Tag Archives: puppy

Back To School is Cool With Kingsbrook Animal Hospital–Positive Reinforcement Training

It’s time to hit the books again–another school year is starting. The two-legged kids will get on the bus, but our four-legged “fur babies” could use some learning too!  Every dog, no matter how old, can benefit from some positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement is quite the buzzword among dog owners these days, but what exactly does it mean, and why is it the best option?

Most dogs respond readily to positive reinforcement training, even in new surroundings.

Dogs, as a species, aim to please and are very likely to perform or repeat behaviors that seem to make their owners happy. If these behaviors are reinforced, the dog will continue to repeat them, whereas behaviors that result in no reward or in a perceived punishment will probably not happen anymore. Positive reinforcement training means rewarding the behaviors that are desired (such as “sit”) and ignoring the behaviors that are undesirable (like barking). For most dogs, beginning with a food reward is a great way to encourage a behavior. Eventually, the treat will not be used every time– this is called fading the lure and is a gradual process that results in the dog performing the command without any physical reward at all. Positive reinforcement can be used to train a variety of behaviors, from a basic “sit” to complicated agility tricks, dance moves, hunting commands, and even nose/scent work.  Training in this manner doesn’t just make a dog better-behaved, it provides healthy and constructive mental stimulation.  Often, those dogs who exhibit

Positive reinforcement classes are a great start for a puppy or a great refresher for an older dog!

“nuisance” behaviors such as barking, chewing, or digging are simply bored and need some mental exercise. Positive reinforcement classes are available at every level of experience, and also offer the fantastic side benefit of socialization, or exposing a dog to new people/places/things and other dogs.

In contrast, there are many training methods that are not so positive.  Shock collars, for example, are a punishment device that issue an electric shock when triggered with a remote. Most of the time, dogs aren’t able to make the connection between their behavior and the shock. This results in a fearful, anxious dog that may even begin to display signs of aggression. Many dogs do make the connection between the collar and the shock, though, and it is very common for owners to state that their dog behaves “perfectly” until the collar is removed. Leash corrections (using a choke or prong collar) can have similar consequences–the dog becomes fearful of or aggressive towards the collar

Not all rewards have to be food! KAH assistant Kayla uses a favorite toy to reinforce a puppy’s good behavior.

Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we are very passionate about positive reinforcement training–it not only helps to build and strengthen the bond between a dog and his owner, but it creates happy, well-adjusted, confident dogs who are able to interact with the world in a positive way. We include discussions of positive reinforcement training in every puppy’s first few visits, and our veterinarians are always ready and willing to make a personalized training recommendation for any dog.

 

Crafting with KAH: Make your own doggie ‘Potty Bell’ in Frederick, MD

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s DIY “Potty Bell” for dogs!

Even if you don’t live in Frederick, MD- this is a great idea to help with training your dog!

Materials needed:

Ribbon

Bells

‘D’ ring (or key ring)

Scissors

Lighter

Hot glue gun

08-Tiff Project 1


Step 1. Tie a loop around your doorknob and “measure” how big the loop needs to be and how long.

01-Tiff Project 2

Step 2. Cut the ribbon a little longer than the desired length (this gives you room to tie on the bells later).

02-Tiff Project 3

Step 3. Singe the end of your ribbon with a lighter to prevent fraying.
03-Tiff Project 4

Step 4. Slide the bells onto the D-ring or Key ring.

04-Tiff Project 5

Step 5. Tie the end of the ribbon (opposite side of doorknob loop) onto the D-ring or Key-ring.

 

05-Tiff Project 6

Step 6. Tie a bow onto the unfinished knots, cut and singe ends.

06-Tiff Project 8

Step 7. Re-enforce the bow by placing a small amount of hot glue under the bow’s knot.

09-Tiff Project 9

Step 8. Tie a bow to loop around door knob.

07-Tiff Project 7

Step 9: Hang on your door and introduce to your pup!

10-Tiff Project 10

 

*For tips on how to teach your dog to use the ‘Potty Bell,’ call us at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital 301-631-6900.

Remember- we love to see your final projects! Share your pictures with your favorite veterinarian- Kingsbrook Animal Hospital!

 

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Puppy Stories- Julie’s Sullivan and Sasha Fierce

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Baby Sullivan- 1 day old

I met Sullivan when he was 2 hours old. His nose was bright pink and he was solid white. He almost looked like a rat! But he was perfect as he fit in the palm of my hand. Unfortunately, his mother was unable to care for him or his brothers and sisters. So, they all went home with me in a home-made incubator. It turns out, I was not the best dog mommy either. At the end of the first week, we had lost all of the puppies to pneumonia except for one- little Sullivan. And he was very sick with a high fever. After consulting with our veterinarian we started him on antibiotics, but we worried that it would not be enough. In an effort to save him, we located another whippet mom who had had a litter 4 weeks earlier. Would she accept Sullivan as her own adopted puppy? At first she seemed hesitant, but the moment she heard him cry, she fell for him just as we had.

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Mom and her 2 babies (look closely for Sullivan)

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Sullivan- 1 wk old

 

Sullivan’s adopted mom had only one puppy in her litter. Now she had two. Sullivan was exactly 1 week old when he met his new 4 week old sister- Sasha Fierce. Sasha loved her little brother so much, we had to make sure she was not playing too rough as she initially was twice his size. With his new mom and sister, he quickly became a healthy puppy who thrived while tirelessly trying to keep up with his older sister. They are best friends to this day.

Both of Sullivan’s moms found forever homes. While I had intended on fostering Sullivan and Sasha until they were old enough to be adopted, I quickly realized that was not to be. I had so much fun watching these two grow into beautiful, playful, kindhearted dogs, that I knew they were already home.

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Sullivan, all grown up!

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Sasha Fierce and veterinary technician, Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days you may see Sullivan advocating for doggie blood donation with Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank or Sasha Fierce making videos with the social media team at Kingsbrook Animal hospital. They love to hike, socialize, and play ‘wild kingdom’ in the back yard. Both Sullivan and Sasha Fierce love to attend events in Frederick with their Kingsbrook family,  but their favorite Kingsbrook activity is when they help teach our Vet Academy for kids. How lucky am I to call these guys my puppies!

By: Julie Fulghum, RVT

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Sullivan 6 wks and Sasha Fierce 10 wks

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Sullivan and Sasha Fierce- 5 years old