Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic

1214 Hwy 25 N

Buffalo, MN 55313

Phone: (763) 682-2181

OFFICE HOURS

Mon, Tues, Thurs: 7 am - 8 pm

Wed & Friday: 7 am - 6 pm

Saturday: 8 am - 12 pm

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Carlos’ Corner

It Pays to Have a Well-Trained Dog

 
 
Sometimes dogs need a little help knowing how to behave. After all, they haven't always lived a domestic life with humans. In honor of National Train Your Dog Month, the human members of our staff have put together some tips to help make your life with a dog a happy one.
 
Happy new year!
Carlos
 
 
 
Dogs bring companionship, love, and loyalty to your life that you might not have imagined before you brought a dog home for the first time. There’s also no denying that training a dog takes a lot of work. Without proper training, few dogs learn to live in harmony in a human household. The following are some of the most common struggles that people experience with their dogs:
  • Aggression
  • Digging up the yard
  • Eliminating in the house
  • Excessive barking
  • Jumping up on people
  • Pulling on the leash while walking 
In fact, these behaviors can become so problematic that some people decide to surrender their dog to a shelter. Before you take that drastic step, we at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital recommend that you invest in professional dog training. Not only does January start a new year, it’s also National Train Your Dog Month. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has sponsored this awareness campaign for several years to highlight the importance of investing time and resources in training your dog.

Why Do Dogs Behave the Way They Do?
Dogs and humans see things quite differently. What you assume is a conscious effort to misbehave is totally logical to your dog. Aggression is one example of this. You see your dog lunge and bark at other dogs or people walking down the street. To him, it’s a way of sending the message this is his territory. That includes your house and the people who live in it.

Your dog doesn’t have the emotional or mental capacity to act a certain way out of spite, so don’t take her actions as a personal reflection on you. It’s often instinctual behavior that people just don’t understand. When you work with a professional dog trainer, you learn more about the motivation for your dog’s behavior and can understand it better. This is key to developing a plan to change problem behavior.

Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical conditioning is a common tool used by professional dog trainers. It means they re-direct unwanted behavior in a non-physical way and use positive reinforcement as much as possible. 

Operant conditioning means that you give your dog a reward each time she displays a behavior that you like. The idea is to gradually decrease giving rewards until you only give one when your dog displays her very best behavior. Dog trainers refer to this as intermittent reinforcement. It means that your dog learns to perform to please you rather than expectation of a treat. If you choose negative reinforcement, you would take away a favorite toy to teach the lesson that certain behaviors make it disappear.

Additional Resources on Dog Training
We encourage you to visit our resource page for links to websites that can give you additional solutions on specific canine behavior. You’re also welcome to schedule a preventive care exam where you can ask your pet’s regular veterinarian more questions about curbing one or more problem behaviors in your dog. With persistence and lots of love, you would be surprised at what a little training can accomplish.

Photo Credit: Apple Tree House / Getty Images

 

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Have a Safe and Happy New Year with Your Pet

 

 

If you think the years fly by quickly, try being a cat or dog! Then again, we don't really understand the concept of a New Year's Eve celebration. When you celebrate in a few weeks, please think about things from our perspective and make the night safe and stress-free. After all, it's almost as if you're celebrating the passing of several years on a single night.

With appreciation, 

Carlos

 
It’s hard to believe that 2017 has just days remaining, but here we are staring down New Year’s Eve again. If you have a pet, it’s important to take a bit of extra time to consider the holiday from his perspective. It’s loud, it goes on until the wee hours of the morning, and he has no idea why people are shouting and hugging each other. In addition to heightened anxiety, New Year’s Eve can present unique pet safety hazards. The tips below can help you prevent a trip to the emergency veterinarian.

Keep Your Pet Isolated in a Safe and Comfortable Room
If you’re hosting a party or plan to bring your pet to one, it’s best to create a comfortable space for her in a room with no windows where you can close the door. That way she won’t become overly excited about things taking place outside of the home. You should prepare the room with your dog or cat’s regular food, plenty of fresh water, and her favorite toys and bedding material. Be sure to check on your pet often and reassure her if she seems frightened by noises. 

Fireworks and Noisemakers Can Terrify Your Pet
What’s New Year’s Eve without at least a few noisemakers? While you might not think a quiet December 31 sounds like much fun, the noises from these harmless party favors can really set your pet on edge. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to keep him in a separate room. 

As you probably experienced during the 4th of July and other holidays, hearing fireworks can be downright terrifying to a dog or cat. Unfortunately, you can’t control whether a neighbor or the person in charge of an organized city event chooses to light fireworks. Just offer your pet plenty of comfort and block the noise the best you can with calming music.

Consider a Microchip for Your Dog or Cat
You can take several precautions and your pet can still find a way to escape from the house in the chaotic environment of a New Year’s Eve party. Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital recommends microchip identification for all pets for this reason. A collar and tag can fall off or become stuck on a fence, leaving your pet alone with no way to identify her. With a microchip, anyone who finds your dog or cat can bring her to the closest veterinary clinic or animal shelter for scanning. Since the chip holds your contact information, someone will contact you to pick her up.

Pets and Alcohol Don’t Mix
Many New Year’s Eve parties include alcohol, so it’s important to make certain that it’s out of your pet’s reach. If you’re the party host, make sure your guests know there’s nothing funny about trying to get an animal drunk. Alcohol is extremely toxic for dogs and cats and they can become ill even when ingesting a tiny amount. 

Our entire staff wishes you and your pet a safe, happy, and healthy 2018.

Photo Credit: Judith Dzierzawa / Getty Images

 

 

 

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