Dr Roger Mugford tells Pet Trade Xtra about the new Halti and No Pull Harness which were launched at Crufts.
"I'm Roger Mugford and I'm going to tell you first of all about the Halti which has been in existence now for 38 years. We've been through four iterations, four design changes, this is the most significant. We took on board a lot of comment, positive and negative, from the 23 million users of Haltis around the world. And what we have is a small but really significant improvement in the comfort and the utility of the Halti. Also as it happens has a strong reflective thread built into it so that it really glows shows in the dark when the dog is in car headlights so you get any contribution to safety and all Company of Animals nylon products in future will have that safety feature built in.
"That's the fourth generation Halti which has served so many millions of people well over the years but also we have a No Pull harness which is inspired by my long ago invention of the LUPI. It's a simple device that stops pulling instantly without the need for any particular skill. Here you see me using it with a two point lead because I'm controlling it from both the front and the back. And of course I'm very fond of the steering action that's achieved by a double ended lead and all our harnesses now and in the future will be for those two points of control front and back. That's the No Pull harness, we've sold out fantastically. We two thousand pieces here and they've all gone. So I'm really pleased that when we get into serious sales serious production and get them out into retail they're only going to sell really well it's going to be a big one.
What makes it no pull?
"Well it's pressure and a lifting action under the arms and on the chest but it's self adjusting. It doesn't require any skill or close fitting. It's not painful because the. pieces that go under the arms are really generously padded and there's a front controlled piece which again spreads the load over the front of the dogs chest, the toughest part of his body. The important thing is it's quite economical. It's really easy and quick to fit. So people aren't going to be confused and need lots of skill. There are no complicated buckles to fit, it's just a simple slide to make it bigger to take it on right into a larger. So this happens to be on a large dog but but it would also fit on a small dog without any modification.
How long did it take you to develop this?
"Well it goes back to the old product called a LUPI, 30 plus years ago and I've just been a bit slow at making adding these little design refinements and as one does. We were selling a product called the Sporn Non-Pull Harness and we continue to do so. So it's also an improvement and an evolution of the Sporn Non-Pull Harness as well. But it's better of course than either its predecessors and it's a very affordable price which we want it to be. And the important thing is that it's simple and easy to fit and doesn't require a PHD. And three sizes fit all dogs on the planet. And of course the nice thing about a non-pull harness is or no pull harness is that it'll fit dogs with short noses like boxers or French bulldogs which are so popular and for which the traditional head collar is not suitable.
When you started out 30 odd years ago did you ever think you would get to this scale.
"I suppose no, I still am a one to one dog trainer come animal psychologist and I would have been quite content on my life to be just seeing individual families people where the problem pet dog usually. And it's a very satisfying career. I'm also here to inspire and help dog trainers because we boy sure do need animals to be better behaved. There's some very damaging mixed messages going out about dog training. That all training should be reward based and no scope for saying no or discouragement or punishment. I strongly disagree with that and it's produced some very damaging consequences in terms of complaints about dogs which are not properly controlled. So instead of being trained not to walk and pull on the lead we're having to resort to these devices like the ones I've just been talking about to correct behaviour when really it should be about education and management. But, as long as we have an obsession with reward based training and never saying no never discouraging bad behaviour I'm going to be very very busy. So thank you all those reward based trainers who are messing up the world of dogs and some of the key animal assistance charities, as long as you're doing a bad job I'm going to be picking up the pieces and doing a good job. So there's lots of work to be done seriously, the human animal relationship is so important and it must be successful because it gives so much pleasure and really psychological benefit to their owners and they they're the people that really matter to me."
Listen to the Pet Trade Xtra interview here:
Read about Dr Rogers latest venture - PupPod here