With six dogs at the D for DOG farm, we spend a lot of time clipping nails, washing and drying dirty feet, brushing out knots and checking for cuts and scratches that come with country life! If we had to forcefully do this, our job would take longer, would be no fun and would steadily get harder each time. So, we choose to use techniques that allow the D for DOGS to actively participate in the process - and if they say 'No' we back off, give them a break and rethink our strategy.
Below is a video of a short grooming session with Maggie. With her long locks and a lust for adventures, Maggie's coat requires a lot of care! The problem with this is that she came to us *hating* being brushed, it was like dealing with a feral cat 🙀😲 So, rather than force her I've worked hard to teach her that being brushed isn't so bad. She licks peanut butter off a silicone mat while I brush her. If she sits down or jumps off the table then we stop.
You can use the same set up for doing things like nail clips, and if your dog is uncomfortable then work on it in very short sessions. You might even just start with touching a foot and then giving a treat. Then work up to tapping a nail with the clippers. Then holding the nail while you pretend to clip. All the while paying attention to the dog and how they are feeling - if they struggle, back off and try again with an easier step.
We feel strongly that owners should take responsibility for much of the dog's basic grooming, - sure your vet can clip their nails but if the dog panics and they get held down and forced into having it done it's only going to be harder each time the nails need to be clipped. There's no need to get all four feet done in one session, one nail per session is fine if that's the pace your dog is comfortable with.
It might feel counter intuitive to give the dog a choice to participate but you'll find that it increases their cooperation in the long run.