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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. It's also an important behavior to train because it can prevent resource guarding from developing, as well as help treat resource guarding behavior. (If your dog guards certain items from you, please contact a certified dog trainer or canine behavior consultant go begin a training program.)

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. 

puppy essentials workshop nipping and bitingDrop 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.

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.

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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 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 four 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

Do Dogs Need a Daily Routine?


You might have heard that keeping your dog on a daily routine helps with behavior and training — which is true in some cases. But sometimes a strict adherence to a routine creates anxiety issues in your pup when all of a sudden they have a day where the routine gets thrown out the window.

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

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

How to Help A Dog That’s Missed Early Socialization


Missed the early socialization window? – There's still hope!

Considering or just adopted a timid older puppy or adult dog that clearly didn't have the best early life socialization? Or recently got a new puppy but were told to keep them locked away and not introduce them to any other dogs or bring them out and about until all of their puppy shots were done and you've now missed their early (3–4month old) socialization window? Sadly, these are scenarios that are (still) far too common. But all hope is not lost!

Yes, there’s no doubt or debate about it … proper early life socialization (i.e., before 16 weeks old) is very important for a dog’s wellbeing and development and, if you’ve missed their critical early “socialization window,” you’re definitely starting behind the proverbial "8-ball." But people have made some pretty impressive shots from behind 8-balls actually, and you can too!

Here’s some information, tips, and resources to help you help your previously under- or unsocialized dog get more comfortable with the world. (And be sure to check out the encouraging and heartwarming video and story at the end to see just how far some of these dogs can come, even when getting some of the worst starts in life possible!)

Get help socializing your puppy during COVID-19 in our Puppy Essentials Socialization Foundations Workshop.

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Topics: Dog Health, Socialization, Training, Dog Behavior

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

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.