For a while now I have been thinking of making a nail filing board for Bonnie as a fun, stress free way of keeping her nails short and healthy – she already knows and loves her “dig” trick so I thought it would be an easy transition to get her to use the scratch board.
As far as DIY projects go this is as simple as it gets, which gets a thumbs up from me! All that’s needed is a bit of wood or other material that will stand up to your dog pawing against it, fine grit sandpaper ( not coarse as it would be too rough on their nails and pads -we used a 120 grit) and double sided tape or other adhesive. Simply stick the sandpaper to the wood and voilà your very own dog scratch board!
Of course it’s even easier when you have a doggy helper! As soon as I started taking photos Bonnie came over to pose and looked at me as if to say “I know this game now, where’s my treat?”
When we introduced it to her she pawed at it straight away so we were able to reward her and she kept offering it. Bonnie is used to offering behaviours as we do a lot of shaping in our clicker training but if your dog isn’t used to that or you haven’t done clicker training before you can always try to get them to give their paw so it hits the board, “good dog” and treat or alternatively, lure them with a treat so hold it close to their mouth then slowly pull it up so their paws end up on the board .
Bonnie soon got into it and was scratching like a pro, it seemed like she really enjoyed it as she was properly extending her nails out so maybe it fills some need for digging? If your dog likes to dig or scratch the grass after they use the bathroom then hopefully they should find this easy to get into and enjoy.
From our first session I’m really impressed with the results, after about 2 minutes her nails were much shorter and it took much less effort than nail clipping and then filing the rough edges. The only downsides is that it’s not really possible (for me anyway, a better trainer might disagree!) to use this for their back paws and also as the nails file down so fast it could end up hitting the quick, so check carefully to see that the nails aren’t getting too short or that they are not damaging their pads.
Overall I think it’s a brilliant way of keeping dogs nails short and healthy as well as being much less stressful for dogs, especially if they already have a fear of nail clippers.