Tender Agility Dog Toes

We had a viewer ask a very good question, “Why is my dog sensitive to different surfaces?

This is such a good question because there are a list of reasons that could be contributing to the answer that it will take some investigation on your part to find the answer. We will start with some of the more obvious answers.

One is environment based. If your dog lives in the city either inside the house or out in a grass yard for the bulk of the day, they will have soft feet, just like you if you always wear shoes of some sort outside. Different surfaces will feel different and abrasive surfaces could cause the discomfort. Hot or cold surfaces too will be uncomfortable for soft pads as well. Our article No Feet No Agility Dog has additional help for keeping your dog’s feet happy.

Another quick check is the length of your dog’s toenails, if they are too long, running up and down contact equipment could be hurting your dog’s feet. Your dog’s nails should not make a clicking noise when they walk on hard surfaces, if they do, they are too long. It is a intricate process to get the quick to back off so you can keep your dog’s nails at a proper length. Get together with your veterinarian to discuss the best way to accomplish this. If your dog doesn’t like getting their nails done, you can read, Dog Agility Nail Care to get more help on teaching your dog how to accept nail trimming.

A more complicated reason is that your dog is timid of touching new surfaces. This will take slow and highly rewarding work to build your dog’s confidence in this area. You can and should introduce your dog to as many different surfaces as you can in your daily walks. Be sure you bring plenty of high value rewards and don’t make your dog touch new surfaces. Reward for interest, then interaction, and finally touching with feet until your dog will walk on or stand on the new surface. You will also need to help them acclimate to the agility surfaces starting easy like a coated plank or table on the ground. Once they are comfortable interacting and running on the flat surface, start raising the angle slowly until they gain confidence.

Take your time and in no time your dog will be confident on all surfaces.