Monday, July 25, 2011

Pool Safety Tips...have a safe summer

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Yippee, Pool Party!
Your dog may take these words as an invitation to jump into the middle of kids playing “Marco Polo” or as her time to scout for crumbs under deck chairs.

Either way, some important water safety tips are in order because some dogs don’t like to swim and others shouldn’t.

Water Safety Example #1: One day Buddy, a Basset Hound, saw his English Setter friend, Spencer, on the far side of the pond. With a mighty leap, Buddy took off swimming toward the other bank. Buddy’s heavy body and stubby legs were not seaworthy.

Had Buddy not turned himself around, it could have become an emergency. Dogs will panic in the water and try to climb on top of a rescuer, so it is safer to throw them something that floats, like a life preserver on a rope, they can “grab.”

Water Safety Example #2: A nine-week-old Miniature Poodle barked frantically as her owners left in a rubber raft. She was unhappy to have been left on the shore. She jumped into the lake and headed for the raft. Her frightened owners turned the raft around and luckily the puppy followed them to land. She survived the incident better than her frantic owners.

The puppy incident could have been avoided if the pup had been placed within an Ex-pen for its safety, or had simply been taken on the raft with a life jacket. Never assume your dog will not try to follow you into water.

Some Water Safety Training Tips to Keep in Mind

Although not all dogs are fond of water, they should be exposed to it for their own safety. With some simple training and safety devices, you can ease your mind and protect your dog this summer.

Give him a gradual introduction into the pool or lake by holding him snugly and slowly walking into the water. Let him get wet a little at a time and eventually let him swim to the exit. Make it a positive experience with lots of encouragement and praise.

Teach proper swimming technique. All dogs will instinctively paddle when submerged in water, but as inexperienced swimmers, many dogs try to rely on their front legs and do little with their rear legs. This results in an almost vertical swim technique with lots of splashing. It’s exhausting and very easy for a dog to become over-tired this way. With proper training, the most vertical of swimmers can learn to use their rear legs, evening out their performance and swimming much more effectively and safely. Keep a close eye on your dog – if you see them become over-stimulated or fatigued, it’s time to call them out. If you see your accomplished swimmer dog lowering his rear, this is a sign that he is getting tired.

Dogs have poor depth perception so if the pool has steps, mark them with a big potted plant and make sure he associates the plant as the exit marker. If there are no steps, provide a non-slip ramp for getting out. Spend sufficient time training him to go up the ramp if he’s alone.

If your dog plays in a lake, make sure to stand at the place on the shore where he can easily walk out.

Always use a life jacket on your dog in ponds, lakes, rivers, or the open water. Just like with people, it’s easy for a dog to develop a cramp in a leg, become exhausted too far from shore, or in the case of rivers or oceans, overwhelmed by tides. Life jackets give your dog the extra protection to stay buoyant.

Keep safety floatation devices nearby, just in the case of an emergency. If your dog gets into trouble, a life preserver attached to a long line is the best course of action to take. Dogs panic easily in the water when trouble hits, and a panicked, flailing dog can accidentally drown any person trying to assist it. Get the dog to grab out to the preserver first and try to reel it in closer to shore before physically trying to help it out.

Training polite pool manners is a must. A big Golden Retriever sailing through the air in her excitement to get in the water is a no-no. Train the canine to “Wait” at pool’s edge or to always use the steps or the ramp.

Also teach her that the “Come” command applies to the pool as much as it does to dry land.

Be mindful of the specific needs of your dog’s breed. Each dog’s physical structure and body-type will greatly impact his swimming ability. Heavily muscled bully breeds exert more energy while swimming due to their increased body mass. Consider using a lifejacket with such dogs for added protection.

Watch your dog’s nails! Dogs can quickly wear their nails down to the point of bleeding as they excitedly race around the pool’s exterior. Keep a watchful eye on the pads of their feet as well. Repeated launching from pool steps can tear up paw pads; especially for dogs who spend most of their time on grass.

Unless your pool cover is solid and strong enough to support your weight, do not leave it on when your dog is unattended near the pool. Countless dogs, even accomplished swimmers, have lost their lives following an unexpected tumble into a covered pool. Once they’re in, the cover is disorienting and it’s almost always impossible for a dog to find his way out. If your dog needs to spend time in the yard unsupervised, consider erecting a pool safety fence.

Avoid letting your dog drink pool water. Always keep an ample supply of fresh water around so your dog can drink without attempting to drink from the pool. Also make sure you give your dog many opportunities to relieve himself after a swim as he is likely to ingest water from wherever he is swimming (pool, pond, lake or ocean) and may need to urinate more often.

Make sure you rinse your dog off after a swim to get chlorine and other pool chemicals, as well as bacteria or dirt he might get on him from a pond or lake. Don’t let your dog sit in a wet collar as hot spots can develop. Be mindful of areas where water can collect, like ears, groin, and armpits, where moisture-induced infections can occur.

If your dog is overweight or a senior, check with your veterinarian first before allowing him to swim. This is also important for dogs who are generally sedentary. Dogs, like people, experience muscle soreness and stiffness and they’re counting on us to lookout for their best interests.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Food Safety

Food Safety...what you need to know to keep your dog safe

One good thing about dogs is that they’re not especially finicky. One bad thing is that they’ll eat just about anything. Unfortunately, that can include foods or other substances that may be potentially toxic.

Virtually any substance can be toxic to your dog if consumed constantly or at high dosage. Even if no adverse effects are immediately seen, that does not mean a certain substance is safe.

There are many myths about what is or is not safe or healthy for pets. Before getting on the bandwagon, keep in mind the commercial motives of those perpetuating the myth. Demand scientific evidence for the claims.

Dog foods to avoid
The following lists some of the substances for which there is credible evidence of toxicity at dosages your dog could conceivably consume:

Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol can cause gastrointestinal irritation, drunkenness, tremors, difficult breathing and/or panting, coma and even death

Avocados: Avocados can result in respiratory distress and the accumulation of fluid around the heart

Chives: If fed in excess, these can lead to GI upset and perhaps damage red blood cells

Chocolate: Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate

Coffee: Coffee (including the grounds and beans) can cause the same symptoms as chocolate

Grapes and raisins: Depending on the amount ingested, clinical signs can range from vomiting to life-threatening kidney failure

Spices: If fed in excess, these can lead to GI upset and perhaps damage red blood cells

Spoiled food: Spoiled food may contain food-borne pathogens, molds, and mycotoxins that can result in GI irritation, tremors, seizures, and death. All food, regardless of shelf-life claims, loses value and may grow toxins over time. Dogs CANNOT tell if a food is spoiled.

Onions: If fed in excess, these can lead to GI upset and perhaps damage red blood cells

Salt and salty foods: Excess salt and purified salt can result in sodium ion poisoning with symptoms of regurgitation, tremors, excessive thirst, diarrhea, high temperature and seizures. On the other hand, moderate amounts of natural salt can be healthy.

Tomato: Fruit is not a problem in moderation, but the leaves, stem and unripe fruit are. Ingestion of these can cause GI upset, excess salivation, drowsiness, dilated pupils, and weakness. The same symptoms can be seen with the ingestion of any green plant parts of the potato and many household plants;

Xylitol sweetener: This sweetener in candies and gum can also cause a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression and seizures;

Yeast dough: Dough can be double trouble in that as it rises, the dough can expand the GI tract, possibly causing the intestine to rupture. The yeast can also form alcohol as it rises, leading to alcohol poisoning

Antifreeze, cleaning products and all household chemicals and drugs should be kept out of reach of pets. Some of these substances (such as antifreeze) actually taste good to pets and can cause serious illness and death.

Be sure to use caution with spicy foods, cooked bones, singular supplements, and virtually any commercial product fed continuously. Again, the principle to keep in mind is that variety is the spice of health. Since anything can potentially be toxic if fed in excess, varying the diet is the best safeguard. Even so-called 100% complete commercial diets have caused serious illness and death when fed exclusively.

If you think your cat may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, immediately call your veterinarian. Be sure to let them know what she has eaten and how much, the estimated time of ingestion, if you know it, and any problems she is experiencing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Puppy Summer Yummies....Doggone gooood

Puppy Summer Treats!

Summer Dog Treats #1: Chicken Meat Pops
This is a summer dog treat that any canine will go crazy for. It's also very simple to prepare. To make this summer dog treat, simply combine low-sodium chicken broth, cooked hamburger meat, and brown rice. Then pour the mixture into popsicle molds or an ice cube tray depending on the size of your dog. This is a treat that should be enjoyed outside, because it will make a mess. You could place these summer dog treats in a zip top bag and take these to the park for your dog to enjoy on a hot summer day

Sweet Potato Freeze Ingredients:

1 Sweet Potato


Ice cube trays or larger plastic cups (this can make the ice cubes a bit bigger for more fun)

Bake a sweet potato, let it cool, and then pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. Once the potato has been chilled, peel the skin off and slice it into small pieces.

If you don’t want your dog to immediately remove the sweet potato, follow these steps:

Fill an ice cube tray half way with water and put it in the freezer for an hour. Then add the sweet potato pieces. Put it back in for another hour, and then fill the trays with water to the top. This keeps her busy a bit longer and makes it fun for her to try get to the sweet potato pieces.

Dogtini Ingredients:

Organic (or regular) low sodium plain chicken broth


Ice cube trays

Mix 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Pour into an ice cube trays, and freeze. I usually make these once a week. The ice cubes have a chance to freeze overnight and then they areavailable to give to your dog whenever they seems thirsty, hot, or just as a little summer treat.

To make things fun, take a plastic martini glass and fill it with some of the ice cubes, then add a little water. You added a couple of small pieces of turkey hot dogs and a lime to garnish.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Summer are invited

Let the fun begin....Mark your calendars!

Our Summer Potluck is Sat Aug 27, 6pm-8pm (rain date Sunday Aug 28) , this annual event is the highlight of the Leading the Way season. This seasons potluck will be held at our home. 40 South Main St. South Deerfield

We ask that everyone bring a dish to share with 10 people.

Using your dogs name (one of them)

A-G main dish

H-L side dish

M-Q drinks

R-Z Dessert

Also, we do a Yankee swap. This fun activity is enjoyed by all. To participate, bring a pet themed gift valued at $25 wrapped.

***** Please note this event is not for every dog. In the past this event has had as many as 25 or more dogs. With that in mind....shy fearful dogs may be overwhelmed. Others may may not be comfortable with the new people.

The fence is just a standard height of 4 feet. If your dog is known to jump or try to escape fences you may want to reconsider bringing your dog.

Safety is our biggest concern. Some dogs would enjoy being at home and you come and enjoy yourself. ***** we will also be providing a small dog play area. *****

New to Leading the Way please RSVP to

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Heat Stroke! The facts....

Heat Stroke
Summer is here, and it’s HOT outside! If you and your best friend will be spending time outdoors, make sure that you watch your dog closely for signs of overheating and heat stroke.

Many people don’t even realize that their dog is overheating. That happy, long tongue is letting you know your dog is HOT! Heat stroke is a very real danger for your dog and will cause nausea, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and even death. So, make sure your dog has access to a nice, shady place to cool off, with plenty of fresh water to keep him cool & hydrated.

When it’s really hot outside – even a casual walk can lead to heat stroke especially if your dog is older or out of shape. Keep your exercise routine to early morning or evenings when it’s cooler.

Never leave your dog in your car during hot weather. Dogs left in cars, even with the window cracked open, can overheat very quickly during the summer.

Here’s how to recognize heat stroke in your pet. If your dog is suffering from heat store, he will be:

panting excessively

have redness around his eyes

show signs of weakness


may start vomiting

You can try to cool him down by giving him cool water to drink – not cold water. Cold water may make him vomit.

Try to sponge him down with a cool wet towel or soak him in a tub of cool water and keep a fan on him. NEVER USE ICE TO COOL YOUR DOG-- no ice bathes, you can put ice in their drinking water. NEVER on the body.

In extreme cases where your dog’s gums are grayish, his tongue is blue, or he is unconscious, call your veterinarian. Severe heatstroke is an emergency, and you may need to make a quick trip to the veterinarian or emergency clinic.


To see how fast your car can get hot even with the window cracked open, visit

Information on heatstroke can be found

From APDT .com

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Classes and Workshops! Filling fast! Enroll TODAY

Our Summer Schedule

Our Classes::

Manners 101: This is the foundation training for all ages. How are your dog's manners? This 8-week class covers basic commands including sit, come when called, and stay, among others. Skills covered include polite greetings, no begging, and no jumping, among others. This jam packed class is full of helpful information and participating in it will help you build a better relationship with your dog. It is just $160 for 8 weeks. It meets both Tuesdays and Saturdays. You can attend one day or both or alternate. It’s all up to you. Tuesdays 6-7pm and Saturdays 9:30-10:30am.

Skill Builder with the Experienced Handler: This class is ideal for the handler and dog with some experience under their collar that want to take their skills to the next level and improve their relationship. This group class covers relationship building skills. Many other things are covered, including improving your off-leash walking; come when called with intense distractions; distance work; advanced sits and downs and other commands; playing with the agility equipment. This wonderful class meets for 10 weeks. Fee is only $190. Limited to 8 handlers. Weds. 6-7pm, Saturdays 9:30-10:30am.

Therapy Dog Class: The focus of this class is on preparing the handler and dog for the therapy environment. This class is ideal for both the novice and experienced handler and will include field trips into the community to gain skills. Skills include working around medical equipment, loud noises, food, toys, and other distractions. Topics covered include stress and calming signals in dogs, infection control, medical ethics, general liability, and handling difficult visitation situations. This 12 week class is limited to 6 students. Fee is $ 210, Weds 7-8pm.

Agility for Beginner and Intermediate: This class will allow you to explore the fastest growing dog sport and take you and your dog’s skills to the next level. You and your dog will learn trust and teamwork as you progress in your skills with sequencing obstacles and learn the footwork needed to be successful in the sport of agility. Your dog will jump through tires, tunnels, and weave poles, walk up ramps and much more. This 5 week class is limited to 8 dogs. Fee is just $160. Meets on Thurs 6:45-7:45pm NOTE!! This class meets in SOUTH DEERFIELD. NOT FLORENCE Beginning Aug 4, 6:45-7:45! Only 3 spots remaining!!!!

Trick, Targets and Games Oh My!: This class will cover tricks such as roll over, play dead, wipe your nose and yes, READ! This is an on-going class and a collaborative effort type class. Class fee for 3 months is $150. Fridays 6:00-6:45 pm. Come join the fun! Open to all LEVELS & Dog Ages!!!!

Graduate Handling and Training: This class is for the most experienced handlers. It will focus on advanced skill building; ultimate distractions while maintaining focus; social skills and so much more. This wonderful class will explore a variety of training skills, theories and sports, including drill team, free style, Rally-O and agility. This class is open to students with the desire to improve and bond more with their dog, The fee is $600 for 6 months. Limited to 8 students. Meets on Sundays, 9:30-10:30am.

Off-Leash & Other Advanced Skills Extravaganza: This is truly an off –leash class. In fact, you will leave your leashes at the door. This class provides all the skills needed for off-leash handling and control. It is ideal for graduates of Graduate Handling or Experienced Handler. This full 12 week class is just $225 and meets on Sat 10:30-11:15 am. Beginning Aug 6, 2011 We meet in various locations in community. First class meets in Florence.


Canine Massage
: discover the benefits and bonding of canine massage. This relaxing class teaches both beginning and advanced techniques. Ideal for all ages of dogs. Especially beneficial to shy and older dogs.

We are excited to welcome Linda Jackson back for another great workshop!

Aug 14 11:30-1, light snacks provided. FREE! our gift to you. Limited to 20 handlers.

Private massage sessions will also be available after the workshop for a small fee for both dogs and CHAIR massages for the humans. Just $25 for 20 glorious minutes... Of pure relaxation.

Linda Jackson, is a licensed acupuncturist with Master’s Degrees in both Education & Oriental Medicine. At The Centre for Acupuncture in Gt. Barrington, MA., she offers services in acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine to both people and their dogs. She also offers lifestyle coaching in exercise such as yoga & Qi Gong, meditation, breath and nutrition according to Oriental Medicine principles.

Linda has been in the holistic health field for over 30 years with an extensive background in holistic health, including Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA where she was a founding member, developer and instructor of programs in yoga, massage and health.
Linda has published, with co-author Jody Chiquoine, a popular book, "A Dog Lover’s Guide to Canine Massage". This book is a thorough workbook for dog lover’s to learn massage and stretching for their canine companions to keep them healthy and stress free. This book is a must for every dog owner and dog lover.

In her personal life, she continues her regular practice of meditation, yoga, Qi Gong and healthy lifestyle choices in order to continue to offer her services from personal experience. Linda’s interests are writing, photography and being outdoors as much as possible throughout the year. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, scuba diving and exploring nature with her dogs!

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Earning the CGC award will ensure that your dog is a well-respected member of your community. The Canine Good Citizen award is one of the first AKC certificates your dog can own and CGC provides an excellent foundation for all other training. Canine Good Citizen training is fun and useful. You’ll find that training for the CGC award will help you establish a closer bond with your dog. This workshop will include ample practice before the test at the conclusion of the workshop. Aug 20 11:00-1:00pm Fee is $35 (for current students just $20)

Focus, Control and Recall EVERYTIME™ On or Off Leash
This workshop is like two workshops in one. Learn to keep your dog's focus in any situation, including dog parks, around those pesky squirrels, learn come when called EVERYTIME ™and so much more. Fee is $55 and includes lunch and workbook. Limited to 5 students.
Sat Aug 27 11:00-2:00 Light refreshments served

Polite Greetings and Leash Walking Does your dog's pulling or jumping embarrass you? Or maybe you just want your arm back in its socket and the scratches on your legs to heal. Whatever your reasons for teaching your dog not to jump up during greetings, and to walk politely on leash, it's a great idea! Fee is $55
Sat Aug 27 2:15-4:15 Light refreshments served

All access pass is just $725, a savings of $225!

Summer Tips

Summer Tips:

When it comes to the summer time heat and sunshine, make sure to follow some safety tips so your pet can join in the fun.

Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, don’t leave your dog in your car. Aside from being against the law in many states, even a few moments in the heat will turn your car into an oven. This can lead to dehydration, brain damage or even death, and even cracking the car window will not be enough to combat summer heat. You can visit the My Dog is Cool web site to see a chart on how fast your car can become overheated.

Often pet owners will shave down their dogs during the summer time, thinking this will help keep them cool. But ironically, shaving down a dog inhibits their ability to deal with the temperature change! So keep your dogs well groomed by removing all its dead undercoat hair, but remember not to shave them down in order to help them tolerate the summer sun. Your dog’s skin will also be at risk from the sun, so sunscreen is recommended. Make sure you use a sunscreen that is specifically made for your dog. Dogs that are shaved, have short white fur, or are hairless are most at risk of sun damage. Other areas of sensitivity are their noses and tips of their ears.

The blacktop street asphalt gets hot. Very hot! Walk your pet on the grass or on the sidewalk instead of on the street. Those hot black roads can hurt their paws. On days that your dog spends a lot of time outside, you’ll want to check the dog’s paws for sun damage and his fur for ticks. When checking for ticks, make sure you look under the tail, on their stomach, in their ears and between their toes.

Some simple training and safety devices can ease your mind and protect your dog this summer. For example, make sure to give your dogs treats and praise in order to positively reinforce being handled and having his fur and paws looked at. Practice this often so that your dog likes being handled! If you want to use doggie sunscreen on your pup, put it on while your dog is playing ball with you or doing another enjoyable activity so that your dog positively associates sunscreen application with good times

Last but certainly not least, always have plenty of water available for your dog! This will ensure that they keep cool and hydrated, which in turn will keep them healthy and happy this summer. From
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.