Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preparing a dog for a new baby

Preparations for introducing your dog to a new baby should begin several weeks before the baby's actual arrival. It is important that your dog be well trained. He should at least know how to sit, stay, not jump up, and come when called. The main reason for training is to establish your leadership so that he/she will trust you not to abandon him/her when this new creature arrives and the bond will be strong enough for him/her to continue to obey your commands.

The first thing to do prior to baby's arrival is to get a doll. Sprinkle it with baby powder, wrap it in a blanket, cradle it, rock it, talk to it, and walk around the house with it. At the same time, praise your dog for not jumping up on you, by saying, "Good dog." Show the "doll baby" to your dog. Let him/her smell the baby. Give praise and food treats at the same time.

Next, get a recording of a crying baby and play it softly at first. Praise your dog, while listening, and reinforce his quiet behavior with a food treat. Each day increase the volume and continue the praise and food treat. Continue to expose your dog to the smell of baby blankets and powder. Invite a friend with a baby to your house. Reinforce good behavior with praise while the baby is visiting.

On the day of arrival, it would be best for you to walk in without baby and greet the dog. Then, someone else brings in the baby. If you can trust your dog's behavior around babies at this time, let him/her see, smell, and touch the baby. Do not worry if he/she licks the baby. You can wash it off later. Besides, a dog's mouth has less bacteria than a human's!

If you act happy and relaxed while your dog is in the presence of the new baby, it should not take more than a few weeks for him/her to accept this new littermate. If you are nervous about your dog's intentions for a good reason such as growling, you may want to consider using a muzzle when baby and dog are together. It is best not to allow a dog unsupervised access to a new baby for awhile. Some dogs are unnerved by loud crying and flailing arms and legs. Be sure you know your dog is comfortable in all situations before allowing unattended access.

Some dogs will break housesoiling rules for a short time after baby's arrival. They think that if this new littermate creature can do it anywhere, so can they. To discourage this from happening, do not leave dirty diapers lying around.

You may not have the same feeling of devotion and love toward your dog after your baby arrives. Be prepared for this surprising change of attitude. Your dog is no longer your baby. The important thing to remember is to try and give him as much attention, playtime, and exercise as before.

Honest Kitchen Pet Food...We proudly carry at Leading the Way!

Here's what makes our foods and our company, a little bit different from the rest!

Minimal Processing
By using a gentle dehydration process, we are able to maintain the integrity of our core ingredients. Our fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of their ripeness then gently dried. Dehydration ensures that the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients are still intact, so our fruits and vegetables are actually considered raw. Our meat and egg ingredients are dehydrated at a high enough temperature to kill any pathogenic bacteria that may be present.

Dehydrated foods are highly nutritious, easy to prepare and store, and light-weight to ship. It also means that you don’t have to worry about feeding your pet any harsh preservatives. Essentially, our only preservative is the lack of air – how cool?

Human-Grade Ingredients and Production - from farm to bowl
When it comes to sourcing ingredients and preparing our food, we fell back on the simple phrase that mothers and grandmothers are mouthing around the world right now, “You are what you eat.” The same holds true for pets. Human-grade, for us, is not just a marketing term. We believe that your pets deserve the same nourishing diets that you would feed your family.

All our products are safe for human consumption, a requirement for entry into the human food facility where our products are made. Each of our diets are carefully blended to encompass a broad array of amino acids, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes to help achieve and maintain optimum health. Production occurs in a FDA inspected human food facility right here in California, alongside products such as breakfast cereals and beverage mixes for human consumption.

Whole Foods from Suppliers Who Care
All chickens are not created equal; while some have never seen the light of day, ours are free range. We choose suppliers who care because, we care. Here's just a snap-shot of some of our carefully chosen ingredients. Sign up for our e-newsletter to learn more about our ingredients and how we choose them.
Chicken - 100% Free-Range, Sustainably Farmed and Humanely Raised.
Ground flaxseed - certified organic from Washington, USA
Cranberries - natural, unsweetened and free of sulfites from Massachusetts, USA
Sea Kelp - certified organic kelp grown in Breidafjord, northwest Iceland
Quinoa - certified organic, fair-trade from Bolivia, South America – it’s sourced from more than 1000 small, indigenous family farms to provide the families with a valuable, fair-trade income.
Apples - natural, unsweetened and free of sulfates from Washington
Grains – certified organic, whole rolled from Montana, USA

For Dogs
Organic rolled rye, USDA beef, organic flaxseed, organic rolled oats, carrots, alfalfa, potatoes, eggs, spinach, apples, cranberries, chicory, parsley, rosemary, vitamins and minerals.

USDA Free-range chicken, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, apples, alfalfa, organic kelp, honey, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, bananas, papayas, yogurt, basil, garlic, rosemary, vitamins and minerals.

USDA turkey, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, spinach, carrots, organic coconut, apples, organic kelp, eggs, sesame seeds, bananas, cranberries, rosemary, vitamins and minerals.

USDA Free-range chicken, organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach, parsley, organic kelp, rosemary, vitamins and minerals

USDA Turkey, organic oats, potatoes, organic flaxseed, carrots, cabbage,alfalfa, organic kelp, apples, honey, garlic, vitamins and minerals.

Preference base-mix
Alfalfa, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celery, apples, spinach, organic kelp, organic coconut, bananas, zucchini, honey, vitamins and minerals.

For Cats
USDA Free-range chicken, eggs, potatoes, yams, organic flaxseed, zucchini, spinach, cranberries, rosemary, vitamins and minerals.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Litter Box Do and Don'ts! You cat will love you for reading this!


Scoop the litter box twice daily - at a minimum.

Use clumping litter or low dust litter - except for kittens younger than 8 weeks of age.

Use unscented litter.

Keep the litter deep enough 3-4 inches.

Use large litter boxes.

Have enough litter boxes available. One more than your cat household 3 cats = 4 litter boxes

Have litter boxes placed in a quiet area.

Use a litter mat that is comfortable for your cat to walk on.

Seek veterinary attention if your cat stops using the litter box.


Use pelleted (pine or newspaper) or crystal/white pearl litters.

Use scented litters or any deodorizers.

Use plastic 'grass' mats.

Punish your cat for not using the litter box.

Put your child(ren) in charge of litter box maintenance with adult supervison.

When cleaning your litterbox:

Scoop litter boxes at least twice daily removing both feces and urine.

It is critical to be able to remove both the feces and the urine each time the box is cleaned. Clumping litter is helpful for cleaning that allows for this to be done completely. Higher quaility litter is a must, to assit in keeping the box clean.

EXCEPTION TO ABOVE: Clumping Litter and Kittens (younger than 8 weeks of age) often have temporary bouts of diarrhea for various reasons. They are also more apt to step in their feces and then end up with messy cement boots. Very small kittens may even attempt to eat the litter. For this reason, I advise using a NONclumping litter for small kittens.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Number of Boxes and Location

The number and location of the litter boxes are very important issues. Many cats will not use a litter box if it has been used by another cat. In addition, some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in another. Also, a common cause of inappropriate elimination stems from a more dominant cat blocking the pathway to the litter box. The more passive/timid cat is forced to look elsewhere for a bathroom. In this situation it is critical to have enough boxes in ‘safe’ areas to minimize the potential for problems.

Don't put all of the litter boxes in the same spot if you have a bully cat that may be blocking a timid cat from the box. Place the boxes in quiet, low traffic areas. The laundry room and other high traffic areas are often not a suitable place due to the noise and may lead to many litter box aversion cases. Also, it is best to not place litter boxes near the cat’s eating area.

Newly adopted kitten or cat, keep their world small (a single room) until you know that they are using the litter box and is comfortable in his room. Be sure this room is a room that you and the household will visit. Depending on the kitten or cat, this may take several days or a couple of weeks. Only when he is comfortable in one room should you open up the door and let him venture out. Do not carry him to another part of the house. Instead, let him pick his own path so that he will know how to get back to his litter box.

Even if a new kitten is brave and sociable, please do not just turn your kitten loose in a large area please do not expect him to know or remember that his bathroom is 'down the hall...second door on the right'. When a kitten has to go....they can only hold for a short amount of time. Two boxes can help in this situation and it is recommended that you have at least two at any age.

Good Rule of thumb is have one more litter box than cats...3 cats you should have 4 boxes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is your cat not using the litter box....NOW WHAT???

First of all DO NOT PUNISH YOUR CAT. Punishment will NOT help the situation and will often make matters worse. Few things upset me more than when I hear about people actually rubbing their cat's (or dog's) nose in the waste as if this will help the situation! The nose did not do it!!!

Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. There are many medical reasons why cats stop using the litter box –

Diabetes, kidney disease, cystitis (painful inflammation of the bladder), bladder or kidney stones are some of the more common medical problems that can lead to a litter box aversion.

VERY IMPORTANT: If your cat is getting in and out of the litter box and is unable to pass any urine or is looking like he is distressed and wanting to urinate outside the box this is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY! A cat with a blockage of the urinary tract can rupture his bladder within 24 hours resulting in death. You may also notice a blocked cat or one with cystitis licking the genital area frequently.

A cat with cystitis will pass SMALL amounts of urine FREQUENTLY so also make note of the size and number of the urine balls on a daily basis. A 100 percent canned food diet with its high water and low carbohydrate content must be included in the treatment for any cat with cystitis, diabetes, or bladder stones. In fact, all cats should be on 100 percent canned food or a raw meat diet. Dry food is an illogical food source for a cat and causes many health problems. Dry food, with its species-inappropriate water content, is not a friend of the urinary tract system - especially the bladder.

Once you have ruled out a medical issue, you need to evaluate your cat's litter box system:

1) Are you using an UNscented clumping litter?

2) Is his box kept very clean? Less than 3-4 items at a maximum?

3) Is his litter box big enough?

4) Is it in a safe location as far as he is concerned?

5) Are there any feline housemates that may be tormenting him in the litter box - not allowing him to enter or exit?

6) Are there enough boxes? Some cats like to urinate in one and defecate in another one.

7) If you are using a hooded box, have you tried taking the hood off?

8) If you are having problems transitioning an outdoor cat to an indoor cat and he is refusing to use the litter box, or if your cat prefers using your potted plants instead of his litter box, try using potting soil instead of clumping litter. Once the cat has used the potting soil on a regular basis for a couple of weeks, you can gradually add a small amount of clumping litter to see if you can change him over. You will need to empty the box twice daily when using potting soil and scrub the box each time. Also please understand that by using this non-clumping substrate, the urine will soak into the litter box (plastic is fairly porous and easily impregnated with odors) with only a few urinations so I strongly suggest that you get a new litter box when you switch over to using the clumping litter and start with a fresh, clean box.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cat Litter Box Issues- “inappropriate elimination,”

Urinating and defecating outside of the litter box, also known as “inappropriate elimination,” is one of the most common reasons for a cat to be relinquished to a shelter or, in some cases, abused. Sadly, in many cases it is the fault of the human in charge of the litter box duties. When someone is asked how often they flush their toilet, the answer is usually, "every time it is used, of course!" We would be disgusted at the thought of anything less and we all know how repulsive 'porta-potties' are and we are not even asked to walk around in that repulsive 'porta-potty' like humans often ask of their cats!

So why do we expect our cats to use dirty litter boxes instead of just going some place else? Humans seem to forget that a cat’s sense of smell is infinitely more sensitive than our own. Add to this the instinctive nature of the cat to be clean and a dirty litter box spells disaster. Think about how a wild cat would handle his bathroom duties. He would not be confined to a 1’ x 2’ 'bathroom.’ He would not choose to walk around in his own waste. He would simply choose another plot of land and that “plot of land” could be behind your sofa or in another area of your home.

Top reasons for a cat to stop using the litter box:

Dirty litter box(es)

Poor choice of litter type (using pellets/crystals/non-clumping litter)

Poor location of litter box(es)

Blocked from the box by a dominant feline housemate

Box size is too small

Too few boxes

Medical problem(s) This should always be a serious consideration. Many medical issues such as diabetes, cystitis and bladder stones can be avoided by feeding canned food not dry food. The increased water content and the decreased carbohydrate content of canned food are healthier for your cat than dry

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training your dog may take some time and effort, but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new dog or puppy, you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the house rules, such as what he can and can’t chew and where he can and can’t eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he will think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed. Always provide water for your dog anytime he is in the crate. Spill proof bowls or bowls that attach to the kennel gate work best.

Selecting A Crate
Crates may be plastic (often called “flight kennels”) or collapsible, metal pens. Collapsible fabric kennels are designed for use when the owner is present and may not contain a dog for long periods while unsupervised. Crates come in different sizes and can be purchased at most pet supply stores. Your dog’s crate should be large enough for him to stand up and turn around in.

The Crate Training Process
Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training; one, the crate should always be associated with something pleasant; and two, training should take place in a series of small steps – don’t go too fast.

Step 1: Introducing Your Dog To The Crate
• Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is securely fastened open so it won’t hit your dog and frighten him.

• To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop small food treats near it, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay – don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.

Step 2: Feeding Your Dog His Meals In The Crate
• After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, put the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate.

• Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while he’s eating. At first, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he’s staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it’s imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he’ll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine and he’ll keep doing it.

Step 3: Conditioning Your Dog To The Crate For Longer Time Periods
• After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter, such as, “kennel up.” Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate.

• Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks.

Step 4:
Part A – Crating Your Dog When Left Alone
After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate .You’ll want to vary at what point in your “getting ready to leave” routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he shouldn’t be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving.
Don’t make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don’t reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you’re home so he doesn’t associate crating with being left alone.

Part B – Crating Your Dog At Night
Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you’ll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesn’t become associated with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer. Puppies that are healthy can have their water taken from them a few hours before bedtime to help decrease the frequency of potty trips they need to make during the night.

Potential Problems

Too Much Time In The Crate
A crate isn’t a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. For example, if your dog is crated all day while you’re at work and then crated again all night, he’s spending too much time in too small a space. Other arrangements should be made to accommodate his physical and emotional needs. Also, remember that puppies under 6 months of age shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can’t control their bladders and bowels for longer periods.

If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he’s whining to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you followed the training procedures outlined above, your dog hasn’t been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate. Try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he’ll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you’ve ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside.

This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you’re convinced that your dog doesn’t need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Do not give in, otherwise you’ll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you’ve progressed gradually through the training steps and haven’t done too much too fast, you will be less likely to encounter this problem; if the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.

2003-2006 Dumb Friends League. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pet Food Drive...Help TODAY!!!

Help us Help the pets of
the Pioneer Valley!

Pioneer K-9 4-H Club

is collecting pet food and supplies to support the local shelters & rescues in the community!

Last year our club collect 900lbs.
This year goal is 1200lbs!


Donate Now...until Feb 28th!

Monday, January 4, 2010

What is your dog trying to tell you?

Calming signals are a set of body language skills which dogs use to maintain healthy relationships and resolve conflict without having to resort to aggressive behaviors.

These signals often occur early in interactions, as soon as a dog becomes aware that a situation may need “calming down.” This facet of canine communication is designed to help dogs calm themselves and others in the face of stress. Additionally, many dogs make use of calming signals in an effort to simply show goodwill. Dogs with the inability to signal and/or respond appropriately to signals often find themselves in predicaments. Essentially, calming signals are meant for the dog to display their stress in the hopes that the individual it is communicating with will understand and alter their behavior.

All breeds of dogs have calming signals; however some are more developed than others due to the differences in their physical attributes. Sometimes these signals may be very subtle in nature and at other times much more overt, often depending upon the level of threat that a dog is feeling. Many calming signals appear to be hardwired into dogs.

For example, puppies may exhibit yawning as early as their first day when they are being picked up and handled. Dogs never completely lose their language, but if they do not have the opportunity to practice their signals, or if they are inadvertently punished for using them, calming signals may become suppressed, which unfortunately turns into a vicious circle.

When assessing if a dog is exhibiting calming signals or not, it is important to always look at the context of the situation surrounding the behavior.

1. Head turning/Averting gaze
2. Blinking/Softening gaze
3. Turning away
4. Play bow
5. Curving
6. Slow movements
7. Yawning
8. Sniffing
9. Splitting
10. Nose licking
11. Sitting/Laying down
12. Tail wagging
13. Marking
14. Freezing
Leading the Way offers doggie daycare and all types of training, including private, group classes and a residential training program. Behavior assessment and modification is done using ONLY positive methods focused on shaping behavior.

We have over 25 years of professional experience, dedicated to enhancing the relationship of both ends of the leash, through knowledge, compassion, and building long term relationships with our clients, both two and four legged.