Success Stories

We’re so happy and grateful…

“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

The improvement was remarkable…

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

Such a difference in a short time…

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.”

She has calmed down so much

Black Dog Looking Up

Pepper & Katy in Keswick, VA
1.5 year old female rescue Lab/Pit mix.

Before Training: excitable, jumps and nipped at people out of over-excitement, easily distracted, selective listening, no self-control.

What Owner has to say: Pepper went to the farm with us to pick blackberries yesterday and she was so well behaved. We didnt let her run on her own at the time because I didnt know where the cows were but she had 4 deer running across my brothers driveway in front of her and she only stared didnt try to take off or anything! Its funny when you said wear the collar as much as possible so she doesnt just think its for training and now I see she does act like an angel all day long while its on! Well be making her wear it more often now. My brother did see a couple of the commands sit, stay and lets go and was totally impressed with how well behaved she was at his house! Its working and she has calmed down so much in the last few months! Thank you!!


Now we can walk past dogs without making a peep…

Five Dogs on a Walk Through the Woods

Karly & Claire in Ivy, VA
3 year old female rescue cockapoo.
Before Training: Very dog reactive- barking, whining, lunging, just generally going nuts at the sight of other dogs. Needed better recall and general obedience. Owner knew she needed help and wanted to find a way to make her dog calm, happy and well-behaved.

Training was important because: Owner spends the summer in Maine with lots of family and their dogs. They do a lot of off leash walking and hiking and the dogs spend a lot of time together.

After Training: Can walk past dogs without making a peep/fuss/over-reacting, great off leash reliability and obedience, much more tolerant and at ease around dogs and is able to socialize and spend time with dogs.

What Owner Has to Say: Karly is doing great [in Maine] with the 4 other family dogs on our walks. Off the leash, shes running in the woods and even trying to get the others to play with her. Claire

Sugar is calmer and more confident thanks to Heather…

Dog Sleeping on Bed

Diane and Steve of Charlottesville, VA contacted me because they were having some issues with their 7 year old rescued hound mix, Sugar, and decided to pursue dog training to try and resolve the problems.Sugar was showing some concerning behavior especially at the front door when guests or delivery drivers would visit. Sugar, a healthy 70 pound dog, would charge up to the new person barking and looking quite threatening. Diane & Steve were growing concerned that she may bite someone. Using obedience training and remote collar training we were able to strengthen Sugar’s obedience commands and also helped her learn to stay calm and under control during those high anxiety situations like when the doorbell rings. Here’s what Diane had to say about her experience with us:

We contacted Heather to help us with Sugar, our rescued hound dog, who was overprotective with visitors. Heather taught us to communicate our rules, and the training sessions she provided strengthened our bond with Sugar. Sugar is calmer and more confident thanks to Heather, and we are much more comfortable with Sugar around strangers. We actually think that Sugar loves us more!”
March 5, 2017

Thanks to Heather, walking with Oliver is pleasurable and not a chore

Dog Laying Down On Sidewalk

Lisa of Charlottesville, VA is the owner of a young beagle mix named Oliver that was making it very difficult for her to walk him and his cocker spaniel brother because of his reactivity to other dogs. Living in a lovely residential neighborhood meant going for a walk without seeing another dog was almost impossible. Oliver would bark, pull, lunge and lose his mind when he saw other dogs. With a little obedience training and a lot of dedication and consistency on the part of Lisa, Oliver became a new dog. Not only is he able to walk by other dogs calmly, being attentive to Lisa instead of the dog, but Oliver is listening and behaving better inside their home as well. Read what Lisa had to say about working with us:

Heather is great! Oliver was not comfortable with other dogs and he controlled me. Today, I can take Oliver for a walk feeling more comfortable and in control. Oliver is more relaxed and can enjoy the walk instead of being defensive and guarded. In the home Oliver is getting better each day with his place command. Thanks to Heather, walking with Oliver is pleasurable and not a chore.”
March 5, 2017

Conley is doing really well with us thanks to Heather

Dog Smiling next to Flowers

“Heather was amazing when my mom and I first got our puppy Conley. She was patient with us and him! She knew how to explain things in such a way where we would think about the messages and signals we were sending Conley, thus explaining his reactions to us and his behaviors. She also provides a judgement free zone and works with you and is not pushy at all. She gave us so much comfort and a place to ask questions. Conley is doing really well with us thanks to Heather’s great foundational work with him. Her lessons progressed each week as we accomplished each training method or trick we were given. It was a great experience and I emphatically recommend Heather to anyone thinking of training their dog.”
March 5, 2017