New Leash on Life – Asheville

In late May 2017, two very lucky dogs started the New Leash on Life (NLOL) program near Asheville, NC.  The pups have been in training for a little over 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.

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 in 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 up & down and pulling every which way. We have before training videos. Comparing their leash walking now from one month ago is like night and day.

Mocha is an adorable ball of energy and is wonderful most of the time. However, she has a mind of her own and will occasionally protest someone touching her. 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.

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 larger and much 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 conditions.

Diesel is a dream in all most situations. He is an exceedingly fast learner and is gentle in his movements. He is very friendly with humans and 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 that will need to be resolved. Our first inkling of a barking issue came to light when drug-inspection dogs arrived at the prison. Diesel puffed himself up and let his presence known via several barks at the big shepherds. His barking can be resolved with more training “on the outside”.


Speaking of on the outside ….. Mocha & Diesel took a FUR-lough to Downtown Asheville. Do you want to follow Mocha & Diesel’s journey in the New Leash on Life program, including their FUR-loughs? Do you use Instagram? Mocha & 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. Checkout all their FUR-lough pictures and more.

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

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