Dog Care

How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

Regular wellness checks at a vet clinic is important to the long-term health of your dog, no matter the age, breed, or size. From birth, dogs should be under the regular care of a qualified and well-respected veterinary clinic or animal hospital. That care should last throughout your dog’s life. But how frequently should your dog visit the vet clinic or veterinary hospital? It’s different for different breeds, and during different stages of your dog’s life.

Wellness checks are the same as regular physical exams for humans: they are opportunities for your veterinarian to check your dog’s health when he or she is well, when unexpected health issues are not the impetus for the visit, and after a period of time has passed since the dog’s last wellness check. During an annual checkup, a vet will observe your dog’s movement, teeth, and respiratory systems. The vet will also ask about the dog’s habits, apparent health, eating, and other things. They will give you an opportunity to approach any concerns about your dog’s health, keep pet vaccinations up to date, and prepare you and your dog for any tests or follow-ups, routine or otherwise. How frequently your dog needs to be seen at a vet clinic for wellness checks will be explained by your veterinarian based on the dog’s activity, breeding, age, and history. Read on for a broad idea of how frequently your dog needs to visit a vet clinic based on his or her age.

Puppy

Expect your vet to want to see your puppy once per month for the first five months of his or her life. Vaccinations are vital at this age, the dog is in a crucial stage of development, and any health or diet issues will begin to emerge during these first five months. Tests completed on your dog at this stage help to guide the veterinarian toward potential health problems that are common for puppies. Many health issues that can impact adult dogs are predictable with the tests completed while the dog is a puppy as well.

Adult

At five or six months, your dog is obviously still a puppy. But many breeds don’t require such frequent visits to the vet clinic after five months, and can start to be seen with the same frequency as adult dogs. Some young dogs should visit the vet twice a year, but in general, your vet will wish to check your adult dog once per year, and those checkups will become more routine: prevention for fleas, ticks, and heartworms; new and updated vaccinations, and general appraisals of your dog’s health can be expected during the annual or twice-yearly vet clinic visits for your adult dog.

Senior

Dogs are considered senior at different ages, depending on their size and breed, with larger breeds ready for senior dog care at six years and smaller dogs at eight. How often senior dogs need to be seen for wellness checks will depend more on the health of the dog than its age, size, or breed, but it’s common for older dogs to have to visit vet clinics more frequently than adult dogs, perhaps twice per year or more. Your vet clinic’s input in your dog’s health and diet will be vital at this stage as you work together to anticipate and treat the health issues that can impact older dogs. Although senior dogs, like humans, are more likely to develop health issues, with regular wellness checks and close coordination with a vet, there’s every reason to expect your senior dog to live as happily as he or she did as an adult.

This has been a broad outline of how often your dog should visit the vet clinic at different stages of his or her life. Your very best and most accurate resource for your dog’s wellness care will be your veterinarian. Keeping current with vaccinations, tracking your dog’s diet and eating habits, and remaining vigilant about health and medications are all critical to the long-term health of your dog. But none is more important than regular visits to the vet clinic.

Spaying Your Dog Prevents Perineal Hernia

The close and strong bonds between humans and dogs started a long time ago and have since been acknowledged as one of the strongest ever. First of all, dogs are good pets. There are myriad of illustrations that prove this statement. Even though sometimes they may try to play smart and steal food off your plate, they are better than that. Here are some of the points explaining the reasons why dogs are good pets.

1. Dogs will always love you

There is enough evidence that suggests that man did not domesticate wolves, but rather the wolves first came to man. They hung around our ancestor’s campsite, and from there, the evolution of the modern dog began.

2. They have an infectious positive attitude

Have you ever realized that dogs get over excited over the simplest things? Talk of the discarded food wrappers sticks a trip to the nearby shop and so much more. These four-legged friends appreciate the simplest things in life. In turn, they make one start appreciating life. You can’t be sad with your four-legged friend around you.

3. They make one active

Other reasons why dogs are good pets is because they make one active. Even when you don’t feel like going out for a walk, the necessity of walking the dog just gets you on your feet, making your body healthier.

4. Dogs make you talk to people

Walking your dog is, without a doubt, a sure way to start a conversation with people who love animals. Today, the world is filled with people who are increasingly isolated, and chatting with people courtesy of your dog is a wonderful thing.

5. They make you laugh

Also, one of the reasons why dogs are good pets is because they make you laugh. Think of how they sometimes do a backward roll off a sofa or how they give you a beady eye when swallowing your bacon sandwich without offering them some, these four-legged friends will get you laughing at their antics.

6. There is no wastage of food

If you are full up during dinner or lunch time and you can’t stand the thought of throwing food or the leftover into the dustbin, your furry little friend will always be standby to do what they do best.

 

Why Dogs Need To Be Neutered

Dogs should be spayed when they are between four to six months old. Dog spaying is done by veterinary in a veterinary clinic and requires minimal hospitalization. Removing your dog’s testicles not only improves his quality of health but also keeps him home most or all of the time. Just search for a good vet clinic in Sykesville, MD, and you will have this procedure done to your dog. In a vet clinic also other services such as pet vaccinations are carried out.

Benefits of Neutering Your Male Dog

There are a couple of reasons why castrating your furry friend is essential. Some benefits include decreased roaming, urine marking, inappropriate mounting, and others. Here are other reasons why you should consider doing this.

Unwanted pregnancies

The problem with a male dog is that it can’t resist a female dog that is in heat. Despite how close you monitor it, it still manages to escape and follow the smell of a female dog from many miles away. Also, you will be in trouble if your male dog procreates and impregnates someone’s prized female dog. Therefore the only viable solution is to take it to a Sykesville veterinary hospital to be spayed.

Perineal Hernia

Though this is a fixable problem, Perenial hernia is an annoying problem in male dogs. This is when belly organs slip or herniate through the weakened muscles in the pelvis. As a result, the dog appears bulged on both sides of his anus. It contains the bladder, fluids, or fat, and they cause constipation. A Sykesville veterinary can fix this.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why dogs are good pets, and there are many more reasons why you need to have them neutered. Besides genetics, testicular tumors, prostate disease, spaying prevents pet overpopulation.

5 Surprising Ways to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

There is a big focus in today’s society around eating healthy and losing weight. However, as you have been paying much attention to your overall health and weight management, you might have forgotten that your dog needs weight management as well. Dog obesity is becoming a more pronounced aspect in the modern world, and pet owners have started to take considerable measures to reverse the current trends. Here are some of the tips that you can use to manage or lower the weight of your dog.

1. Understand the Ideal Weight

Consulting a veterinary during your dog’s annual checkup can be a reliable way for you to know the ideal weight of your pet. The Veterinarian will inform you that the actual weight of your dog is not in numbers but a ratio of various factors. In a dog with a healthy weight, ribs can be felt but not seen. Moreover, you should make sure that your dog has a defined waist.

2. Exercises

At Sykesville veterinary hospital, you will learn that, just like people, your dog also requires exercise so that they can manage their weight. In dogs, exercise is not only beneficial to the physical health of your dog but also its mental health. Small and well-programmed exercises are good and will manage the weight of your dog. However, if you want to lose weight and maintain weight loss for a longer period, power walking or running need to be activated. That’s the only way you will be losing many calories so that you can have a major impact on your health. Twenty minutes of exhausting exercises are enough for your dog to cut weight.

3. Diet Changes

Many pet owners think that the type of food they are giving their pet is the problem. That’s not the case. A professional veterinarian will tell you that the weight of the dog is influenced by the amount of food you give to it and not the type of food. Therefore, you don’t need to change the food. Experts at Sykesville vet clinic recommend that you should know the amount of food that your dog eats. You should account for treats when deciding the measure that your dog will have.

4. Talk to Your Vet

Your veterinarian will play an important role in ensuring that your dog losses weight professionally. Vets at Sykesville veterinary clinic will help in cutting down the weight of your dog without making it uncomfortable to your dog. As you already know, an obese dog is already prone to injuries, which means that it needs to ease into exercises and other weight loss practices. Drastic weight management strategies could discomfort your dog. It should slowly be cultivated into the dog’s routine until it becomes a norm.

5. Monitor Weight

Make sure that you monitoring the weight of your dog, probably daily. This will help you to determine whether the weight loss program is working for your dog. Sykesville veterinary hospital will also be very important in informing you how your pet is responding to training routines in terms of proteins, meat, and bone ratio. If the weight management program is not working, you will need to make some changes and find something that is yielding results.

The success of the entire weight management program depends on the animal hospital that you will choose. There are more than 26,000 animal clinics in the United States. However, Sykesville veterinary clinic Sykesville MD stands as the best veterinary clinic that will help the obesity in your dog.

Pregnancy & Your Dog: Why Veterinary Clinics are Important

Americans are the largest pet owners around the world. There is a perception that most of them have a soft spot for most pets, which makes them adopt stray cats and dogs and keep them in their homes. Besides the fact that most pets have to visit an animal hospital regularly, most Americans believe dogs and other docile animals make good pets.

One aspect that some dog owners have to do is care for a pregnant dog. Most pet owners know that they would have to take their dog to the veterinary clinic, but they don’t know what else to do. If you notice early dog pregnancy symptoms, use this guide to get some important tips on how to take care of your pregnant dog.

1. Determining Pregnancy

If you have stayed with a dog for a longer period, you will notice early signs your dog is pregnant. Changes in normal animal behavior are expected. In most cases, most dogs will change their routines and will tend to spend much of their time sleeping. Others might have mood swings, which is something that you are probably not used to seeing in your dog.

However, given that you are not a veterinarian by profession, you might not have full information as to whether your dog is pregnant or not. You need to visit a veterinary clinic where the vet will confirm pregnancy through palpation or urine testing. Using a vet to confirm pregnancy is very important as it will help you to prepare for the number of puppies you are expecting.

2. Feeding and Nutrition

Most animal hospitals have guided a considerable number of pet owners on how to take care of their pregnant pets. This means that they know everything to do with the feeding program and nutrition that your dog needs. Veterinary advice comes in handy because your pup needs special treatment and attention.

Pet owners make the mistake of thinking that they can provide animal care during pregnancy without the support of a professional only for them to make considerable mistakes. A regular visit to a veterinary clinic will offer insight on what foods your pet needs so that it can be able to sustain the increasing nutritional demands inside the body.

3. Exercises

Just like humans need exercise, pregnant dogs should also have an exercise routine. However, most of the exercises performed by your dog should not be strenuous so that any form of injuries can be avoided.

It is important to keep in mind to avoid any form of exercise that could be detrimental not only to the dog but also to the puppies. Depending on the health, breed, and age, your dog should exercise between 30 minutes and two hours, but this should gradually decrease in the final trimester.

4. Medications

Most canine medications are considered safe to use during pregnancy. There have never been major reported instances where canine medications cause serious problems to the pups. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore a veterinary hospital and give your dog any canine medicine that comes your way. It is important to consider advice from your veterinary clinic because you might get to learn something new about canine medication during pregnancy.

5. Vaccinations

Pet vaccinations are not recommended during pregnancy. They have been known to have significant impacts on the health of the pups and the mother as well. It would be important to vaccinate your dog when you are preparing her for pregnancy. Vaccinating your dog before pregnancy helps her to have enough antibodies that are later passed on to the puppies.

6. Preparing for birth

In the final stages of pregnancy, specifically three weeks before birth, it would be good to separate her from other dogs. She might not like it, but this is very important as it prevents any chances of miscarriages and will help her to look for a safe place to give birth.

Remember to keep consulting a veterinary clinic for any assistance that may be deemed necessary. Contact Sykesville Veterinary Clinic with any questions or concerns that you may have about helping your dog through a pregnancy.

Dog Safety: What is Toxic to Dogs?

Dogs are loyal and amazing animals which is one of the many reasons why dogs are man’s best friend. Dogs are therapeutic and can help in stress reduction. This is why they often visit places such as nursing homes, hospices, and hospitals. They also provide you with company and companionship; you can never be lonely as long as you have a dog. One thing you should, however, keep in mind is that having a dog is not cheap as research has established that the ideal expenditure on a puppy during the first year should be around $2,000 and $6,000. As a dog owner, it is important to know about the potential for your pet being poisoned by things around your house.

Pet poisoning is very common with over 100,000 cases being reported annually. The following are some common items that might poison your dog:

  1. Insecticides: Products that are meant to get rid of ticks and flees are very poisonous if ingested by your dog. When you notice such an occurrence you should take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately so that the vet can check your pet and decide on the best way to move forward depending on the type of insecticide ingested. They can choose to flush out your dog’s stomach in order to remove the chemicals or to give your dog activated charcoal which will prevent the absorption of the insecticide.
  2. Your prescription medication: You should be very careful as medications such as antidepressants, pain relievers, and blood pressure drugs can do a lot of damage to your dog if ingested. Rushing your dog to a veterinary hospital as soon as you know about the ingestion can save your pet’s life. A vet clinic will also provide your dog with a safe and quiet place for recovery.
  3. Household products: Household products such as fire logs, paint thinners, antifreeze, chocolate, gum, and cleaners such as bleach and dishwashing detergents are toxic to dogs. The best course of action for your dog if they ingest any of the above products is to take him or her to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

Those living in Sykesville, Maryland, can take their dogs to Sykesville Veterinary Clinic where they will find seasoned veterinary doctors who will take care of their pets.

5 Ways to Keep Your Home and Dog Safe

Dogs don’t always cater to human etiquette. They don’t understand that the leftover cheeseburger in the trash can isn’t a snack, and will often rely on their natural instincts (such as barking and even biting) when faced with a situation they perceive to be threatening. Thankfully, there are things you can do to ensure that you live happily and harmoniously with your canine companion and reduce the possibility – and impact – of his behavior.

1. Train early and often. Dogs can be trained to do a number of things that make them a better roommate. For instance, they can be taught to limit barking, go to the bathroom in a specific location, and to cohabitate with other species. The secret to successfully training your dog is to start early, be consistent, and stop rewarding undesirable behavior. Anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw explains to NPR that reprimanding your dog through physical contact isn’t effective, and that your dog will learn acceptable behaviors and reactions through frequent exposure to them.

2. Make his health a priority. Your dog, like every other member of your family, requires regular health care and preventative maintenance. If you happen to notice sudden mood changes, such as aggression, have your puppy checked out by his veterinarian. Your dog’s health and behavior are directly related. An animal that doesn’t feel well is more likely to be short tempered and display his disdain by growling or biting.

3. Teach children how to interact with your dog. Even the most even-tempered dog can only take so much. As soon as you bring your dog home, you should begin talking to your children about how they are to interact with him. Teach your kids never to reach their hand into his food bowl or to startle him while he sleeps. Children should always be gentle with dogs, no matter how much larger or smaller they are than the child. If you want to avoid a disaster, make sure your children know how to recognize their dog’s body language.

4. Lessen messes. Messes are an inherent part of pet ownership. Many aren’t even your dog’s fault. Shedding hair and dander can’t always be eliminated, even with proper bathing and grooming. Make sure you have the right kind of vacuum with multiple attachments to remove hair from even the hardest-to-reach places, and don’t forget to change your home’s air filters regularly. About a quarter of adults in the US don’t change out their filters as often as they should – a big mistake for pet owners, since the same study found that 40 percent of people surveyed found pet hair and dander on their filter the last time they replaced it. Staying ahead of pet-related build-up will protect the health of everyone in your family, including your pooch.

Other issues that can be blamed on your dog, such as trash can contents being scattered on the floor, can be prevented by restricting the dog’s access to unintended food sources. Dogs who show signs of separation anxiety may also display destructive tendencies; the ASPCA notes this could be anything from chewing everything in sight to eliminating his bowels and bladder in inopportune places. HuffPost recently ran a two-part series on how to cure separation anxiety; it’s an interesting read with great advice on how to mitigate behavioral issues associated with being left alone.

5. Keep him safe. One of the best ways to prevent an unfortunate situation is to keep Fido protected with a collar that includes current identification. You’ll also need to maintain a close eye on your companion while outdoors, and seek shelter and shade regularly when you’re outside in the heat. Install a secure fence around your property, which will keep other dogs out while ensuring that yours stays safe at home. Ask your veterinarian about flea, tick, heartworm, and parasite prevention to reduce the chances that your dog will contract a fatal disease.

As much as you want to believe your dog has human traits, the fact of the matter is that he’s an animal. Hundreds of thousands of years of domestication can’t erase his natural instincts. Don’t let a miscommunication between you and your pet end in disaster. Teach your entire family to speak his language and help him understand and acclimate to your home. With patience, planning and preventative actions, your dog can truly be your best friend.

Best, 

Jessica Brody

Why You Should Get a Pet from a Shelter

Would you like to have a cuddly little cat to curl up to you? Or maybe you’d like a sweet little puppy to play with! Animals are remarkable creatures with a lot of love to give. If you like to return love to a deserving animal, please consider adopting from your local humane society.

How do pets end up in shelters?

It’s rarely ever that a pet is relinquished to shelter because something was “wrong” with it. Remember: There are no bad pets, only bad owners. Occasionally, an owner might ask that a pet be re-homed due to moving, allergies or budget constraints. No matter what reason the animal has for being in a shelter, it’s never their fault. They still have a lot of love to give.

Shelter animals are healthy

This is for sure; they’re healthier than they’d be on the street! The first thing a shelter does with an animal in their care is screen for health problems and tries to treat them. The animals at these shelters receive regular veterinary care plus volunteers to make sure they’re free of parasites. Often, the fees for vaccinations and spaying or neutering will be included in the adoption fee.

If you would like a puppy or a kitten

Understandable. Part of the joy of being a pet owner is watching them grow from a tiny puppy or kitten and training them yourself. If this is what you want, then shelters are not in any way hunting for puppies and kittens. If breeding is unchecked, one cat and her offspring could produce 420,000 kittens in seven years! A dog and her offspring with breeding unchecked could have 67,000 puppies in six years! However, do keep in mind the older animals need homes too. If you’d prefer a dog who’s already been trained and is ready to slow down and grow old with you, maybe the older dog is best.

If you would rather have a bunny rabbit….

Then hop right down to your local animal shelter some weeks after Easter. Many people get live rabbits as Easter favors, only to find they’re not up to the full task of caring for such a fragile animal. If you know you’ve got what it takes to care…really care…for a rabbit, you might find some bunny at your local animal shelter. Unfortunately, some people who take in exotic animals like ferrets or guinea pigs and find they’re not up to the task think it will be fine to abandon such an animal. If the animal is lucky, they’ll be found by an animal shelter and given to a competent guardian.

 

Protect Your Pets: Recommended Cat and Dog Vaccination Schedule

Food, water, and a little bit of love. These are the things we strive to give our pets.

But what about taking them to the vet and ensuring they are healthy? Unknown to many people, there are timelines of what shots pets need, based on their age.

Read on to discover more about the recommended vaccination schedules for cats and dogs. You’ll learn what’s best for your pets and how to help them stay healthy no matter what their age.

Knowing the Cat Vaccination Schedule

Cat vaccinations are broken down into different timelines within a cat’s life. This includes:

  • Baby kittens who are under one year old
  • Cats that are young adults, ages 1-5
  • Older cats ages 5-10

With cats, there are some vaccinations they can skip, depending on their lifestyle.

Indoor cats don’t need feline leukemia if they are kept indoors religiously. Although these treatments don’t cause harm to a cat when they are young, there’s no need to subject the animal to them if they don’t go outdoors.

We recommend all cats be given heartworm prevention year round, whether they are indoor or outdoor cats, as this is a mosquito transmitted disease. As well, there is no vaccine available for heartworm prevention.

Use your own judgment when deciding what is best for your pets. Regardless of their lifestyle, all cats need vaccinations to protect against rabies.

Understanding the Dog Vaccination Schedule

Dog vaccinations get a little tricky. Like the cat, they are broken down along the following timeline:

  • Puppy, for the first year of life
  • Young dog, age 1-5
  • Older dog, ages 5-10

Dogs go outside more often than cats since they need walks to relieve themselves. For pet owners that take their mutts to the dog park, there are certain procedures they need to follow to ensure protection.

Rabies is always required for dogs. Owners that don’t get the vaccination and license their dog find themselves at risk for fines.

Studies show that once a dog reaches the older adult phase, they don’t need certain vaccines, such as parvo or bordetella. Always talk to your vet, and look to your dog’s age, health, and lifestyle for cues.

The Needs of Older Pets

Older pets have special needs.

They get tired quickly, have weaker immune systems, and don’t spend as much time outside. A whole list of vaccinations isn’t a necessity for pets once they reach the mark of ten years or older.

Dogs or cats that have cancer, or other diseases that contribute to a weaker immune system don’t need the same vaccinations a healthy puppy would.

Since these dogs aren’t running outdoors as much, and have developed immune systems, vaccinations do they bodies more harm than good. When in doubt, talk with your vet and ask them questions about your dog’s health.

The answers may surprise you, and help you feel comfortable with your decision.

Let Us Help

Taking care of your pets is a lifelong process that goes on until the last day. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

We are happy to help you and your pet at whatever stage of life they are at.

If you have questions about the dog vaccination schedule or aren’t sure how old your pet is, give us a call. We are here to help, whatever your needs are.

How to Choose the Best Pet Food Brands for Your Pet

We all know how the value of a healthy diet. But maintaining a healthy diet is easier said than done.

That’s especially true when it comes to our pets. There’s no shortage of competition when it comes to the pet food market. In fact, global pet food sales exceeded $75 billion in 2016.

Our pets rely on us to give them quality food. When it comes to your dog or cat, you only want the best.

With so many pet food brands to choose from how do you know which is best? Here are some tips on finding the best options for your pet.

Quality Meat & Protein

One of the most important things to look for in an animal’s food is quality protein from real meat.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends dogs have between 18 and 22 percent protein in their diet. Cats need a similar amount of protein to maintain a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, many pet food brands have become adept at deceiving customers. They indicate that their food contains “meat” without specifying the protein source.

Look for brands that include specific protein labels. Pet food should be high in protein and include multiple types of meat like turkey, lamb, chicken or beef.

Avoid Chemical Preservatives

It’s never too late to change your pet’s diet.

One positive change you can make is to avoid chemical preservatives. Some pet food brands use additives and preservatives that can harm your animal.

Common preservatives you should avoid include Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), and Propylene Glycol (PG). Consuming these preservatives can cause long-term health damage and even lead to cancer.

Another preservative to avoid is Ethoxyquin. It’s an approved food additive used in animal feed that’s also used in pesticides. Long-term consumption can damage your pet’s liver.

Find brands that use natural preservatives and look out for these chemical preservatives.

What are the best pet food brands?

Pet owners are always on the lookout for the best pet food brand. There are a number of high-quality brands. However, it’s hard to call one brand superior.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing pet food. You need to find a food brand that matches your pet’s age, health, and dietary restrictions.

First evaluate whether you have a growing, mature, or senior animal. You should then decide whether your animal needs dry food, wet food, or freeze-dried food. Keep in mind whether your animal needs special food, such as grain-free dog food.

Once you weigh these factors, you should look for brands that come highly recommended by experts. Your local veterinarian should have a few recommendations of good brands for your pet.

You can also look at FDA’s pet food guidelines. Make sure that your preferred brand is in line with their standards.

You want a brand that is safe, reliable and a good fit for your pet. Weigh all of these factors to find the best brand for your animal.

Taking Care of Your Pet

Are you looking for more advice for your pet? We can help. We’re the little vet with a big heart.

Check out our list of services to see how we can help you today.

How to Teach Your Dog to Use a Ball Launcher

Dogs simply adore playing the “fetch” game, and it’s safe to assume that your pet wants you to comply 24-7, every day of the week. They let us “slide” from time to time, but the fact remains that their hunger for games and entertainment is insatiable – this is the reason why weary pet owners look for alternatives.

The best one we could come up with is the “Ball Launcher” – a special, yet quite simple and straightforward device that does precisely what its name implies.

It literally launches balls at different angles and speeds. Some models are capable of shooting multiple balls simultaneously, which is a perfect solution for pet owners who have more than one dog.

Where should you start?

First of all, you’ll need to properly understand the machine before you could share the “knowledge” with your dog. All Ball Launchers are designed to be simple, and operate in a similar, easy-to-use fashion. Note that these contraptions are intended for outside use, so as to avoid the risk of property damage or even harm.

After you’ve grasped the basic mechanisms of your launcher, give it a go and observe the reactions of your dog. Needless to say, most dogs will blindly rush to catch the ball without paying too much regard to who’s thrown (or launched) it.

The test run should prove successful enough to get your dog’s attention, and that’s precisely where the fun starts.

Things you should know before you begin your dog’s training

First of all, every ball launching machine makes a certain dose of noise. In fact, this “noise” serves as a “call to action”, urging your dog to take initiative and educating it that it should be independent in this sphere.

Secondly, we’re all aware of the “puppy eyes”, and we encourage you to remain strong, even if your dog literally begs you to do all the work. Actually, the prime reason why you got the launcher is to rid yourself of the hassle of playing with your dog all day long.

Last, but not least, rest assured that every type, race, or breed of a dog is capable of understanding how this machine works. It might take a while, but it’s achievable.

Two best ways to teach your ball how to use a Ball Launcher

Essentially, dogs are pretty smart animals, although their ability to understand certain things depends mostly on their race or breed. If you’re uncertain in any way regarding your dog’s capabilities, we’ll use an average dog as an example.

Most professional “dog whisperers” advise that dogs learn best when taught by the “reward & punishment” methods, but it’s more appropriate to use treats when your dog reacts positively and the “cold shoulder” when it responds negatively. Let’s review the two most popular methods by which your dog will undoubtedly learn how to operate a ball launcher:

Encouragement

The idea of the “encouragement” method is to assure your dog that “he’s a good boy (or girl)” every time the progress is made. You should use treats as positive reinforcement, and any sort of clicker to urge your dog to make a move.

First of all, play some fetch with your dog as a “warm-up”, all the while standing right next to it while it’s turned off. Load the launcher with a ball and wait for your dog to react. After a while (if not instantly), your dog should come straight to the launcher, and if it does, give him a treat.

Secondly, turn the ball launcher, but don’t operate it – instead, wait for the warning signal. Once it’s been rung, encourage your dog to come to you while retaining a positive attitude (smile, yell “yes”, or “good boy”).

Thirdly, load the ball and call your dog. Slowly and cleverly lead him (or her) to the launching button. Repeat the entire process several times, and your dog should be able to operate the machine alone.

Association

If the “encouragement” didn’t yield sufficient results, you should try associating key points in ball launcher’s operation so that your dog could understand the machine, rather than blindly stick to what you dubbed as “right”. This method is better for dogs which have a somewhat questionable grasp on authority.

Again, start by playing fetch while the launcher is off, but stand right next to it. At some point, use the ball to load the launcher instead of fetching it back, but don’t launch it. Pull it out, and throw it to your dog.

Link certain fetching commands you usually give out while fetching to the different steps of the machine’s operation – for instance, once you’ve loaded the machine, give a command with which you begin the fetch game, or give commands like “go fetch” at the exact same moment the machine launches the ball.

It’s imperative that you call your dog right to the machine after trying out this method. Hover above the “launch” button (or lever) for a few minutes with appropriate commands in the background. Repeat the process.

Conclusion

Teaching your dog to fetch back a ball is fairly easy. Essentially, teaching it to play with a ball launcher on its own is quite simple as well, but you’ll have to be really patient in certain cases. Just remember that not all dogs learn at the same rate, but they all do.

Try out the methods we’ve provided, and, in case your dog is stubborn enough to refuse to learn, switch “treats” with a “cold shoulder”. Ignoring your dog will make him (or her) feel as if something bad has been done, and, in the end – the game will have ended if the wrongs haven’t been made right. Either way, stay patient and persistent, and your dog will come around.