The Canny Collar has come a long way since it was first conceived by Brian Smith, an old-fashioned horseman and inventor from Crieff, a small town at the foot of the Scottish Highlands.
Brian's compassionate attitude and his work with equine behaviour problems led him to develop a special slip-line collar for Wallace, a difficult stallion for whom other more traditional collars were too painful. The new 'horse controller' worked instantly, giving Brian complete control of Wallace within a matter of minutes. He was also delighted to see that Wallace was experiencing no pain or discomfort.
Brian realised that owners with dog behaviour problems could benefit from his idea when his daughter, Claire, arrived home with her dog's harness snapped into several pieces after a 'walk'. Bonnie was the typical boisterous pet that enjoyed taking Claire for a walk, usually by dragging her down the street and which no piece of dog training equipment had been able to fix!
Brian adapted his horse controller, fitted it onto Bonnie and the scaled-down dog training collar was immediately successful. Within 20 metres, Brian was walking Bonnie on a loose lead, to the amazement of everyone watching. Brian's wife, Nell, dubbed it 'uncanny' and the Canny Collar was born.
After testing, adapting and putting the finishing touches to his new dog training collar, Brian toured the many fairs, horse shows and dog events in his native Scotland, quickly gaining a reputation for his product. It wasn't long before the Canny Collar attracted a wider audience in the world of dog training, resulting in Brian agreeing to work together with the newly formed Canny Company to give this new dog walking aid the worldwide recognition it deserves.
Brian sadly passed away at home in Crieff, Scotland on 31 July 2020.
A man of simple pleasures, his brilliantly clever invention allowed thousands of dog owners worldwide to enjoy the simplest of them all - to be able to walk their dog. When out and about, he would never tire of stopping an owner in the street where he had spotted their dog on a Canny, to ask how it was going for them, offer extra training and to help them out where he could. Never one to boast, he would be simply and quietly satisfied if he was able to pull a Canny Collar off the shelf of his local pet shop and think to himself ‘this was my idea’.
When asked how far could the Canny Collar go, Brian once famously said “well, I started off with a piece of string. And how long’s a piece of string?”
Pretty long, as it turns out. Dog owners from the UK to Australia, the US, Canada and Europe have been very thankful for that moment of inspiration and that piece of string. This is how far the Canny Collar went and still continues to go, helping dog owners everywhere enjoy walking their dog.
We will always remember a proud, humble and dignified man with fondness in our hearts and a tear in our eye. He is sadly missed by everyone in The Canny Company.