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Halti's and Leads

The summer of 2014 brought some challenges for me and my two Colllies, Shadow and Ted. As you can imagine rescuing any dog, they all come with some kind of baggage. Well my two boys had a lot of baggage! After a few summer walks I noticed that my two boys were so focused on anything that moved with a leg for example a skate board, scooters, bikes etc. I became very stressed on our walks as I thought that they were going to go after someone but in reality because collies have herding instincts I knew it was just a herding thing but knew I had to do something or my two boys would no longer be able to be a part of my life.

I immediately called the Canadian Canine Training in Strathcona County where I attended my first meeting without the dogs and then our first private lesson was the next week. The trainer gave me a lot of helpful tips and I went home to put the training into place. I then attended the second class where the trainer suggested a gentle lead for both boys and yes at first it wasn't easy getting them to keep them on their noses but with a lot of patience and understanding it didn't take them long where they have and continue to use them every day we are out.

I want to be able to educate the public about the difference between a Halti, Muzzle and a Gentle Lead as I have noticed that while I'm on my walk the public treat my dogs like they are mean and wearing a muzzle.

Gentle leads are a tool that go around the nose and attach up on the head by the ears. The leash is attached to a loop under their chin and any correction done is done with the nose.

Haltis are put around the nose, attached to the back of the head but the attachment under the chin is attached to the collar. When correction is needed it puts pressure on the nose as well as the neck which I am not a fan of.

Muzzles are a tool used for many reasons. Muzzles are a tool that go over the upper jaw and lower jaw and don't allow your dog to open the mouth as to not let the dog bite someone.

The reason I am writing this is my frustration to people's reaction while out on a walk has reached an all time high. My mission is to educate people so that they look at my two lovely Collies as two dogs that are not aggressive, mean or crazy, - they are two rescues who came to me with issues, not that I mind it's what anyone can expect when rescuing a dog. I am pleased to say that both boys have come a long way. Tonight on our walk we passed by four individuals on bikes and all they did was look and with verbal prompts they looked once and we continued on with our walk. I know without the gentle lead I more than likely would have had to find a home for one of my dogs. With proper training, at both ends of the leash our walks so far have been enjoyable.

Author - Donna Roesinger, Collie Rescue Network