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Cathy Madson, MA, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Cathy Madson became a certified dog trainer in 2008, but she likes to think that her career began when she was six years old and a stray wandered into her yard and became her first dog companion.
She completed her CPDT-KA certification in 2017 and her CBCC-KA certification in 2019. Cathy is a Fear Free Certified Certified Professional, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and a training professional member of The Pet Professional Guild (PPG). She's also a member of the Dog Writer's Association of America.
Cathy loves to geek out at dog behavior and training conferences. As Preventive Vet's dog trainer on staff, Cathy focuses on helping humans and their pets build a strong relationship based on trust, clear communication, and the use of positive reinforcement training methods. Her specialties include canine separation anxiety, leash reactivity, and dog aggression. When she's not working, you can usually find her paddle boarding or knitting yet another dog sweater for Sookie, her Welsh Cardigan Corgi.

Recent Posts

Delaying a Spay: Dog Behavior While "In Heat"


Sometimes dog owners decide to wait to spay or neuter their dog for a variety of reasons. Even for dog owners who were planning on having their dog spayed or neutered sooner rather than later, the current coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in those plans. Many veterinarians are postponing elective surgeries such as spaying and neutering, as they need to save surgical supplies, personal protective equipment, and minimize interactions to adhere to social distancing protocols.

No matter the reason, it's important to know what kind of behavior changes you might see as your dog hits sexual maturity. Especially if you have a female dog going into heat, you'll want to prepare for what that means and have supplies on hand to make your (and her) life easier. Read on for our tips on how to know if your dog is going into heat and what you should do.

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Topics: Dog, Dog Health & Safety, Spay & Neuter

How (and Why) to Teach Your Dog the Touch Cue


Teaching a dog how to touch their nose to a target is one of the first things I train. Why? Targeting can be used as a foundation for so many behaviors that we want our dogs to learn, from walking nicely on leash to coming when called. It's also a favorite of mine to use when practicing handling and skills that your dog will need when they're at the veterinarian or getting professionally groomed.

Teaching a dog to "touch" is also a great beginning behavior for us humans to practice our training skills and timing. And because it's so easy, I love starting with it because both dogs and humans feel successful from the get-go! Learn how to teach your dog to touch your hand when asked by following the steps below.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs, Puppy Training, Puppy Behavior

Tips for Bathing a Dog at Home


Is the eau de dogue getting a bit too much to handle? The idea of washing your dog at home might seem like quite an undertaking, especially if your dog takes off running at the quietest mention of a "bath." But giving your dog a good scrub doesn't have to be hard, and learning how to do it at home can mean less frequent professional grooming appointments.

For some dogs, baths are as simple as wash, rinse, and dry. But there are a couple of things to be mindful of to prevent problems like matting and knots, impacted fur, hot spots, or ear infections. Proper bathing is important to keep your dog's skin and coat healthy.

You might be wondering how often you should bathe your dog, what shampoos are best for sensitive skin, or how to wash a dog that hates baths. Read on for tips and tricks to make bath time a breeze!

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Topics: Dog, Grooming, Giving a dog a bath

How to Help Your Dog Feel Better About Getting a Bath


It's not uncommon for dogs to absolutely despise their bath time, even if they're otherwise happy to jump in lakes or rivers, or even a kiddie pool in the backyard. The easiest way around this is being introduced slowly and in a positive way to the bath experience as a puppy. But even if your dog is grown, all hope is not lost!

Below are some steps to work on helping your dog better tolerate bath time, but it helps to connect with a certified dog trainer for a personalized plan on how to counter condition the bathing experience.

If you prefer to have your dog bathed or groomed professionally, choosing the right groomer is essential for building positive "spa day" experiences. Read our article "Finding a Groomer Your Dog Will Love and Trust" to learn what you should ask a potential groomer before you book an appointment.

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Topics: Dog, Grooming, Giving a dog a bath

Puppy Socialization Adventure Walks


Is your puppy ready to start exploring beyond the backyard? Once your puppy has completed their needed "12-16 week old" round of puppy shots, you can expand their socialization beyond what you’ve been working on at home and in puppy classes. 

Socialization adventure walks are perfect for acclimation to the different things your puppy will see throughout their lives while out and about with you, and also provide much needed environmental enrichment. And, these walks build a strong and trusting relationship between you and your puppy!

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Topics: Environmental Enrichment, Puppy, Dog, Dog Walking, Exercise, Behavior

Dog Enrichment: Toys, Games, and DIY Ideas


Providing enrichment for your dog is one of the most important aspects of pet care and it's easy to incorporate into day-to-day life.

Just like you, your dog needs a variety of activities to spice up their life and keep them happy and healthy. Enrichment helps to prevent boredom and can help with dog behavior problems, such as anxiety.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Behavior

Training Your Dog Without Treats


There are lots of different things that you can use instead of treats to train your dog! While dog treats are an incredibly powerful reward that motivate most dogs most of the time, you shouldn't have to rely on a piece of turkey in your pocket for your dog to listen to you. 

Real-life rewards are non-food items or activities that your dog finds enjoyable and rewarding. What your dog finds rewarding might change depending on what's going on in that moment. Dog trainers are always asking "what does the dog want in this moment?"  Then they can use that as a reward for the dog! While a lot of dogs will always take a treat, in many cases what the dog actually wants is a real-life reward.

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Topics: Dog Training, Puppy Training, Dog

Getting and Raising a Puppy During COVID-19


Raising a puppy is a lot of work no matter when you do it, but add in a coronavirus pandemic and there are a couple of extra things to think about.

There are pros and cons to adding a puppy to your life right now. We all would certainly benefit from the emotional boost that snuggling a puppy brings while we deal with social isolation. Extra time at home can make raising a puppy a bit easier — you'll have more time for frequent potty training breaks and to work on basic training skills. With children out of school, they can also get involved with caring for the new pup. But essential parts of puppy raising like socialization, attending group training class, and staying on track with puppy vaccinations are a bit tougher right now.

While it might not be the most ideal time for bringing home a puppy, it's not impossible to raise them into a happy and well-behaved adult. Below we've listed the biggest challenges you'll face having a puppy during this time, as well as some tips to help overcome them.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Behavior

Socializing Your Puppy While Social Distancing


With coronavirus requiring social distancing between humans, new puppy owners are finding it harder to make sure their puppy learns about the great big world. But it is possible to provide your puppy with much-needed experiences even while you're social distancing — and have fun while doing it!

During this coronavirus pandemic, you can take advantage of extra time at home and help your puppy grow into a well-adjusted and well-trained adult. Social distancing with your dog might actually mean better behaved dogs when life gets back to normal.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Behavior

Working From Home: Helping Your Dog Stay Busy (and Quiet)


Many people are finding themselves working from home and dogs everywhere are reveling in having their humans around all the time.

But working with your pets around can be tough — just try being on a conference call with a barking dog in the background, or a puppy who wants your constant attention and keeps crawling onto your keyboard.

It can be hard to stay on-task and feel like you're getting work done from your home office. While including your pet in your work video chats is often appreciated by your coworkers, when you need to be productive and stay distraction-free, we've got you covered.

Below are our favorite ways to keep our dogs occupied, as well as how to set yourself up for success while working from home with your pet.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Behavior

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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