Do Yucky Things A Little At A Time

Honey and I were enjoying ourselves.

I sat on the porch reading my book. She pressed up against me with her head on my knee—who doesn’t love having a furry lap blanket on an 85 degree day—totally relaxed.

I quietly leaned over to pick up the object sitting on the table beside me. In a moment, I had snipped off the tip of a single nail on her front, right paw.

Honey looked up at me with surprise. But no sign of distress.

I put the nail clipper down and continued reading. Honey relaxed her head and sniffed the air.

Several chapters and a few hours later, I had clipped all four nails on that paw.

Honey became slightly more agitated each time I clipped a nail. But she tolerated it well. And she doesn’t hold a grudge. At least if I can judge by her post-breakfast greeting a few minutes ago.

Apparently Honey is as big a fan of doing yucky things a little at a time as I am.

Honey the golden retriever sits on the porch.

This used to be my relaxation spot. But you’re getting tricky. Is there a nail trimmer in your pocket?

Bugging The Family A Little At A Time

Since I was a kid, I preferred to do the yucky things of life a little at a time.

I’m not known for my concentration and focus.

My mom went nuts when she asked me to clean my room. She’d come in to check on me to find me reading a book. I tried to explain that I picked up ten things and then read a few paragraphs of my book but she wasn’t having any of it.

Today, it’s my husband who has to tolerate my flaky method of doing the  yucky things.

We’ll sit down to watch a movie on Hulu. Every commercial I get up to start a load of laundry, scrub the toilet, or start filing papers hanging around the office.

It’s hard for us to work together because Mike is a deep-focus guy. Once he gets started on a project, he sticks to it. I’d rather do a little bit, then take a break, then do a little more.

But I find it a pleasing rhythm to do chores a little at a time. And based on her reaction to the nail clipping, I think Honey does too.

Honey the golden retriever is cold in Fall Creek.

Brrrr, maybe this little bit at a time advice is a bad idea. This creek is cold.

Who Dreads Nail Clipping More

I don’t know who dreads nail clipping more: me or Honey.

We did everything the trainers told us to do. Since she was a puppy, we’ve handled her paws regularly. And it worked. I squeeze and touch her nails and paws constantly while we’re sitting together and she has no reaction.

Nail clipping accompanies treats of peanut butter, liverwurst, and stinky salmon.

And Honey does tolerate having her nails trimmed. But she doesn’t like it. And neither do I.

At least Honey doesn’t know about the Greyhound Scream of Death. Because if she reacted like a certain greyhound we read about recently, her nails would look like grizzly claws.

But I think we’ve come up with the solution that works for both of us—clipping Honey’s nails a few at a time.

Honey the golden retriever.

Okay, I’ve done enough “swimming” for the day. Time to go home for dinner.

Don’t Make Up Stupid Rules

What rule fairy says I have to put my head down and muscle through doing the yucky things? Just because that’s the way most people do things doesn’t mean I have to do them that way. After all, most people do all kinds of silly things—like driving half a mile instead of walking, watching television to get “news,” and cleaning dog nose schmutz off the window when it’s just going to reappear in ten minutes.

I’m smarter than that.

If it takes a week for me to trim all of Honey’s nails, who cares? I see no reason to stuff all the yucky things into one day. We’ll just do it a little at a time.

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Your Turn: Do you and your dog do the yucky things all at once to get them over with? Or do you like our little bit at a time approach?








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  1. I think I tend to be more like Mike…just get it over with kind of approach. But nail clipping? I leave to the vet 😉

  2. A little at a time seems like the way to go! I’d probably get more accomplished if I did little things during commercial breaks or every few chapters of a book.

  3. I would say we just get it done. I haven’t found anything they hate so bad that it needs doing in stages. I do like your approach though.

  4. Thank you, now Mom feels better. She is a do it all at once type, but with me and grooming she has had to settle for a little bit here and there to get it accomplished. My nails get trimmed over the course of an entire day, and my fur gets stripped a bit every day. It keeps both of us from getting frustrated.

  5. My mother always advised to get all the yucky stuff done first thing each day. Then you have the rest of the day to go easier, more comfortable. I’ve never been able to do that – I’m like you, a bit here and a bit there. I get it all done, with the exception of Chester’s claws. It’s never even worked to do the one claw at a time. Same with some of the cats – they see those clippers, and you can hear the swooshing sound of them flying out of the room!

  6. For nails, Blueberry and I definitely fit into the category of a little at a time. She isn’t fond of it and I don’t even use the trimmer anymore – now it’s the nail file and depending on her mood – she doesn’t like for me to file off more than 2 nails. The hard part is remembering which ones I’ve done!

    For some things, I’m more of a “get it over with” gal – but I’m with you – I can’t seem to sit still during a movie and get up frequently to clean something. That pause button is pure genius!

  7. I’m with Honey, I had my nails being clipped. I’ll suffer for a bit but then I’m gone!

  8. We use this ‘little bit at a time’ approach for EVERYTHING! Doesn’t matter if it’s a good or bad thing. I gave up on clipping nails, now I use a skateboard let them file down their own. Works great!

  9. I tend to mostly do things a little at a time. But when I have the energy and the focus, I will do them all at once. Nail clipping is something I do all at once every single Monday. In fact, I just got done doing Maya and Pierson’s nails this afternoon. It takes less than 5 minutes total for both of them.

  10. Picture me with 6 Dachshunds getting their nails clipped….all at once. This only works because I play on their insecurities and greed. When 5 of them see the first victim getting a big juicy treat, they line up to be next. Albeit with guilt inducing foot dragging Wiener angst. Tough tooties. I gotta get it over with….24 paws. Think of that.

  11. The intro to this made laugh out loud! That’s a good philosophy.

    PS-One of my dogs has bear claws.

  12. Mike Webster says:

    From the Husband:
    Full disclosure: Pam neglected to note that my deep focus on any project lasts exactly 50% of the time actually required to complete it and oh, what’s on TV?

  13. I’m a power through and get it over with kinda gal. I wonder though if Rita would prefer the little at a time approach. Maybe we’ll try that with her dew claws…(BTW, on the blog yesterday I stole… I mean paid homage to your dog lover vocab idea!)

  14. I am so with you on the nail clipping… I have the exact problem!! The problem is even if I slowly do it over the week, it looks like her nails never got cut. (I just really do small slivers at a time) In the end I gave up and took her to the groomer. They got the fastest woman on the job, and the dog came out with newly clipped nails faster than a thermo-nuclear meltdown with not a drop of blood from a cut. $10 well spent. Haha!

  15. When it comes to baths, Gwynn gets a thorough wash all in one go. When it comes to grooming him, he gets a quadrant done at a time, and it is very dependent on what side of his body he’s lying on 😛

  16. I frequently have to bribe myself to do tasks I dislike using the method you described – if I get these errands knocked out, I can read for the rest of the afternoon OR as soon as I clean my car, I can have a bowl of ice cream! For the dogs, though, the tasks that make them uncomfortable, I try to get through as quickly as possible!