You can create a positive conditioned emotional response in two ways:
- Random pairings
- Training sessions
Let’s take a look at what each would involve:
Randomly, throughout each and every day, pair the implement with something fabulous. Do this just once and then put the implement and the food away and go back to what you were doing. The tip-off should be the implement…not a “ooooooh…what time is it, Fluffy?? It’s GROOMING O’CLOCK!!!”
If you choose to do training sessions, you will have to be aware that you are competing with a few things in the environment. Distractions are not the only enemy here. There are other things that can predict the nail-clipping session:
- the set-up / gathering of the implements
- the presence & smell of the food
- the treat pouch / plastic baggie sounds
You can easily disconnect these from the training sessions by doing these things randomly and then nothing follows. Over time, your dog will be unresponsive to these stimuli and not pair them with the training session.
Neither one is better than the other. In a classroom setting, we will likely opt for training sessions in the essence of time, however, at home, you might opt for random pairings in the essence of (a lack of) time and a desire for potency.