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.

It’s just Dog and Cat Breath. What’s all the Fuss About?

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Do you ever turn your nose up to your pet’s breath? Is it hard to sit next to them with the odor of their breath? Bad breath or halitosis is certainly not limited to humans and can affect dogs and cats. While humans are typically aware (or not aware) of halitosis our pets are oblivious when their breath smells atrocious. This poses a big problem as halitosis can be due to some major dental disease and we as owners are responsible for the oral health care of our pets.

What causes halitosis?
Halitosis is the result of odor-producing bacteria that build up in your pet’s mouth, lungs or gut. While we may think that the root of bad breath is always in the mouth, it could be a sign of a more major problem with the liver, kidneys or gastrointestinal tract. Regardless, halitosis is the result of bacteria build-up, saliva and food that have contributed to plaque. If left untreated, this build-up over time can result in an infection affecting the gums and surrounding tissues of the teeth and cause the breath to worsen.

What do I do if my pet has halitosis?
First, don’t panic! There are lots of remedies and help available. The best thing you can do is make an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical exam and comprehensive oral exam. He/she will recommend specific diagnostics based on physical exam findings and history. Blood work may be recommended to figure out if there is a problem present other than oral disease. If your veterinarian finds excessive calculus, broken teeth, discolored teeth, etc. on oral exam then he/she will recommend a dental cleaning under anesthesia.

What treatment will be done for my cat and dog with halitosis?
As mentioned previously, if there are problems found on the physical exam or blood work, then those problems will be addressed first. If a teeth cleaning is warranted and there are no problems on the initial exam or blood work, then a cleaning under anesthesia will be scheduled. Cleaning under anesthesia will typically begin with a thorough oral exam, dental radiographs, and routine scaling/polishing of all the teeth. The examination and radiographs may reveal more significant concerns that may require further treatment. If abnormalities are found, such as fractured teeth, tooth root abscesses, etc., then extraction of those teeth may be recommended. After the dental cleaning, sealants may be applied in some cases. Rinses, antibiotics, and pain medication may also be sent home to reduce discomfort, help clear infection, and allow for proper healing.

What can I do at home to help prevent/treat halitosis?
There are many easy things you can do at home to help prevent halitosis. There are lots of choices of toothpaste and toothbrushes designed specifically for pet use. Pets need their teeth brushed just like humans and it is recommended to brush them once a day. If that is too often for you, even as little as once a week will be beneficial. Antibacterial rinses can help with bacterial load and in turn with halitosis (and they are easier to use than they sound!). Chews can also be given to help with the mechanical removal of plaque. Some chews even contain antibacterial ingredients that can combat the bacterial load. Finally, some dental diets offer another option for removing plaque mechanically.

Remember to have a complete oral health exam performed at least annually as part of a general physical exam. Combining regular monitoring with proper dental care as recommended by your veterinarian will help to prevent halitosis and severe dental disease from occurring.

In honor of Dental Month, we are offering $75 off dental cleanings for dogs and cats for the month of February and March. Make an appointment today!

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!