The Different Methods Of Dog Training (Part Two)

Because training your dogs makes a difference!

  In part one, we examined positive reinforcement and clicker dog training as two approaches to training your dog. In today’s post, we'll navigate the four remaining methods to help you find a dog training solution that makes sense for you and your dog.   Dog training is as much a part of a dog's health and wellness as their immunizations are! At The Vet Set, we’re here to support you in every part of the journey! Read more about dog training below!

Why is dog training so important?

  You may have an amazing relationship with your dog at home, but it is about how they behave in different environments. A well-mannered dog is not only easier to handle, but it keeps everyone — including your dog — safe.   Dog training is relevant in just about every scenario and can manage things such as your dog darting into oncoming traffic, biting the mail person, and even another dog attack — dog training is imperative!  

Additional Dog Training Methods

 

Dominance Dog Training (Alpha Dog)   

  This type of dog training calls in dogs innate pack mentality to cement the association of submission and dominance. The theory follows that a dog will see a family as the pack and follow the hierarchy accordingly.   Instead of an alpha dog, dominance needs to be established with a member of the family and they must learn to submit. It has been suggested that to establish dominant behaviors, doing things like eating first, entering and exiting rooms first, and walking your dog on a leash better projects confidence and authority.   In dominance training, dogs are not allowed on beds or furniture and you’re also never supposed to get down on the ground or meet your dog at eye level — you are in charge and should always remain above your dog.   While this is still a popular and common dog training method, research has come out that dogs do not rely on a pack mentality as once thought, and a natural pack in the wild functions much more differently than dogs in captivity.   Dominance training can address unwanted behaviors, but it fails to treat the bad behaviors at the core leaving dogs with fear and anxiety.  

Scientific Dog Training

  This type of dog training is a bit more vague, as there is not one method to identify. It incorporates a handful of training techniques such as operant conditioning and positive reinforcement, and strays from punishing bad behaviors.   Scientific training also likes to create an emphasis on the relationship the dog and the owner have, aiming to identify how that bond can be strengthened.   This training relies on always being current in new dog training methods and knowing more of the science behind it all to employ these new methods, which can be tedious and sometimes impractical for dog owners.  

Stimulus Dog Training

  This type of training implements a shock collar or spray bottle (stimulus) to punish bad behavior at a distance when a leash can’t be used.   Shock collars are used for dogs to stay within a boundary and correct the behavior of dogs dashing away, and they can also be used in hunting practice.   A spray bottle used in the same manner and requires constant monitoring from the owner. For example, perhaps you have a dog that jumps and lunges at people. You can use a squirt of water in their face to punish the behavior and hopefully quell their need to continue doing it.   Stimulus dog training has stirred up much controversy because not only does it rely on punishing bad behavior instead of rewards, but it can be stressful for dogs and lead to chronic anxiety in dogs.   And, if the devices are used by inexperienced owners, there is more of a chance that they’ll be overused.   This type of training is suggested to be used by professional trainers and not average dog owners to avoid any unnecessary and damaging pain in your dog.  

Relationship-Based Dog Training

  If you’re looking for a more individualized approach, relationship-based dog training is a great method. It incorporates a variety of dog training methods and puts the emphasis on you and your dog. It’s a type of training that is mutually beneficial and strengthens your bond and cultivates communication between you and your furry best friend.   For this training to be successful, It’s important for the owner to know their dog and what motivates them. Positive reinforcement is used to foster good behavior and to limit bad behavior, the dog’s environment is controlled as much as possible to reduce unwanted behaviors.   This may begin with teaching your dog to sit. First, it happens in a quiet room with no distractions and then gradually other distractions are added such as going to a noisy park or bringing other people into the room. If a dog becomes distracted, it’s up to the owner to discern why they’re being distracted. Is it because they can’t hear? Are they hurt? Or, are they just unwilling to perform the command?   This type of training only strengthens the bond between you and your dog and implements a series of different training methods to strengthen your relationship.     Training your dog not only makes life easier for both you and your dog, but it is a part of their wellness. Now you have information on different types of dog training to lead you towards an option that makes sense for you.  

For more information on dog training or to schedule an appointment at our Carroll Gardens vet clinic, call us today!

 

The Different Methods Of Dog Training (Part One)

Navigate the wide world of dog training methods!

  When you’re a first-time dog owner most people desire a dog who is friendly and behaves well, and, as you’ll come to find out, a dog doesn’t come with an owner’s manual on how to train them! What can be even more confusing and frustrating is that when you do a little research on training, there are so many ways to go about it!   At The Vet Set, we understand the difficulty in choosing a training method, which is why we’ve composed some of the most popular dog training methods to help guide you in your journey. Join us and weave through the different methods and get a better idea of how you want to train your dog.

6 Common Methods Of Dog Training

  Even as we explore the different dog training methods, in the dog community, how to train your dog can be hotly contested — professionals love to disagree and debate which methods are most effective and even ethical. Below are common methods with information on who might benefit from them.  

Positive Reinforcement

  This is much like the human behavior theory — the more a good behavior is rewarded, the more likely it will continue. And, if bad behavior is ignored with no rewards, it will stop.   For dogs, if punishment needs to happen, the removal of rewards such as a treat or toy occurs, but harsh and cruel punishment isn’t a part of the positive reinforcement in dog training.   Begin by rewarding your dog based on desired behaviors, immediately after it happens. You can use small treats in your pocket and dole them out with every good behavior. Treats and rewards are the way dogs come to know and associate the behavior with the reward.      Some will also impart clicker training with positive reinforcement to better solidify and give the dog a signal that the good behavior has been completed. It’s important to stick with brevity when it comes to the training with simple commands such as sit, stay, and come.   Positive reinforcement dog training requires consistency, so if you’re in a household with a family, significant other, or roommates, the commands and reward needs follow through from everyone.   The training begins with rewards seconds after the good behavior happens and then it can become gradually less rewarded as the desired behavior becomes more consistent. Remember that only wanted behaviors should be rewarded so if your is barking incessantly at a squirrel outside, letting them out is actually rewarding the behavior even though the barking stops.   This training has received some criticism because if you’re rewarding with treats, it’s easy to overfeed your dog when they’re learning, so again, using small treats is important.   This is an easy method for first-time dog owners and is relatively easy as long as the training stays consistent for your dog to learn good behaviors.  

Clicker Dog Training

  Clicker training is rooted in operant conditioning which is also based in learning through rewards and punishment for behavior, and also relies greatly on positive reinforcement.   Clicker training is even sometimes grouped as a part of positive reinforcement training instead of being its own separate method. The major distinction is that in clicker training, owners and trainers rely on a device that makes a quick, audible noise (whistle or clicker) that signals to a dog when the desired behavior has been completed.     Dog trainers like clicker training because it signals to a dog the exact behavior that is being rewarded and it can be used to solidify new behaviors and better address verbal commands.   Clicker training is pretty simple: first, the dog needs to understand that when they here a click, they know a reward is coming. Then the dog can associate a specific behavior with the click, thus the reward. Lastly, verbal communication can be replaced for them to form a new association.   We’ve explored two of the six dog training methods including positive reinforcement and clicker dog training. There are still four methods to cover, so look for part two in the near future!   What dog training method have you found successful? Tell us in the comments below!  

For more information on dog behavior and our Carroll Gardens vet services, reach out to us today!  

An Education In Dog Collars!

Because dog collars go beyond just looking cute!

  If you’re new to owning a dog, welcome to the wonderful world of controlled chaos — where what your dog eats, what type of training method you use, and the kind of collar they wear all come with giant, judging opinions from other dog owners!   It’s true, the doggy space comes with a lot of critiques on a lot of things, and at The Vet Set, it’s important to us that you have all sides of the information to make a decision that is right for you, after all, no one knows your dog or your situation better than you! Follow along in today’s post as we explore everything related to dog collars.

Commonly Seen And Used Dog Collars

  The thought behind dog collars is that, first and foremost, you want a well-trained dog so you only have to use a flat collar — it addresses essentially the root of the dog collar critique. When you have a well-behaved dog, you don’t have to implement anything but their training. This sounds amazing, but as we all know, it’s not reality.   Let’s examine some of the most commonly seen and used dog collars.  

Classic Flat Collar

  We all know and recognize the flat collar — it’s the collar that can have the most flair and up your dog’s accessorizing game! The goal is for your dog to be able to walk and wear a flat collar, which means they should be able to refrain from pulling, lunging, and overall misbehaving.   You want to make the flat collar essentially useless to your dog, so if you’re pulling up on the collar when they’re not doing something, it automatically draws their attention and gets them to pull back.   Instead, learn methods to control their behavior with your voice, not through the leash.  

Harness

  A dog harness is the type of leash that goes under and through your dog’s front legs, wraps, and clips on their back. More of the tension is put on the neck and chest, which may be beneficial for short-nosed dogs, however, the issue being with harnesses is it gives dogs the ability to pull aggressively, which can hurt them and be harder to control large, heavy breeds.  

Head and Nose Harness

  This can be appropriately compared to a horses harness, in that it slips around a dog’s snout and attaches behind the ears, typically on the neck. It’s wonderful for dogs who pull and, for some breeds, it has a calming effect helping them to relax and enjoy their surroundings.   The issue that arises with these harnesses that it can jerk your dog’s head and neck quite quickly, causing injury, and these types of collars can be difficult to get your dog into.    

Pinch or Pronged Collar

  These collars are very controversial in the dog circle, with the praise that they work well if used properly and help in dog training, and the critique being they’re harmful and cruel to use on dogs.   When people do intend on using a pronged collar the Humane Society insists that it’s fitted properly and that the prong length is appropriate to the size of your dog. For example, a Chihuahua should not be wearing a pronged collar designed for a pit bull.   It’s important that the fit only sits on your dog, the prongs should not dig in. Consulting an expert or dog trainer for the best fit is encouraged with this type of collar.   It’s also important to point out that a pronged collar can punish your dog when you’re just trying to communicate simply tasks such as sitting or lying down, which can be confusing and intimidating for your dog.   People like this type of collar for dogs that pull and lunge, but people often argue that there is always a better, more humane option to turn to first.  

Martingale

  A martingale collar combines a flat and slip collar together for a collar that has a limitation of how much it can slip.   This type of collar is great for breeds with narrow heads such as Whippets, Greyhounds, or mixed breeds, however, they’re often contested because they run the risk of injuring a dog over time if it pulls too excessively.  

Slip Collar

  A slip collar is a very basic collar often composed of rope. This type of rope is often seen in shelters or in training classes for very out-of-control, untrained dogs. It keeps everyone safe by allowing the person to easily take control and contain a dog.   Slip collars may be great for a short time, but if used for a long time, it mat be damaging to your dog’s neck.   There are many types of collars available that all fit and do things a little differently, so it’s important to do your research and consider the advantages and disadvantages of them all.  

For more information on our Caroll Gardens vet clinic or to get our take on the best leashes for your dog, schedule an appointment today!

     

8 Health Issues You Can Get From Your Furry Friend! (Part Two)

In part one, we introduced a couple of zoonotic diseases, or health issues you can contract from your pet. In today’s post, we’ll examine a couple more providing signs, symptoms, and basic education surrounding them.   At The Vet Set, it is important to not only know common diseases that affect your pet but also the ones that may subject you! Get more information on zoonotic diseases below!   

More Zoonotic Diseases You Need To Know!

  We touched on giardia, salmonella, and cat scratch in the first part, and now we’ll look at the remaining five. If you recognize any of these signs or symptoms in either you or your pet, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.  

Rabies

  Oh goodness, if you’ve seen the classic movie Old Yeller, you’ve seen rabid rabies — a sad, sad disease. Rabies is a viral disease that affects our nervous system and can even lead to death in both humans and animals.   Rabies can first mimic the flu that then progresses to neurological issues like disorientation, aggression, and seizures.   Humans contract rabies typically through an animal bite so if you’ve been bitten, it’s important to seek medical attention for post-rabies vaccinations. If left untreated and symptoms develop, it becomes incurable.   To prevent rabies, animals can be regularly vaccinated to avoid spreading this deadly disease.  

Ringworm

  Ringworm, despite its name, is not a worm or parasite, but rather a fungal infection. It gets its name from the mark it leaves on the skin.   Humans get this disease from contact with an infected animal or person. The lesion ringworm leaves is red, scaly, and irritated circular marks and it can cause hair loss in areas that normally grow hair.   If you get ringworm, it can be treated with topical and antifungal medications, but beware, it’s highly contagious so it is critical to stop it in its tracks with patient zero, otherwise both humans and animals can continue its spread.  

Sarcoptic Mange

  Sarcoptic mange, known more commonly as scabies, is a skin issue caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite that burrows into an animal’s skin. Humans contract scabies from close contact — snuggles — with an animal. Treatment involves topical or antiparasitic medications.  

Lyme Disease

  Lyme disease is contracted through ticks and can affect humans through direct contact from a tick in nature and also from a tick that has attached itself in the fur of an animal that then attaches itself to you.   Lyme disease is known to have little to very few symptoms. Most people are diagnosed years later as a result of fatigue, fever, and muscle and joint pain. The most notable symptom is a bullseye rash on your skin — if you see this, seek treatment right away.   If you live in or around a heavily wooded area, prevent ticks by wearing deet bug spray and wearing long socks, pants, and long sleeves. Also, do a thorough check on yourself and your pets before going indoors.  

Toxoplasmosis

  This is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii and is found particularly in cats and (less so) in undercooked meat.   While most humans are largely unaffected by this disease, it is a concern for pregnant women. If a pregnant woman contracts this disease it may cause a miscarriage or stillbirth, which is why they should use extreme caution around or cleaning a litter box and also around raw food.   Symptoms in humans present as fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Treatment for toxoplasmosis includes antibiotics and increased monitoring of your pregnancy.  

Roundworm

  Like many other parasites, animals can contract roundworm by ingesting or rolling in contaminated soil outdoors, and puppies have been known to get it both in the womb and from nursing.   Humans can contract this if a pet tracks it in and accidentally ingests it. If it is ingested it causes GI upset in humans.     Rabies, ringworm, roundworm scabies, Lyme disease, and toxoplasmosis are all serious diseases that affect your pets and, in turn, can be contracted by humans. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms to keep everyone safe and healthy.   Diseases like ringworm are easily contracted and, once a human has it, it can rapidly spread from person-to-person so stopping it in its tracks sooner rather than later is better for everyone!  

For more information on zoonotic diseases or if you have any questions regarding our vet services, reach out to us today!

     

8 Health Issues You Can Get From Your Furry Friend! (Part One)

It’s important that everyone stays happy and healthy in your home — learn all about the diseases our pets can give us.

  When your pet is under the weather — they’ve stopped eating, they’re sleeping a lot, or perhaps you can just sense an illness — your heart aches and you would do anything to help them feel better.   And then you notice, you’re not feeling so great either. Is your empathy on overdrive or did your pet just give you something?   At The Vet Set, we’re your local vet in Carroll Gardens and we encourage you to give us a call when your pet is under the weather, this way we can identify and diagnose what they have, preventing them from getting sicker or spreading what they have to you. Learn about common diseases your pet can spread in today’s post.

8 Diseases Your Pet Can Spread To Humans

  No, your empathy is not on overdrive, and yes, your pet just got you sick! Below are the most common diseases you can get from your pet — learn them, know them, and prevent them from spreading!  

Pet-to-Human Diseases

  When a pet spreads their illness and you contract it, this is what’s known as a zoonotic disease. This type of disease can be spread through direct or indirect contact with animals either through pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes, while others can be foodborne.   Older, younger, and pregnant people or those with compromised immune systems are the most at risk for zoonotic diseases. The best prevention is through keeping a clean home, washing your hands after pet snuggles, and avoiding any pet bites or scratches, in addition to always washing your raw fruits and veggies and thoroughly cooking your food.  

Giardia

  Giardia is a cluster of parasites that affect many animals such as dogs and cats, and also rodents and humans. These organisms can survive in the harshest of conditions. Giardia is ingested and causes severe GI issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.   Because many animals are exposed to the outdoors and the host of germs and bacteria present in the soil and water, they can easily lick or drink in the parasite.   While it’s more uncommon for humans to get giardia, it can be contracted from your cat walking in contaminated soil and then walking on your kitchen counters or even just petting an infected animal and not washing your hands afterward.   If you notice abnormal symptoms in your pet, it’s vital to take them to the vet and quarantine them at home. Always wash your hands after handling an infected animal and bathe them daily to reduce the risk of spreading the parasite.  

Salmonella

  When you think of salmonella, you think of food poisoning from eating undercooked meat, not from cuddling your cat. Similar to giardia, salmonella can be contracted through rolling around in feces or soil outside and then you petting them and not washing your hands. Again, washing your hands is critical in preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.     

Cat Scratch

  You’ve likely heard of cat scratch fever and this is a real disease caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. Cats contract cat scratch disease from blood-sucking parasites such as fleas, ticks, biting flies, and lice. And the kicker, this disease doesn’t typically affect the host!   Humans get cat scratch fever from a cat bite or scratch that breaks the skin, it is also contracted when a cat licks an open wound on a human, so keep those wounds protected and covered!   The symptoms of cat scratch disease are swelling at the affected site, fever, headache, and fatigue. If it appears you have an infected area from a bite or scratch, seek medical attention.   We’ve covered three of the eight zoonotic diseases that can impact both the health of your pet and you! It’s always important to know the signs and symptoms so you can better prevent and recognize these health issues.   There are five more diseases we have yet to explore! Stay tuned for part two as we examine Lyme disease, ringworm, and more!  

Concerned that your pet may have a zoonotic disease? Bring them in right away and schedule your appointment in our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!

 

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