Category Archives: Training & Behavior

Can Clicker Training Change Your Dog’s Life? Quite Simply, Yes.

Clicker training dogs is a great dog behavior system

Dogs usually know when they’ve done something wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could convey to them exactly when they’ve done something right? With clicker training, your dog has a chance to learn the right ways to do things because you tell them. With the unique sound of a handheld clicker, there’s no second-guessing. Instead, you train your dog to remember the positive actions or behaviors that please you.

Let’s get clickin’!

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What to do if a Service Dog Approaches You Without Their Owner

If a service dog approaches you without its owner, there may be trouble.

Nowadays, most people know general guidelines when it comes to service dog etiquette. Refraining from petting a service dog while they’re working is an important rule, along with knowing that legitimate service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners nearly everywhere.  

However, one topic that’s rarely discussed is the very real possibility that one of these animals may approach you without their owner. Knowing what this means and how to respond appropriately may mean the difference between life and death for a service dog handler.

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Running with Your Dog: Tips for Safety and Fun

Running with your dog is great pet exerciseWhether you’re a serious or casual runner, having an exercise partner can make running more enjoyable and motivate you to get out there, even when you don’t feel like it. Your loyal canine companion can make an excellent running buddy, and regular exercise and companionship lead to a variety of wonderful benefits for both you and your pet.

Your team at West Park Animal Hospital is always on the lookout for ways to encourage safe and fun exercise for all of our sweet patients. We applaud you for your interest in running with your dog, and encourage you to keep the following safety precautions in mind before you hit the pavement or trail together. Continue reading

Dog Tricks 101: Fun, Useful, and Simple Ways to Engage Your Pooch

dog tricksThere’s no denying the benefits of dog training. Properly trained and socialized dogs are happier and safer overall, and are easier and more fun to be around than an untrained pooch. Dog tricks can complement and improve a dog’s command of obedience an, and in many cases can be useful and fun for humans too!

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The Problem with Fake Service Animals

fake service animalsModern pets enjoy lives their ancestors would hardly recognize. Not only do we provide them with the best in nutrition and medical care, we also have a respect for animals that has grown considerably in recent decades. Studies show that most pet owners now consider their four-legged companions family members.

Indeed, pets are wonderful additions to our homes and families. But what happens when the desire to include our fur babies in every aspect of our daily lives leads to problems?

It’s easy to purchase a service animal vest online and hop on a plane or walk into a restaurant with your pet these days. Unfortunately, the rise in these fake service animals has significant costs to those who truly depend upon an animal for their independence and, in many cases, their lives.

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The Confounding Logic of a Hoarding Dog

hoarding dogHave you ever lifted up your couch only to find a giant collection of bones, treats, or toys that dates back many, many months? What about shining a light on the dark corner in the back of your closet to reveal a veritable mini-mountain of kibble? You’re not alone. In fact, many people have a hoarding dog, but they either haven’t discovered it yet or they simply don’t know what to do. It may seem like we’re making up this wack-a-doo dog behavior, but this real canine conduct has possibly sound logic behind it.

Why Does My Dog Hoard?

Dogs have various behaviors that root all the way back to their wild ancestors. Before they became our natural best friends, dogs didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. To be sure, many dogs either starved or ate questionable meals every few days or so. As a result, when wild dogs got a big pay day, they either buried or hid it to nibble on over the course of several days. Among other animals that continue this behavior today, foxes are also well known to hoard.

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Why Your Pet is Scared of the Vacuum Cleaner and What You Can Do About It

Few modern housekeeping tools are as highly valued as the vacuum cleaner, especially for pet owners dealing with fur on the carpet, floors, and furniture. However, when a pet runs in fear, barks, hides, or quivers when the trusty vacuum is pulled out, it can be upsetting, to say the least. Having a pet who’s scared of the vacuum is a perplexing problem, but fortunately, there are strategies that can help owners keep their pets calm.

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Potty Mouth: Why do Pets Drink From the Toilet?

toilet drinkingToilets and pets are never a combo you want to encounter; however, seeing a pet take a sip of toilet water is a common scene. Drinking from the toilet seems like a pretty disgusting way to stay hydrated – particularly when you offer your pet multiple bowls of fresh water around the home.

So, what’s with this obsession? Why do pets drink from the toilet, and is it safe? The team at West Park sets out to address this unsavory attraction to the “toilet bowl beverage.”

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Pass the Greens! Why Some Dogs Eat Grass

dogs eat grassIt’s not uncommon to see a dog munching on something we wouldn’t necessarily qualify as “food.” Dogs, after all, are the experimental gourmets, willing to ingest all sorts of things. Unfortunately, this makes them prone to poisoning when we aren’t paying attention. Among the least noxious of these “entrees” is grass.

Countless dog owners have pondered why their pooches have a palate for the lawn salad. “Is my dog sick?” “Should I stop this behavior?” “Is grass eating normal?” These are all questions we at West Park Animal Hospital have received over the years, making the mystery of why some dogs eat grass one that we’d like to help you solve.

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The Mysterious Feline: Cat Rolling Behavior Explained

cat rollingMost of us who know and love critters of the feline persuasion understand that cats tend to march to their own beat. Many quirky and odd behaviors that we may observe are fondly noted, but we seldom spend much energy searching for a cause. These things that cats do can  have some meaningful purpose behind them, however, and kitty behavior is actually a very interesting topic for those who care to get to know their pets on a deeper level.

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