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Gentle leader for dogs...opinions, pointers?

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authenticnow posted 3/9/2014 15:11 PM

My gentle and loving greyhound becomes a vicious lunatic on the leash when he sees another dog. I've tried many different things that people have suggested, to no avail.

Today I bought a Gentle Leader because I've heard good things about them. I want to nip this in the bud because I'm getting very, very frustrated and the walks have become a nightmare. I've even started walking the dogs separately because I can barely handle him, let alone the two of them together when he gets like that.

Greyhounds use martingale collars because their necks are so long and their heads are small, a regular collar can slip off. I plan to use the Gentle Leader and the martingale collar together.

In the package it says to make positive associations with the collar for the dog, so I've been putting it on his nose while giving him a treat.

Anything...anything to make this work that you can share with me before I actually put it on him and attempt to walk him with it?

metamorphisis posted 3/9/2014 19:03 PM

Well I might not be the best one to ask. CB ate his.

I will tell you this. He HATED it. It worked somewhat, but he would rub his face on the ground to try to get it off, and that would push it up and squish up near his eye. As I was walking him with it one day a woman came out of her house with her dog and told me she didn't mean to pry but she wanted to show me what the gentle leader had done to her dog. The dog only had one eye. Apparently he had tried to get it off like CB did, it had squished his eye up and he pulled with such force that it damaged his eye and it had to be removed. I can see how it could happen, because sometimes I would look at Charlie and see his eye all bunched up and wonder how long it had been like that because I didn't notice. Anyway.. I put it on the table after our walk that day and he got it and ate it.

My sister is having great success with her dog and this leash (recommended by her trainer)

I ordered one, but it was too big and we got outside and Charlie slipped right out of it . I don't know it would cause the same bunching issue because I can't use it until he grows into it. Although it gives my sister complete control of her Sheep Dog (who we also suspect is part Irish Wolf Hound.. he is HUGE). No pulling.

I wish I could be more help. Our walks are still very difficult and only managed with cheese.
I plan to get a trainer to come out and walk with us in the Spring, as well as doing the next round of obedience classes.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 7:05 PM, March 9th (Sunday)]

metamorphisis posted 3/9/2014 19:14 PM

Forgot to mention, he would also rub his face on the side of my leg to try to get it off, which also caused the bunching up into his eyes. If you google a bit you will see this can be a common problem. I would try it but just pay very close attention. I am really excited about the Canny. I had to order it from the UK but people rave about them, and these are people with really difficult dogs too.

I feel your pain AN. Our walks have become something I dread and we have tried so hard for so long.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 3/9/2014 19:52 PM

My dd has a rescue mutt that was AWFUL on walks and would just have her lurching as he chased every leaf, squirrel, butterfly... Her vet suggested a gentle leader and he is the most mild mannered pleasure to walk with that on!

I don't know that she did any real training with him, though. He is a strong mutt that lived on the streets in SC before being rescued and adopted by her, so he def was a handful. He now walks like a champ. Good Luck!

Runningaway posted 3/9/2014 20:05 PM

I have used a dog halter for many years (I think the brand is Haltee) and it is the only way I can control my dog out on a walk. He does not like it, but willingly puts his nose into it so I can buckle him in b/c it means he gets a walk. I never walk him without it so it's not a big deal anymore.
I've never noticed it bunching up around his eyes but mine has a lot of structure to it. Maybe experiment with different styles.

Jrazz posted 3/9/2014 20:08 PM

Well I might not be the best one to ask. CB ate his.

8 more years and he will be out of his puppy phase!

end t/j

Merris does this too. She goes insane at other dogs. Not vicious, just crazy. Crazz wants to get a "STFU" collar. I'll have to ask DS how Teddy handles it. Both pugs are on pug specific harnesses and it does NOTHING to help her attitude.

I hope your new program works!

authenticnow posted 3/9/2014 21:14 PM

I know our dog will hate it on his face. When we took him home the first time we had a bucket muzzle on his face like the rescue recommended for the introduction to the other dog and the cats and he was knocking his face into things to try to get the muzzle off. I will try it, though. I'm desperate. I will be aware of the problems mentioned, thank you.

Jrazz, it's the fact that he's 70 lbs and strong that makes it so hard. When he sees another dog he starts pulling so hard I cannot get him going in the other direction. He's skinny but apparently he's all muscle .

I wonder if a harness is a better idea.

h0peless posted 3/9/2014 21:49 PM

I tried one of those with my "bad" dog (I have two rescues and one was abused as a young puppy and then not socialized at all while she waited four months to be adopted in the pound) and it was a disaster. I tried to use praise and even treats, which I generally don't use for reinforcement, and she still fought against the thing so hard that she cut her nose pretty badly trying to get it off.

[This message edited by h0peless at 9:50 PM, March 9th (Sunday)]

million pieces posted 3/9/2014 23:00 PM

I used it with my aussie mix and it was a lifesaver when she was young and then again great when I had her, her furry sister, and pushing a double jogger. I introduced it to her when she was young with the help of a trainer and while I can't say she was thrilled with it, she would stand still for it because it meant walks. Her sister had more of the Aussie trainability and never needed it. I honestly rec it to anyone to try.

refuz2bavictim posted 3/10/2014 04:15 AM

Our horse, I mean dog (yellow lab of massive proportions) would do this. When she would see other dogs on the street she would go insanely vicious, and make her own horror film soundtrack. It was awful. I also had to start walking her separately from chocolate girl.

Our vet recommended the gentle lead and told me that since she was the size of a small horse, she needed to be led like one.

She hated at first, and she rubbed it all over her face, bunched it up into her eyes, and her snout. She looked ridiculous and pathetic. I felt like I was torturing her. I'd readjust it, and start again.

In the beginning I used her harness with it. Just in case that frail looking lead thingy failed. I could not fathom any possible way this thing could work.
The harness was designed to keep her from pulling, but she is so big and so strong that it didn't work when she saw another dog. She found a way to drag me down the street, and tangle my legs in a ball of leash.

At first using both was effective, and made me feel safer. I noticed that the minute she pulled and the lead tightened she would settle down. So I tried without the harness after a few days. Every time she pulled I would simply change direction. All she could do was buck like a horse. But she couldn't pull me. She had to follow. I was walking in circles at times, and It was embarrassing for the first week, but it paid off.

I stuck with it, and she began associating it with her walks. Eventually she would stick her face into it on her own, to get out the door faster.

No more pulling. No more harness. No more bucking bronco.

itainteasy posted 3/10/2014 08:46 AM

Yeah, I think ALL dogs will rub their faces on the ground, you, the wall, ANYTHING they can get close to in order to try to get it off. It activates pressure points on the face/snout that are uncomfortable if they pull. Which is why they learn to NOT pull, LOL.

We have one for our puppy, and he hates it. Our Vet said that we have to be consistent in using it and he will get used to it, and will start to associate it with walk time.

My fiance's family has a lab that was a notorious, drag your ass down the street puller--the gentle leader turned her into a lovely walking companion. She also used to push her face into it, because she associated it with her favorite activity, going for a W A L K. LOL

metamorphisis posted 3/10/2014 09:19 AM

My fiance's family has a lab that was a notorious, drag your ass down the street puller

You are singing the song of my pup

I just love walking him and he loves it too. The lady with the one eyed dog scared me, and then he ate it so that was that. He was walking better, but it was like a walk and a snuggle because he was right at my side rubbing his face on my leg to get it off .

I am going to give the one I bought another try. Dh just has to add another rivet to it because it's a titch too big. He'll grow into it though. Do you know I walk every morning with a neighbour and her lab for an hour but then have to come back to get CB and walk him because he would be too much to handle with another dog and the neighbour. At least I am getting my exercise.

I think proper fit is essential so we'll try again.

A police dog trainer came out of his house one day to talk to us. He had seen me the day previous in the road, wrestling my dog for a pickle. Yes, CB found a pickle in the road and it was a roll around on the ground fight for that pickle. The trainer recommended a prong collar and said he would fit it for us. I really really considered it (not the pointy prongs but the bent ones) but I am iffy about it as I don't know much and don't want to hurt him.

tushnurse posted 3/10/2014 09:52 AM

I gotta say I am a huge fan of the pinch collars. I had a Dane that was very strong, and like the Greyhound had that long neck so could slip out of a regular collar. I also had a vet who had Irish Wolfhounds and he recommended the pinch collar for leash/walking training. As they mature, and learn how to behave they don't need them. Now my Dane was such a sissy she had to be held by two people to get her shots, and would seriously yelp and whimper when she got them. Most dogs don't notice, so she was a big baby.
She tolerated the pinch collar without flinching. She got excited when she saw it because she knew she was getting to go out somewhere, as we lived in the woods, she didn't need a leash on a daily basis, so leash and pinch collar meant going bye-bye.

Anyway. She was easy to train with it, and knew it for what it was, and once on she would not pull or strain. I used it for one of my Goldens, and my current Lab.

I also find that if you can exercise the dog with some fetch prior to going for a walk that it burns off a bit of energy, and makes them easier to handle.

truthsetmefree posted 3/10/2014 10:22 AM

We initially had the Gentle Leader. Walks were a nightmare between the pulling ahead to the lagging behind while he was desperately clawing to get the thing off. We tried numerous times but it reached a point where none of us - not even the dog - wanted to walk.

Then we found the Easy Walk Harness. Same company but totally different concept. Instead of the pull pressure across the nose, it is across the front legs. It doesn't stop all pulling but it does make it very hard for the dog to walk when there is essentially a tight strap across the front legs. He still leads but I don't have all the arm fatigue like I once did and he exhausts himself much sooner in the walk.

[This message edited by truthsetmefree at 10:34 AM, March 10th (Monday)]

truthsetmefree posted 3/10/2014 10:29 AM

I've also had some results with clicker training. Nothing extreme (and I'm probably not doing the concept correctly) but I just trained him to associate the clicker sound with a treat. (Talk about easy!). Now when I need to redirect his attention I can easily do that. I just carry the clicker and a few treats on our walk for those more extreme stimuli (other dogs, man on fast bike, etc).

authenticnow posted 3/10/2014 13:35 PM

Who has all these extra hands for clickers, treats, and stuff?

I walked him with it just now and it was pathetic. He was wriggling so much I kept checking the latch because I was afraid he was going to detach from the leash. I had it hooked to the Gentle Leader and his regular (martingale) collar.

He was walking shaking his head around and every step or two he'd lift his front paws and try to swipe it off with them. He looked ridiculous. We didn't see another dog this time. I really am afraid that when we do with all his shenanigans he's going to detach and run.

authenticnow posted 3/13/2014 14:44 PM


I've been using the GL pretty consistently for the past few days. The first day was a nightmare. Then I had DS walk with me (he used to use it for his dog and swears by them. He actually said, "Gentle leaders change people's lives, mom." )

DS walked him, then he let me take over, and I felt really good about it. Then I watched the DVD that it came with about proper use and fit. I wish I would have done that first! I really think that proper fit makes the difference. He's doing pretty well with it! We haven't come across any other dogs yet but I think that when we do, with the GL giving him a nudge in the opposite direction will do the trick. We shall see but so far so good. Fingers crossed .

tushnurse posted 3/13/2014 15:34 PM

Then I watched the DVD that it came with about proper use and fit. I wish I would have done that first! I really think that proper fit makes the difference

If all else fails read the directions......?????

authenticnow posted 3/13/2014 15:44 PM

For an intelligent person I'm not that bright.

undertherug posted 3/13/2014 16:46 PM

We have 2 very large German Shepherds. Both have pinch collars (used only when we take walks). All I have to do is put the pinch collar on and tell them to "walk pretty" and they are perfect. Without the pinch collar, not so much. Also the younger GSD was developing food aggression with the older dog. The trainer at obedience school suggested keeping a bottle of water and squirting her in the face when she started acting up. Worked like a charm. Only took one squirt. I just have to reach for the bottle and she immediately calms down. Don't know if that would work while taking a walk though.

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