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Teaching Your Dog to Use a ScratchPad: Front Feet


Step 1: Gather a few tasty treats.

Step 2: Let your dog watch you place a treat under a washcloth.

Step 3: Let your dog show interest by stepping on or pawing at the washcloth. Once he does that, allow him to have the treat.

Step 4: Reinforce this behavior by repeating several times until he is consistently pawing at the washcloth.

Step 5: Lay the ScratchPad on the floor with the washcloth and treat on top. Allow your dog to paw at it to get the treat. He will begin to be accustomed to the feeling of the sanding surface on his nails.

Step 6: Once your dog is consistently pawing at the ScratchPad on the floor, incrementally angle the board with the wash cloth and treat until nearly vertical. We find the optimum angle to be between 45° and 90°. Orienting the board more vertically will allow your dog to pull back the pads of his feet and scratch with only his nails.

Step 7: Remove the washcloth and treat and reward your dog for every scratch at the board. As you're using the ScratchPad regularly, we find that turning the board between scratches keeps our dogs' nails more rounded.

Your sanding surface will wear down over time. To preserve the life of it, we recommend cleaning it with a soft bristle brush between each use. Refill packs are available on our website.

Teaching Your Dog to Use a ScratchPad: Hind Feet

 We recommend that your dog is proficient at using the ScratchPad with his front paws before training the back feet.
Step 1: Gather your dog's favorite treats.

Step 2: Prop the board against a piece of furniture, an ottoman, table, or on some stairs. You want the dog to stand on his hind legs with his front feet on the step or surface above the board. His hind feet should be on the floor directly in front of the ScratchPad. For small dogs, you may need to turn the board on its side.

Step 3: Hold a treat in front of your dog above the board. This will encourage him to stretch to get the treat, pick up his back feet, and touch the board. Once your dog's back feet make contact with the ScratchPad, give him the treat -this is the motion you want to capture.

Step 4: Continue to repeat Step 3 until your dog understands that you're asking him to scratch his feet at the board.

Note: Your dog's back nails will not be filed down as quickly as the front nails. Dogs generally aren't using as much force with this movement.

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