Just long enouch to deliver ten or so individual very-high value rewards, and by keeping it short you can ensure you end on a high note. Find something your dog adores over all other things (rare steak tips, cut into pieces about the size of your pinky nail, or baked chewy liver treats, or if your dog isn't food motivated, maybe she's crazy about tennis balls or playing tug with a rope toy). If she interacts positively with the clippers -- sniffs them, looks at them, etc -- give her the reward.
Put the clippers behind your back, tell her what a beautiful dog she is, then present the clippers again. Repeat this session 3-5 times a day for several days.
this allows you to gently tap the grinder against the toenails, which can be helpful if they're the type that constantly jerks their legs away.
Over a period of a few days, she should become noticably more excited when you get out the clippers. Most dogs are more sensitive about having their back feet held.The clippers will have become a Predictor of Good Things. Repeat 3-5 times a day for several days, until she's starting to offer you her paw to be held. Keep up with the training until she's comfortable with you holding any of her feet.It got to the point where 2 of us had to hld her while the vet trimmed her nails.My dog is probably a good 40-45 pounds, so I don't know if the hangman thing would work. She'd need at least 2 people to do the holding, also. I wonder if she'd let me try and file down her nails? we give our dog a motion sickness pill, and it knocks her out for car rides.I wouldn't mind taking her to the vet, although I don't want to pay for a vet visit every time I need to get her nails clipped, and I doubt the experience would be any better at the vet office. We used to have an extremely mellow and sweet mannered Scottish Terrier.
That is until we tried to clip her nails, then She did her best Cujo impersonation...
Drugging your dog just to trim its nails seems a bit excessive to me. Before I spent 20 minutes typing out a step-by-step post on how to use classical and operant conditioning to train your dog to accept having her nails clipped, I wanted to know if you were really interested in training her, or if you just wanted some quick and easy suggestions on how to restrain her while you clipped the nails.
I realize not everyone is as interested in dog behavior and the psychology of training as I am, which is why I asked if you were interested in training her, especially since your thread title indicated you were looking at medication as a solution, not training.
Once you reach that spot, then you up the ante for her. Now in order to get a treat, the clippers have to be visible AND she has to let you hold her paw with your other hand, without her taking the paw away. Remember -- very short sessions, no more than 3 minutes in length, or 10 treats long.
If she allows you to grasp her paw for 2-3 seconds, give her the treat. Okay, so now she loves for you to play this game where you bring out the clippers and grab her feet. The final criteria increases will be allowing you to clip a single nail for a treat, then two nails for a treat, then three nails for a treat, and then a paw for a treat.
I admit that I should have used different language around the "doggy Valium" to denote that it was my last option. Canis: I have the clippers in the first link, so it's not that I'm trying to do the job with human toenail clippers.