Harness Lead – a Truly GREAT Product

Four Times Tested, Four Times a Champion!

I don’t tend to go public with thoughts about specific products, but this is an exception.  Not afraid to say it: I just LOVE the Harness Lead, and have had 4 dogs to test it with, and every test was aced!

I figured a good way to share my experiences is to tell the stories of the dogs who benefited.

Zoey

Zoey Lamers

My beloved old girl Zoey was almost 11 years old when we found her a Harness Lead. She was at least 70 pounds of almost solid chest muscle, so when Zoey decided she was going to go somewhere, she pretty much did as she pleased and you might easily get dragged along with her. While gentle as can be, she was also very headstrong, and powerful.

Over the years with Zoey, I had tried all kinds of collars, leads and restraints to make her behave – all with varying, but limited success rates. I hated to choke, shock or inflict any kind of pain on her to make her obey. It seemed cruel and unnecessary, but I didn’t know what else to do. Then we got her a Harness Lead.

Putting it on her was easy – she stood still while I quickly wrapped her with the Harness Lead. I immediately noticed the difference in the way it reacted to her movements, and she to it…she didn’t pull on it, as she would to a choke collar or other neck-based restraint. I liked the softness of the materials, and the gentle way it treated her. She heeled as soon as I took out the slack, and seemed happy to do so.

After our first few walks, the Harness Lead itself, became the call to going outside: “You wanna go out on your new lead?” I asked.  She knew what that meant, or what it meant when I simply picked it off the wall hook, and would stand still, eagerly wagging her tail as I wrapped her quickly. And as I finished, she would be at attention, happy and waiting to walk, but not jumping around or barking or being hyper like old leads would suggest to her. There was a new discipline that the Harness Lead itself produced when it was on, and I LOVED it.

I have since thought that it is the nature of the lead that makes the dog feel comforted – the slight pressure on the chest, wraps them like a security blanket or something. At least that is the way Zoey behaved on our walks using it. To say it was a game-changer, perhaps is even underselling it somewhat – it was just awesome, especially in comparison to others I had used.

HarnessLead on Zoey LamersMy one regret with Zoey’s Harness Lead, is that she only had it in the last few months of her life. She was older, but still quite a handful to take for a walk, until we used the HarnessLead. As soon as it was on her, she would heel calmly, and be ready to go wherever our walks would take us.  She did so until she couldn’t go on walks any longer.

I appreciated the fact that I wasn’t choking or pinching her anymore to make her behave – the lead seemed to encourage her to do it all on her own. She was always happy to go on a walk, but she seemed even happier once it meant that the Harness Lead was the choice of restraint.

I miss Zoey every day now, and though I buried her with many of her favorite things, I kept out the HarnessLead she loved so much so my next dog can enjoy it as well. I have it in a handy place now, ready to be brought back into action when the time is right. It may still be hard to think about having another dog just yet, but it is easy to think about what kind of lead my next dog will be using from day one.

Bumba and Ganja

harnessleads on huskies

These beautiful Husky-mutt-mixes were mother and son, visiting from Colorado for a few weeks. At home, they claimed more than 400 acres of territory to roam without a lead, but the rules and expectations were much different here in suburban Atlanta. It was going to be a challenge, particularly for Ganja, the male pup, who was just over a year old, and had never even been on a lead. “He’s essentially like a really sweet wild animal,” his owner confided in me.

We need to obey the  Georgia leash laws and wanted to take the dogs on hikes and into city settings, so a couple Harness Leads came in the mail, just as quick as they could get here.  The results, were very impressive, indeed.

Bumba, the mother of the pair, was a quick learner and was immediately able to go on long walks without pulling, straining or yanking on her lead. Though a lead (of any type) was clearly something she was not fond of in any sense, the Harness Lead was not a problem for her, and she behaved like a champ every time we used it for her. Yet the real eye opener, was how her boy Ganja reacted.

the Harness Leads ArriveOn his very first walk, it took Ganja only minutes to understand how the Harness Lead worked, and he was heeling, and behaving in a manner unexpected but totally appreciated by us humans walking him. Instead of tearing around full of puppy zip and being hard to manage, he was attentive, happy and perfectly content to do as we wanted.

Within a couple days, it was noticed by us both, that simply putting the lead on Ganja had this calming effect: though still a puppy in every sense of the word, he behaved much better instantly when he was on his lead.

While the dogs still much preferred to be loose and behaving like “wild animals,” the Harness Lead enabled us to bring them into new settings and into some better hiking opportunities. Best of all, was the rambunctious puppy calmed as soon as he was in the Harness Lead – which made every walk more fun for all.

When the visit was over, the dogs carried with them their new Harness Leads, so that they could encounter more opportunities wherever they happened to travel next. Leash laws were no match for these lovely mountain mutts!

Bella

Bella on the HarnessLeadMy son and his girlfriend have a fiesty little pit bull named Isabella, or Bella for short. A lovable runt who has always been a city dog, she struggled to get a lead that did not irritate her sensitive skin. She also seemed oblivious to some collars, and would choke herself silly on every walk. While some body-harnesses worked better to control her and prevent the constant pulling, the velcro straps would chafe, and the poor thing had body rashes and skin irritations all the time.

That is, until she got her Harness Lead from Grandpa.

When I was caring for her recently, I decided to try the reliable Harness Lead, to see if she behaved and reacted better to it than to a regular choke collar or even the preferred body harness we used on our daily walks. And as with all the dogs I had seen before her, Bella behaved like a champ on the Harness Lead.

Her tendency to pull and strain on the lead was not there – unlike when she was using a more traditional lead. Better still, the soft material and the way it is made, did not irritate her very sensitive skin: no more chafing from a walk. This was wonderful news for her continued recovery at my house, and when she moved home to Brooklyn soon after that, she brought her new lead with her to show-off to all the dogs in the city.

Go Get Your Own

In no way was this post a paid endorsement, or anything similar. I am sharing my personal experiences with a tremendous product – an innovative lead that I would not hesitate to recommend to any dog owner. They are gentle, strong, sensitive and effective leads which make some dogs respond in a calming way almost immediately when they get into them. I have seen it, more than once on very different dogs.

To get your own, simply visit the website: https://www.harnesslead.com/. There’s a shop option there to ship right to your door: https://www.harnesslead.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html and if you have any questions, you can email them at harnesslead@aol.com. Your pup will be very pleased with you!

Same post, different day

I found a post on my other site I did, back in 2013 – seems pretty much on point, so I am re-sharing it.Enjoy, or send your distaste to me in a special package I can ignore in all kinds of fascinating ways.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Been too, too long…
But this lil’ ol’ blog is still here. Just like the ongoing work as an SEO copywriter, if you are looking for it. Clients are still there, but the effect of SEO copywriting is perhaps a little more strange than it was in the past – a bit more uncertain. I don’t think this has anything to do with the crafting of solid SEO copywriting, more that Google has shifted gears a ton in the past year, so what they are doing is kind of trumping what anyone does in a page.Hear that correctly now, ’cause I am not saying SEO copywriting is any less valuable to SEO than it ever was, or ever will be. Google hates SEOs though, so the extra descriptor on the act of writing something may see some editing. Who knows. Schlemeezle, schlemazzle.

Organic results are disappearing though, intentionally if you are paying attention, and sites are getting penalized more than they ever did before.The combination leaves fewer sites dominating the shrinking available organic space, and with these shifts come wider steps away from the minute, independent nature that drove the web’s information to where it is. Big business took over, so to see it in any lesser way is to be naiive and to launch yourself toward #epicfail.

I am proud to be an SEO, especially as it gets harder to do. Got more for me to consider with each effort? Good – bring it on…I’ll accept that challenge, as I always have.
But Google does not like SEOs and never has…despite the smiles and promises, no matter what they tell or told you. The very nature of SEO work is something beyond Google’s control, so Google allows less and less of it to matter.
Unfortunately, it is taking with it a lot of what made the web and Google a fun place to be for so many years: the promise of relevant depth and variety. Independent publishers are having a much harder time surviving as Google takes small measure after small measure to restrict any Google-is-not-in-the-middle-of-it activity or information from being available.
They are a business, and can do and display what they want – but we all suffer, because they have such a dominant blanket over sorting and displaying the world’s information, and they are scrubbing and tilting it toward their own agenda, not everyones. They have alternatives, we don’t – and yet their decisions will affect just about everyone, whether or not they are aware of it.
And that is really just a shame, because it could have been better.

I am not as despondent as this sounds – far from it, in fact. I still love the gig, still sliding down the dinosaur at night with a big smile…even bigger than it has been in years past for sure, too. I just can’t help but be rather trepidatious at the idea of things getting better in regards to how queries are answered with relevant, and diverse results in the world’s biggest search engine.

Google may hate SEOs, but I don’t hate them back…I simply don’t trust them at all because they have a very solid track record of serving themselves while saying it is otherwise. The past year has seen this in the most dramatic, and disappointing changes I have ever seen in the results displays -increasingly less space, filled with more and more Google properties every month. And more and more of a distance from what I used them for to begin with – they simply fail to grasp I am not shopping every time I am online, actually the opposite is very true for me. That disconnect has me moving away from a search engine whose results used to be on-point and fun to explore – now they have become a chore of endless ads and incorrect answers to be sorted and sidestepped. God forbid I accidentally click on the wrong thing in there.
In using a blanket and hammer when penalizing optimized sites, Google is now pretty dramatically suffocating its (our) information…because so many site histories had a skeleton or two in a closet that was actually already painted over.
Discounting these over-zealous efforts is the logical move, but penalizing them has made it a different world – and those who can’t figure it out fast enough are scrambling to Google to pay for traffic they used to get for free, and this is the point, isn’t it?

Like I said before, this has nothing much to do with any specific kind or direction of SEO copywriting, but more a little look at what may be in store as efforts continue to diminish the value of an SEO because the “o” means optimizing organic, and without organic, there may be dawning a brand new way to look at what we do…because as they go, so too goes a really huge and unforgiving part of the trade.

So I use this as a call to action: if there are going to be less spots that are harder to get, the true value of SEO copywriting is really just beginning to get reshaped and redefined by the market demands and rewards, again, as it has before. Always. I am not going to hang up my SEO roots, not now nor ever. I am very proud of what I do, and I don’t take it lightly. Google doesn’t have to like it – they never have.
As my fave basher Nick Lowe would say, “And So It Goes.” 🙂

Back to work…

Dreamhost, Finally

So I had a long run of some very problematic website issues…vicious infiltrations on client-owned things that I managed. They followed me from host to host, and took me months of work to finally eradicate (they are clean, and have been for weeks now). It was a pretty bad nightmare, though.

The Pain

It all stemmed from one of my clients loading in a shitty plugin, after he had set up a user account with the password of “password”(I am not kidding) – and this plugin with that even brief access created a gateway that quickly leaked out into other unrelated sites co-hosted on the server. The plugin concerned me from the get-go, but it was a crucial part of the guy’s build, and I was trying to be accommodating: big mistake on my part. Rules are not all meant to be broken.

The way the poison worked, was it would create a couple of files in a WP install – files that you would not ever see in normal WP dashboard management, but only thru FTP. Then, it would infect any site on the server it could exploit – in my case, it leaked out to maybe 5-6 of them in various ways…no consistency I could ever find.

The hidden files then start creating folders of “files” that are triggered to render from “normal” web operations. Self propagating keyword-based ugliness. So an otherwise standard header request, would instead get rerouted (in a millisecond) to a bad folder, with a spammy hateful page – inadvertently hosted by ME! I could find the folders and delete them, but they would regenerate at unbelievable speeds unless I found the root of it all.

It destroyed my account, and at Web Hosting Buzz, they shut down my account repeatedly, hurting all of the sites I had that were NOT compromised, only because it was a standard response they did. I then learned Web Hosting Buzz had changed my server, so I was working on an old one for over a week–and my live one, was even more compromised than the one I kept cleaning.

That was the final straw for me- Web Hosting Buzz was sliding for months, and now they were just infuriating me.

I dealt with their helpdesk a LOT, and they cleared me multiple times – -often to only shut me down again in a couple days for exactly the same thing they said I just completely fixed. I was losing my mind, and spending DAYS on this issue that became weeks; deleting files became half of every workday, and I was exhausted.

The Fix

The way I finally found it, was by rebuilding each site from scratch that I had in this account (about 45 of them)…it was long, arduous work, but it was the only true way I could make it stop. All new user accounts and passwords, universally. Deletion of all old files/accounts.

It was easy for me to clean out the infected sites and make them whole – it just needed new WP installs, free from the vulnerabilities and exploits in Web Hosting Buzz.

I ended up moving my hosting for this account to Dreamhost, based on prior experience and some suggestions/support from some friends with many more sites than I have. The cost was reasonable, the support looked fine, the interface was actually refreshingly clean, simple and easy to manage.

When I got to the truly bad site, I saw almost immediately, that the problem came directly from ONE plugin – which I removed, kicked into the yard and went postal on for a while (at least in my head I did). I told the client that he could NEVER use that thing again – and I built him a new framework with trustworthy plugins.

So far, it has been weeks, and not a single incident on the new stuff – my nightmare seems like it is finally over.

The Advice

So to avoid this kind of crap, the simplest thing, is to limit your plugins to only trusted ones (no duh, right?). It is something I got lax on, and I paid the price for sure…had to give away a lot of time to make it right with the poor folks who suffered thru no fault of their own.

Stick to frameworks that have MANY reviews, current updates, and transparency – there were red flags all over the bad plugin I fought with here, but being Mr. Nice Guy got in my way of killing it faster. It was also very insidious, and threw me in the wrong direction a lot…it did not create only one page, it varied its assault to keep trying to stay hidden…so no rules would prevent it enough. It was like a zombie.

Know what the files are for the latest WordPress install – compare it to the files in your installs…the bad guys are getting smarter at creeping in without you seeing them. Keep it updated and secure.

Use smart passwords, and even isolate sites if you need to (VPS, firewalls, hide the login page location) – there are some pretty simple ways to prevent them from getting in, since most of what they do is automated.

And above all, know that a cheap web hosting option rarely is worth it – I learned it the hard way, but am wiser for it now.

Website Turmoil

My website is in a current state of turmoil, as I was moving hosts, so I decided to change things up a bit too.

I have not fully determined what the look will be, but it will be tighter than what I have right now, anyway.

It is good to have this thing out of Bluehost hell, and away from all the spammy/crappy things that happened to my sites there in the last couple years.

No more bitterness though- I am done there, and in a better place for it.

But the site here, is hurting a bit, so I will get around to fixing it up…been way too busy. I have to work for others, not for me.

Priorities. 🙂

 

 

Web Hosting Buzz, as a fix for Bluehost

web-hosting-buzz-logoI like, and am moving to Web Hosting Buzz for hosting sites of mine, or to answer the needs of my clients.

I have been with Bluehost and others for many years, but am eager to change, and I will tell you why.

When I first got Bluehost, in like 2008, it was much more of an issue then to have the right hosting provider for your sites. As it is now, there are many languages to achieve any specific thing…but these languages, coding and platforms used to fight a lot more back then than they do today. It polarized hosts to be one team or the other. And things like cPanel and even Linux for a while were not universal, like it is today.

So at the time, Bluehost made things I needed simple and cheap…I could get stacked Windows or Linux hosting, with an uncluttered cPanel, and not worry on it to much- so I did.

I financed it, by becoming an affiliated sales rep- I sold it, as soon as I embarked. My first sales paved my way for years-of-hosting, and it continued to pay for itself, and a little more.

I truly liked it for a while, too – it was a clean, quick host, uncluttered.

Yet over time, the things I liked about Bluehost were replaced by examples of corporate bloat. The service and support I liked on entering, were eventually melted into a 3rd world, phone-it-in kind of thing, every time. Got to where I always knew more than the support person, which sucked.

As they grew bigger, their customer support became weaker overall but it was always kind of nebulous… you might find great help or nothing- no telling which-and all of it took more time to deliver in the years progressing, every time I had to tap support for anything.

I was also experiencing some technical issues, like slow speeds, hacked sites, and down time – none of it explained to me. Ever. No central feeling here, whatsoever- every call was a new walk in the park. There was even a day when all of my sites went down for about 5 hours with only a very feeble explanation as to why.

Things were getting pretty nutty out there, but I had questions about what was happening in hosting and only one guy was constant, always, with the goods- a guy in a forum I knew named Matt Russell.

Dedicated Servers

Every time there was a burble in hosting services, Matt (who runs Web Hosting Buzz, as well as Namecheap and god knows what else) would tell us all (in the forum) what happened- while Bluehost remained mute. Remember when I mentioned where all my sites in there went down for about a half day, and I was freaked? Matt privately said to me what was happening, and after a short time, it proved exactly true. Did not fix it, or assuage my freaking out then (they had to fix the servers), but it helped knowing why, and I even emailed Bluehost to fix it…and it made me realize I was getting the shaft in my hosting…I was a number to Bluehost. Everyone is.

I wanted service that was smart and dependable- like what Matt always offered. Like what I used to get from Bluehost, but saw less and less of as time went by.

I think Bluehost SUCKS.

I started moving things over to Web Hosting Buzz, and I will actively support them as my new and improved hosting option.

Immediately, the interface is SOOOOO much faster, and uncluttered by sales pitches. I also had a support thing already (I signed up like an idiot) and they answered me within an hour, and solved it for me, immediately. They also offer a service – free – to move over cPanel accounts.

Let that sink in.

Yep – they will move all your Bluehost sites out, free.

I have a bunch in Bluehost, so I am going to take them up on it. [LATER NOTE: did, it was amazing…so nice for a host to offer this-ml]

I will round out any obligations to Bluehost without seeking refunds, but I am not impressed by what growth did to a company I liked. I no longer like Bluehost, and will stop offering it as a reliable, cheap option.It may be these things for other folks, but to me, it has been a cheapie-PIA, that always seems to get worse. I quit, as an affiliate.

My needs, though kind of demanding at times, are small. I am willing to put my money on the fact a guy like Matt only does business one way…I think his company answers my needs much better than Bluehost has been doing in the last 3 years or so. Absolutely held true so far.

Web Hosting Buzz is a reliable, trustworthy and safe host, fast and easy to work with. Cheap, too. Their support rules so far.

I felt for a long time, griping was not the thing to do – either do it, or change it. But I had prepaid for 5 years at Bluehost, so was simply letting it be.

I don’t like Bluehost anymore though, not at all, and I want professional distance. In the past couple weeks, an issue occurred where automatic updates to WP installs (which is a preset in most updated sites) had a conflict with a folder permission default, so it whitescreened the sites. I had 6 of them go – but by the 3rd one, I started doing a quick update, which turned out to fix it every time. It took me hours – and I mean hours – on the phone with BH support finding the issue, and fixing it in one site – and it was me who suggested the fix. The tech was simply doing his job, but he didn’t have enough in the toolkit to help me. I helped him instead- and that is silly.

I also had a site that was having issues, so I logged into the cPanel to see what I could see – and the files literally started to disappear on me…until the entire site was gone. We (me and 2 support techs) fished a copy off a mirrored backup, but I never saw anything like that in all the years I have hosted sites. No explanation, apology or otherwise- but I spent good hours fixing that mess which turned out to be 100% on them.

Just shaky service, overdone sales pitches, and all kinds of crap I don’t want to sidestep every time I admin my accounts.

Conversely, Web Hosting Buzz seems to be a great fit—all of the service and scale-ready technology I want, at a price point I can readily afford. Love it, so far.

In.

[NOTE: Later add: loving WHB, still, months later. -ml]

Bluehost White Screen of Death on WP: Simple Fix

I have hosted sites for over 13 years. I went to Bluehost in like 2009 I think, because I needed a simple service, offering me a cheap option for Linux.

This week, at least 5 sites I have hosted there got hit by the white screen of death.

I have fixed all but one- which had deeper issues…but all the rest, turned out to be due to a Bluehost thing.

The default permissions on a critical folder, are set to not write – so an update happening, would hit this folder and not update the files it holds. They will point out I could change the permissions here- but it is not something you do, unless very intentionally directed.

So the WordPress site, set to automatic upgrades, tried to upgrade, and did it, about 9/10ths of the way-  but one file in particular on Bluehost, does not update for sure: wp-includes/formatting.php

This makes the whole site white out, and makes it impossible to admin thru WordPress.

I found, if you take the formatting.php file from a clean version of WordPress 4.0 and overwrite the local on your whited-out site (there are no unique identifiers in this file, it is a core wp file), you are gold.

Sometimes, it may be a plugin issue- but in the sites I put back online this week, all of them were on Bluehost, got whitecreened by a WP upgrade to 4.0, and all of them needed this file update.

Happily, after the first one, which took a couple hours to find and fix, this makes it fast and easy. At least to rule it out.

But God- Bluehost can suck it: I am done with these losers. Sorry for steering anyone that way, ever. They made simple muddy, and ruined the things that made them good.