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Fancy Yourself as a Kennel Maid?

Fancy Yourself as a Kennel Maid? Don’t mind cleaning and love dogs? Well, look no further.

If you are looking for experience as a kennel maid and would one day like to own your own kennels, this might be the opportunity you have been looking for. Finding a job in kennels is not only difficult but notoriously underpaid, but the rewards come as satisfaction and the joy of working with animals and in the outdoors. The scope to run additional businesses is endless, I chose to run an online business making and selling dog leads.

Buying your own kennelsDog Training Lead in Cerise with Nala

Do you fancy the idea of buying kennels or are you lucky enough to have a builder in the family? Then I think you might just be the kennel maid I am looking for?

What you will learn –

  • Cleaning to high standards
  • Cleaning
  • More cleaning
  • … a bit more cleaning
  • Some dog walking
  • No cuddling of dogs, you won’t have time
  • Picking up poo
  • Getting poo under your fingernails
  • Getting wet and cold in the winter
  • Washing dog bowls
  • Running around after my dogs
  • Instantly becoming security for my most precious possession – MY DOGS and Customers Dogs when I’m not here
  • Tending to the dogs’ every need
  • Mopping up wee
  • Cleaning walls
  • Weeding

In return?


If you want to learn everything and can clean to your heart’s content while being a responsible guardian for the dogs in your charge, then you might be my next kennel maid.

What you can learn as well as the above (unpaid) –

  • Telephone enquiries
  • Booking procedures
  • Learn to read vaccination cards and recognises errors
  • Learn to read Pet Passports and recognise foreign vaccinations
  • Record keeping
  • How to talk to customers correctly and what not to do
  • and much, much more…

More Details


Hours currently available are:

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11-3, some extra hours may occasionally be available.

Contact Sarah at email

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11 year Anniversary

11 year anniversary

July 2017 sees our 11-year anniversary of making dog leads and collars for Sarah Gleave at Meg Heath. Inspired by a stall at Heckington Show in 2006, Sarah saw a product she could market to run alongside her dog training school at the time. Running dog training classes, private lessons and residential dog training at her boarding kennels, Sarah saw the niche for making and selling extra long dog training leads to compliment her training techniques.

The difference being these leads would offer a wide variety, various upgrades and up to 50 metres in length; something that wasn’t really seen back then in 2006.

In the beginning

Sarah says –

I bought the software to open an commerce shop, an industrial sewing machine from Ebay and set about learning the ropes. By 2017 the business is run alongside my kennels which make up a full time income supporting my home and 9 dogs.

She now makes a range of products including dog collars, webbing leads, training leads, double up leads, Kennel Evacuation Leads, the slip lead, the figure of 8 lead / head collar, the Car Boot Lead, the Simple Leader Head Collar, the Marty Harness, house lines, dog training leads, dog walking belt all with a range of upgrades to customise each product such as colour of webbing, width of webbing, fittings including size variations for different sized dogs in nickel and solid brass, length / size & padded handles for your comfort.

Have a browse around our site, if there is something you do not see, drop us an email and we may be able to work out a bespoke solution for you.

Some bespoke items we have made for people have been team colour sets for BBC Scotland, a prototype headcollar design for a well-known dog trainer, embroidered leads for dog training clubs, special leads for wheelchair use and collars with plastic fittings for those dogs whose coats discolour easily from nickel and brass.

We try to help with designs that are not listed but for obvious reasons cannot copy any existing designs or pinch other peoples ideas.

Try us, we try to excel in customer care and ship worldwide.

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Dog Collars

Dog Collar

Dog Collars

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

How to fit any collar that gets smaller when the lead is pulled.

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!

~ Sarah

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The Dangers of using a stair gate for Dogs

Stair gates for dogs – I would like to draw peoples attention to the dangers of using stair gates for dogs who are prone to jumping them. This has happened to me twice in 15 years though so it’s not something that has happened often, however something similar happened to me when a dog jumped my stock fencing that had a top wire, the dog managed to get the top wire wrapped once around his back leg and was hanging there. I ran over to him and Dog knows how but managed to free him.

Accidents do happen

The 2 incidents with the stair gate happened once with a clients dog (they know about it) and once with our Maisie yesterday.

For those who can’t imagine how a dog can get tangled on a stair gate, this is what happens – they jump the stair gate but somehow their leg gets trapped, they are still travelling forward obviously so their body carries on going forward and the leg gets left behind intertwined with the bars. On the 2 occasions this has happened to me, it required my intervention hoping to not get bitten (the dog is obviously in pain and may be thrashing out).

This got me thinking, how many people go out to work and leave their dogs and use stair gates to restrict access to certain rooms or the stairs? Granted the times this has happened to me, the dogs were trying to get to me, but if your dog wants to jump over a stair gate towards the door you left by to go out to the shops or to work, worse case scenario – if this happened – they would be hanging there all day and potentially with a broken leg, doesn’t bare thinking about does it?

My recommendation would be to chose wisely or have a stair gate made that doesn’t have gaps for little doggy legs to get trapped.



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Pet Product Awards

Pet Product Awards

Entering a Pet Product Awards competition is something I’ve been thinking of for a while. I had a bit of time today so I thought I’d look into it. I did a bit of research and came up with PATS – PAT Show UK. However and here’s the catch, you can only enter if you exhibit at their show, the next one being September 2017. The cost for this would be £1760 (inc VAT), so basically the cost of and privilege to have your products considered for an award.

Now yes, I could probably pay this and yes I’d get some publicity, but I can’t commit the time off from my dogs and kennels plus I’d have to make a lot of stock to exhibit, I’d have to buy stands and displays to show off my products and I’d actually not be making enough money to cover this.

I thought this was a real shame. If anyone is reading my blog and knows of a more easily accessible route then I’d love to hear from you.

Industry Awards

My other business, DevDogz web design won an award, Best Web Design company Lincolnshire 2018. However, you have to know that the people giving the awards are just using you for marketing. So although I was happy to be recognised, I also knew I was just part of their SEO and marketing strategy.

Are there any smaller organisations that run awards schemes?

Upon doing a bit of research, as you do, its all a bit of a money spinner for the people who run the awards and what makes them so good anyway, I mean $500 to submit 1 product to Hot Diggity Awards? Woah, now hang on a minute, we’re here to make money not hand it over as easy as that for mega bucks! So I’ve hit a brick wall, I can’t find anything in the UK that’s open to us normal folk. HELP!

If you are interested in collaborating with me on anything pet product awards related then please contact me 0on 01522 810150 or email


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Pets At Home withdraws rabbit sales over Easter 2017

The Independent along with lots of other bloggers and reporters are catching on to the publicity Pets At Home giant are drumming up over their announcement to withdraw sales of rabbits over easter 2017.

Pets at Home has pledged to stop selling customers rabbits from Good Friday and will continue to easter Monday. The firm will also run free rabbit workshops over the holidays to raise awareness of how to care for the mammals.

[ – 

A Positive Move

This is an incredibly positive move for the pet accessories giant who has grown to dominate the pet market in recent years, but Meg Heath Dog Leads owner says does this go far enough?

“I think this is purely a publicity stunt by Pets At Home. It is just another ploy to profit from animals. Yes, money makes the world go round but come on Pets At Home, let’s see pet sales banished altogether from stores. It’s morally wrong to sell animals to make money no matter how ‘responsible’ you think you are. There is no shortage of pets in the UK. Animal rescues centres are saturated with dogs with not enough homes to go around. With the popularity of the so-called designer breed aka the mongrel or crossbreed dog, there are even fewer homes out there to offer dogs who need a second chance a home.”

I was having a conversation with someone the other week who was a self-professed ‘responsible breeder’. She said and I quote –

“I don’t force people to buy my puppies.”

I had to sigh and try to end the conversation. The so-called responsible breeder claims this title as justification to breed more dogs.

I wasn’t aware we had a shortage of pets in Britain today!

Being an advocate for Adopt Don’t Shop, here is a list of useful resources if you truly DO want a rabbit. Please consider getting your bunny from a rescue centre where they deserve a second chance.

Does this move go far enough to protect animals?

Please consider rescuing an animal rather than buying from breeders or shops.

Credits: Independent Newspaper

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Choosing The Best Lead or Collar

Dog Training Lead in Cerise with Nala

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.

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Puppy Training – The Recall

Puppy Training puppies

Puppy Recall – Teaching your puppy to come back when called © Sarah Gleave – 

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

Read these notes first –

  1. Always reward a recall and never scold your puppy for not coming back when called.
  2. Do not repeatedly call your puppy who is not coming back to you.
  3. 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.
  4. Never assume a young puppy recall is a fully trained behaviour, it is not.
  5. 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.
  6. Never allow an untrained puppy to practice running away, the behaviour becomes self-reinforcing (practised).
  7. Beware of never letting your puppy off the lead because you daren’t – train him/her!
  8. 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.
  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. ALWAYS start your training with your puppy close to you, in a safe area and on a long training lead.
  11. ALWAYS gain your puppies full attention & secure him on a lead or take hold of his collar when he returns before rewarding.
  12. ALWAYS reward each and every return to you, in the early stages even when he comes to you without being called.
  13. ALWAYS 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.

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.

  1. 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)?
  2. 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.
  3. 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. [1]
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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 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.
  9. This conditions the command and associates it with the reward and being by you (near enough to hold the collar).
  10. 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.
  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 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!

© Sarah Gleave Updated 20th March 2017


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.

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Puppy Training Leads and Collars

Puppy Training puppies

With the increase of puppy farms, designer breed puppies and the general saturation of puppy and dog rehoming, the demand for puppy training and good dog leashes and dog leads for puppies is on the increase. There is an abundance of products out there on eBay and Amazon with most of the products these days being shipped from abroad mainly China. There is no shortage of online stores and more so now these days as people jump on the  bandwagon to dip in to the market of selling puppy leashes and puppy collars along with leads for older dogs and dog collars too along with some very pretty designer collars out there made from some very talented dog leash and dog collar designers. However the likes of myself who have been around for a while selling mainly leashes and dog collars, we have a lot of competition and the fight for a sale is getting harder as online shops pop up everywhere to compete for that top spot on Google.

11 years

Meg Heath has been around for 11 years this July 2017 and the brains behind my pet leashes and pet collars is more than just making them, we make dog leashes and dog collars with just a little bit more know-how and experience having lived with dogs for 31 years and worked with them since 1996.

In the main you will see me making dog training leashes, the extra long type used for puppy training and training older dogs to come back when called. People are crying out for dog leads and dog collars that last a bit longer than the cheap stuff you see in the big online stores we are all familiar with.

This year I have added or intend to add a wider range of products to include some new inventions that have or will be Design Protected. Some of our new products include leashes for dog groomers, a better and design protected head collar for dogs, the ever popular Car Boot Lead that I have been making since 2009, that is now in its MK11 stage. I have a dog head collar safety lead that is a godsend for people with flighty dogs or just that added extra bit of security and peace of mind. 2 harnesses have been made too, the K9 Body Collar – a stop-pull harness that is incredibly unique and actually works. In February I designed the martingale harness that is a cracker too.

So if you are considering pet and dog leashes and designer collars, you can look no further. Our turn around time is pretty fast for bespoke dog and pet products as long as the components are in stock – which they pretty much usually are. They are a great price, have an incredible guarantee, are made of durable and long lasting materials to rival any of the online giants and to be fair, some of the micro-stores online these days that may only trade on Facebook.

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Meg Heath supplies some very special dog leads to Linbee Dog Rehoming

Manchester Dog & Cats Home

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.

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Basic obedience of the Dog Aggressive canine


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.


  • Continue with sit training, add a flat palm signalling STAY THERE!
  • Release & praise
  • Repeat flat palm (your new hand gesture/hand signal)

Phase 2

  • Sit command, flat palm “stay!” take one step back then step back in. Reward.
  • Repeat.

Phase 3

  • … 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


  • 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.
  • Repeat.
  • 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:

THE SIMPLE LEADER DOG HEADCOLLAR fits over your dogs head like a horses head collar, adds control to your dog walks.

DOG TRAINING LEAD You can’t teach a recall without a dog training lead. Why? Because as your dog chooses to do his own thing, where is your control? There is none.

These are just 2 of our products, have a browse around our website.

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Is your dog trying to be the pack leader?

Putting aside those that disagree with using the word ‘pack’ and pack leader, this blog post is about misunderstood dogs and my humble opinion, an opinion based on over 30 years experience working and living with large groups of dogs.

So here’s my story and I hope it will help some people explain their dogs’ behaviour.

Disclaimer: This post is not the answer to all your dogs’ aggression problems, seek help if you are experiencing problems, don’t give your dog away to a pound or sell them on Scumtree. Ask for help from a respected Vet that cares and is educated about behaviour (not all are in fact not many are) or go to an experienced, qualified behaviourist.

What you see – a dog creating havoc around other dogs who are just trying to play

What I see – a dog trying to restore order amongst what he / she sees to be a rowdy misbehaving group of dogs

What i see as an extreme – you are walking your dog and pass another dog and your dog goes crazy at the ‘innocent dog’ (of course this isn’t always why)

Over the years, I’ve had dogs who have been aggressive towards a group of dogs, they run up to them barking and creating, worst case scenario they do actually bite them. I’ve seen dogs with 1 or 2 puncture wounds who were at the receiving end of one of these types of dogs.

The penny drops

My theories come as revelations, the penny drops as it were as the so-called naughty dog grows up and shows more and more signs that all he ever was, was the aspiring pack leader. When you live and work with groups of dogs you learn a lot more than people who only ever have one dog. You will see different behaviours when you have 2 dogs and you will even see these behaviours when you have an ‘only dog’ as

Is your dog trying to be the pack leader
Is your dog trying to be the pack leader

You become their pack as a mixed species group.

Back to the pack word. Some people don’t like the word pack or pack leader, well I’ve got news for you, it’s a fact. A pack whether you like it or not is the name given to a group of dogs, it is a hierarchy, guinea pigs have them, spiders have them, even mixed species form a group or hierarchy, christ you’ve seen people on Facebook haven’t you, they are the worst hierarchy!!!

Go easy on your dog and do some basic obedience with them. The recall is the first behaviour you should be teaching and a ‘sit by me and wait until I jolly well release you’ command or just keep them on the bloody lead if you can’t control them. It is also VERY important to note that if you have no control over your dog, this type of behaviour will be worse. In your mixed hierarchy of humans and dogs, you must be top dog. You can get away with humanising your dog, jeez look at Robert!!!! The difference is, Robert was trained to within an inch of his life at 7 weeks. He is allowed on the bed and knows it’s his dog-given right to be there. Crikey, if he ever had to go into kennels (that won’t happen), he’d be like “where’s the king size and me blankie mum?”

Are they trying to be the pack leader?

Taking control of your dog-human relationship, some easy facts to get to grips with –

  • Teach basic obedience, first – recall, second – sit and stay there until I tell you otherwise (i.e. dog doesn’t move in their own time, you make the decisions), lie down – not too important if you have a good sit, as long as they are staying put then we are good.
  • NOW HERE’S THE KILLER CONUNDRUM —- Whatever you ask your doing to do (must be a learned command – I don’t like the word command, but I’ll use it anyway, don’t be asking them to do something in a loooong English sentence that your dog will NEVER know what the bloody hell you are on about, unless you are Robert of the Heath aka Golden Paws), FOLLOW IT THROUGH…So –
  • You ask your dog to do a learned command, then they MUST DO IT.
  • Most people I see asking their dog to do something say something like – oh he’s not listening today… I don’t wanna hear this, it’s pathetic.
  • SO in simple terms, it goes like this > human gives command > dog does it….oh wait, isn’t that easy peasy?

Disclaimer: This post is not the answer to all your dogs’ aggression problems, seek help if you are experiencing problems, don’t give your dog away to a pound or sell them on Scumtree. Ask for help from a respected Vet that cares and is educated about behaviour (not all are in fact not many are) or go to an experienced, qualified behaviourist.

Meg Heath Dog Leads sells dog training leads that help with the recall, heck I’ve even written a how to teach your dog to come when called blog post.

I have also got Design Rights on The Simple Leader, made by my own fair hand and little fingers to help control dogs that pull.

If you need advice on stuff training related and what lead or collar to buy then call me on 01522 810150.