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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, Dogs, Puppy Training, Playing Fetch, Dog toys, how to play with your dog, Fetch, Puppy Behavior

2 Easy Ways to Teach Your Dog How to Sit

Does your dog know sit? This classic dog behavior is often the first thing people want to teach their dogs. Not only is it the most common cue other people will ask your dog to do when greeting them on the street, but it's a great skill to build up your pup's impulse control and prevent unwanted behaviors like jumping on people or door dashing.

Read on for easy steps to teach your dog to sit when asked. We'll talk about two different ways you can train this behavior, and when it can be helpful in building other training skills. Beyond just the how-to's, learn why asking a dog to sit might not be the best idea depending on the circumstances, and what to do instead. 

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

How to Potty Train a Puppy

When you bring home a new puppy, you'll want to get started on house training as soon as possible. Potty training a puppy might feel daunting at first, but the steps are actually quite simple. It's staying consistent that's the tough part, especially if you have multiple members of your family helping you raise a puppy.

We've got ideas to help you set up a potty training schedule and tips to help your puppy stay on track with house training. 

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

Dog Trainer Tips: Puppy Nipping and Biting

For some people, one of the most frustrating things about raising a puppy is dealing with nipping and biting. The good news is that it’s entirely normal for your puppy to want to nip and chew on any and everything they see — the bad news is that their needle-sharp puppy teeth can really hurt! You don’t want your puppy’s nipping turning into a lifelong habit. But, with consistent training and redirection, you can nip your puppy’s biting in the bud!

Beyond just nipping at you or other people, puppy mouths can get them in a lot of trouble. Puppies live as if nothing is off limits and want to put everything in their mouths. Besides working on nipping behavior as outlined below, make sure you start off with puppy proofing your home to help keep them out of danger.

Read on for tips on curbing puppy nipping, how to keep it from developing into a habit, and how to teach your puppy proper bite inhibition and impulse control.

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

Crate Training Your Puppy at Night

Crate training a puppy takes time and patience. Add in trying to help your puppy sleep through the night in their crate, the whole experience can feel much more frustrating! Even if your puppy is doing well eating their meals or taking daytime naps in their crate, sometimes sleeping in their crate at nighttime seems like a whole new ballgame.

Read on for our tips to help make crate training at night easier for both you and your puppy. We'll cover how to set up a puppy's crate to encourage nighttime rest, what to do if your puppy starts barking or whining during the night, and helpful puppy products. We've also documented the newest Preventive Vet team member, Portuguese Water Dog puppy Finnegan, as he worked through learning to sleep through the night in his new home.

As your puppy gets used to their very own nighttime "suite," you'll soon be getting that much needed shuteye that you've been missing. Having a puppy is, in some ways, similar to having a human infant at home (but thankfully, puppies mature much faster than human babies). Young puppies need lots of naps, can get cranky if they're tired, and lots of potty breaks to succeed at house training. Your puppy is learning all the time. The following tips and video examples should help as you navigate raising a puppy. Be patient and good luck!

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs, Puppy Training, Crate training puppies at night, Crate training your puppy, Puppy crate training, Crate training puppies, Puppy crate training tips, Crate training schedule, Puppy crate training schedule, Crate training a puppy, Puppy Behavior

Pet Euthanasia at Home: Knowing When It's Time and What to Expect

One of the most beautiful parts of having a pet is the human-animal bond that develops. For many people, a pet becomes part of their family, much like a human child. For anyone who has pushed their dog or cat down the sidewalk in a stroller, let their pet sleep in their bed (or even under the covers), stayed up late with their pet after a surgery or when that pet is feeling sick, then your relationship is on the level of family. 
It is understood, although not often acknowledged, that the heartbreaking part of having a pet, is that their lives are so much shorter than ours. When a pet is brought into the home, they weave themselves into the fabric of your life and often will pass away before their human family counterparts. End of life care is a shared experience for all pet owners. Although all pets will transition away from this world in different ways, many pet owners will have to witness a decline in quality of life. They will have to make a difficult decision about choosing euthanasia for their pet.  
To anyone going through a decision on euthanasia or witnessing their pet struggle with waning quality of life, I send my love and comfort your way. You do not have to go through this process alone. 

During this difficult time, you'll need to consider these end-of-life options for your pet:

  • Let your pet pass away naturally when it is time. Stay in close communication with your veterinarian for guidance to avoid prolonging serious pain or suffering of your pet.

  • Try to extend your pet’s life length as much as possible – this strategy often results in emergency veterinary visits (inevitably in the middle of the night) to euthanize.

  • Maximize your pet’s quality of life and then strategically choosing the time of euthanasia while your pet still has dignity (for example, some dogs know that they shouldn’t potty inside, but are too weak to hold it).

There are many reasons why I believe you should consider at-home or in-home pet euthanasia. This article will examine the concepts of quality of life and euthanasia, why euthanasia is performed in pets, the process of having a pet euthanized at home, and what to expect.

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Topics: Dogs, Pain, Euthanasia

Choosing the Best Dog Treats

Veterinarians get asked this question all the time, “Which treat is best to give my pet?” As a veterinarian who has formulated many diets and treats for dogs and cats, I can tell you that if chosen correctly, treats can supplement your pet’s health as well as be very beneficial to their overall well-being.

Not to mention the training that often accompanies treating, or the mental stimulation of an interactive game.

Because every pet is an individual with their own personality and preferences, some treats may be accepted readily whereas some pets require a little trial and error before you find the treats they love. With pet individuality in mind, let’s explore what sorts of treats are ideal for dogs – treats that are pretty good, treats to avoid, best treats for puppies, and best treats for senior dogs.

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Topics: Dogs, What are Good Training Treats for Dogs, Dog Treats, Safe dog treats, Dog Nutrition

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

How to Teach Your Dog To Do Anything in 4 Easy Steps

Do you want to teach your dog a neat new trick? Are you just getting started with puppy training and want to teach your dog the basics? I’m going to let you in on a dog trainer secret — when teaching dogs a new skill, no matter how simple or complex the behavior we want to train, we follow the same process every time. And once you learn this process, you can teach your dog anything! 

One of my goals as a dog trainer is to equip my human students with the tools to understand how dogs learn and the training mechanics for them to easily and effectively put into practice on their own. This means they'll have the means to train their dog for life, not only building a robust human-canine relationship but also helping to prevent problem behaviors. This empowers them to pursue lots of different activities with their dogs, from competition obedience to other dog sports like Canicross, Flyball, or Agility.

Let’s look at the process of how to teach your dog to do anything. Once you know these 4 steps, all you need is some creative thinking, problem-solving skills, and practice!

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Topics: Dog Training, Dogs, Puppy Training

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.