Quick Tips for Leash Training Your Puppy

Leash training your puppy will make walks more enjoyable and safer for both of you. Your veterinarian can offer some great advice for making leash training easier. This video will also help.

Start by getting your puppy used to wearing a collar and leash by allowing him or her to wear it around the house. While you walk, make sure you allow enough slack. Practicing in an enclosed space, like your back yard, will prepare you for walking on the street. Use treats for encouragement when your puppy does the right thing.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we’re here to help pet families through all stages of their animal’s life, from puppy spay and neuter services to dog dental cleaning and emergency vet care. You can find out more about our services by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033.

Your To-Do List for Your New Dog’s First Month

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What could be more exciting than welcoming a new puppy or adult dog into your home? Of course, once the initial excitement wears off, it’s time to focus on the responsibility of helping your new pup adjust to his or her new home. A trip to the veterinarian for a checkup should be one of the first items on your to-do list. Once your dog gets a clean bill of health, tackle these steps to make life less stressful for your family and your new pet.

Create a Schedule
Like new babies, puppies and new dogs benefit from having a schedule. Decide when you’ll feed your pup, when you’ll play with him or her, when you’ll go for walks, and when bedtime is, and try to stick to that schedule each day. Your puppy will soon adjust to the routine, which will make him or her feel more comfortable and confident. Sticking to a schedule will also help with potty training, as your dog will become accustomed to when he or she should—and shouldn’t—go to the bathroom.

Start Training
The earlier you start training your dog, the easier it will be to get the results you want. Every interaction with your puppy is an opportunity to practice commands, such as sit, stay, and come. Reward your pup for good behavior by showering him or her with attention and by providing treats. When your veterinarian says it is OK, consider enrolling your puppy in training classes and take him or her to the dog park, so that he or she can become socialized.

Get to Know His or Her Personality
Puppies and new dogs may be shy when they enter a new home, so be patient while your new pup reveals his or her personality. When your puppy starts showing his likes and dislikes, pay attention. For instance, your puppy may not respond to food rewards but may love walks, so you can tailor your training approaches to incorporate that preference.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to support you as you welcome a new puppy to the family, with puppy checkups, spay and neuter services, and dog dental cleanings. Contact Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or contact Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Could My Puppy Have Hip Dysplasia?

When you bring home a new puppy, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is joint health. However, hip dysplasia is a common occurrence and can affect dogs as young as five months old, so every puppy parent needs to know the signs. Could hip dysplasia be impacting your pup? Here is what you need to know.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs when the hip joints don’t form properly. Because the joints are improperly formed, the hind legs aren’t stable, and they can wobble around in the joint sockets. As a result, abnormal, painful wear and tear can occur. Although the cause is unknown, there appears to be a genetic component. Weight gain caused by high calorie diets and overly enthusiastic exercise before the joints are fully formed can also apparently contribute to dysplasia. Early treatment can improve the symptoms and reduce the risk of further joint damage.

What are the symptoms?

Puppies who have hip dysplasia may limp or appear unsteady when they walk. They may move their hind legs together when they run, instead of moving each leg independently. You may notice that your puppy’s hips swivel when you walk behind him or her or that you hear a clicking sound when he or she moves. As the condition progresses, your active puppy may become more lethargic or may have more difficulty going up and down stairs or finding a comfortable position when lying down.

How can we know for sure?

If hip dysplasia is suspected – at any age – your veterinarian will recommend x-rays of the dog’s hips and rear legs. This usually provides the answer.

Some veterinarians (including those at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group) have been trained & certified in a special x-ray technique called PennHIP. PennHIP is accurate and reliable in puppies as young as four (4) months of age. The x-rays are read by specialists and the report provides an objective, mathematical estimate of the risk of the puppy developing hip dysplasia later in life. With this information, prevention and treatment protocols can be developed by the PennHIP-trained veterinarian.

What treatments are available?

There is no cure for hip dysplasia, but there are several treatments to reduce your puppy’s discomfort and control the progression of the disease. Anti-inflammatory medications and cold laser treatments can reduce the pain. Some dogs benefit from surgery. Managing your puppy’s weight will also help. Typically, your vet will perform period X-rays of the hip joint to track the progression of the dysplasia.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic and surgical services, including PennHIP x-rays , at our pet hospitals in Dallas and McKinney. Set up an exam with a veterinarian for your puppy by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

Tips for Teaching Your Puppy to Stop Nipping

Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, but it is also hard work, as you teach your puppy the right way to behave in your home. One common problem new puppy families face is nipping. It’s natural for puppies to nip, since that is how they explore the world, but that behavior quickly becomes problematic if your pup doesn’t learn to stop before he or she becomes a bigger dog. Make sure veterinarian is part of your puppy’s life from the start, as your vet can offer advice about what behaviors are common, or normal, and can make referrals for behavioral training services if necessary. You can work on breaking your puppy’s nipping habit at home with this advice.

Copy Natural Dog Behavior

When puppies play with each other and with other older dogs, they learn bite inhibition through the reactions of the other dogs they are nipping at. If one dog mouths another too forcefully during play, the other dog will yelp, forcing the first dog to change his or her behavior, otherwise the game is over. You can mirror that behavior at home. When your puppy nips too hard, go limp and let out a loud yelping sound. Don’t play with your puppy for 10 to 15 seconds, and then resume the game. If he or she bites too hard again, repeat the process. This teaches your dog that gentle play is fine but he or she will lose your attention for aggressive nipping.

Redirect Attention

You may wish to teach your puppy that his or her teeth never belong on human skin, even during play. In this case, redirect your pup’s attention any time he or she tries to nip at you. Avoid your dog’s mouth and provide a chew toy anytime he or she wants to bite you. The toy gives your dog something to chew instead of your hand. If your pup nips at your ankles, keep a toy in your pocket to redirect biting when you walk.

Talk to your veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group anytime you have questions about your new puppy’s health. We also offer dog spay and neuter services, dental care, and more. Schedule an appointment for your puppy today by dialing (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or by dialing (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

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