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Cathy Madson, MA, CPDT-KA, ABCDT

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 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. 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

What to Do When Approached By An Off-Leash Dog


Having a loose dog approach you and your dog while you’re out enjoying a walk can be a nerve racking experience. Is the dog friendly or will they bite? Are they a stray or did they escape from their yard somewhere nearby? Where is their owner? Are they wanting to come play with your dog or are they protecting their territory?

This scenario happens more than it should and it can be terrifying, especially if your dog has had bad experiences with off leash dogs in the past or you have a leash reactive dog who needs their space. Whether a dog has gotten loose from their owner (or the owner has decided to just ignore leash laws in the first place), or if it's a stray dog wandering the area, an off leash dog coming to investigate a leashed dog is a situation that you should try to avoid at all times.

The dynamics between a leashed dog and off leash dog are different than if both dogs were leashed or both were off leash. It’s best to save the greetings for another time, when both owners are present, the dogs are either both leashed or both off leash, and after you’ve had a chance to find out more about the other dog’s behavior and health history. 

So what should you do if you’re out on a walk with your pup and you see a loose dog approaching? There is inherent danger and risk to having a loose dog coming towards you and your dog. These following techniques may help keep your dog safe but every situation is unique. Use your best judgement. You could be putting yourself in harm's way in order to try and protect your dog. Hopefully the approaching dog is friendly and no one gets hurt.

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Emergency, Safety, Puppy, Dog, Dog Walking, Emergency Preparedness for Pets, aggression in dogs, Off Leash Dog

The 'Cone of Shame': How to Help Your Dog Feel Comfortable Wearing an Elizabethan Collar


Memes abound of pups wearing the dreaded cone post surgery, and while it might be entertaining for us humans to watch our dogs try and maneuver with a lampshade on their head, it can be pretty stressful for them. Simple things like eating food or drinking water are more difficult, and their vision and hearing is different while wearing an e-collar.

Some dogs take wearing a cone in stride, but for others the increased difficulty of movement, change in hearing and vision, paired with feeling a bit "off" while medicated can really stress them out. If you take off their cone for mealtimes, you might notice that they run the other way when you grab it to put back on, or spend a lot of time trying to wiggle out of it or try to paw it off.

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Topics: Puppy Training, Puppy, Dog, Surgery, Cone

Fast Fecal Facts & Stool Sample Steps


Did you know that dogs in the U.S. poop 10 million TONS each year*? That's a lot of doo-doo! Being a responsible dog owner like you are, you already know that it’s not just good manners to scoop the poop, it’s also better for the environment, and saves people and their shoes from potentially embarrassing and stinky situations!

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Topics: Puppy, Dog

Will Your Dog Enjoy And Do Well In Daycare?


What do you picture when you imagine dog daycare? Groups of dogs romping and running, happy tails and wide open-mouthed doggie grins, and snuggle buddies relaxing after a morning of fetch and fun? This idyllic picture is what most dog owners assume dog daycare must be like for their pups — and for the most part, it can be!

You might be thinking about whether your dog will benefit from joining a dog daycare but not sure if they'll be a good fit. Or you might be wondering what it means when your dog fails a daycare trial. Or what if your previously-daycare-loving dog gets dismissed from daycare altogether? Does this mean you have a "bad" dog? Not at all!

Well-run dog daycares consider carefully what dogs will fit in with their existing play group and work hard to ensure all dogs in their care are having a good time. Safety is the top priority for these groups, but emotional and behavioral well-being is another thing that should always be considered — for your dog and for the others in the group. There are some management and training techniques that can be utilized in a group environments, but some behaviors are incredibly difficult to train or manage in a large play group. 

Let's look at what canine temperaments do best in a daycare environment and what behaviors might mean that your dog will do better in a different set up.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Exercise, dog boarding, Dog park, dog daycare

Choosing the Best Daycare for Your Dog


Dog daycares have become a mainstay for dog owners across the United States, growing in popularity since they first popped up in the mid-1990s. For many dog owners, dog daycare gives their dog a safe place to exercise during the day while they're at work and provides much needed mental enrichment and companionship that dogs wouldn't be getting by themselves at home.

But how do you know which daycare to choose? With increased popularity, more and more people are getting in on the trend, and there are lots of options and styles available, from the large franchised "brand-name" daycare to the dog daycare your neighbor started in their home.

The dog daycare and boarding industry is under-regulated, so it’s important you find a daycare where your dog will be safe, happy, and well cared for. There are a few things to consider when interviewing different dog daycares, including the style of daycare, staff to dog ratio, staff experience and training, cleaning procedures, dog handling and training methods ... and more!

Before exploring different daycare options, first think about whether your dog will actually enjoy going to daycare. Check out this article for more information on how to tell if dog will enjoy and do well in a dog daycare.

Read on to learn what to look for and what to ask a prospective doggy daycare.

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Exercise, dog boarding, Dog park, dog daycare

How to Teach Your Dog the Emergency Recall


The Emergency Recall is an incredibly useful tool to keep in your training toolbox. It's meant to be used in potentially dangerous situations where you need your dog to come back to you as quickly as possible. Imagine if your dog bolts through your front door at the sight of a squirrel and is running full tilt towards a busy road (check out this article about what to do if you have a dog who likes to door dash). The Emergency Recall can be used to stop your dog from running into the road and being hit by a car. It can also be used in environments like the dog park, where your dog might be off leash and running towards another person or dog and you need them to leave those distractions alone. You can teach your dog this cue in just 4 easy steps!

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Topics: Dog Training, Emergency, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Dog Behavior, Come When Called

How to Stop Your Dog From Door Dashing


Does your dog see an open door as an invitation to take off on an adventure of a lifetime? Having a door darting dog can be a scary and stressful thing, especially if they ignore you when you try to call them back. It’s terrifying to imagine what could happen if they run into a busy road, or get lost in the great outdoors.

Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to prevent door dashing behavior and great training cues you can teach your dog instead!

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog Safety, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Door Dashing

Choosing the Best Dog Crate for Your Dog and Your Life


Crate training your dog is one of the best things you can do — not only is it an extremely helpful training tool for potty training, it can also help provide a safe place for your dog to retreat to when they're anxious. It also gives you a positive management tool when you need to prevent unwanted behaviors (like jumping on guests), and can also be used for safe containment while traveling.

After you've chosen a crate you'll want to learn Read More

Topics: Crate Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Dog, Crates, Crate training your puppy, Puppy crate training, Crate training dogs, Crate training puppies, Puppy crate training tips, Crate training tips, Crate training a puppy, Crate training your dog, Dog crate training, new puppy, puppy tips

How to Stop Your Dog From Counter Surfing


Counter surfing can be one of the most frustrating behaviors for dog owners to deal with — you might have spent hours on that perfect pot roast, only to have your pup sneak into the kitchen behind your back and pilfer it off the counter.

Not only is this annoying, but it can be dangerous for your dog if they steal food that is toxic or contains xylitol (which is highly toxic to dogs!) Some dogs scarf the item down so quickly that they choke or it causes an obstruction in their gastrointestinal system.

Let's look at why dogs counter surf in the first place, and what you can do to stop it.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, counter surfing

Go Fetch! Top 10 Best Fetch Toys for Your Dog


Does your dog love to play fetch? Fetch is a great way to exercise your dog, strengthens the bond between you and your dog, and has the added benefit of helping train your dog's Come-When-Called and Drop-It cues. You can play fetch any time, indoors or outdoors, whenever your dog needs to burn some extra energy.

You might have a breed that's predisposed to love playing fetch (a Labrador or Golden Retriever), or maybe you've trained your dog to play fetch — some dogs prefer a regular ole' ball, while others prefer stick-like toys. Still others prefer to catch frisbees or chase floating toys so they can play in the water on a hot summer day.

Do you have a small breed dog? Tiny pups can enjoy fetch too, as long as their fetch toys are the correct size and weight, and I've included some great fetch toy options for small breeds below.

It's fun to try out different fetch toys and switch them out every so often for your dog's mental enrichment. Let's take a look at some different high-quality toys to try out next time you play fetch with your pup!

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Topics: Puppy, Dog, Playing Fetch, Dog toys, Fetch

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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