Animal Clinics Tips and Tricks for a Happier Pet

Whether you're a seasoned pet parent or a rookie in the realm of furry friends, understanding and addressing your pet's behavior is crucial for a comfortable life together. Fortunately, animal clinics and pet trainers have great information to better understand your pet.

Just like humans, pets have behaviors based on their happiness. Pets have a range of emotions, just like us. It’s important to understand these emotions expressed through behaviors so you can train your pets and help them experience a happier life with you.

Animal Clinics Training Tips

Teaching your pets manners isn't just about avoiding chaos; it's a way to strengthen your bond and ensure a stress-free environment for both you and your four-legged friend.

Positive Reinforcement Training

According to the Humane Society of the United States, one of the most effective training methods is positive reinforcement. When your pet does something right, reward them with treats, praise, or even a belly rub. This encourages them to repeat the behavior.

Examples, from the Humane Society of the US, of times to reinforce good behavior include having your pet sit before being let outside, before petting them, and before feeding them. If they are lying quietly or chewing a toy instead of one of your personal items, you should also give positive attention and rewards for those behaviors.


Timing is essential for positive reinforcement. Your pet must be rewarded within seconds of the good behavior for your pet to associate the reward with the good behavior. One example of this may be giving the command for your dog to sit before receiving a treat. You must give the treat when they sit and not wait until they stand back up. Often pet owners inadvertently reward the wrong behavior just by not acting quickly enough.

Short and Sweet Sessions

Keep training sessions short and enjoyable. Pets have short attention spans, so focusing on one command at a time prevents overwhelm and ensures better retention.

Verbal and Physical Cues

Body language is as important as the words we say when we are training our pet, especially as they are starting out. You can use your hand to coax your pet into the desired behavior. For example, you can hold a treat and move it to the ground so they will lay down.

Adding key word commands is also essential. Some of the most common commands include:

  • sit
  • stay
  • down
  • up
  • off
  • come
  • heel
  • drop or give
  • leave it

Common Types of Rewards

Your pet can be motivated by several things including treats, pets and other positive attention, or through play. If using treats to train your pet, be sure that you are mixing up the treats, so they don’t become bored of the same old thing.

You should also keep these treats small. Since you will be rewarding them multiple times a day, too many larger treats can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Remember to praise your pet when you give the treat. This way they associate your positive words with their reward.

Consistency is the Key

Like humans, pets thrive on routine. Be consistent in your commands and rewards. This helps them understand what's expected and builds a sense of security. If you want your dog to stop jumping on guests, use the command, “off” every time instead of sometimes saying “stop” as well. Consistency will help your pet learn which behavior you are directing them toward.

Behavioral Issues

Even the best-behaved pets can face behavioral challenges. Understanding the root causes and addressing them early can make a significant difference. Remember that change takes an investment of your time and patience. No pet will learn new behaviors overnight and even the smartest pets need time to become acquainted with your commands.

Separation Anxiety

Pets, especially dogs, can experience separation anxiety when left alone. The most common reasons pets may start to experience separation anxiety include moving or being newly adopted from a shelter or foster environment. The death of a family member or other pet is another common trigger, as well as when the family returns to work or school after a prolonged time at home such as during the Covid shutdowns, and summer breaks.

Some of the signs your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety include trembling or shaking, destructive chewing, whining, howling or barking, going to the bathroom in the house, and scratching at doors or windows.

To ease this, gradually increase the time you spend away and provide toys or treats that keep them occupied. Animal clinics may also have medications to help with separation anxiety.


Aggressive behavior may stem from fear, territorial instincts, or a health issue. Consult with your vet near you to rule out any medical concerns and work on positive socialization techniques.

Excessive Barking

While barking is natural, excessive barking can be a problem. Identify triggers and use positive reinforcement to redirect their attention. Addressing boredom with toys and mental stimulation also helps.

Digging and Chewing

Dogs love to dig and chew, but it can become destructive. Ensure they have appropriate outlets for these behaviors, like designated digging areas and chew toys.

Enrichment Activities Help Prevent Bad Behavior

Enrichment activities are like a mental workout for your pet, keeping them stimulated and happy. Here are some ideas to turn your home into a haven of fun and learning:

Puzzle Toys

Invest in puzzle toys that dispense treats when solved. This not only challenges their intellect but also provides a tasty reward. You can find a variety of these types of toys in your local pet store or online.

Hide and Seek

Play a game of hide and seek with your pet's favorite toys or treats. It engages their sense of smell and adds an exciting element to their day. As a bonus, this is free and is a great way for you to bond and have fun with your pet.

Interactive Play

Get interactive with your playtime. Tug-of-war, fetch, and even a simple game of tag can enhance your pet's physical and mental well-being.

DIY Agility Course

Set up a DIY agility course in your backyard using household items. It's a fantastic way to keep your pet active and build trust through positive reinforcement. You can find DIY agility courses online as well!

Understanding Your Pet

Understanding your pet’s individual needs, quirks, and preferences is the key to fostering a happy and healthy relationship. If you ever find yourself facing challenges or simply want guidance on your pet's behavior, don't hesitate to reach out to Cimarron Animal Hospital, one of Wichita's most trusted animal clinics.

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