Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bad Idea: The Illusion Collar

The Illusion Collar is a product designed by television show host Cesar Milan for the purpose of making slip collars easier to use, more effective, and more likely to injure your dog. It places the slip collar up at the very top of the dog's neck, where the most sensitive structures are located. This causes the dog the most pain and very efficiently cuts off the airway when pressure is applied. The Illusion Collar, and the newer version the Pack Leader Collar, uses a double collar with a rigid piece in between to force the slip collar to stay at the top of the neck.

What's Wrong With It?

  • It works the same as a regular slip collar. Despite the elaborate double collar system, the Illusion Collar only works if you keep the dog at your side and pull the leash up. As soon as the force is applied from behind the dog instead of above, the collar becomes significantly less effective. If you're already holding your dog at your side with upward collar pressure, you don't need a funky neck brace to keep it there. 
  • It doesn't last. Unless you are walking your dog like the only thing keeping the slip collar in place is you pulling up on it while your dog walks at your side, the Pack Leader won't last very long. The rigid structures on the collar eventually soften, and allow the double collar to slide down.
  • That's not how slip collars are supposed to work anyway. Fee your own neck, just under your chin. See how you've got all those blood vessels, glands, and your windpipe and trachea all right there? Totally unprotected? Your dog has all that same stuff in the same place, and the Illusion Collar puts pressure on all of them. Traditional slip collars are used to give brief corrections when used correctly, and are loose the rest of the time. Used incorrectly, a slip collar normally puts pressure lower on the neck as the dog pulls into it. This thing allows a dog to pull with the most sensitive part of their neck, putting constant pressure in the worst possible place. Or allowing brief corrections in the worst possible place.
Really, there's no winning here. The Illusion Collar and Pack Leader Collar are quick and dirty ways to improve your dog's behavior. I would much rather see a prong collar on a dog than one of these monstrosities.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Product Review: K9 Sport Sack

The K9 Sport Sack is a backpack carrier for your dog. Yeah, just like one of those baby backpack carriers, but for your dog. It comes in several colors and four sizes to fit dogs that measure 10-23" from neck to floor when sitting up in 'begging' position. There is a weight limit of 30 pounds. The company also makes a variety of accessories for their products, and offers sizing help when you text them a picture of your dog.

Ok, stop laughing. This thing really works. It's pretty cool too, because it sets the dog up at the right height to look over your shoulder and see what you are doing. Much more fun than riding in a box with screen windows.

The K9 Sport Sack is indeed a sack. It's a bag that your dog rides in, it velcroes around the neck and has little holes for their front legs to stick out. The dog rides in a sitting position, and the rigid bottom of the bag provides a supportive surface for them to rest on. There is a sternum strap on the people side to keep the shoulder straps from slipping off.

I bought this K9 Sport Sack at the liquidators because I had actually heard of the product before and found it hilarious. It has greatly exceeded my admittedly low expectations. The design is secure and comfortable for both me and Ru. The quality is great, it feels like a rugged piece of outdoor gear.


  • Allows small dogs to be comfortably carried on bicycles, motorcycles, hikes, climbs, and anywhere else.
  • Keeps your hands and the front of your body free.
  • Sets the dog comfortably at face level and allows them to see forward.
  • Allows you to take an unvaccinated puppy out for socialization without having to set them on the ground.


  • No internal structure or hip belt for the human means carrying a 30 lb dog could get uncomfortable.
  • Not every dog is cool with being carried this way.

Bottom Line

This thing is pretty awesome for Ru, I may need to get the little jacket liner to keep him warmer. For a novelty purchase, it has been remarkably useful. I even put Puff in it occasionally before she had all her shots.

Spoiler alert: I found a larger size at the liquidators recently, stay tuned for much larger dogs being carried around like toddlers.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Story of Puff

It's been a while since I updated The Dog Geek, I've been very busy working as a full-time shepherd on a sheep ranch with Zip and Godzilla, and now I've added a third stockdog to my little family. Zip's sister had babies in October, and I helped deliver the litter and raise the pups. This was a big litter, nine puppies, ranging in size from half a pound to a whole pound at birth. When they were a week old, the smallest baby got very dehydrated and required some extra fluids and care to keep her going. We weren't entirely sure that she was going to make it for several days.

Once she was thriving again, little Puff turned out to be quite a scrappy little puppy. As soon as the pups were big enough to play and wrestle, she would tackle the others and steal their toys. Her favorite toy was a tiny squeaky stuffed duck.

Puff is now 16 weeks old, still petite, and unstoppable. She is the first baby puppy I've raised since Brisbane, and she's almost as bitey and wild as a cattledog puppy. So much biting! Godzilla is the only one of the big dogs that will play with her.

I have lots of plans for Puff, she will be introduced to sheep when she is old enough. Someday I hope
to compete in the big herding trial in Meeker, Colorado. For now, I just hope her ears will stand up. They were perfect little tulip ears for a couple of weeks. Just when I fell in love with the tulips, they stood up! Two days later, they tipped over. She's probably going to have flying nun ears like Zip.

I am trying to make more time for blogging in my busy schedule of shepherding and trialing. In the meantime, we are getting plenty of use out of our Kong Binkies, Puppy Kongs, and assorted other chew toys. So many chew toys.