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Author: Sarah Gleave
Owner of Meg Heath Boarding Kennels since 2002, aged 49, lives with partner in Lincolnshire. Owner of 8 rescue dogs. I have been making dog leads since 2006 and this is now a full time successful business. I am also a Web Designer, having recently launched devdogz.co.uk in November 2017.
The shoulder saver is a 50mm width dog walking belt that features adjustability for your comfort, the option to choose a padded version, 4 attachments for 4 dog leads, lead attachments to help solve lead tangling and adjustable dog leads to help prevent your dog stepping over the lead and you tripping over your dog.
The walking belt and its components can be sold separately or as a bundle.
Adjustable dog leads – 1 – 1.35 cm length
How does the belt work?
Our Shoulder Saver is adjusted using heavy duty hook & loop tape (Velcro). It features 4 x 50mm D rings on the front of the belt to attach your dog leads.
We recommend our adjustable dog leads with O rings on the handles to help prevent tangling and tripping. The adjustable dog lead allows for the differences in walking dogs of different sizes and for when your dog calms down, and the slack needs to be taken up.
We have designed a unique to Meg Heath lead attachment short double trigger ended fixed piece to aid untangling or your dogs’ leads. You would need 1 of these per dog you walk, up to 4.
The Dog Walking Belt along with its attachments and leads are available through Meg Heath Dog Leads, they are all made by me from scratch and field tested thoroughly. They can be bought as a bundle or separately.
We hope you can look forward to more enjoyable walks with our products. Let us know what type of dog walking dilemmas you face and if you think there is something we could make to help? Comment below.
Meg Heath Dog Leads often runs sales and social media competitions. This blog will be updated with current sales, coupons, vouchers, giveaways and competitions.
Coming Soon/Current sales
Date: 1st – 3rd March 2019
Status: Coming soon!
Name: PAY DAY SALE
Details: Figure of 8 and Dog Training Lead (Police Dog Style) Leads – Set price to be announced.
Special conditions: Ends at 21:00 Sunday 3rd March 2019.
Date: 13th & 14th February 2019
Name: VALENTINES SALE – FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR DOG WALKS AGAIN
Details: Free dog lead with any harness or head collar. One lead per order.
Special conditions: Strictly ends at midnight on 14th February 2019. One lead per order.
Other things you might need to know: The lead will be a colour of our choice, probably black, with a standard size trigger hook.
Expectations of delivery: Usualy delivery times expected. See details on our delivery terms page.
Date: 8th & 9th February 2019
Name: FIVER SALE
Details: Many products have had their prices dropped to £5.00. In this sale, 7 of our top selling products are reduced.
Special conditions: Strictly ends at midnight on Sunday 10th February 2019.
Other things you might need to know: The base product has been discounted upgrades, however, are additional. So for example, if you chose to add a brass trigger hook to a £5 dog lead, then that is additional.
Expectations of delivery: We expect this sale to be popular so anticipate a longer wait on delivery times. Please see our Delivery page for further details.
Dog leads for Arthritis, RSI & Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? How can it be possible that a lead could be designed to help dog owners walk their dogs?
Well, Meg Heath aka Sarah Gleave has made several bespoke dog leads for owners with various ailments that I now felt a blog was appropriate, especially if more people can be helped.
Whoever knew that a dog lead could be made to help with arthritis?
Yes, yes it can. Plenty of people have asked me about dog leads to help walk dogs with the symptoms of arthritis. The last design I am most pleased with was for a lady who has 2 dogs – Glen of Imaal Teriers, both of which pulled on the lead, and she had arthritis in her hands & was waiting for a thumb operation.
I designed a lead with a padded handle that was also adjustable, it was tailor fitted to the size of the ladies hand and pulled snug around her wrist so that she did not have to use her fingers. The lead was sewn in a manner that meant the handle loop would not go too big, just an optimum size for the job required. She also ordered a walking belt with carabiners that the dog leads would fit to.
Bespoke Dog Lead for Carpel Tunnel Sufferer
This was a new one for me, but the design came easy. The customer made a suggestion of what they wanted and I made a suggestion on how to improve the design. This is what we came up with.
The dilemma was to be able to hold 2 dogs easily on one handle, but that the handle was an option for only when required. I padded the handle more than I would with a normal dog lead but not too much that it got in the way.
The customer requested fluorescent yellow with a padded handle, I suggested the grey as I think it compliments most colours and is a hardy colour.
I was really pleased with this and I think it looks great in those colours too.
Bespoke creations – Dog Leads & Collars
If you have an idea that solves a dog walking dilemma for you, give me a call or drop me an email or a message. I have never turned a challenge down. The only thing we don’t do any more is embroidery on dog leads & collars.
This lead is used for extending your dogs’ range, giving them more freedom. They come in lengths from 5 to 50 metres. Our leads come in a variety of colours, such as black, royal blue, red, navy blue, cerise, bottle green, chocolate brown, purple, orange, yellow, white, fluorescent yellow, electric blue, emerald, lilac, baby blue, baby pink and sky blue.
There are various options for example padded handle, brass or nickel fittings and width choice of 19 or 25mm.
This lead is like the Halti Lead, with a trigger hook at each end, an O ring at one end the 2 O rings situated along the lead, making adjusting the length of this lead easy. Ideal for double leading a dog, such as attaching to a head collar and a dog collar.
Comes in the colours as above, brass or nickel fittings and either 19 or 25mm widths.
A carabiner is a loop usually made of steel or aluminium and can come with a load rating (ours are 450 kilograms), they have a spring loaded gate, used where safety is critical. Sometimes called D rings, they are widely used by professionals where a rope is used such as construction, sailing, caving, arboriculture (tree stuff!), and where you might be more familiar, climbing and mountaineering.
Fairly new o the UK is the swivel carabiner. They are similar to the trigger hook you are familiar with that one usually finds on a dog lead, but they are a carabiner, thus called a swivel carabiner.
The typical mountaineering carabiner is not the one used on our leads, but we do carry stock of them and can make any bespoke dog lead within our power.
Our swivel carabiners are protected against unintentional opening as you have to rotate and pull to releases the gate. These are called twist and push lock.
Moving on to their use with a dog lead, we make the Carabiner Dog Lead and The Carabiner Car Boot Lead. The carabiner dog lead is just a dog lead with a carabiner instead of a trigger hook. The Carabiner Car Boot Lead is a car lead that is suited to boot anchor points in a car that is too bulky for the trigger hook.
The bungee dog lead is an elasticated lead popular with owners of dogs who pull on the lead. When made, these leads have a piece of elastic stitched into a piece of tube nylon which then looks like a concertina.
This lead was a request by a customer some years ago and has been popular ever since. When used with caution, these dog leads can be used to tether a dog. Comes with some common sense safety instructions on the product page.
The lead is a long double ended adjustable lead, used to tether a dog. Not meant to be used without supervision.
The figure of 8 lead refers to the direction of the lead as it sits on the dogs head. It goes over the nose, crosses under the dog’s chin, up the sides of the cheeks and over the top of the dogs head behind its’ ears. The lead goes through a ring with a handle at the handler end.
Popular with dogs that pull on the lead with the contact point being at the top of the dogs head, unlike our Simple Leader Head Collar.
This lead can be halved in length, so if you purchase the 4 metre double up lead, it can be halved to 2 metres. With a special ring-webbing action sewn into the dogs’ end of the lead, you can thread the lead through itself, making a shorter lead.
The dog walking belt is a belt that goes around your waist with various attachment points for leads to be clipped. Used in conjunction with leads that have rings on the handles and popular with dogs that pull or owners of multiple dogs.
This is a 2-metre dog lead featuring a light rigger hook and no handle. This lead does not have a handle because it is designed to be left on the dog, makes it less likely to get caught under doors etc.
Used for non-confrontational dog handling for example for when wanting to remove a dog from a situation like a sofa!
Another design protected Meg Heath product. This lead feature 2 trigger hooks at the dogs head, designed to be clipped to a head collar and a collar. They can be modified to fit any 2 products, for example, a collar and harness or a head collar and harness.
This car lead is a lighter budget alternative, made from lighter webbing with a trigger hook at each end. This car lead is adjustable, made to be short measuring 50-75 cm but is not suited for headrests.
More products being added regularly. New in July 2018, the Handy Holder and the Coupler.
If you loved our Dog Leash 101, like and share the page, we really appreciate it.
We make prototype dog apparel, so dog leads & collars here at Meg Heath. If you have a design that you would like making up and/or pricing for manufacturing then we are here to help.
It’s a great idea to try and make a positive impact on the well-being of dogs and helping to make their care easier for dog owners is something we encourage.
The top products people make are generally dog harnesses and head collars also called dog halters. Dog leads are also popular as people come up with fresh and innovative ideas. You can get your own printed webbing from places like Bowmer Bond.
Send us a sample of your webbing so we can familiarise ourselves with your request before anything is agreed.
We only use the best materials & never cut corners on quality, sourcing all of our materials from the UK.
If you are considering contacting us, make sure you have an NDA you can email us to sign or make sure that you already have your design protected.
If your design is already protected, send us (in the post) the products you would like us to look at if they are already made up as a prototype or a drawing by email or post if it hasn’t been made yet. Our address is on our contact page. We do not post products back unless you are happy to pay for return postage (by courier).
I have been in the dog leads and collars business since 2006 and do all my own web design and WordPress maintenance myself (since 2015). I have a strong background with dogs having owned them since I was 17. Prior to that, we were a cat family and so grew up with cats all around me in the family home.
I ran my own rescue from 1998 to 2008, ran a dog training school from 2006 to 2010, boarding kennels from 2008 to present and the dog leads business from 2006 to present.
I test all my own prototypes on my dogs and have several unique designs registered to myself.
Please feel free to call for a chat to talk about your products.
Vestibular Syndrome is one of the conditions I have the most experience of while working with English Springer Spaniels (it is not just springers that suffer). Most of them get it and it’s not unusual for them to experience an episode more than once or twice. It can happen and pass in minutes (rare) or it can spread over 10 days from onset to recovery.
What I wanted to address particularly in this blog post is how to deal with the first onset of the episode. The first symptoms of vestibular syndrome in dogs are without a doubt the most stressful for the inexperienced dog owner but the trauma your dog is experiencing is what you have to consider including:
Time to recover
Care from you to help with toileting, feeding – can you help them out to the loo physically? I made a strap to help with the weak rear end.
Accept that meds may not help, but time will
Above all do not rush to have your poor dog put to sleep because vestibular syndrome is not a killer, peoples attitude towards it is!
How can I prepare?
Vestibular Syndrome can affect your dog in their senior years, in my experience with springers, it’s almost inevitable that they will experience it, I’d say 50%+ chance. What you must remember is you do not have to have them put to sleep!
Get a rear end support for your dog, I make them but you can buy them from any dog mobility store.
Have some meat in stock that can be had fed, not chicken, a proper complete meal like Pets At Home Wainwrights. This meat can be cut up into squares and be hand fed nicely, dogs like it and it is a complete meal (better for their bowels than just one type of protein)
If you need to address incontinence – for male dogs you can get belly wraps and then put incontinence pads in them – for female dogs you can get bitch pants and again use conti pads (incontinence pads can be bought from any food store like Tescos etc)
For pooping accidents, feeding as above will help you pick it up as poops should be solid, this is not guaranteed as there may be a disturbance in the bowel habits post vestibular syndrome until they fully recover
Symptoms Of Vestibular Syndrome
Walking in a circle, unable to walk straight
Loss of balance
Eyes flickering from side to side called nystagmus
Loss of appetite
I always say ‘always consult a vet’ but do you really want a dog whose world is spinning to be travelling in a car when there’s nothing your vet can do anyway? This is just my opinion and they DO recover. What can kill them is the fact they were already weak (old) or are experiencing other illnesses that don’t make them as resilient to this disease. The only time this happened for me was with a very old girl springer and she was on her third episode.
Video of Buster November 2017
It is not unusual for a dog who has suffered a vestibular episode to be left with a head tilt and possibly a little more unbalanced than normal.
Expect more occurrences once they have had one. If you are aware you can be better prepared and less stressed thus focussing on your dogs’ recovery and not your own inconvenience! I’ve had many a people call me and say, we’ve lost so and so, oh what happened, oh she had a stroke. Too late to advise as they’ve already killed the dog. Just my opinion having dealt with more vestibular cases than I care to count!
Please feel free to add your comments and experience.
A massive market for businesses nowadays as people jump on the bandwagon for apparent easy pickings to earn a living. Not so. It’s a hugely competitive marketplace, with businesses setting up monthly to compete with each other. Meg Heath Dog Leads have been trading for 12 years this July 2018 and have immense experience in this area along with designing my own website and the marketing and SEO etc that comes with this.
The dog collar in itself comes in many designs but is essentially a piece of material or leather that goes around the dogs’ neck mainly to be used for control, i.e. to attach a lead to, secondly to attach identification to in the form of a metal disc with the owners’ contact details on it. More so recently and with the popular uprising of e-Commerce, people have more and more choice of bespoke and designer collars. Collars adorned with charms and ribbon, collars with material covering them giving a vast amount of creativity. Collars specific to breeds are also popular, mainly for sighthounds whose heads are pretty much the same size as their necks so unless a collar is fitted correctly, they can come off.
Above all, collars are a jolly good idea where the safety of the dog is concerned, without it, there would be no means of control. We attach our dogs’ leads to the collar, we sometimes hold it directly for control, dogs look great with bespoke collars and of course it is somewhere to hang the identification tag, microchip tag and any other tag you wish.
Types of material
Collars can be made from a variety of materials, we have leather, probably the most expensive of them all, then polypropylene, which is what I use, then there is cotton – less popular, biothane, polyester, material & ribbon covered and embroidered collars with phone numbers and names on them. All providing a massive choice for the consumer.
Basic collars come in the form of buckle collars – that being plastic sometimes metal side release buckles also known as quick release buckles or nickel and brass buckles like you see on horses head collars; a bit like your belt buckle. Martingale collars are popular with sighthound owners, greyhounds and the like, but are not just for those breeds they can be fitted to any breed and the nice bespoke ones look great. Due to their safety, martingale, choke and half check collars are popular in kennels for reactive dogs and for dogs who have been known to slip their collars.
Martingale collar, half check or half choke collar
The martingale collar is a bit like a choke or half check collar, but the loop is made from the material. The word martingale comes from the part of a horses tack called the martingale which pulls the horses head down when pressure is applied to the reins when slowing down or stopping, not quite the same action on the dog, but it does pull tight and I cannot stress enough how these collars more than any other should be fitted properly.
How to fit a martingale collar, a choke collar or half check collar – The 2 rings on the material part of the collar should ‘just about touch’. If they don’t touch then when pressure is applied to the leash ring, the collar will attempt to go smaller than the dogs’ actual neck size, obviously not good and this will strangle your dog, if they touch then the collar may be too loose, so just about touching is the best advice I can give. If you are not sure which loops I mean, see image above.
All collars come with a loop or a D ring made from metal sometimes plastic, we offer solid brass harness rings too. The loop is there for your dogs’ ID tag and to attach the lead to.
Fitting your dogs’ collar
The rule of thumb advice is can you insert 2 fingers? I say try and take the dogs’ collar off over its’ ears, that way you know if its safe and will not come off accidentally.
Collars also come as reflective, made from reflective material, they can be flashing that run on batteries, you can have a flashing attachment to clip to the O or D ring.
To summarise, there is a massive choice online and in-store these days, treat your dog to a nice collar from a local or online maker. Obviously, this blog is to promote Meg Heath Dog Leads and Collars, but I can’t make them all as much as I’d love to make more collars, so have a look around our store as I endeavour to provide a wider selection. Our service is second to none and you can actually speak to a real person if you call – me!
Have you ever wondered what would be the best lead or collar and not really known which one to buy? Well, I’ve written this handy guide which has been taken from both customer feedback and from my own inspiration for some of the designs to help you decide on the best lead or collar. Enjoy …
This one has been suggested by a couple of customer reviews. The webbing we use is soft while not compromising on strength and definitely not visual appearance! Our products are of course beautiful! Here’s why –
Padded handles – recently I decided that padded handles would be nice and it has been a total hit. Some recent feedback on a dog training lead – “Fantastic long training lead for my GSD girl. I have arthritis in my hands and this is just what I was looking for! I will be recommending to my dog owning friends. Great to find such a good product and service!” Thank you, Laura, this is the kind of feedback we love as it tells us we are making the right products. This upgrade can be found on our dog leads and training leads.
Reactive dogs / Rescue dogs
The Simple Leader Head Collar – wow what a revelation this was. I had already designed a head collar for dogs but wanted to redesign it. I wanted something simple to fit, comfortable for the dog to wear and above all something that worked with no flaws. I was mindful that the pet trade was full of designs but I was adamant that mine would be different, I was so confident this one would be a success that I registered its’ design with the Intellectual Property Office to make sure no one would copy my idea.
Safety Lead to compliment the head collar – any piece of equipment whether it be for dogs or anything else, is potentially going to be fitted wrong. I now send out best use notes with my head collars to try and prevent any fitting and use problems. The Simple Leader Head Collar Safety Lead is a lead I designed, also protected by the IPO. It attaches to both your head collar and dog collar so if one fails then the other is still firmly attached. I gave one to a customer FOC who hadn’t fitted their dogs’ head collar tightly enough so that it didn’t ever happen again.
Dog Training Lead (Police Dog Style) – this dog lead does the same as the Simple Leader Head Collar Safety Lead, but is a 6 foot lead with a trigger hook (clip or clasp) at each end with 2 O rings placed at strategic intervals along the lead to provide you with a means of making different lengths and therefore using in a variety of different situations.
Dog Training Lead 5-50 metres – the reason why I started Meg Heath Dog Leads back in 2006, to teach a recall and our best lead by far! Also incredibly useful for not only teaching your dog to come back when called but to –
allow extra freedom to dogs who would otherwise not be allowed to run around. Sarah says, the affect this has on a dogs’ wellbeing is noted. How many times have you seen dogs ‘swimming down the road’ because they are never allowed off the lead and are pulling like sled dogs?
Dogs who pull on the lead – … but won’t wear a head collar right? Try our padded simple leader head collar. Soft as a bunnies bum! Sits in just the right place on their face so as to make it nice to wear. Other owner and doggy benefits include –
The elderly – makes walking your dog a doddle, even with fingertip control.
Injuries – have you ever had a shoulder injury and had to stop walking your dog or swap to the other hand?
Hip and leg problems – as an owner if you have ever had injuries to your legs or a hip or knee operation, our Simple Leader makes walking a pulling dog a delight!
Dog injuries – a dog with an injury is not a happy dog if it is pulling on the lead.
Brachycephalic dogs – otherwise known as dogs with short faces like Pugs and Boxers. We only make our head collar in 19mm now and even the padded version is not that much wider so fit most dogs nicely. If you have a smaller dog like a Pug then we can make a smaller head collar for you to combat pulling on the lead.
A dog with lung problems – with our head collar there is less puffing and panting caused by pulling on the lead so less stress to your poorly doggy.
Losing Dog Tags all the time? – Enter the Double Tag Flat Dog Collar! A beautifully made adjustable dog collar with a spare O ring for extra name tags for your dog.
I’m scared my dog will jump out of the car! – Really, well don’t be. Our Car Boot Dog Safety Lead is your answer. A short, double-ended, adjustable (design protected) lead for attaching either to boot anchors in your car or the head restraint. Genius! One of the best lead designs from Meg Heath Dog Leads.
Always reward a recall and never scold your puppy for not coming back when called.
Do not repeatedly call your puppy who is not coming back to you.
Use appropriate rewards – what your puppy likes, not what you think he should like – suggestions are favourite food (not kibble – this is your puppies usual food), favourite novel toy, praise or all 3.
Never assume a young puppy recall is a fully trained behaviour, it is not.
Never ignore a recall done of your puppy’s own free will. Praise spontaneous recalls. Meaning the times your puppy returns to you without you calling them.
Never allow an untrained puppy to practice running away, the behaviour becomes self-reinforcing (practised).
Beware of never letting your puppy off the lead because you daren’t – train him/her!
Never chase after a puppy that is running off. Be aware of laughing and thinking it is funny, your puppy will pick up on this.
Always teach puppies & dogs as soon as you get them home. Often the first training session is the one they will learn the most from, so plan it well.
ALWAYS start your training with your puppy close to you, in a safe area and on a long training lead.
ALWAYS gain your puppies full attention & secure him on a lead or take hold of his collar when he returns before rewarding.
ALWAYS reward each and every return to you, in the early stages even when he comes to you without being called.
ALWAYS be sure that a command is followed by the desired response, if not then you have rushed ahead in the schedule.
You may use a whistle, a verbal command and/or a hand signal, followed by a reward. Any combination may then be used in the absence of the other.
Be aware of de-training, by following commands with something negative.
So teaching the recall …
The concept behind this is what most people get wrong. Your puppy is not born knowing what a recall is, so why are you using a command that has not been taught? In my method, you are teaching (managing, enticing etc) a recall without using a command yet, this is why you need a long training line. The training lead stops your dog from running off and is an essential tool for my recall notes.
*** Proven method used time and time again for puppies, dogs and established runners***
Prepare – what rewards are you using? If in doubt, give the dog a choice. What call are you using? Name – come? Stick to the same command.
Tip – When you first start your training program with your puppy, they often pick up on the very earliest cues. So the first things you start rewarding might often be the ones s/he learns the best. Be aware and make your body language nice and clear. Remember less is more.
Manage your puppies motivation (i.e. if using food, is he hungry, if using play, is the toy novel, if using praise, does your puppy receive attention when it is not earned and does he perceive your praise as a reward)?
Your puppy must want to come to you of his own free will initially. So wander around on your walk and either wait for your puppy to pop over and say hi or lure with a treat or toy.
Walk your puppy on a long line (5-10 metres) on normal exercise, reward every return to you of his own free will (without using a command). This is the most important phase of the training technique. Your puppy MUST ** want ** to come to you!!! And to get this it must be managed not forced. 
If using food, continually manage your puppies food motivation, you could use his meals as part of the training sessions. You should always feed after walks anyway – never before (for health reasons). If using praise, save your praise for when he earns it. If using a toy, save a special toy for walks / training only. With food, feed your puppy at night and do not give meals during the day (in extreme cases – not usually with puppies though – this is more for difficult adult dogs). It IS possible to food train a puppy that appears not to be food motivated. Food helps with training; there is no denying that, but not all puppies and dogs find food rewarding. If you can use food and praise then this is great. SUGGESTIONS – cheese, hot dogs (although can be high in salt), real meat, bought treats etc.
Your puppy will learn to return to you because you are providing him with something he wants and he finds it rewarding. This may take time and can take anything from a few minutes to a few weeks to achieve, but when your puppy realises that coming to you is beneficial then we are on track.
When the returns to you are frequent and pretty much guaranteed, you can start to introduce a command. ‘Name COME’ (or whistle, just his name, hand signal etc.)
Keep your body language simple. Don’t run around doing star jumps and calling him. Stand still & square and call him with intention.
Say the command when he has returned to you (not while he is out on the field OR when he is coming to you, ONLY when he has reached you). Sounds odd but at this point, you are pairing what he is already doing with a command – the one you want to teach.
This conditions the command and associates it with the reward and being by you (near enough to hold the collar).
As your puppy builds up an association with the command and being by you, you can start to use the command when he is returning to you, i.e. you can guarantee he will be coming to you as he runs in your direction.
Only when you are confident he will come to you 100% of the time do you then start calling him while he is not distracted.
Gradually build up the distractions, i.e. when he is interacting with another dog, sniffing the floor etc.
Start in ZERO DISTRACTION AREA. Then carefully start to take him to a different area with different and increased distractions. You will probably need to revert back to an earlier stage of training in a new environment.
 Previous learning will affect this. The time spent allowing your puppy to run off or repeated calling will hinder your training. Only a complete transformation to religious retraining will change this.
TIP Put the lead on your dog frequently even though you are not going home, dogs can perceive the end of a walk (going home) as a mild punishment and may play ‘catch me’ when they know you are taking them home!
Remember, if using food, allow for the number of treats used and reduce his dinner accordingly. A fat puppy is not a healthy puppy.
NEVER allow a dog to run next to dangerous areas such as train lines, busy roads or dangerous water. NEVER underestimate your dog’s ability to run off in hot pursuit of something nicer than your reward.
The Recall is one of the LIFESAVER exercises you will teach your dog. Make it good and reliable, one day it will save his life. You will be proud of him when he comes back on command.
Meg Heath Dog Leads owner Sarah Gleave often comes up with innovative creations and this time the dog rescue centre Linbee Dog Rehoming is going to benefit from 10 Kennel Evacuation Leads.
Sarah designed these dog leads in the aftermath of the Manchester Dogs Home fire in 2014. The fire shook a nation of dog lovers and being a kennel owner, Sarah re-evaluated her own evacuation procedure at Meg Heath Kennels. The lead was promptly covered against copying as nothing of its’ kind had ever been made before.
She thought “I need a dog lead that can be attached to anything and stored along the same principle as a fire extinguisher.” So the multi – length / multi – attachment KEL – Kennel Evacuation Lead was born.
Cost of materials
The cost of materials for this venture was very important to Sarah as the intention was to gift the dog leads 10 at a time to kennel based dog rescues who applied for help. Sarah says “I approached a UK supplier called Abbey England who very kindly donated a few 1000 metres of a yellow and black printed webbing and some 19mm nickel trigger hooks.” Meg Heath Dog Leads donated the rest of the fittings, the time & expertise to make the leads and the shipping for these very special & unique dog leads.
The Kennel Evacuation Lead is a lead that is designed to be attached anywhere and is essentially a long adjustable, double ended, double up dog lead made from a strong webbing with strong fittings. Its’ intended use is to be stored like a fire extinguisher to be available in an emergency evacuation of a kennel block to take dogs to a place of safety where they can be tethered safely (our advice under supervision where possible).
Sarah advises that the leads be used with care and for their intended use – for emergencies only. Check the trigger hooks periodically as damp will affect their use.
If you are a kennel based rescue and would like to benefit from the Kennel Evacuation Dog Lead then please contact Sarah by telephone on 01522 810150. You will be required to set up a link to Meg Heath Dog Leads from your centres’ website and share us on social media periodically.
In all my years of working with and training dogs, I have never owned or trained a Bull Breed, so I don’t profess to be an expert with them in any way shape or form, Springers were and are my thing. However, the dog in this blog was amazingly responsive to this technique and the best I gained from the whole shitty situation was that she was impeccably trained after I did some intensive basic obedience with her.
Control and manners was key.
The purpose of this disclaimer is to say this is OUR STORY and our story only but what I will say is that basic obedience has never failed me. It is the one thing that most family dogs lack. The basic obedience I write about in this blog has not cured this dog, what it has done is made sure that when I ask her to come, wait or sit, then she does without delay (mostly), she has respect for me and knows her place in the pack.
Please read bearing the above in mind and hope that the blog helps you in some way.
FTGHFB dog! Free to a good home Facebook dog, rescued by a kind group concerned for her welfare and handed over to a rescue, she was about 7 months old at this point and suspected either American Bulldog cross or Staffy cross. No real history but we did know that she had a pinned leg – suspected RTA at around 5 months of age. I fostered for said rescue and kept her. She doesn’t have any problems with her back legs, sometimes a little lame but overall a very happy little dog. Beautiful nature and initially amazing with all of my dogs and great with people and still is.
Over the months she lived with my pack however pre-walk excitement started to become a problem. Ears were getting nipped and what looked like minor playful borderline aggression started to show. We had her neutered after consulting with the vet 9 weeks after the start of her first season. It didn’t change anything. I’m not saying I regret that she would have been neutered anyway as should all bitches (my opinion).
As the weeks went on, she started attacking my dogs, mainly the lower pack members or smaller dogs. There came a point where this could not continue and she had to be separated. She was still friends with Top, one of the other rescues (a large dog) and Marley, one of mine and again a large dog. She was still friends with little Breeze the Spaniel… until…
The final straw
The final straw was when she attacked a customers dog. She was on a short lead but not muzzled, I thought on lead was enough control but in this case, it wasn’t to my detriment. It wasn’t pretty but not too bad. 2 puncture wounds about 1.5cm across on the back of the neck that didn’t heal too well as the dog kept shaking its head due to ear problems. We took him to the vets and all was well. Except I’ve not heard from that customer since despite him being one of my best customers, but you can’t blame him.
We nearly said goodbye that weekend, but as the hours went on, I knew I simply could not do it.
I had been doing obedience with her before this incident, but it was apparent that basic obedience was never going to be a cure, it would just add control. The end result is she is not allowed to mix with any other dog apart from Top, he is her only friend.
An interesting but sad thing happened after this incident. Breeze – her best friend, saw her attack my customers dog. I still used to walk her with Top and Breeze albeit muzzled but one morning, Breeze attacked her quite savagely, for a Springer at least anyway. She made a mess of her ear and tore a hole in her leg. It wasn’t that bad by the next day, just a bit of soreness on her ear and a clean puncture wound on her leg. She was unphased by it all. And if that wasn’t enough, our new girl – Maisie fed off Breeze’s behaviour and she also does not like her now. So I have 3 bitches who cannot mix (Breeze and Maisie are now best friends).
So where are we now? She lives on her own but mixes with Top on walks. She’s a naturally solitary animal as she shows no signs of worry and is by all accounts a very happy go, lucky little girl.
THE RECALL (a formal competitive obedience style recall – from a sit stay to present in front and then round to the side in a sit at heel which means you have an informal recall whenever you need it)
WALK TO HEEL (again, competitive obedience style heelwork)
It’s all here in my other Blog. Teaching your dog to come when called.
Do I need to teach you how to teach a dog to sit? OK, the difference is this is a reliable sit, asked for once, responded to immediately and the dog stays there until you give the release command. I won’t go through the actual teaching the sit as that’s easy but what I will do is just give you some tips.
Ask once, speak clearly
Assuming you are using the lure method (treat or toy in hand raised up – bottom down), phase out your lure, the hand gesture you have just used (raising hand) becomes an empty hand and the treat/toy reward becomes a verbal and/or physical reward.
Use a gesture for every command, hand signal, call it what you want (it will come in handy when your dog loses its hearing – all my dogs respond to hand signals for directional commands, for example, go that way, come this way, over here, get out the way etc)
Stand up straight, don’t lean over, this becomes part of the visual cue for the behaviour
Be firm but kind, don’t lose your rag, if you do, quit and apologise to your dog! Start again with a better attitude!
Be assertive – mean what you say. Don’t fanny about.
SIT AND WAIT / DISTANCE CONTROL
Continue with sit training, add a flat palm signalling STAY THERE!
Release & praise
Repeat flat palm (your new hand gesture/hand signal)
Sit command, flat palm “stay!” take one step back then step back in. Reward.
… jumps ahead … At the stage where you are teaching a sit stay DO NOT EVER RECALL YOUR DOG. This is saved for the fully trained sit stay, you never call your dog from a sit stay while they are in training as they will predict your call and break the stay.
It is a slow process but obviously depends on your skill and the dogs’ trainability.
Stepping away is done tentatively and you ALWAYS RETURN TO THE DOG
Difficulty levels include walking around your dog, moving further away, moving your arms (i.e. increasing distractions) etc
NEVER EVER increase the difficulty beyond what your dog can succeed at. Training is all about managing success and helping your dog to get it right. This omits the requirement for punishment, not that I think there is any place for punishment in dog training as dogs will never ‘actually learn’ a behaviour from being bollocked for the wrong thing. RANT – so telling your dog off for not coming back – you really think they will learn to come to you next time? Really OK, next time, try a stuffed toy!!! RANT OVER
Final Phase PUTTING THE RECALL AND SIT STAY TOGETHER
You feel you are at the stage now where your dogs sit-stay is reliable? It may be some time down the line. Still, keep reinforcing the sit stay WITHOUT a recall to keep this behaviour nicely reinforced.
Granted, this method works better with dogs who can be easily lured with food. Dogs who are more easily distracted or difficult to motivate are beyond the scope of this blog – sorry.
Do this exercise when you aren’t going anywhere, this is purely a training exercise although you can practice it anywhere as long as you are both focussed and not disturbed by distractions.
Dog starting point, is front present (dog sits facing you) take your food lure and guide dog to the left behind your legs, the aim is for dogs bum to work independently swinging out and round, the dog comes to your side in a straight line, bum does not swing out to the left. Food treat is your cue/gesture, which is now placed on your left hip. Not easy without a video which I will post in due course.
The heel work is a progression of this exercise. Once the dog is at your side, you will take one step forward.
Skills your dog will acquire – front moves independently of the rear, they learn to bend in the middle!
Meg Heath Dog Leads makes leads and walking aids to help with many dog training issues, they are as follows:
Do Head Collars work? When & why you would use a head collar and how to help a dog get used to wearing a head collar.
Head collar worked wonders. Xeena resisted at first but it was so good that there was no pulling, recommended to everyone who has a pully dog … It’s amazing now she is not pulling … i dont hurt, i have problems with my hips and when she pulled it really hurt. [Sonia Oag, January 2017]
Bought two headcollars and have been out using them today both fine fitting well on my dogs faces no loose gaps works well when they swop sides on walking too. Seem very strong. Very happy. [Megan Oldfield, December 2016]
This headcollar is 100% PERFECT! Put it on Ollie this morning, he once rubbed his face but from then on he was very happy to wear it for the whole walk and, because he has it on (and he knows) he walked perfectly. Because of the fit unlike a ‘Halti’ it can stay on the whole time and doesn’t inhibit the dog at all. There are no loose bits to catch on anything so its perfectly safe. It is so simple and easy to use and it works very well indeed. I am a very happy lady thank you Sarah. [Wendy McDonald, November 2016]
Do Head Collars work?
Head collars do work, yes, however, there are some exceptions that with a little training could be overcome. Head collars for dogs work in the same way that head collars or halters (where the brand name ‘Halti’ comes from) work for horses. Horses are large powerful animals and the head collar is a way to control them (usually) with ease… although I have been known to be pulled around by a horse just in a head collar in my days working as a groom. Head Collars help when –
You have a shoulder injury and walking your dog is becoming a problem
You have a dog that strains on his dog collar or harness and walking is not enjoyable for him either
You simply cannot walk your dog due to his strength
You are incapacitated in any number of ways and a pulling dog makes walks a problem
You have simply stopped walking your dog because of any one of the above and you are both putting on weight!
Lack of exercise for your dog means he is not getting the socialisation he needs
When head collars can be a problem
Some people simply do not like head collars on their dogs, mainly because their dog will not wear one. There have been times when I have taken a head collar off a dog because they simply will not tolerate one, but I stress, this because I haven’t had time to train the dog. So how do you get a dog to accept a head collar?
How to help a dog to accept wearing a head collar
You are not going on a walk
Motivators/rewards (food, verbal praise, toys/play, intrinsic rewards such as allowing forward movement or free time off lead)
If you are familiar with Clicker Training, do nose touches working up to putting the nose through the nosepiece, click, reward
Feed your dog with a head collar on, then take it straight off
Put the head collar on around the house (if dog paws to try to get it off, you have gone too far, try to get him to relax before you take it off otherwise he will think this behaviour leads to it coming off)
Put the head collar on and play your dogs favourite game or something he likes doing
When you have made progress indoors, go outside or in a large enough space indoors with time and patience –
Put head collar & lead on – reward (praise and/or treat)
Set off walking
The dog does one of the following –
Rubs head along the ground
Paws at face
Paws frantically at face
Pulls a ‘this head collar is killing me’ face
Any combination of the above
What you don’t do –
Don’t shout or get mad
What you should do –
Hold lead firmly, raise hand upwards so lead is vertical (no tugging or yanking)
Wait for the dog to stop flapping
Then what you should do
Head Collars – was there really room for another in the pet trade?
With a pet market already saturated with head collars for dogs, was there really any room for another?
Inventor Sarah Gleave says yes,
“I had already made one head collar before the Simple Leader, but I wanted to improve it. I wanted a simpler to use halter for dogs, a head collar that could not be put on upside down or inside out and one that would stay on the dog when fitted correctly of course (tight enough). Above all, it (obviously) had to work and not be yet another gadget or (waste of ) money”.
Part of the inspiration for this was seeing customers being brought in by their dogs, yes BY their dogs into my boarding kennels. Being an ex-dog trainer too, this really irritated me. Teaching a dog to walk to heel is not easy. With more and more people owning dogs, more and more people were failing to teach their dogs to walk to heel. Stopping them from pulling on the lead wasn’t something they had really planned ahead for.
The Simple Leader is a relatively simple figure of 8 design, nothing new here, but having searched current patents and protected designs, the one nearest to me hadn’t had its patent renewed, but it wasn’t the same design anyway, just close.
My head collar has a loose O ring under the chin which is important as this is the most effective place for you to lead from, it is adjustable, but also comes in 3 sizes, it has a full range of 18 colours (you need to ask for the random colours like orange, pink etc), which NO other head collar has. It can be upgraded to be fully padded which is nice because it is soft over your dogs face so they wear it more willingly and you can choose a solid brass harness ring instead of a nickel O ring for your trigger hook to attach to.
What are other head collars there on the market?
Head collars are plenty out there in the internet world, some good, some bad, some made by amateurs that have not been tested and some popular patented designs. The head collars I am aware of are – Halti, Gencon, Black Dog & the Gentle Leader. Each one has their fans, I have used 3 out of 4 of these myself but now just use my own Simple Leader. My Simple Leader comes with the Simple Leader Safety lead which is essentially a lead that attaches to the head collar and collar and if one breaks you are still attached to the other. (IPO Design Protection currently being applied for).
Head Collar reviews –
The Halti – nice head collar, renowned for interfering with the dogs’ eyes when badly fitted, established company, patented design
Black Dog – no personal experience off, looks exactly like a horses head collar
Gentle Leader – My favourite
Gencon – the only one out of these 4 whose ‘contact point’ is not under the chin, obviously has its fans, a dog may still pull with the contact point at the side or above the head
Why are head collars different?
Made from different fabrics, some good, some poor or too thin
Some new designs are full of faults in an effort to design something for the sake of a new product
The contact point is different
Under the chin (my Simple Leader), best IMO as it seems to be the most effective design (Halti and Gentle Leader too)
Back of the head – martingale types like the Indi Dog
The side of the head – Gencon and other non-patented designs
Be aware of the choice, choose what is most comfortable for your dog and what he is the happiest wearing