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Santa’s little helper is a Scottish Champ


Ever wondered how Santa trained his crack team of reindeer to effortlessly glide through the skies on Christmas Eve and land safely upon a sloping roof? The staff at Winnipeg Zoo in Manitoba, Canada may have hit upon the answer using an award-winning dog training product designed in Scotland.

The Canny® Collar, known as the ChampTM Walk Master in Canada, is a revolutionary training collar which prevents dogs from pulling on lead, recently voted ‘Best New Product 2006’ by the UK Pet Product Retail Association and made by the UK-based Canny Company. Its simple design and ease of use meant that zoo staff were able to successfully adapt it to train Skeeter the reindeer and Muddles the yak.

Jacquie Randall, Head Zookeeper at Winnipeg Zoo, said "I first found out about the collar from a veterinary sales rep when I was just starting to train our young reindeer, Skeeter, who was then one month old and our yak, Muddles, who was two weeks old. Because of the animals’ size, the traditional halters that I had were too small and so I was curious to see if this new collar would be any better. They worked out so well! We love the collars and I know I will use them a lot."
Jacquie has worked at the zoo since 1983 and i has trained an incredible array of animals.

Her dedication is such that in the evenings and on her days off she also works at local veterinary clinics. Jacquie trains animals at the zoo to enrich their lives through stimulation and to make it easier and less stressful on them for husbandry and routine medical treatments. Training also allows some animals, such as Skeeter and Muddles, to be used for educational demonstrations. She added "When halter training an animal it is important to teach them to stay calm, and follow commands such as to stand or walk.

The ChampTM Walk Master was great in that I was able to keep the babies from pulling ahead and remain calm with very little effort. They learnt very quickly because I was able to direct them from above, a much better way of conveying what I wanted them to do."

The Canny® Collar was conceived to control difficult horses and then scaled down to work on dogs.

However, Skeeter and Muddles needed specially adapted models made especially to fit around the neck and snout of a baby reindeer, which the UK collar manufacturers, Bowmer Bond of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, happily agreed to supply. The Canny Company has sold over 50,000 such collars to date worldwide.

Further details of the product can be found at www.cannyco.com.