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What to Do When You Find a Lost Dog


Being able to reunite a lost dog and their owner is a rewarding feeling, but it’s also not always an easy task. Sometimes the dog won't come near you, or for other reasons you can't catch the dog. In this case, taking a photo or writing a description and posting on social media with the location can go a long way in helping someone track down their lost dog. 

If you see a loose dog and feel you are prepared and able to help, and if it’s safe to do so, here are some tips to help you find their owner as quickly as possible:

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog, Finding lost pets, Lost Pet

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

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.

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

Buckle up Your Pup


Does your dog love going for rides in the car? For long road trips or short trips across town, dogs are our trusty sidekicks. Does your pup buckle up?

If you don’t already restrain your dog when they’re traveling with you in the car, you should start. Not only is it safer for you and your pet, but it’s also safer for other people on the road.

When your pet is restrained, their risk of injury decreases dramatically — if you need to stop suddenly, your dog won’t go flying. Many pets are injured each year when their owner stops suddenly and they are projected forward, hitting the back of a seat, or worse, the windshield. Also, if you’re involved in a crash, the restraint helps keep them from getting injured and even from running away from the scene, since they’ll be scared.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Dog Harnesses, Dogs, Safety, Travel, Pet Booster Seats, Restraints, Harness, Crates, Trucks, Carriers

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

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

Puppy Versus Paper Shredder: The Tale of Henri's Tail


Henri was just 10 months old when he encountered a powerful enemy that changed him and his owners forever.

The day of the accident, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was visiting a Tipp City, Ohio-based business where his mom and dad worked. With his charming personality, adorable puppy face, and handsome black-and-tan coat, Henri was the star of the show.

After making the rounds, he stretched out on a chair with his plumed tail draped over the edge of the seat — right in the path of the office’s paper shredder. Unfortunately, the machine was plugged in and set to “standby” mode.

Sensing a nearby object, the sharp teeth started turning and grabbed onto Henri’s fur. In seconds, his tail disappeared into the fierce mouth of the paper shredder.  

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Pet emergency, office safety, 101 Tips

Press Pause: How to Manage Dog Play


Dog play can seem overwhelming to us humans — dogs will wrestle, chase, and many pups make lots of noise during play time. Not to mention there’s lots of play biting and teeth-jousting!

If your dog has been well socialized and learned how to communicate clearly during play with other dogs, they'll likely be able to enjoy playtime with their dog friends without any issues. But, just like humans, dogs can be unpredictable, and we need to be prepared to step in to keep play safe for all dogs involved, by having them take a quick break from the fun.

When and how do we do this? You have to know how to recognize proper dog play in order to know when it’s escalating into inappropriate play and getting closer to a fight, so you can press pause and allow the dogs to reset.

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 Safety, Puppy, Dog, Dog Tips, Dog Body Language, Multi-dog household, how to play with your dog, Dog communication

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.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.