Desensitizing to a dremel for hoof trimming by Colleen McCarvill

DESENSITIZING TO A DREMEL FOR HOOVE TRIMMING
Step one – decide on what tool you will use for trimming. I prefer the dremel for 2 reasons. 1) If used properly, it’s much safer than any trimming/clipping/cutting tool. and 2) There is no pressure on the quick like there is with a clipping tool.

STEP ONE – YOU WILL NEED A SMALL BOWL OF TOP VALUE TREATS, A CLICKER, WHISTLE OR THE WORD “YES” AS A REWARD MARKER, AND OF COURSE THE DREMEL.
TRAINING SHOULD OCCUR WHERE THE TRIMMING WILL ALSO ALWAYS BE DONE AND SHOULD TAKE PLACE OVER A 5 – 15 MINUTE SPAN (depending on response)
1 – Take piggy to the trimming are with your bowl of treats and reward marker. Let piggy investigate the trimmer (not running) and when he does, click and treat. This must happen at the exact moment that piggy investigates the dremel, like taking a picture with a camera.
2 – Repeat number one until you’re certain that piggy understands that investigating the dremel is the reason that he’s being rewarded. Slow and steady wins the race… 😉 That’s enough for day one..
3 – Go to the same area and now bring out the dremel and turn it on, click and treat for no reaction. Don’t let piggy investigate while it’s running. Step 1 is now replaced with sound = click treat. Once piggy appears to understand and look forward to the noise meaning a click treat…you’re finished for day two 😉
4 – Repeat # 3 once or twice/day while adding a second (body positioning) session.
1 – BODY POSITIONING – DESENSITIZING
Depending on your pig, you may or may not want to skip a few steps. The goal is to have your piggy enjoy laying on his back or side. I prefer to start at the very beginning. If your pig lays on his side readily, use that position for trimming. It will save you so much time and will be more comfortable for both of you. If he does not already lay on his side, you can use the alternate back cradle position below.
2 – Position yourself behind you pig and reach under your pigs upper torso behind the front legs – at the exact same moment – click and treat. Do this until you see your piggy WANT you to reach there or you see him anticipating or offering his body for this touch.
3 – Repeat above but add a hold to his far front leg (getting him ready for an upper body lift only) click and treat – think of the clicker like a camera
4 – Repeat above but add a small upper body lift. You are still positioned behind your pig, somewhat to the side if he’s very large and difficult to lift…watch you back!!
Click at the exact moment you lift and then treat. Do this as many times as necessary until you feel your pig start to anticipate the lift. Most will offer a tiny jump to help accommodate.
5 – Hold this position longer and longer (adding duration and height to the lift) and withhold the click for longer periods in order to have piggy tolerate longer lifts.
6 – Add range slowly until you’ve got piggy laying against you, hooves forward. Take your time. This could take a few days or a few weeks but in the long run, life will be so much easier during trimming and you will have built a valuable level of trust along the way.
IF HE STRUGGLES – LET HIM GO (eenie, meanine, miney moe…LOL)…THERE IS NOTHING TO BE GAINED BY RESTRAINING AND EVERYTHING TO LOOSE (TRUST). LET HIM GO AND BACK UP A FEW STEPS. THE STRUGGLE IS A MEASURE OF TRAINING PITFALLS, NOT OF A STUBBORN PIG.
MORE TO FOLLOW – ACTUALLY COMBINING THE DREMEL AND THE POSITION

About Vickie Craig

I an avid horseback rider, animal lover, and Owner/Operator of Creekside Farm Tiny Oinkers or my webpage  CreeksideFarmTinyOinkers.com All of my writing comes from factual information, not just my personal experiences or word of mouth.