Puppy Preschool!

What is Puppy Preschool?

Erin Waldrop, a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Daniel Island Animal Hospital, is PASSIONATE about puppies! (Who isn't?) Based on animal behavior research, she has developed a curriculum with the intent of giving puppies various socialization opportunities in effort to prevent behavioral issues, like fear and aggression, down the road.

This weekly class will allow time for guided puppy play, exploration, and mini educational topics. These topics will go beyond what time allows for in the exam room and cover:

  • Early Development
  • Handling
  • Enrichment
  • Community Health
  • Grooming 
  • Dental Care
  • Nutrition
  • Pet Insurance

Tell me more about this "animal behavior research."

Behavioral problems: the number one reason dogs are re-homed or relinquished to shelters, the number one cause of death for dogs under three, and the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. We know you love your puppy and we want to do everything we can to keep it that way!

Prime socialization happens within the first 4 months of life when sociability outweighs fear. This is the period of time when puppies should be exposed to and have the opportunity to adapt to as many people, places, and things as possible. Read more from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

Typical puppy classes focus on obedience and begin once the vaccine series is complete at 16 weeks: after the prime start-up socialization window has passed. While there is a small risk of virus exposure when introducing puppies earlier in life, our doctors feel the benefits to socialization far outweigh this risk. We require that puppies attending class are current on all recommended vaccines for their age. This class can be used as a great stepping stone towards future obedience classes and at-home training.

Sign me up! When, where, and how much?

Erin will be holding class every Thursday from 5:45-6:30pm in our hospital's lobby. All puppies age 6-20 weeks are welcome. Class size is limited to 3-8 puppies...don't miss out! To register, call/text/email and we will reserve your spot: 843-881-7228, info@danielislandvet.com

Package Pricing:

  • Full Program (8 weeks): $150 - for puppies 12 weeks or younger at first class
  • Half Program (4 weeks): $75 - for older puppies/those who cannot commit to full schedule
  • Pay-Per-Class: $25/class (subject to available space)

Have to miss a class? We'll work with you to make it up!

Members: earn and redeem rewards dollars on this service!

Happy Visits!

Does the thought of a trip to the vet leave your pup a bit anxious? Help him fight his fears with happy visits!

Our hospital tends to be at its calmest and quietest between 1-2pm daily during the week. This is a great time to pay us a social call and help build a positive, trusting relationship between your dog, our team, and our office. Your visit could be as simple as special treats and some time roaming our halls or we could help build towards a specific goal like fear free nail trims.

Some activities to try during your happy visit:

  • Extra special vet-only treats like Cheese Wiz
  • Hang out in the lobby or meander through the treatment area
  • Practice weighing in on our scale
  • Meet and greet the team 
  • Stand on an exam table or ride the lift table in the back
  • Have a tech gently work with the toes, ears, mouth, tail, or other sensitive spots
  • Get cozy in a kennel

The more positive associations your pet has with our practice, the better each subsequent visit will be for the whole family! We look forward to your visit!

Tips for Successful Feline Visits to the Veterinarian

We all want our kitties to have the best possible experience when coming to the vet so I hope you will find this helpful!

“Understand that most cats are pessimists-they assume the worst will happen. Try not to confirm it for them.”

The Cat's Point of View:

  • Your human shoves you into a carrier after chasing you around the house.
  • You endure an upsetting and unfamiliar car ride.
  • You arrive at a strange place where there are a lot of other animals, smells, and sounds.
  • Your senses of smell and hearing are heightened because you don’t like the unfamiliar.
  • A strange person dumps you onto the cold table.
  • You certainly don’t like strangers handling you.
  • These new and unwanted experiences make you fearful and anxious.
  • You are so frightened that you may urinate, defecate, or vomit.
  • You are likely to bite or scratch to defend yourself.
  • If you end of staying at this awful place, when you go home the other cats in the household don’t like you because you smell different.

With thoughts like that, who wouldn't be afraid of the vet?! However, by following the tips below I hope you and your kitty will have an awesome experience! It's best to start young but ANY cat can be trained!

Improving the Cat Carrier Experience:

Always transport your kitty in a carrier. Choose a carrier with a topthat easily opens or lifts off(like the picture to the right), or a soft carrier with sides that don’t sag inward on the cat.

Keep the carrier out at all times in a safe place (you may want to start in “convertible mode” with the top off), and randomly toss treats inside so it becomes seen as an automatic treat dispenser.

Periodically use an interactive toy (a fishing pole-type toy with feathers or fabric) to direct play to the carrier, encouraging the kitty to jump in and out.

Zip up or close the carrier with the cat inside, calmly pick up and take the carrier with you for just two steps, and the open it.  Over time, take your cat on longer tours of your home inside the carrier. If your cat is anxious you’ve done too much too fast; back up to whatever point in training your cat had accepted, and then proceed slowly.

Now that your cat is no longer anxious about the carrier itself, it’s time to teach the cat to jump inside the carrier on cue, using a treat or toy as motivation. For example, toss the toy inside and offer a cue such as “inside your house” as the cat jumps in. If you're still stuffing your cat inside, well, the point is that you shouldn’t need to do that. Remember, cats always do better when they believe something is their idea!

The Car Ride and Vet Visit:

Take the carrier with the cat to the car-but don’t turn on the engine. Sit there a few minutes, popping treats through the carrier telling your kitty how wonderful she is. Then take your kitty back inside the house and give her a meal. Once you get to this point with a still-happy cat, you're ready for a brief drive. 

Try to make the trip as rewarding as possible with calming conversation, treats popped through the closed carrier door or even play.  Keep the car windows closed and avoid loud music on the radio and sharp turns for the first few rides.

Spritz the inside of the carrier and blanket with Feliway (a synthetic copy of a cats friendly facial scents) at least 10 minutes prior to the trip

A big meal just before the car ride could cause an upset tummy for cats that get car sick. At the same time, taking food away for too long before a vet visit can create stress.

If your cat has a favorite toy, bring it along. Also bring a towel or blanket that has the scent of family members as well as your cats cat smell.  Place the blanky in the exam table and put your cat on it. 

In the veterinary waiting room, keep the carrier away from other animals, especially noisy or upset pets. Your lap is a good place for a carrier (the cat sees you and smells you and is off the ground). 

Bring cats in separate carriers: even well-bonded cats may become aggressive to each other if stressed.

Cover cat carriers while traveling, as cats are known to de-stress more quickly in the dark.

We are looking forward to your next awesome kitty visit!!!