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Teach Your Dog Leave It


Leave It is one of the top 6 most important dog training commands that keep your dog safe, and it's easy to start training! Leave It training is a great impulse control exercise for your pup and teaches them that not everything in the world is theirs for the taking.

It's extremely useful for when food or medication falls on the floor, which can be toxic for dogs. Some dogs think of themselves as vacuum impersonators and will try to eat everything they encounter on the ground, whether at home or out on a walk. Being able to tell them to leave something alone prevents ingestion of harmful items or possible intestinal obstruction. Leave It is also an important skill to have in your training toolkit if you live in an area where your dog might come in contact with snakes. See this article about teaching your dog snake avoidance to learn how to apply Leave It in those potentially dangerous situations.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog Safety, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Benefits of training

Teach Your Dog Drop It


Dogs seem to love putting anything and everything in their mouths, and often they grab items that could be quite dangerous to their health. One training client of mine had a pup that loved to swipe kitchen knives off the counter and run around the yard with them. Yikes! Drop It is one of the top 6 most important dog training commands that keep your dog safe, since you don't want your dog swallowing inappropriate items that could be toxic or cause an obstruction or internal tissue damage.

I love training Drop It using play as the main reward, such as a game of tug, fetch, or chasing a flirt pole. This sets you and your dog up to not rely on food treats for such an important, and possibly life-saving, behavior. Using the game of tug to teach Drop It also helps your dog learn proper play manners and builds their impulse control. Plus, playing with your dog is an excellent way to build a stronger bond. 

Drop It is used only when a dog already has something in their mouth that you need them to let go. If they haven't picked up an item yet, and you don't want them to, use the Leave It cue instead.

Want to learn more about your dog's behavior and get some training tips? We've  got 101 more for you here!

Read on to see how easy it is to teach your dog to drop things on cue.

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog Safety, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Benefits of training

Home Alone: Why It's Important to Teach Your Dog to be Alone


At some point in their life, your dog will need to be left alone. Unfortunately for us, we just can’t take them with us everywhere we go. (Nor should we ... don't forget about the dangers of dogs, and especially puppies, in hot cars!) An important part of raising your puppy or welcoming a new dog into your life is to help them get used to being alone.

If your dog never learns how to stay calm when home alone for varying amounts of time, they can develop separation anxiety — which is a tough condition to treat. It’s much easier to prevent separation anxiety than it is to fix after the fact, and teaching your puppy or dog how to be alone is the number one thing you can do for anxiety prevention.

Dogs are social creatures and it's important they share in daily life and get to spend time with their family. But taking the time to make sure they will feel A-OK if you need to leave them at home for a bit is essential for their mental well-being.

Follow these tips to help your pup learn that being alone is just fine:

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Topics: Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Anxiety in Dogs, Dog Behavior, Separation Anxiety, new puppy, puppy tips

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

Preventing Separation Anxiety When You Work From Home


As a dog owner, working from home is the best! You don’t have to worry about finding someone to walk your dog, you have excuses to take breaks throughout the day, and (bonus!) you get to work with the best coworker! But, are you giving your dog enough time alone?


Dog owners who work from home or are retired and home most of the time are faced with dogs who can become used to constant companionship. These dogs can have a tough time being left alone for any time at all, and if the owner’s schedule or lifestyle changes and they are no longer present all of the time, these dogs can have a very tough time adjusting.

If your dog never gets used to spending time alone or learning how to entertain themselves, they can start to develop separation anxiety.

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Topics: Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Anxiety in Dogs, Dog Behavior, Separation Anxiety, 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

Teach Your Dog the Automatic Sit


Imagine walking with your dog around town and coming up to a crosswalk at a busy intersection. Your dog sits automatically with no verbal cue or prompting from you when you stop at the curb — not only do you and your pup look like obedience rockstars, but your dog is safe since they aren’t walking straight out into traffic.

Now imagine you encounter a friend while on your walk around town. Instead of rushing up to them and jumping, your dog sits politely at your side and waits while you two humans stop and chat. This can be your reality with some easy and consistent training!

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog Safety, Loose-leash Walking, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Walking on a Leash, Dog, Benefits of training, Sit & Stay

Dog Training Aversives: What Are They and Why Should You Avoid Them?


In the dog training world there is a constant debate about whether the use of aversive methods and tools has a place in training our dogs.

Not so long ago, it was widely accepted that training dogs to behave needed a firm hand and a dominant state of mind. Dog training and behavior books touted alpha rolls and leash corrections as the only way to make your dog stop jumping on people or pulling on leash.

Dog owners never really questioned these methods because they seemed to work – for the most part. But these techniques worked for the wrong reasons, and more often than not, the bad behavior was never “fixed” — it was simply suppressed. 

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Topics: Dog Training, Behavior & Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, new puppy, puppy tips, aversives

Take Advantage of Daily Dog Training Opportunities


Take Advantage of Dog Training Opportunities

When starting to train your puppy or new dog, there are many small moments in your daily routine where you can practice their basic manners.

The reinforcement you use does not always have to be food treats – food often works, but think about switching it up every so often. 

Want to learn more about your dog's behavior and get some training tips? We've  got 101 more for you here!

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Topics: Dog Training, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, Dog Behavior, new puppy, puppy tips, Dog communication

Teaching Your Dog to Play Fetch (and Return)


There are three types of dogs in this world: dogs that don’t care about fetch, dogs that fetch but don’t retrieve, and Labradors.

Unless you have a Labrador or live in a perfect 1950s Pleasantville, (in which case you probably have a Labrador) you’ve most likely had to face the crushing reality that a lot of dogs don’t have the fetch instinct. 

Plenty of dogs will happily run after a thrown toy, but then refuse to bring it back — or they might pick up the toy and make you chase them around just for funsies. Other dogs are more interested in the hair between their toes than the fetch toy you’re trying to get them excited about. 

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Topics: Dog Safety, Loose-leash Walking, Behavior & Training, Dog, Dog Walking, Dog Leash

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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