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“Justin, me, Moxie and Atlas are at the beach this week (got here Friday) and it has been a complete 180 from the last couple of years at the beach. People stop them on the beach and comment on how well-behaved they are. Dogs off-leash or acting up run towards them and they are able to remain composed. It’s truly amazing and such a relief we could almost cry.

They will sit by us in the tidal pools and play or dig as little kids or dogs run by. I can’t express how wonderful it truly is, but we wanted to let you know. They’re not perfect, but they better know our expectations and now when they bark it’s more like a “hey” instead of a hey hey hey hey hi hi hi look over here HEY I NEED TO GET TO YOU RIGHT NOW.I could write more, but all of this is to say we’re so happy and grateful.”-Blake Jordan of Shipman, VA

BEFORE TRAINING: Kaiya, a 4 year old female Golden Retriever who was adopted after having spent her life as a puppy mill breeder. Her new owners immediately recognized that she needed even more than just obedience training; she was extremely fearful of almost everything including loud noises, doorways, men, and any new situations. Having never experienced living in a home let alone a downtown environment, she was struggling with the transition.

AFTER TRAINING: Kaiya is now able to enjoy the freedom of being totally off-leash at the park, coming back as soon as her mom or dad call her. She is a much more confident dog who has adjusted to life as a house pet remarkably well, she even enjoys going in the elevator at their condo. Jeff & Kaye were completely committed to doing all they could to help Kaiya live a happier and less-stressful life, and all their hard work and training practice certainly paid off.

“Heather at Lead the Way K9 Training is terrific. Our Vet recommended her and we were not disappointed. She helped us work with our very timid and skittish rescue, Kaiya. The improvement was remarkable and it was joy to watch our girl come out of her shell. Heather is very knowledgeable about training and training methods. We highly recommend her for any level of training that you might need for your canine companion!”
-Jeff Fracher of Charlottesville, VA

Gromit & Lindsay in Charlottesville, VA
4 year old female Lab Mix
Before Training:Separation anxiety and a “Velcro Dog” following owner around 24/7. Not trustworthy off-leash and would chase small animals. Leash reactivity and overall poor leash skills- barking, pulling, not paying attention on walks.

Training was important because: Owner wants to be comfortable taking Gromit on long camping and hiking trips and for her to be off-leash.

After Training:Totally reliable off-leash and able to enjoy taking Gromit with her on outdoor trips. Able to enjoy daily walks instead of getting dragged on the leash. Enjoying more freedom for both dog and owner and recently added a puppy to their family and they are getting along great.

What Owner Has to Say:“She has been great on our walks and off-leash outings! Such a difference with Gromit in a short time.”

Playing games with your puppy is more than just hanging out and spending time together. The activities and rules you choose can help your new friend get to know you better, develop their cognitive thinking and, of course, get much needed physical and mental stimulation. For grown-up dogs, playing becomes an important activity, that helps them stay healthy and feel involved. It’s crucial to be thoughtful and careful when playing with your puppy. Some owners may accidentally contribute to developing bad habits in their dog, even without realizing it. This is exactly why you’ve got to pick the games the reinforce elements of training and ensure your dog’s consistent positive upbringing.


All puppies feel the urge to grab, bite and chew nearly every single item laying around your home. Hunting and destroying these items is something their instincts tell them to do. First, try not to tempt them: hide the shoes, close all drawers and cabinets, roll up the curtains, etc. Second, make sure to get your puppy an appropriate chew toy, something like a Nylabone or a rubber Kong toy will do the job.


The key is to redirect your pup’s attention away from the stuff you don’t want to be damaged. For example, if your pup is developing an interest in shoes and slippers, you can spray them with a deterrent like Bitter Apple spray. Try to engage your pup in a game and put their toy in the spotlight. If you find a chewed-up item with your pup sitting innocently next to it, you’ll have to do a better job supervising them. Punishing your dog after the fact will not make sense to your puppy and will just confuse them.


When you start teaching your pup to play fetch, start with 2 identical toys. As the dog brings a toy/ball/rope back, throw the second toy. When your pup drops the toy in his mouth to chase the toy you threw, pickup the first toy. Repeat until your pup is predictably dropping the first toy at your feet before you throw the second toy. Another simple game to learn for your pup is Find It. While playing, you can hide a toy or a treat and ask your pup to search for it. Be flexible, start easy and gradually complicate the task.


Training your puppy is a serious, long-term commitment. Don’t feel frustrated when your little friend doesn’t get everything perfect immediately. You can always consult with our certified dog trainer Heather, and together we’ll be able to develop an individualized training plan consisting of games and commands for you and your pup to learn and enjoy. If you wish to learn more, contact Lead the Way K9 Training and fill out our contact form online!

Summer is always an exciting time not just for you but for your four-legged friends. This beautiful season opens a wide range of outdoor activities and fun adventures you can explore together. However, all the amusement can lead to unpleasant consequences if the safety rules arent kept in mind. Your dog is more vulnerable in the summer heat, which is why its your responsibility to ensure their well-being.



Overheating is one of the most common dangers your dog can face in the summer. The smaller and the hairier your dog is, the more careful you should be. When indoors, make sure your home is well-ventilated, the AC is on and the water bowl is easily accessible. When youre out, try to walk in the shade and avoid hot sidewalks and sand. Remember, never leave your dog in the car! If the technology fails, a car can get extremely hot in as quickly as 10 minutes.


Heat Stroke

Prolonged overheating may lead your dog to a heat stroke. Watch out for the early symptoms like miscoordination, dry mouth, bluish tongue, frequent breathing, or muscle twitching. Try to get your puppy to a vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. If not addressed right away, these symptoms can escalate to high body temperature, nosebleed, vomiting, or even fainting and convulsions. A general advice to avoid a heat stroke is to stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible.



Like us humans, dogs need to stay hydrated at all times, especially in the summer. If your dog is hyperactive, they need even more water. Make sure to change the water in a bowl every day and monitor how much your puppy drinks. When youre out, grab a bottle of water for your dog and offer them a drink every half an hour or so, especially after playing or staying under the sun for a while.

Road tripping with dogs can be tricky. When in front of the wheel, you’re responsible for all passengers, including your dog. A misbehaving pup can become the epicenter of the distraction. Some dogs feel anxious when it comes to car rides. Others cant settle and try to get into trouble. Make your dog feel calmer and prevent them from climbing over, and concentrate on driving knowing the dog isn’t chewing on a seatbelt and whatnot.



According to a number of safety tests for dog restraint systems, crates are known to be the safest alternative. If your car is large enough, a regular-sized crate can be placed and secured in the back area. There are different types of crates suitable for animal transportation, such as wire crates, plastic vari kennels, and airline kennels.

Wire crates are a popular and convenient option. However, the bars can be flexible and with some extra dedication, the dog can squeeze out of the wire crate. The crash tests have also proven that wire crates are likely to bend on impact.

Plastic vari kennels and airline kennels are made of solid plastic and are perfect for dog transportation. Unfortunately, the vari kennels cant fit into every car.


Restraint Systems

There is a variety of restraint systems for dogs, which are also pretty safe for car travel. This option is more suitable for smaller cars, where fitting a crate is not an option. Ideally, look for a restraint that buckles into a seatbelt, or some kind of permanent seat attachment. Make sure it comes with a back harness so that the dog won’t jerk forward when you suddenly hit the brakes.


Dog Seats

Small dogs can usually get away with any kind of elevated dog beds. Energetic puppies, however, can jump out of these beds or fall out of them.


The worst way to travel with dogs is to have them sit on the driver’s laps. In addition to being extremely distracting to the driver, the dog can end up hurt. Traveling with dogs becomes even more dangerous if windows are rolled down and the dog is half hanging out of the window. It’s not uncommon for dogs to climb out or fall out of the windows, even while driving, just because they saw something interesting or simply slipped.


People with dogs in the car are likely to get into an accident due to not paying attention and hitting breaks quickly. In that instance, the dog can fall out or even launch off the windshield. Dogs often become lost after car accidents – in many cases, dogs get scared and end up running away from the place of the accident.


Leaving the dog in a car


As the summer is almost here, warmer weather can get your car really hot really quickly. When its 70 degrees and sunny outside, it can take just a few minutes for your dog inside the car to overheat and get sick. Do not leave your dog in a car, unless it’s an absolute necessity. If you need to make a quick stop to get gas or groceries, make sure to park in a shade and keep the car running with the AC on. Lock the door and use the spare key to unlock the car. Don’t take more than 5-10 mins to run your errands while the dog is waiting in the car. Unexpected things can happen, AC might stop running or your car can run out of gas – technology can fail.


Take these tips into account next time you’re in a car with the dog. Remember, safety is #1 priority.

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