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Four Corners Veterinary Hospital Puppy Start Right Preschool

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Behavior problems start early and animals never stop learning.  We want to convey humane and safe behavior advice as early as possible because it sets the foundation for the rest of your puppies’ life.  The classes as well as private sessions, utilize a very effective form of positive reinforcement training called Clicker Training, which is easy to implement and fun not only for you but for your pet as well.

The puppy classes we offer are a great way to provide proactive, positive socialization in a safe and controlled manner.  All puppies have to abide by the same safety and health requirements in order to participate in the class, thereby removing the concern for risk and infection. 

What does the class cover?

  • Basic training topics such as sit, leave it, loose leash walking, attention, and recall.
  • Proactive socialization-Each class has a theme and puppies are exposed to new things according to that theme.
  • Body Language and safe/appropriate play behavior.
  • Problem prevention discussion topics (play biting, jumping, etc.) and prevention training exercises to help you know how to address and prevent and manage behavior problems.

What does the course include?

  • One hour orientation (for the owners only)
  • Four puppy socialization training classes
  • Puppy Start Right book
  • Puppy Start Right video series

How old do puppies need to be?

  • This class is designed for puppies 7-12 weeks of age but puppies up to 4 ½ months are also eligible to participate in this class.

What do puppies need in order to participate?

  • A recent exam by a vet and a signed health certificate (for non-clients)
  • 1 DAP and 1 Bordetella vaccine 10 days prior to starting class
  • Fecal testing
  • Proactive de-worming
  • Parasite prevention has started (flea, heartworm, tick, intestinal)

If your dog does not qualify for the puppy classes here due to their age or if a group class setting doesn’t fit for your puppy and you’re looking for advice on behavioral issues, our trainer would be happy to work one on one with you and your dog in a private, in-hospital setting. 

*If you’re experiencing aggression, severe anxiety or phobias with your dog, please speak to your veterinarian first before seeking advice from a trainer.

Meet The Trainer!

Stephanie is certified in Low Stress Handling, a Fear Free certified individual and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. She graduated from UC, Davis in 2012 with her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Biology with an emphasis in behavior.  Stephanie received her certificate from the course, Living and Learning with Animals by Dr. Susan Freedman and has also volunteered at the UC Davis Behavior Service.  Due to her extensive background in animal behavior and training, Stephanie has helped develop an Animal Behavior Modification teaching program at Four Corners for the staff as well as the clients.  Her strong ambition to improve animal’s lives through positive training, has made this strength of hers shine through her work at the hospital.


We sat down with a Cynthia, a client of ours who has been working with Stephanie and this is what she has to say:

  1. How did you hear about the behavior sessions?

Cali and I worked with Dr. Becker who knew she was anxious coming in.  She suggested Acepromazine prior to visits which I used for a while.  I also brought her in for just quick visits to the facility without seeing anyone.  This helped, but not enough.  Dr. Becker suggested working with Stephanie.

  1. Why did you decide to sign up?

I wanted Cali comfortable coming to the vet and also realized that if there was an emergency and without her fear lessened, it would impact the care anyone could give her.

  1. What is the biggest improvement you’ve seen in your pet since starting?

She barks when I turn into the office and pulls me to the door.  She is so comfortable walking in and around the facility.  She will let people touch her and do the procedures that are necessary.  We still have the temperature to go, but will eventually get there.

  1. What have you personally learned about yourself and your dog?

Patience is the key.  With time her attitude has changed and I am very happy for it.

  1. How has this changed or improved your relationship with your dog?

She always trusted me and I am glad to see that now transferred to others.

  1. Through what you’ve learned in these sessions, is there any advice you have for other dog owners?

This has been a long process, probably 2 years.  I would say that the majority of people would think it could be solved in fewer than 10 visits but it depends on the dog and the issue.  I would say if you start the program, it will take longer than you initially think and you need to keep going as it will eventually work.  The first time we realized that things had really improved was when Cali had to come in for a visit with Dr. Campbell and Stephanie was not there.  Dr. Campbell’s comment was that Cali reacted like any other dog with what she had to do.  I knew then we were definitely doing the right thing for Cali.

Summertime Dangers

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Summer time means, longer days in the warm sun, more outdoor adventures, barbeques and pool parties with your pooch!  Along with all the fun activities, summer time can also bring about some pretty serious hazards.  Below is a list of 5 summertime dangers and tips to make sure your furry friends are kept safe during this otherwise exciting season.

  1. Overheating from outside temperatures

Temperatures outside can soar quickly and without much warning.  It is always best to keep an eye on the forecast and avoid taking your dog out during the hottest times of the day.  Do not over exert your dog when enjoying outdoor activities.  If you do venture outside, make sure your dog has a shady place to rest when needed.  Lastly, always have drinking water handy when you are outside.  If you do spend time outdoors away from home, bring a portable water dispenser with you.  A great one to try, that you can also find online is the Gulpy Water Dispenser for dogs.

If your pet is showing signs of overheating you will need to lower his or her body temperature right away.  Put cloths soaked in cold water around paws, armpits, head and neck.  It is always good to take your pet to your vet right away if you notice signs of overheating.

Signs of overheating:  heavy panting, dry or pale gums, increased drooling, deep and rapid breathing, bright red tongue and mucus membranes that turn gray.

  1. Hot asphalt

Surfaces such as pavement, asphalt, sand, wood and metals can exceed 145 degrees.  These surfaces can stay very hot long after the sun goes down.   Check the pavement/asphalt by placing your hand or bare foot on the surface.  If you cannot keep it on there for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.  It’s best to stay on grassy surfaces and avoid bare ground when outside in the summer heat.  Try and avoid the hottest parts of the day by walking early morning or late in the evening after the pavement has cooled down.  If you are concerned about the ground temperature, you can always invest in booties made specifically for your dog’s paws.  One sign to watch out for if the ground is too hot is called ‘high stepping’.  This is where the dog will pick up their paws and pull them close to their torso.  If you see your dog doing this, find cool ground or pick your dog up immediately.

  1. Hot cars

Never leave an animal in the hot car unattended, even for a minute.  Temperatures outside of 85 degrees can soar to 105 degrees inside a vehicle within 10 minutes, even in the shade with partially cracked windows.  “Pets left in hot cars for only a few minutes can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage or even worse, they can die.” Says Eric Weigand DVM, past president of California Veterinary Medical Association.  If you need to run errands, it’s best to leave your pet at home during hot days.

  1. Foxtails

Foxtails are a type of grass common in yards, on paths, and hillsides.  While foxtails are dangerous at all stages, they can cause the most trouble when they’re really dry.  Foxtails can embed in the eyes, ears, nose, paws and skin, often requiring surgical removal.  Signs of foxtails, depending on the location, can be sneezing, shaking the head, coughing/hacking, squinting eyes or discharge coming from the eyes, pawing at the area and abscess or open wounds.  The best way to avoid foxtails is to stay away from areas inundated with them.  When hiking, try to keep your dog on the path.  Remove any foxtails you see in your yard and after outdoor activities, thoroughly check your pet.

  1. Swimming

Not all dogs are good swimmers.  Before you take your dog swimming, test them in shallow water first.  If you suspect your dog cannot swim well, get them a life vest.  If you go on a boat, your dog should always wear a life vest, no exceptions.  Aside from the life preserver helping them float, the bright color makes it easier to spot and gives you something to grab if he/she jumps or falls in the water.  Keep in mind too that dogs are much heavier in water when you’re trying to pull them back into the boat.  Don’t let your dog swim too far away from you because dogs don’t understand the concept of resting or treading water and can tire easily.  Never force your dog into the water.  It could scare them and won’t be fun at all.


While these hazards can be scary, don’t let it stop you from having a blast this summer with your furry friend!  Above all else, being a responsible pet owner and looking after your pet’s wellbeing will ensure safety all around.  Have fun this summer and don’t hesitate to share all of your adventures with us!

Dental Blog

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Why Is Dental Care So Important?

Dog and cat breath is nothing to smile about!  Did you know it is estimated by the age of two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease (AVMA 2013)?  Periodontal disease is the most common disease in cats and dogs.  It is an infection caused by bacteria.  The bacteria are located on the teeth and the tissues surrounding the teeth (periodontium).  Most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can’t see it.  Bacteria that you can’t see can damage the tissues connecting the teeth and jaw.  That’s why it’s so important to have your veterinarian regularly examine your pet’s teeth and perform regular professional dental cleanings.

The warning signs of possible dental disease in pets are:

  • Redness of the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Tenderness around the mouth and/or teeth
  • Drooling or dropping food
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite/poor appetite
  • Weight loss


If left untreated, oral disease releases bacteria into your pet’s blood stream that can lead to disease of the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart, as well as diabetes complications and even cancer.  These diseases can worsen with the constant presence of oral bacteria flushing into the bloodstream through inflamed or bleeding gums.  Many of these conditions can improve once the dental disease is resolved and maintained.


Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do between professional cleanings.  Daily brushing is ideal, but we realize that’s not always realistic.  If you can brush your pet’s teeth at least three times per week, you’re doing a great job!  While it is best to brush, you can offer your pet a dental hygiene chew on days you cannot brush.  There are also oral cleaning wipes, gel and water additives to help maintain good oral hygiene.  If you do not know how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask us for help and we can show you!

In honor of National Dental Month, Four Corners Veterinary Hospital is offering $60 off your dog or cat’s dental cleaning and 10% off all dental products for the months of February and March.  Please call our hospital at 925-685-0512 to set up your pet’s dental exam today!