I have been walking dogs for years, and want to share my experience with you regarding the Gentle Leader (by Pet Safe) head collar for dogs. The following review is a personal account of why I use a lead on my dogs, and how it may benefit your dog’s leash behavior.
“My dog is constantly pulling! My arm is killing me!”
“I cannot control my dog on our walks; it’s so bad it makes me not want to take her on walks at all.”
“Why won’t my dog stay by side on walks-he is always in front of me and nothing I do makes him heel!”
Been there, done that. Until one day at the pet store…..
I had just adopted my Yellow Lab Mix, Fisher, and had the bright idea to take him to Petsmart for his “First Fun Trip To The Pet Store That Will Go Exactly As Planned”. I had already purchased a regular leash and several years ago had little experience walking an untrained puppy on a leash (especially at a place like Petsmart, with ALL the smells. I mean, what was I thinking?).
As Fisher pulled me down the aisles, I saw the judgmental looks from seasoned dog owners. Apparently, dogs walked next to their mom or dad and didn’t have to told, “No, Stop, Sit,” every 5 seconds. The sheer excitement on his part, paired with the sheer naiveté on mine was probably quite comical. I seriously wondered how people walked into a pet food store with their dog, picked up food, and made it to the checkout line without their arm being pulled out of its socket.
So, I went to the dog food section (arm still intact), and picked out Fisher’s puppy food. Keep in mind when I say “puppy,” I mean, “6 month old lab who is growing by the second,” and needs some serious leash training. I had the food under one arm, and a leash wrapped tightly around my wrist, when a man I will call, “The Pulling Dog Mom’s Arm Savior” appeared in front of my with a very well-behaved, adult Weimaraner. “My dog used to do that,” he said, obviously referring to my yellow bundle of joy who was now wanting to sniff his much bigger, much more sophisticated counterpart. “And, how did you get him to stop?” I asked, wanting to leave the store and take an Aleve. He led me to the collar and leash aisle where he showed me the answer to my future dog walking prayers: The Gentle Leader.
I thanked him profusely, bought the Leader (it comes with a DVD tutorial), put Fisher and his food in the car, and hoped this new collar would make our walks and trips more enjoyable for both of us.
When we arrived home, I popped in the 20-minute DVD and popped the Gentle Leader on Fisher. Then we popped out the front door.
The Leader was not difficult to put on, and once you get the hang of it, it slips over your dog’s nose. You simply connect it to the leash (you can do this prior to putting the head collar on your dog).
The first walk with the Gentle Leader was pretty successful. Fisher tried to bat it off his nose a couple of times (I suggest simply stopping and letting your dog rub his face momentarily so you are not in a tug-of-war with him). The best thing about the Gentle Leader is that a slight flick of your wrist will correct pulling. The dog’s nose is his guide; with a slight correction, the walk continued and we made it around the block much easier than the first couple of weeks’ walks.
Let your dog wear the Gentle Leader (without the leash) around the house for a while before you walk him or her. You may find your dog takes to the head-collar easily, but if not, wearing the Leader without even intending on walking is a way for him to get used to the feel of the Gentle Leader.
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