this is one of my biggest regrets. You’ll also meet Hazel, my current dog who inspired me to learn more and to get better at nail maintenance without fear. The goals of the course are simple: to walk you through the process of filing, Dremeling or clipping your dog’s nails. The “why” of this method is also important, so going through the course as it’s laid out is crucial. You’ll learn a lot along the way and gain confidence as you go! There are some pretty common questions about dog nail maintenance, and I will try to answer them here.

How often should you cut your dog’s nails?

Many people think that they should never hear their dog’s nails clicking as they walk across the floor. A better way to gauge is by looking closely at your dog’s paws as he stands “squarely”, with weight evenly distributed. The nails should sit just off the floor to avoid flattening of the paw, which can come with nails that are too long. Nails do provide some traction and grip, so while super short nails is the goal for many people, remember that sitting just off the ground may be a better benchmark.
Because dog’s nails never stop growing (just like ours!), regular maintenance is very important. Sticking to a schedule is helpful, and doing a little work two to three times a week can really make the difference between nails that are too long and nails that are just the right length!

Why we need to cut our dog’s nails?

Dogs that go for long walks and are very active can naturally grind down and maintain their own nails to some extent. Many people believe that short walks on concrete or other abrasive surfaces is all that is needed to keep their dog’s nails short and well maintained. Unfortunately many dogs don’t get enough activity and their nails can get overgrown. We often need to do some trimming to get them to a length that is good for their bones and joints, as nails that are too long can put strain on ligaments, which can lead to pain.

Why dogs get stressed about having their nails trimmed:

Some dogs get very nervous, stressed and fearful when you try to cut their nails. There’s a few reasons dogs dislike having their nails maintained. One is past bad experiences- so if you quick your dog once, he’s likely to remember the experience unfavorably, and the other biggie is that restraining their leg can elicit the same fear that getting a leg stuck in a trap can. The video below with Jean Donaldson of the Academy for Dog Trainers explains more about why this can be so scary for dogs.

Dogs with black nails:

Many dogs have black nails, making it impossible to see the quick, which contains the blood supply running through the nail. You should only trim off the tip, and if you accidentally cut your dog’s nails too short, he may yelp in pain, pull his leg away and start bleeding. Although this is not a serious injury, it can be painful, and don’t want your dog to be in pain or become fearful of the nail trimming process and you can avoid this by taking your time and following our plan for nail care.

Be extra careful to avoid the quick when cutting long nails.

Nails that are overgrown often have a longer quick, and owners need to be very careful when they start to cut long nails. Cutting them too short can result in bleeding due to cutting the quick. For dogs whose nails are very long, it is recommended to cut just a little off at a time to avoid hitting the quick. This will allow the quick to begin to recede, allowing you to get them shorter bit by bit until you reach the ideal length.

What’s included in the course:

  • A training plan for whichever tool you decide to use.
  • Videos of dog owners following training plan: You’ll read more about the other participants in the course and get to see them executing the plan in action. When it comes to working with dogs, seeing really is believing and the work of these amazing participants is meant to help your confidence and see what really can be done.
  • Video interview with Jean Donaldson: Jean runs The Academy for Dog Trainers and is the author of several books, including The Culture Clash, which is considered by many to be the most influential book on dogs they’ve read.
  • Video interview with Carol Haak: Carol is a veterinarian and specializes in critical care. She’s also an Academy for Dog Trainers grad and mom to 3 beagles- Penny, Sam and Howie.
  • Downloadable documents for you to review, save and print to go along with the course.
  • A progress tracking sheet designed to provide you with the ability to track your every move when following the training plan.
  • Discussion topics and peers to chat with regarding your progress and thoughts during the entirety of the course.

Nailed It: A Course in Canine Nail Care is offered at only $39 USD.

Let’s Get Started!

Still undecided? Read what some of the participants who’ve completed program with their dogs (you’ll get to see their footage and hear what they have to say):

Claudine and Alfred

cutting small dog nails, dog nail trimming

“As a dog trainer working mostly with fear and anxiety, being completely frozen with respect to my own dog was the worst for me. What I’m training most people to do, I’m not even able to apply with respect to Alfred. You can just imagine how much ‘Nailed It!’ has allowed me to be a guardian, simply. Lori has coached me through my fears and doubts and has supported me all the way. Even though Alfred and I are not completely done with the plan, I am confident that we will achieve it. This is not just a course. Alfred used to panic every single time he had to have his nail clipped. This is ‘peace of mind’. It’s definitely a life changer.”

Samantha and Liberty

Sam & Liberty Nailed It Participants, how to cut dog nails, dogs with black nails

“Nailed It has been a godsend for Liberty my husband and I. Before going through this course Liberty wouldn’t let you cut her nails at all. I would have to take her to the vet, and she had to get sedated just to trim them. Every month it became a hassle and a traumatic experience. If we tried at home she would jump around crazy making noises, whining, and just plain scared. In the beginning of the course just getting her used to having you hold her paws and nails took time. Gradually using a nail file as the program progressed so did she. She became more comfortable with the whole experience.”

Tim and Joker

cutting dog nails, trimming dog nails
“Joker is still less than a year old. I’d worked on many parts of body handling, but I hadn’t spent enough time on handling his feet. His nails were getting really long when I heard about this course. So, I decided to give it a try. I knew he could get better if I just put in the time. The steps in the course are really simple – clearly described and not very complicated. Even though I’ve trained my dogs to do a lot of things, the one thing I struggled with is not going too fast. The course is VERY clear about the importance of this (and they are right!), but I’m human and I sometimes get impatient. I know that rushing things like this always causes a setback though. So, I stuck with it and we made great progress very quickly. Now, Joker will lay upside down in my lap (laying down was ultimately his decision – when he sees the file, he just rolls over and relaxes). I do a few nails on each foot each day and we’re making real progress on his nails. We’ll have them down to their ideal length soon! Having these steps made this so easy for me. I encourage everyone with a dog to check their feet – it’s an easy thing to overlook, but an easy thing to fix too!”

Not Convinced? These dogs were also afraid to get their nails cut but now some of them look forward to it, almost like spa time. Ready to get started?

Let’s Do It!

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If your dog hates getting his nails cut. Follow the lead of these Facebook users above learn how to cut your dog’s nails yourself at home in a stress-free and frear-free environment. This course is offered at only $39 USD.

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Be sure to see the other courses we have available and those in development.



We cannot guarantee results, as each student and their dog will have different skill levels, which may be limited by constraints beyond our abilities.

The material within a course is not meant to be a replacement for veterinary care or the services of a qualified trainer. While the majority will be able to complete a course, some may not and should seek additional advice from a force-free trainer.

If your dog has a history of generalized fear or neophobia (fear of novel items), consider using the services of a force-free trainer to help your dog become more comfortable. Often, dog owners miss subtle signs of discomfort and can unintentionally make matters worse.

If your dog has medical issues, speak to your veterinarian about options.