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New Leash on Life Dogs

One month ago, in May 2017, two very lucky dogs started the New Leash on Life (NLOL) program near Asheville, NC.  The pups have been in training for exactly one month and their progress is already obvious. Before describing their training progress, the doggy participants in the NLOL program have changed. Originally, the program included Mocha and Anna White. However, Anna White was replaced with another dog; his name is Diesel.

New Leash on Life Rescue Pup #1 – Mocha

Mocha is an 8-month-old spitfire of a pup. She is always on the go. We believe she is a beagle-shepherd mix. She is extremely playful and high energy. She loves people and readily leans into people and whimpers to encourage petting. When we first met her, Mocha possessed absolutely no leash manners. The best way to describe her leash behavior was bouncing and pulling. Luckily, we have video footage documenting her before and after leash behaviors. Already night and day.

Mocha is not perfect. She is an adorable ball of energy. However, she has a mind of her own and will sometimes protest being touched. In my world, this is not acceptable and needs to be resolved immediately. Mocha’s trainers are taking time each day to quietly and gently handle Mocha. They are simulating what would be needed in a veterinarian exam, including rolling her on her back and rubbing her tummy. All dogs must learn to respect friendly human hands and allow them to be touched without question.

New Leash on Life Rescue Pup #2 – Diesel

Our second rescue pup is Diesel. He was chosen at the last minute, so I had no prior knowledge of the little guy. He is a handsome little fella who is about the same size as Mocha (~30 lbs). Trying to figure out his lineage is a curious task. It is known that his mom is a Chihuahua. His coloration is similar to a mini-pincher, but his physique is less muscular than the mini-pinch. I ran across a photo of a Manchester Terrier that resembled Diesel. His most striking feature is his half China eye that shines in certain lighting.

Diesel is not perfect, but pretty darn close to it. He is an exceedingly fast learner and is gentle in his movements. Anyone can easily roll him over to pet his belly. He readily accepts petting, but does not seek out attention like Mocha. He had a few barking issues, but they seem to have resolved. Evidently, the funniest incident occurred when drug-inspection dogs arrived at the prison. Diesel puffed himself up and let his presence known via several barks.

New Leash on Life Dogs

Do you want to follow Mocha and Diesel’s journey in the New Leash on Life program? Do you use Instagram? Mocha and Diesel have their very own account that is updated daily. Please follow them on Instagram:


As the name indicates, the account focuses on the dogs in the NLOL program only. You can see photos from this article, plus more at their New Leash on Life Dogs account. For example, over the past month, the pups were on FUR-lough for the afternoon to visit UNC Asheville Campus for photo shoot.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD (Dr. K) owns and operates Lucky Dog Training Asheville. They are proud to partner with Charlie’s Angel’s Animal Rescue, Henderson County Animal Shelter and the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Facility to make the NLOL program a success.

Photo by Kathryn R. Gubista


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