I have been especially guilty of this when it comes to nail trimming. I use a rotary tool to grind my dogs' nails. It doesn't pinch the quick like a traditional guillotine-style clipper would and I can shorten the nails more precisely, but it takes more time. When I first started using the rotary tool, I was careful to desensitize my dogs to it. I'd run it nearby and give them treats for not reacting to it. I'd touch it to a nail and give them a treat. I slowly worked up to being able to groom one paw in between jackpots. I experimented with positions to find the one that was the most comfortable or tolerable for them. During all of this, I did my best not to push and to be sensitive to their needs.
After a while, nail trims with the rotary tool became routine. There was the occasional quick-nick incident and yeasty paws sometimes made my grip uncomfortable. Somewhere along the way, I lost my patience for listening to my dog. Trimming the nails on two dogs is a tedious chore and having either (or both) dogs fight you on it does not make it any more enjoyable. When either dog would start to fight me, I would chide them or tighten my grip on their paw. If Aaron was watching, he'd inevitably comment and chide me for my grumpy reactions. I resisted listening to him (he is the resident un-trainer, afterall), but after a while I had to relent. Yes, the dogs were unhappy, they were clearly telling me so, and why wasn't I listening? Because it had to be done, they didn't have to like it, and of course, they were overreacting.
But after one particularly frustrating session with Dash, I finally relented and realized that I needed to start listening to what my equally frustrated dog was trying to tell me. I've done their nails a couple times since this and things have been better. The sessions take a little longer because I am more deliberate and take more breaks. Sometimes the nail isn't quite as short as I want it. It is still a tedious chore, but I'm no longer overcome with dread when it is time to tackle it.
Now I just need to remember this lesson when it is time to clean Dash's sensitive ears...
|"Mr Low Ears" showing his displeasure after his right ear was cleaned.|