Does your dog absolutely hate having his nails trimmed? My dog, Balto, has a really rough time with this, so now he files his own nails on a scratch board! Playing the “scratch” game is a lot more fun for both of us! Let’s walk through some easy steps to teach your pup to file his/her own nails.

How to Train Your Dog to File His Nails

Pick Up Your Supplies. I bought some anti skid material from Lowe’s and then applied it to a wood board.

Take Notice and Reward. You can train your dog to use a scratch board by capturing every time he puts his paw on the board. You can place the board on the floor and when you see his paw touch it in any way, say “yes!” in a happy voice and give him a treat.

Be Consistent and Patient. If you do this twice a day for about five minutes each time, he will slowly understand that touching the board gets him a reward! Be patient and make it fun! Even if only part of his paw touches the board, you can still reward him.

Change it Up. From there, you can start leaning the board on your legs. You may need to be very patient at this part as he figures out the new game. Reward him with a “yes” and a treat when either paw even slightly touches the board. I did this a few times a day with Balto the same as before, and he started to pick it up pretty quickly.

Reward for Scratching. Next, you have to wait and start rewarding when their paw moves slightly down the board, and you can hear the scratch sound. Hooray! Your dog has learned to file his/her own nails! If you are very excited when your dog does this, his energy level will go up too, and he will scratch the board even more!

Add the Command. After he is consistently scratching the board, you can add the word “scratch” to it so that he starts pairing the action with the word. Balto always gets excited when I say the word ‘scratch’ because he knows he gets to play a fun game and getssome delicious treats too!

how to train dog to file own nails

Balto Showing Off His Nails


To watch the nail filing in action, check out Balto in the video below.