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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

3 Ways to Calm Down a Hyper or Anxious Dog


If you have a hyperactive dog, it can feel overwhelming when you just want to relax at the end of a long day. All they want to do is play when you really just want to sit back and relax. And even after some physical exercise, your dog might still be bouncing off the walls because they're overstimulated.

Or perhaps your dog gets anxious due to separation anxiety or noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, and you find yourself trying to soothe and comfort them to no avail. The constant pacing, barking, or clinginess can be heartbreaking.

Let's talk about three easy ways to soothe your dog and help calm them down, using naturally calming activities: sniffing, licking, and chewing.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs

How to Potty Train an Adult Dog


Potty training isn't just for puppies! Adult dogs might need a refresher on house training for various reasons, or they might never have learned that they're only supposed to go potty outside. Some dogs need help transitioning from using pee pads to only going to the bathroom outside.

Whether you've just adopted an adult dog that needs some potty training or your adult dog is suddenly having accidents inside, read on for reasons why this might be happening and how to house train your adult dog.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs

Training Your Dog to Stop Using Potty Pads


Has your puppy decided that their potty pads are best used as a bed? Or consider their indoor grass patch their new favorite chew toy to shred? It might be time for your pup to transition away from using pee pads altogether. Or perhaps you've relocated from an apartment to a home with a yard, and want to take advantage of using the outside as your dog's only potty spot.

If you're ready to get your puppy or dog to stop using pee pads, you'll want to go about it the right way! When done too quickly, it can confuse your dog and result in potty accidents. Avoid just removing the pee pad or indoor grass patch altogether — that's asking for your dog to find an alternative "pad" somewhere else in your home (like your bathroom mat or hallway rug).

Read on for tips and tricks for teaching a dog who uses pee pads to only go potty outside.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs, Pee-Pad Training, Potty Training

Why Does My Dog Kick Up the Grass?


After doing her business, my dog Sookie will almost always kick up the grass with her paws. And if there's a dog nearby, she'll kick longer and with more vigor. My previous dog, a male Corgi mix named Mikey, would do this whenever he saw other dogs, and I've always wondered if she got the habit from him.

Many dogs do this backward scratching, and many owners assume that it's to cover up the spot they just went to the bathroom or clean their paws. It can be annoying for some people, especially if your dog is kicking up your freshly landscaped flowerbed or leaving divots in your lawn. Or, in Sookie's case, kicking dirt onto passers-by on the sidewalk — that's always fun.

Why do dogs kick their feet after going to the bathroom? Let's look at their true motives.

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Topics: Dog Behavior, Puppy Behavior

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Jumping on You


While puppies jumping up for attention might seem cute, it's much less adorable when they're a full-grown 100 lb. dog leaping at your face. Not only can their nails scratch you up, but large dogs can knock you over in their excitement. And it's not just large dogs — small and medium dogs can just as easily knock over children or elderly adults. Toy breeds that jump on people might not be big enough to knock you over, but they can easily become a tripping hazard!

Beyond being a possibly dangerous behavior, it can be quite an intimidating experience to have a dog jumping on you. While the dog might be super excited and just want to say hi, a flying ball of fur, claws, and teeth can be quite scary for people not familiar with or comfortable around dogs.

Fortunately, stopping a dog from jumping on you or other people is easier than you might think — it just takes consistency on our part and setting your dog up for success! While it's always easier to start teaching a young puppy not to jump in the first place, it's never too late to teach a dog not to jump. Let's look at how you can teach your dog to stop jumping on you or other people and the reasons why dogs jump on people.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog, Dog Behavior, puppy tips

Resource Guarding in Dogs: What to Do (and What NOT to Do)


Resource guarding in dogs, also called "possessive aggression," can be quite alarming and scary for a dog owner to experience. You go to grab a chew that your dog has whittled down to a tiny piece, so they don't swallow it — but are confronted with teeth-baring, growling, or even lunging and biting. Or perhaps you go to sit down next to your dog on the couch and get a hard stare and a low growl. This can — and should — send a chill down your spine.

Resource guarding can happen between pets as well. A dog might act very possessive over their food bowl if another dog walks by. Or they might even guard you from the other dog, especially if there are food items or toys involved. If you've recently brought home a new puppy or adopted dog, your other dog might be showing some new possessive behaviors around their toys and food.

What should you do if your dog is guarding their food bowl, chew toy, or space? Your reaction to the behavior can either help resolve your dog's resource guarding or make it worse. Let's look at why resource guarding in dogs happens, what you should do to prevent it, and what to do if your dog exhibits resource guarding.

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

Reliable Recall: Teach Your Dog to Come When Called


A reliable recall, or come when called, is the most important thing you should train your dog to do. This behavior will help keep your dog safe and, at the same time, allow you to give your dog more freedom throughout their daily life. While your dog's recall is not a substitution for keeping them on a leash or in a fenced yard, it is a training skill that could save your dog’s life.

You must teach your dog that it's worth it to come when called whenever you ask, on leash or off (outdoors or indoors). Even more important, this should be done without the use of force or pain to make it happen. You simply don't need a shock collar to train a reliable recall.  A recently published study shows that dogs trained with positive reinforcement methods outperformed dogs taught using shock collars for the come when called behavior. They learned faster and responded faster than dogs trained using aversive training methods. There are many reasons you should avoid using shock collars altogether for training come when called (and every other dog behavior) — learn more in "Dog Training Aversives: What Are They and Why You Should Avoid Them."

Let's look at how you can teach your dog a rock-solid recall using fun, positive, and humane training techniques.

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

How to Teach Your Dog to Lie Down


Teaching your dog to lie down when asked is an important training skill — it's one of the six things you should teach your dog to keep them safe. Not only is it useful in preventing unwanted behaviors such as door dashing, but it's also a great way to increase calm, settled behavior from your dog. With a trained down cue, you can more easily enjoy sitting outside a coffee shop with your dog while they're settled next to you. Down is also helpful when teaching your dog other behaviors and tricks, such as go to bed or roll over.

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

How to Get Your Dog Interested in Toys and Fetch


If your dog seems uninterested in the brand new toy you bought them, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to play. In some cases, a dog might not like certain toys or play, and that's okay! Other dogs might never have had the opportunity to engage in positive and fun play with toys or with people (especially if they're adopted). No matter your dog's history, personality, or play preferences, you can help them have more fun by teaching them how to play, finding the types of toys they enjoy most, and encouraging lots of goofy fun.

Playing with a dog reduces stress for us humans, but it's also vital for your dog's mental health. Playing together strengthens your bond with your dog and can help with behavior and training issues. Don't despair if your dog doesn't seem interested in toys, fetch, or play! Below are some tips on how to introduce new toys and ways to get your dog interested in playing fetch.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog toys, Fetch, Puppy Behavior

Why Your Dog Is Barking and How to Stop It


Barking dog driving you crazy? Your dog might be barking for various reasons, and barking is a natural dog behavior — just like talking is for humans! All dogs will bark (or yodel if you have a Basenji), but there are things you can do to minimize nuisance barking.

Knowing the why behind your dog's barking will help you better manage their environment and train them to be quiet when needed. Let's look at the different kinds of dog barking and what you can do for each type.

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Topics: Puppy Training, Training, Dog Behavior, Alert Barking, Barking

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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