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Head Collars for dogs

Simple Leader Head Collar

Head Collars for dogs.

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

Prerequisites –

  • Time
  • Patience
  • 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)
  • A good dog head collar
  • A good dog lead

A few ideas to work on indoors –

  • Pop the head collar on, reward, take it off
  • 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
    • Don’t reward
    • Don’t speak
    • Don’t panic
  • What you should do –
    • Stand still/calm
    • Hold lead firmly, raise hand upwards so lead is vertical (no tugging or yanking)
    • Wait for the dog to stop flapping
    • Release lead
    • REWARD
  • Then what you should do
    • REPEAT !!!!

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
  • Do not ever use with long training leads because of the risk of jarring your dog’s neck
  • Make sure the head collar is well made and from a respected company
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Dog Training Leads use and care

Dog Training Leads

…are our top selling product and for good reason. In this blog I will talk you through the dog training leads uses, in which situations you might want to use them, how to chose which custom elements you might need and why and what to expect from any one of our products, not just the dog training lead.

What are the unique qualities of one of Meg Heath’s Dog Training Leads and why should you buy one of our dog leads over a cheaper dog tracking lead?

  • 11 Years experience making dog leads
  • I use a Yamata Industrial sewing machine (not a household machine)
  • …which means i can use very strong industrial thread
  • …which means i can sew with precision
  • The joints are what i call Z stitched which is similar to a box stitch
  • The stitch is exactly the same as a machine that will make 100’s of leads per minute
  • Your dog lead is made by a human that has an intimate knowledge of your order, rather than in an factory
  • You can chose from 18 different colours (not all will be in stock, but we can usually get them in 2 days)
  • You have the choice of 3 widths
    • Small – 16mm, for mini, toy and small breeds (not always in stock)
    • Standard – 19mm, most popular
    • Large – 25mm, a choice for larger dogs
  • You have a choice of small and standard trigger hooks made from brass plate, nickel or solid brass (this is why some of the dog leads with solid brass fittings work out expensive, for example the Police Dog Style Dog Lead which has 2 solid brass trigger hooks and 3 solid brass harness rings – not inferior welded rings)
  • We based in Lincolnshire UK – we do not buy from abroad
  • …but above all, do you know why you should be proud to support Meg Heath Dog Leads? Because since setting up in 2006, you have helped me be a stay at home doggy mum. Self sufficient along with my boarding kennels looking after my rescue dogs. In 2006 when I stopped LESSR (Springer Spaniel Rescue), I had 26 dogs, all that needed vaccinating, feeding and vets bills which was not easy as a single mum (mum to the dogs not kids). Im currently dog-mom to 10 dogs; 5 acquired in the last 14 months.


Custom elements / variables or options are the names given to the custom choices you add to a dog training lead when you ‘make’ your lead during the order process.

They include length, colour, width, fittings, handle to include the padded handle and the double up. I will explain why you might want to choose from any or none of these custom elements.

  1. Length – Unique to you and your dog. We make dog training leads from 5 to 50 metres (actually 49.5 metres). The shorter leads 5-20 metres are ideal for recall training (teaching / training your dog to come back when called). You can read my recall notes to help you with this. Make sure you can hold your dog if it wizzes t the end of the lead!
  2. All lengths can help when your dog is not allowed off the lead for what ever reason (see safety notes below). Never use any head collar with a long line, harnesses are better). The longer leads are best used in large areas where there is no risk of tangling around other things including other dogs and your legs!
  3. Colour – personal choice, red gets grubby quickly and obviously the darker colours stay nicer for longer.
  4. Width – no strength benefits buying 25mm but owners of larger dogs prefer the wider choice but be aware that the with 25mm, when you choose a longer lead it will be more bulky.
  5. Fittings – brass will last longer and will stand up to abuse especially getting wet / damp as they will not sieze up.
  6. Handles – most people choose the handle option but the no handle option is sometimes preferred. Be aware that when you choose the double up option, whether it be with a handle or padded handle, the handle will be at the dogs head end when the double option is being used.
  7. Double up – our unique double up element means that you will be able to work your chosen length at half length too. (See handle notes above). At the trigger hook end, an extra O ring is sewn in plus an O ring on the handle means that when you feed the webbing throught the O ring at the trigger hook end and it comes to a stop at the O ring on the handle it means you can use your lead at half length, the handle that would have been at the end of the lead is now at the ‘dog end’.


As stated in points 1 & 2 above, uses for the dog training lead are varied but essentially the lead gives you peace of mind and a bit of extra freedom for your dog.

  • Training the recall also known as ‘coming when called’, most popular use for this dog training lead
  • Beach exercise
  • Open spaces where there are no distractions
  • May help with socialisation training
  • Allowing extra freedom with aggressive dogs (always remember to use your muzzle too if necessary)
  • Rescue dogs where recall is none existent, unreliable or unknown
  • New owners who have learnt the hard way or have no / limited knowledge of training dogs

FITTINGS – and why one (or more than one) option might help you

  • Brass fittings – ideal if you abuse your lead, hang it outdoors or use it in the wet. Will never rust or sieze up
  • Nickel fittings – ideal if you are able to take more care of your lead and keep it dry / cheaper option
  • Small trigger hooks – ideal for smaller dogs as they are lighter around the dogs neck and they will not kick it when they walk or run.
  • Double up, ideal at any length but obviously the longer the lead the more skill you need for lead management
  • Handle – the no handle option might help if you let the lead trail around, especially for the house line as the handle will not get stuck under doors for example, the handle option is obvious, it means you can hold the end easier
  • Widths – wider not necessarily stronger but a choice for owners of larger breeds
  • Padded handle – ideal for comfort but will obviously get wet so would need drying out when it does


Use of our dog training leads are obviously the responsability of the user, but please read some of our suggestions below to help with risk mitigation.

  1. Never ever use with any type of head collar
  2. Best used with harnesses that are properly fitted
  3. Do not leave to trail on a dog with no or unreliable recall because if they run off, they only have to go around an object once and they are stuck. Does not bear thinking about
  4. Dont let the lead run through your hand, it will burn
  5. Check trigger hooks each time you use them, it is not unknown for trigger hooks to fail
  6. Be aware of tangle risks when dogs are playing together


  • Life time stitching guarantee
  • A well made functional dog training lead
  • Made with love not in a factory
  • Second to none customer service
  • You can speak to a real person in the UK to make order enquiries

You can call me on 01522 810150 for any questions about any of our leads.


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TOP 10 DOG PRODUCTS starting with…..


Aloe Veterinary Formula – £17.92 Amazon.

Very high proportion of Aloe Vera in the formula. When one of the family suffers a minor cut or abrasions,we reach for Aloe First. Well animals are part of the family too and now they can also experience the power of the ‘Miracle Plant’. So Reach for Aloe Whenever your Pets need its benefits. Aloe Vera has been shown to be effective in treating or alleviating a number of animal problems. preparations in dealing with ringworm,mud fever and contaminated wounds. Aloe Veterinary Formula is made with a high percentage of stabilised Aloe Vera Gel,used for its moisturising Antimicrobial action. It is ideally suited for cuts,abrasions,bruises,chafes,infections and other external animal problems. Allantoin, a proven activator in treatment of wounds,is the only other ingredients. The nozzle-control spray is a great feature,making application to any size or type of pet easy. Aloe Veterinary Formula can give quick relief-soothing,protecting and assisting the healing of wounds. Other products used by animal owners include: Aloe Vera Gel -To improve general wellbeing-use in conjunction with Aloe Vera topical preparations. Aloe Vera Gelly – For soothing wounds and inflamed areas and for protecting against further infection. Aloe Propolis creme – To help skin fight of infection. Ingredients: Stabilised Aloe Vera Gel,Allantoin. Directions: Cleanse with Aloe Liquid Soap and water, and apply Aloe Veterinary spray to affected areas. Bandage if necessary. For optimum results,apply several times daily or us as recommended by your veterinary surgeon. Always consult your veterinary surgeon before undertaking any treatment on an animal. This product is for external use only,and is not recommended for deep puncture wounds. Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas.2


Vaseline – Can be purchased from most stores, for example Tesco or your chemist. As your dog gets older they can suffer from a cracked nose, just put a little on the cracked area when required and your dogs nose will be restored in no time.

Details – Protects and locks in moisture to help dry skin restore

100% pure petroleum jelly. Triple-purified. Purity Guaranteed.

Gentle on your skin, hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores)

Reduces the appearance of fine, dry lines

Helps protect minor cuts, scrapes and burns

Protects your skin from windburn and chapping


3. SODA CRYSTALS – For emergency use only, use with caution and at own risk. This is my personal use and is merely a suggestion. Always consult a vet. Soda crystals can be used to induce vomiting for example when a dog has ingested poison or an item that is likely to cause death or extreme discomfort or pain. When a tablespoon of soda crystals are put down your dog’s throat it will induce vomiting and thus bring up the stomach contents. AGAIN I STRESS, ALWAYS CONSULT A VET. THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR VETERINARY CARE.

4. COUGH MIXTURE – Again on this one, only to be given under the guidance of a vet. You can give the correct type of cough mixture to a dog to help ease the discomfort of nasty coughing with Kennel Cough.

5. A DECENT SET OF GROOMING TOOLS – The amount of dogs I see in Kennels who need grooming is disheartening, to say the least. A good comb is better than a brush, even for short/smooth coated dogs.


Product Description

Brighten and whiten your dog’s teeth, and freshen his breath with this ARM & HAMMER Advanced Pet Care Tartar Control Toothpaste and Brush Set. The enzymatic toothpaste is formulated with baking soda to neutralize odours, effectively control tartar and delivering complete and thorough cleaning. Use the dual-headed toothbrush and the finger brush to ensure that his teeth are fresh and clean.

Box Contain

1 x Arm & Hammer Dual-headed toothbrush
1 x Arm & Hammer Advanced Pet Care Tartar Control Toothpaste
1 x Arm & Hammer Advanced Pet Care Finger Brush


Product Description

The shape of the O’TOM TICK TWISTER takes into account the tick’s morphology, it is adapted to any size of ticks and is really easy to handle. The O’TOM TICK TWISTER is made of an unbreakable plastic resistant to wear. The O’TOM TICK TWISTER can, therefore, be used indefinitely. While removing a tick, it is essential not to compress it, reducing the risk of saliva back-flow. A tick’s saliva

contains irritating substances and sometimes microorganisms that can lead to infections and allergies. Tweezers and other instruments exert a pressure on the tick. O’TOM TICK TWISTER does not compress the body of the tick. The tick’s rostrum (the part that is embedded in the skin and improperly referred to as “the tick’s head”) is covered with backwards-pointing spikes that allow the tick to “anchor” in the skin. By pulling up on the tick, the spikes will rise and lock the rostrum in the skin. The tick may break leaving body parts resting on the skin and causing a painful inflammation, or an infection. By twisting, the spikes bend into the axis of rotation, and the tick is easily removed, without traction, decreasing the risks of breaking the rostrum. The O’TOM TICK TWISTER does not compress the tick’s abdomen during removal, reducing the risk of transmission of diseases. The O’TOM TICK TWISTER removes ticks by rotation and not by pulling; decreasing the risks of breaking the rostrum.

Box Contains

Tick Twister Mini Grip Pack

8. SILVER NITRATE PEN –  Caustic Veterinary Pencil – use for example when a nail bleeds to stop bleeding.

9. EMERGENCY CAR KITspare leads, water, spare bowl, spare collar, slip lead, treats, a tin of meat and fork, harness, kibble and poo bags.



This is amazing stuff. Use as instructed on the label or by your Vet.

Thanks for reading. This page is sponsored by MEG HEATH DOG LEADS & COLLARS. Please visit our pages and have a look at our products.

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HELP! My dog hates the Hoover!

HELP! My dog hates the Hoover!

Does your dog turn into a crazed individual when you try to clean up? I’ve cured a handful of dogs in my time who don’t like the vacuum cleaner and it is usually in just 2 sessions totalling less than 10 minutes.

Notes: I’ll hold my hands up, it really does make it easier if your dog is food motivated, I’ve never done it with a dog who was not food motivated. Most times I used a clicker but not essential.

Equipment needed:

  • Dog
  • Hoover
  • Treats in your pocket or tub set out of the way
  • Clicker or just your voice

How to:

Technique 1 (novice or inexperienced trainer)

  1. Choose a quiet room with no distractions
  2. You need your dog, Hoover, treats, clicker and you!
  3. Don’t switch it on, just have it in the room. The dog does one of the following:
    1. Lies down next to or near or just does nothing
    2. Looks at
    3. Sniffs
    4. Basically, you are looking for ‘no reaction’ or an inquisitive dog
  4. Identify a ‘no reaction’ behaviour and then either click & treat or say ‘good!’ then give a treat.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Then identify a behaviour that moves on from the last, so for example dog looks at Hoover, then dog sniffs hoover. Click treat for sniff hoover.
  7. Ideally, you would repeat the above and call it a day as session 1.
  8. Next day – repeat ALL of the above.
  9. At some point, you will be looking to switch the vacuum cleaner on but for now depending on how reactive your dog is, maybe move the pipe or carefully wheel the hoover about slowly.
  10. The key at every stage here is that you ARE NOT looking for a negative reaction, just positive behaviours as listed above, sniffing, looking etc.
  11. When you feel ready to move on, you can switch the hoover on but it just stays in situ. Repeat as above, so looking, nose bumps etc. Your dogs’ reaction will be individual to him/her.
  12. Do you see the picture now? At every stage you are moving sooo slooooowly that there is never a negative reaction to the hoover.

Technique 2 (experienced)

  1. The only thing I wanted you to do differently in technique 2 really is to teach your dog to nose bump the hoover and/or pipe. If you’ve clicker trained before and understand what you are doing then this is just like a hand touch, or object touching.

That’s it really. Have a go but remember the skill is in moving slowly so that there is never a negative reaction. You may even end up with a dog that LOVES the hoover like my Brock does, he will still touch the pipe now when I say ‘touch it’. He has never forgotten.

~ Sarah


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HELP! I have a jealous snappy dog!

Disclaimer: I am not a vet nor am a qualified trainer or behaviourist. What I do have is over 30 years practical dog training and behaviour experience. So do your research and if my example works for you then great. Always see a vet and a qualified and recommended behaviourist. This is just an example of one dogs’ behaviour in my pack…

The Story Of Maisie Jalfrezi…

Background – Maisie is a small crossbreed rescued from the streets abroad at the tender age of 4 weeks. The RAF family that took her in moved to the UK later in life and had a family. It wasn’t long before Maisie started to display certain behaviours tantamount to jealousy and insecurity. Maisie’s ‘dad’ contacted me as his wife could no longer tolerate Maisie and no longer wanted her. It was a split decision, but her ‘dad’ decided it was best to find her a new home. This is where I came in. I was contacted with a view to taking Maisie in and finding her a new home. I saw displays of Maisie’s behaviour quite early on and made a quick decision to keep her as she was only really suitable for an experienced home as her behaviour could easily have escalated in the wrong hands which would have been unfair on her meaning potentially she would have to return to me.

Anyway, we fell in love with her. On the day the decision was made to keep her, we had a collar upgrade ceremony, she was now the proud owner of a leather and brass half check. By then Maisie and Seb had become very close – we called her a daddies girl.

It is important to explain here that you can spoil 2 types of dog rotten, type one – the well balanced, secure, well-raised dog and type two the insecure, not so well balanced dog, Mais was the latter. The first type one dog will not change its’ behaviour and will be obedient and well behaved, type two dog when spoiled will as I say ‘go off the rails’. That said, behaviours such as growling, mainly insecure growling will be displayed.

This is where you will need an open mind and trust me that what I’m telling you now is not something I’ve been told by someone else nor read in a book, this is experience. Dogs are pack animals, if you don’t agree then I suggest you close this window now unless you are prepared to keep an open mind. Pack animal = hierarchy, whatever word you use, there will always be some kind of hierarchy among animals whether YOU like it or not. Don’t mistake the word ‘dominance’ for pack because it is not the same thing.

When you lavish a dog who is what I’ve called ‘the type 2’ they become quite shitty in their temperament. So for example to define ‘lavish’ these are things like allow on the bed, allow on the furniture, told / asked to do things and they ignore you, they barge through doors ahead or you, this includes anywhere you should go first, this includes getting out of a car, setting off on a walk – general manners. Think of these as PRIVILEGES. When you give a type 2 dog too many privileges, they don’t have a clue where they are in the pack and it is stressful for them. A dog is far happier being at the correct rung on the ladder rather than a falsely elevated one.

It is stressful for a dog to behave badly. When they have their status elevated by their owner and are aggressive as a result of this, they are not happy dogs. 

What we did with Maisie was simple

(Remember this is Maisie’s story. If you can identify then good, but I am writing about a specific case and all dogs are different. You can try certain techniques and see if they work for you.)

  1. The most important one – Not allowed on the bed. Noooooo, this was the biggest fail for Maisie as this privilege created a princess!
  2. Fed her separately because she had issues with being aggressive around food. I feed her first (not necessarily last as you might expect).
  3. Be more aloof around her, so not lavishing her with praise unless she deserved it.
  4. If she does creep upstairs and puts her paws on the bed as if to want to jump on, a stern “down” Maisie, gentle push if required, then sincere verbal praise for getting down and being a good girl.
  5. At night she is basically banished to the bottom ranks and sleeps in our conservatory. Here she is firmly reminded that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.

You know what? We have a new dog and I know she is happier with certain behaviour she NOW displays.

Good luck with your dog and please please remember that this is Maisie’s individual case and if in doubt consult your vet.


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HELP! I can’t get a pee sample from my dog!

Have you ever struggled to get a urine sample from your dog? 

Technique 1.

Have no fear, I developed a technique that has you covered as long as your dog will pee on a solid floor, for example relatively smooth concrete or slabs.

Equipment needed:

  • A tub (to put the urine in once collected)
  • Silver foil about 10 inches square (or thereabouts)
  • A syringe (optional)


  1. Have your tub and foil, syringe if you have one to hand.
  2. Take the dog out for a pee on concrete/slabs etc (vets usually ask for an early morning sample)
  3. Just had a thought, if your dog pees on pee pads you could wring it out?
  4. Go to said pee puddle and either syringe it up and straight into the tub or fold the foil over in half and lay the folded edge next to pee and using your hand (yes use your hands – man up!) and flick it onto the foil.
  5. Pick foil up off the ground in such a way that it holds the pee, now put it into the tub.
  6. Hey presto! You’re done.

Technique 2.

This is easy but most people struggle because they miss one vital technique and that is to use something flat like a plate otherwise how will you catch it with smaller dogs or bitches who squat low?

  1. Have the dog on a lead so you aren’t chasing him/her around.
  2. Get a plate, have your tub ready.
  3. Slide under and collect urine.
  4. Put into the container.
  5. Done.


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Dog Blogs

As I seem to be doing a lot of blogging just lately in the name of SEO, visitors and conversion tactics etc, I thought I’d do some research on other dog blogs, so here are a few copied from pages around the interweb.

Copied from So full credit to them, thank you.

  • Blogpaws – bringing you nose to nose with social media FAVE!
  • All Things Dog Blog – All Things Dog Blogs goal is to help families with their “Life with Dog” problems. FAVE!
  • Bringing up Bella – Bringing up Bella is a journal of sorts about a beautiful, crazy, smart (and crazy-smart) rescue dog, Bella
  • Life with Desmond – Desmond David Jones Forge is a rescue greyhound-pit bull mix (with some pointer and maybe some plot in there, too)
  • My Brown Newfies – My Brown Newfies is a personal pet/lifestyle blog where Jennifer writes about her two brown Newfies, dogs, pet health, pet products, family, and totally crazy stories that only seem to ever happen to her and her dogs.
  • Tales and Tails – Greyhounds, a German shepherd and lots of great photos can be expected on this blog.
  • That Mutt: A Dog Blog – That Mutt is your place for info on dog training, exercise, nutrition, adoption and product reviews.
  • The Elka Almanac – one awesome dog blog about the Doberman Elka
  • The Poodle and Dog Blog – fun dog-related stories and Poodles, of course!
  • Very ViVi – some of the most gorgeous dog photos in Blogville.
  • 2 Brown Dawgs Blog – A blog about brown dogs (Chesapeake Bay Retrievers) who love going hunting with their humans.
  • BZ Dogs – Pawsome photos of two even more Golden Retrievers called Henry & Zachary.
  • Labrador Training HQ – Lots of good advice for training labrador doggies
  • Life with Beagle – Love Beagles? Then here’s your blog.
  • My GBVG Life – Emma, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeén, loves to blog about her adventures and her photos are always extra special.  She has even written a book!
  • Pawsitively Pets – Love pets? Then you’ll love this cute blog written by former vet tech Ann Staub.
  • Sugar the Golden Retriever – Golden woofs from our favourite Golden Retriever girl who loves blogging about yummy treats, walkies and more!
  • The Misadventures of Misaki – The Alaskan Malamute puppy who is always up to some fun adventures!
  • Something Wagging This Way Comes – thoughtful, insightful and fun musings about the amazing bond between humans and canines.
  • Bongo Dog Blog – Bongo always finds something fun to write about on his trails
  • Gardening with Wyatt – Like gardening? Like Airedale terriers? Here’s your blog
  • Kol’s Notes – doggie DIY tips and fun stories from Kol the Puggle and his mama
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Dogs Teeth – Oral Health Notes

Now first thing’s first I am not an expert. I am not a vet nor anywhere near qualified. So please, if you have any concern about your dogs’s teeth, please please take them to the vets as a matter of importance no matter how old your dog is. I am a humble boarding kennel owner, so the reason for my post is frustration over seeing dogs, from time to time, come in with oral health that literally makes me cry.

Keeping teeth clean from the beginning

I honestly don’t think that the diet we feed our dogs on these days helps with oral hygiene. Good old teeth cleaning (yes with a brush and toothpaste specifically for dogs) and PROPER bones that are safe for dogs. By proper bones, I mean roasted knuckle bones or uncooked bones. Do not ever feed cooked bones as they splinter and may kill your dog. Again, please check with your vet to make sure the bone you want to give your dog is OK. Also, products like the Nylabone are good, they start off smooth but as the dog chews them then get a rough surface, obviously the latter techniques rely on your dog actually wanting to chew things.

Knuckle bones for dogs


Right from being a puppy or getting your new dog (the latter may be more challenging, of course, depending on their history) you need to get your dog used to being touched and examined around their mouth. It’s not natural for them to be prodded there. So from an early age make sure your dog is used to being handled, that goes for grooming too. I would use praise as the reward because if you try to use food rewards when examining the mouth, they might be more interested in getting the food than having their mouth examine. Use food however if you find it is beneficial.

When it’s too late

OK, you’ve spotted your dogs’ teeth are in a bad way, what do you do? Well, you take them to a vet as a matter of urgency. In my experience, when teeth have a lot of tartar, it is generally covering a lot more decay underneath. Do not be surprised if your vet needs to take out a few teeth. This doesn’t come cheap either but it does need to be done.


Some ideas for your oral health kit

Toothbrush x 2 – I have just found these on eBay and ordered a few in, so if you would like one, call at the kennels or call 01522 810150.


Vaseline – for crusty noses! (Not oral but around that area and not many people know that thgis cures crusty noses).

Thats all folks, I’ll add more info later.

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Reflective Wear for Dogs – be seen be safe

Reflective wear for dogs, most people haven’t even thought of it but it is essential that you consider the safety of both you and your dog now the nights are starting to draw in. So what types of products can you buy to make you and your dog safe while out walking and what other safety measures can you take in the absence of any special reflective products.

Top suggestions

OK so here are my top suggestions for safe autumn and winter walkies!

  • A reflective dog collar – there are 2 types, reflective and flashing. You can save these for dog walks only and put them on as you prepare for your walk.
    Flashing Dog Collars | Be seen Be safe
    Flashing Dog Collars | Be seen Be safe

    The flashing type have a battery so probably best to use these just when you are actually walking the dog, they require a new battery when it dies and there is a chew risk that must be avoided, so keep collars stored out of doggies reach when not in use. The reflective type is literally just reflective material and show when the light is reflected from them but also reflect when the light is dull with no obvious light sources to reflect from as opposed to flashing all the time with the flashing type. I like both of these, and all good pet stores sell them. Do take care though as they are not made to be chewed or eaten.

  • Reflective dog leads and dog harnesses are also a good buy and as well as a collar or instead of can only be a good buy. Again these will be for walks only and should be stored out of harm’s way when not in use.
  • Flashing collar lights. These are great little products that can hang from the dog collar but due to the nature of the product they need a battery so as with the flashing collars, it is probably best to have spare batteries, so be organised and order extra.
  • Reflective dog vest. I think these are awesome. They are just light vests as opposed to coats.
  • Reflective dog coats. A more substantial coat with reflective qualities.

Safety for you the owner/dog walker – apart from the obvious hi-viz vest or flashing bands, here are a few examples of how to stay safe when walking your dog now the nights are drawing in –

High visibility dog vest - be safe walking your dog
High visibility dog vest – be safe walking your dog
  • Take a mobile phone with you making sure it is charDon’tenough
  • Dont bury your head in your phone while walking, stay alert
  • Tell someone where you are going and how long you intend to be or take someone with you
  • Arrange to meet with someone else to walk with
  • Walk in areas that you are unlikely to be alone
  • Remember that dogs are stolen by people who think they can just take them while you are walking them
  • Do not allow the young or vulnerable to walk in secluded areas for example alley ways that are unlit
  • Walk earlier in the evening. Easy while the nights are still light until 8pm but difficult while you are working and cannot get out for walkies until after dark
  • Walk around the streets instead of your usual walk through fields etc
  • Buy a rape alarm. These are relatively inexpensive. Test their use so you know how to work them. The best ones give out a high pitched nooice, an ultra
    rape alarm | walk safely with your dog this winter
    Rape alarm | walk safely with your dog this winter

    violet spray and a foul smell. But like I say test it first so you know how it works. The type linked here is one I have personally bought for staff in the past and for myself.

Thats about it really, as I think of more handy tips, Ill add them, but please stay safe while walking your dog and avoid dog theft too by following these tips. Do you own research too and STAY SAFE

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Extending Leads – Friend or Fo

Extending leads have their pros and cons.

My worst injury came from using one but then again they give freedom to dogs who would otherwise not be allowed off the lead, so used with care they are a good tool.

extending dog lead
Extending dog lead

This doesn’t account for accidents though. I was walking the smallest dog in the kennels, similar to in the image below. He darted out to full length and caught me unaware pulling me over awkwardly resulting in a very badly sprained ankle. We thought I’d broken it but I said let’s leave it till the morning. The ankle wasn’t broken but was very sore for a few weeks.


I’ve written up a few tips for using extending leads:

  • Use with care next to roads and keep them short.
  • Hold on to them tightly
  • When walking a boisterous dog, keep the arm holding the lead at a right angle (elbow bent) so you have some give in your arm.
  • If your dog pings to the end of the lead, hold lead as above but also cup your free hand around the front of the plastic bit to help when your dog reaches the end of the lead.
  • It is not recommended to use any type of head collar in case your dog pings to the end of the extending lead causing injury to its neck.
  • The same applies to collars with boisterous dogs.
  • Harnesses are useful but make sure it is properly fitted as the harness can come off.
  • Any collar designed to choke is not suitable for example full chain chokers and even half checks
  • As above all, learn how to use them, I find that the brand name ‘Flexi’ are the best ones, not the cheaper alternatives

Overall, take care, be aware and stay safe.

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Sarah Gleave Designs Kennel Evacuation Lead

Kennel Evacuation Lead

Sarah Gleave Designs New Kennel Evacuation Lead in Response to the Manchester Dogs’ Home Fire.

Ishbel Johnson of Abbey Saddlery writes a short feature about the reasons Sarah has taken on this project and what makes this safety lead different from other leads…Written 2nd October 2014

Abbey donates webbing to aid project.

3 weeks ago, The Manchester Dogs’ Home went up in flames. This heart-breaking incident took the life of 60 dogs and left many injured. The unfortunate incident witnessed a nation of pet owners coming together and offering aid through the means of financial donations and temporary homes. This phenomenal response has raised £1,456,809.24 for the Just giving Campaign organised By Manchester Evening News. Sarah Gleave is a Kennel owner from Lincolnshire and like many others, she was shaken by the dreadful news of The Manchester Dogs’ Home blaze. In response to the incident, Sarah has designed a safety lead to help assist evacuation of a kennel block with the intention of donating the leads to a number of dogs’ homes. This project has relied upon the donations from suppliers and sponsors so Sarah approached Abbey England asking for a webbing donation. This has been a great cause from the start and Abbey were happy to oblige.

What is your occupation?

Boarding Kennel Owner, Owner Meg Heath Dog Leads and DevDogz Web Design.

Please tell us about your project? 

The Meg Heath ‘Kennel Evacuation Lead’ was designed in the aftermath of the Manchester Dogs’ Home fire in September 2014. It followed a re-evaluation of my own fire evacuation plan that is a condition for Boarding Kennels in the UK and decided that my existing plan, albeit suitable, could be improved by designing a simple lead. I have however drawn up some guidelines for its safe & responsible use.

The kennel evacuation lead has been produced to be given free of charge to be used in Kennel based dog rescue centres in the UK as a means of safe evacuation and supervised tethering in the event of a fire. All materials have been donated and the cost of shipping has been covered by Sponsors. Supply requests are at the discretion of Meg Heath Dog Leads.

Why have you taken on the project? 

To provide a lead that rescues can use FOC in the event of an emergency to safely evacuate dogs from a kennel block.

What materials have you used? 

Webbing and trigger hooks.

How many leads are you making? 

As many as time and sponsorship dictates.

Who are you donating the leads to? 

3 kennel based dog charities in Lincolnshire to start with, then moving further afield.

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How To Teach A Dog To Come Back When Called


The Recall as dog trainers call it is the art of getting your dog to come to you when you call him (I’ll use him throughout the article). I call it an art because I believe it to be one of the hardest lessons to teach our dogs. There are so many distractions when teaching the recall, which makes it one of the most difficult and one of the hardest to train well.

How to change your dog’s recall behaviour immediately with 5 easy changes:

  • Use a long line training lead of at least 5 metres
  • Work in a no or low distraction area
  • Give yourself time rather than a rushed walk before work
  • Re-evaluate the rewards used, use what your dog finds rewarding not what you have decided is rewarding
  • And above all be calm and patient, if you or the dog is not relaxed, you will hinder your progress

My top tip: “Praise spontaneous & willing returns to you.”

Before you teach the recall

The concept behind this is what most people get wrong. Your dog 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.

Prepare – what rewards are you using? If in doubt, give the dog a choice. What call are you using? Name – come?

When you first start your training program, dogs 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.

Here is a checklist of all the main points to remember:

  1. Always reward a recall and never scold a dog for not coming back.
  2. Do not repeatedly call a dog who is not coming back to you.
  3. Use appropriate rewards – what your dog likes, not what you think he should like – suggestions are a favourite food, like chicken, hot dogs cheese that kind of thing (not kibble though, it needs to be something special and not their daily food), favourite novel toy, praise or all 3.
  4. Never assume a young puppy recall is a fully trained behaviour, it usually is not.
  5. Never ignore a recall done of the dogs own free will. Praise spontaneous willing returns to you – meaning the times your dog returned to you without you calling them.
  6. Never allow an untrained dog to practice running away, the behaviour becomes self-reinforcing (practised).
  7. Beware of never letting your dog off the lead because you daren’t – train him/her! (Use a long line leash).
  8. Never chase after a dog that is running off. Be aware of laughing and thinking it is funny, the dog will pick up on this.
  9. 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.
  10. Start your training with your dog close to you, in a safe area and on a long training lead.
  11. Gain your dog’s full attention & secure him on a lead or take hold of his collar when he returns before rewarding. Then release or put the leash back on.
  12. Reward each and every return to you, in the early stages even when he comes to you without being called.
  13. Be sure that a command is followed by the desired response, if not then you have rushed ahead in the schedule.
  14. 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.
  15. Be aware of de-training, by following commands with something negative.


  1. Manage the dog’s motivation (i.e. if using food, is he hungry, if using play, is the toy novel, if using praise, does the dog receive attention when it is not earned and does he perceive your praise as a reward)?
  2. Your dog must want to come to you of his own free will initially. So wander around on your walk and either wait for your dog to pop over and say hi or lure with a treat or toy.
  3. Walk dog 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 dog MUST ‘want’ to come to you. And to get this it must be managed not forced. [1]
  4. If using food, continually manage the dog’s 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 dog at night and do not give meals during the day (in extreme cases). It IS possible to food train a dog that appears not to be food motivated. Food helps with training; there is no denying that, but not all dogs like food as a reward. 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.
  5. The dog 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 dog realises that coming to you is beneficial then we are on track.
  6. 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.)
  7. Keep your body language simple. Don’t run around doing star jumps and calling him. Stand still & square and call him with intention.
  8. Say the command when he has returned to you (not while he is out in 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.
  9. This conditions the command and associates it with the reward and being by you (near enough to hold the collar).
  10. As he 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Gradually build up the distractions, i.e. when he is interacting with another dog, sniffing the floor etc.
  13. 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.


[1] Previous learning will affect this. The time spent allowing your dog 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 dinner accordingly. A fat dog is not a healthy dog.

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.

Please share with full credit and do not copy without permission.

© Sarah Gleave Updated 15th June 2018