Of course, if I were a genius, maybe I would have thought of it sooner.
One of the most dreaded responsibilities hubs and I have as dog parents is nail trimming. You might think it’s poop duty, but you’d be wrong. It is absolutely, without a doubt, nail trimming.
I think we’re fairly lucky in that our dogs put up with a lot of poking, prodding, and general disrespect for their personal space. I’ve seen more than one kid grab on a little too tight to Finn’s ears, and he usually gives a quick grunt before licking the little one to giggles.
But for whatever reason, every time I’ve tried to clip the nails of one of our furry housemates, it turns into World War 3. The worst offender, as you might imagine if you’ve read my blog over the past year and a half, is Bentley.
Our journey down the path of chaos usually begins when I lock him in the kitchen with me, away from the other two pups. He usually sniffs around, wags his tail, and as soon as I pull out the treats he sits on the floor and waits patiently to run through his shallow bag of tricks…okay, he has five, so maybe not so shallow, but also maybe not always so patiently with the waiting. Things go smoothly until I pull out the dreaded red clippers.
He knows what they are. He knows what their intended for. And my ever-hungry, stomach-driven beagle doesn’t want to be in that room one second longer than necessary with those medieval torture devices. He immediately starts clawing at the door.
I try talking to him soothingly, throwing treats in his direction, but it usually only works long enough for me to make a grab at his scruff before he runs in the opposite direction. I finally manage to corner him and sit us both down on the floor, but at that point it becomes more of a wrestling match between me and a small, angry greased pig.
I can’t tell you how the job finally gets done, because I don’t one hundred percent remember. I may very well have blocked it due to some mild form of PTSD. I do know at some point, usually a half hour later, we emerge from the kitchen, Bentley at a sprint, me at a slow, defeated trudge. I’m usually able to get at least one half of the claws clipped, and by then we both need a break before going for round two.
Tonight, though, was magical. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I finally had an epiphany:
We have a jar of peanut butter in our house at all times, and use it whenever the boys need some mental stimulation and we need a break. Load up a Kong, and they’re good to go for about 20 minutes…or if you’re Bentley, an evening, as he finishes his and then stalks the other two until they abandon theirs, eventually collecting all three in a corner and protecting them like a hoarder, licking them until their bone dry.
I started with Finn so the scent of peanut butter would get Bentley interested. It went smoothly, as it usually does with Finn, with the exception of the two hounds standing outside the kitchen door howling.
When we were done, I wrangled Bentley past the other two, shut the kitchen door, and laid a spoonful of peanut butter on the floor next to the clippers. He looked at it cautiously, and then our eyes met, and we both knew: the war was over. He could not resist the delicious, sweet, fatty (well, reduced-fat) goodness that lay before him. I gave him a few licks of the spoon and then went to work while his tounge worked to get the peanut butter off the roof of his mouth. Whenever it seemed that he was about to succeed, I would give him another mouthful of peanut butter, and in five minutes we were finished.
It was beautiful.
Cooper was a little sad to be left out of the action, but I wanted hubs to be able to experience some of my genius when he gets home, so I decided to leave one for him. It’s only fair.