How to Utilize the Gentle Leader and Similar Head Halters in Dog Training

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The Gentle Leader can be a Wonderful Tool!

I don’t often condone much less recommend the use of dog training collars because most often these references refer to: choke chains, prong or pinch collars, or even shock collars.  However, I do on occasion recommend the use of The Gentle Leader ™ and similar head halters.

I almost ALWAYS recommend a head halter for dogs that show ANY kind of aggression: dog aggression, human aggression, wheel aggression (wanting to chase scooters, cars, roller skates), and even fear aggression.

A properly fitted head halter gives you the ability to control the offensive body part; the snout and mouth.  Although a dog can still eat, drink, bark and bite with a head halter on, it allows their owners to control their face and snout.

Imagine your dog races, accidentally off leash, towards a dog aggressive dog.  Dog #1 is wearing a gentle leader head halter and his owner is able to pull his face upwards and keep his gnashing teeth from biting your dog, dog #2 is on a choke chain, prong collar, or buckle collar and because of his great range of motion in his neck and face he is able to lash out and deliver a bite despite his owner’s best attempts to keep him from biting your dog.

Although this is not necessarily the dog aggressive dog’s fault (since the other dog was off leash), accidents happen!

Now imagine that you are the owner of the dog aggressive dog; which collar would you prefer?  I would want the ability to control my dog’s snout and mouth in any

puppy training, gentle leader

Imagine controlling this face!

instance where he might be aggressive or deliver a bite.

People who have never had an aggressive dog think that these dogs should be left at home and never taken out in public or around other people or animals.  However, you cannot work on behavior modification and helping problem dogs if you simply lock them up and never teach them appropriate behavior.

BUT, as the owner of a dog that has aggressive tendencies you want to be in as much control as possible and the idea of your dog showing aggression is usually horrifying for you and fills you with shame.  Good people often get aggressive dogs, or dogs with problems and they have to deal with people who judge and blame them!

My second dog, a female Rottweiler, was excessively dog aggressive for most of her life.  She is the reason I am a dog trainer.  I couldn’t lock her at home and HOPE that her problems would leave and she deserved a shot at a normal life with on-leash walks throughout neighborhoods and parks.

puppy training, gentle leader

Imagine controlling this face, with the gentle leader on

I began using Gentle Leaders the year that they came out because it gave me control of her mouth in cases of emergency.  She was NEVER allowed to be off leash because I could never trust her around other dogs, so although she was always on a leash sometimes other dogs were not.  And, although she could still bite with the Gentle Leader on, I could usually manage to control her face if another dog raced our way.  Every time I took her outside the house where there could be other dogs, I knew she was a HUGE liability!  The Gentle Leader allowed me to have more control and lessen my fears that there would be an aggressive incident.

This simple device allowed me to keep her safe (from the repercussions of a serious dog fight) and it kept other people’s dogs safe because she never had a chance to bite or attack another dog because I was a dutiful owner!

This early orientation with the Gentle Leader helped solidify its importance while training and working with dogs with aggression.

Like it can help an owner that has problems with dog aggression, it can also give owners of fearful dogs and dogs with a tendency toward human aggression more control by controlling the snout which houses the teeth.  It also tends to keep people from wanting to run up and pet the dog, because some people think it is a muzzle, although it is not.

I have also never trained a Service Dog that was not trained with and acclimated to the Gentle Leader; it simply gives people with limited physical ability more control of large dogs.   When used correctly a 5 year old child could easily walk a Great Dane.

How Does it Work?

puppy training, gentle leader

Head Halters Keep Your Dog from Wanting to Pull

  • Could you imagine putting a choke chain on a horse?  Halters are used on horses to give people more control, the same principle applies to dogs and head halters!
  • Not only does it give you more control of the snout and “biting area” of the dog, it also gives the owner increased control over pulling, lunging, and other naughty leash behaviors.
  • When your dog pulls and he is wearing the Gentle Leader, pressure is applied BEHIND his head and ears.  Dogs dislike being pulled and when you pull on his collar or leash, he wants to pull back by pulling you forward…the Gentle Leader uses the same principle by placing the “pull” on the back of the head making your dog not want to continue to pull you forward when he feels this pressure.

How to Begin Utilizing This Tool

puppy training, gentle leader

This is Too Loose! It should be tighter around the back of the head, and resemble more of a Y

Make sure it is sized appropriately!  A halter that is too loose can cause rubbing, abrasions and pain!  Although it may seem too tight, it is crucial to make sure it is tight like the instructions recommend.  This is not a “collar” the control and pulling is not going to the neck, it is focused around the nose that is why having it this tight does not hurt or bother your dog.  A correctly fitted head halter should fit like a “Y”.

DO NOT use a head halter that is not adjustable under the nose piece.  There is another popular, sometimes cheaper head halter that is not adjustable under the snout, and because it cannot be tightened the fabric strap can pull and even run in your dog’s eye.  The ability to adjust the halter under the nose keeps this from happening.

DO NOT keep the snout portion loose enough for your dog to pull off.  Once your dog is successful at slipping his dew claw under and pulling off the Gentle Leader, you are in for an eternal struggle because he knows it can be done!  It is best to keep this knowledge from him!

This process is like acclimating to hard contact lenses, don’t put it on and leave it on for long periods.  You must familiarize your dog to it SLOWLY for this to be successful!

ALL DOGS BUCK, some scream, and others throw horrifying temper tantrums.  These tantrums can be totally normal, since they have never had anything on their face before, just don’t give in by taking it off or you will be setting yourself up for even more drama next time!

The less drama you put up with the first time, the less you should see during subsequent training sessions.

Getting Started

puppy training, gentle leader

DO NOT USE!! This is NOT adjustable under the snout and can be pulled up into eyes if not careful!

  • Get your principles of positive reinforcement and fantastic treats ready!
  • Every time you take it out have a click and treat fest!  Your dog should dance with excitement at the sight of his new head halter!
  • Hold the snout portion open and make your dog stick his snout in it as you click and treat.  Don’t click it on for now, just click and treat for his nose coming through.
  • Next just let it rest on his face and click and treat, putting it on and taking it off for treats.
  • After he has no problems with that, it is time to click it in place and treat.  Don’t leave it on for too long and do not apply any pressure.
  • Once he has gotten use to it being on; begin putting it on him before meals and any other fun times during the day.   It should be associated with good things.
  • Next take him for a walk but DO NOT attach a leash to it yet!  It is the pressure on the back of the head when they pull that is normally the cause of fits and tantrums.   Just allow him to acclimate to the halter without applying any pressure yet.
  • Finally once he is thrilled to see it and happy to have it put on and can wear it for short periods, it is time to get him use to the pressure.
  • I get a leash with 2 clips;  I clip one end of the leash to his buckle collar and one end of the leash to the head halter.  This way I don’t always have to have pressure or pulling on his head, unless he is pulling me!
  • The one problem I see with head halters is that: they don’t go away when the dog is good or makes good decisions; most people continue to pull on the leash or apply that pressure.  Having a leash attached to his regular buckle collar allows you to utilize his buckle collar most of the time and only apply pressure to the head halter when needed.
  • This use of two ends of your leash also helps teach him how to behave with just a buckle collar on!

I like the Gentle Leader and similar head halters that are adjustable under the muzzle, I think they can be a marvelous training tool.

If your dog has aggressive tendencies, I think they are essential in providing control and insurance against an incident, possibly for a lifetime.

However, if you are just utilizing this tool because your dog pulls on the leash or you could use more general control, it is my belief that you should remember it is a “training collar” and use it for its purpose to train and teach, not as something to use for a lifetime!

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There are 83 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I was very glad to see this article about the gentle leader. I have a lab and he loves to pull. Which made taking him for a walk impossible for me because I’m not that strong. Once I found the gentle leader, that problem was gone almost immediately. He suddenly becomes submissive! I couldn’t believe it, like a new dog, loose leash walking at its best! He still lurches at other dogs but I have the control in those situations. Its like a miracle to me.

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  2. Jim says:

    I’d like to try it. I have a very agressive unpredictable dog with everyone but me. she is pit-springer mix. I want her to have fun with others like she does with me but I can’t trust changeable behavior with others.

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    Paul Reply:

    I have the same problem with a Belgian Malinois mix. I use an e-collar to control any aggressive move that he makes. Low voltage to distract him….higher voltage if he moves at a person.

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    Minette Reply:

    aggression incites aggression, I would never recommend an e-collar especially with aggressive dogs! Use positive reinforcement and a gentle leader will be much more useful!

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    Paul Reply:

    Using a gentle leader kept my dog from dragging me towards people and I got him back under control easier. But when I used the e-collar (mild shock) he stopped lunging at people and would lay at my feet while I had a conversation. He is on leash always. I accomplished more in one week with the e-collar than I did the five previous months with a gentle leader,muzzle, and 16 weeks of obedience training.
    I was reluctant to try it but I had no other choice. He was a 90# time bomb.No one could come anywhere near him without being charged.

    Minette Reply:

    She may never be safe with others like you mention and it is probably not something SHE is interested in, but with a gentle leader you can control her and keep her safe and comfortable! I would definitely recommend one!

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  3. jeanEastman says:

    I have a year old Pomerian . How would this work for him. He does pull
    a lot especially when he sees children.
    Thank you for the info
    Jean.

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  4. Donna says:

    I have a fear agressive white german shepherd, got him when he was 16 months old, he came with a whole pile of aggression issues. He could not be walked in public safely, never unleashed in our yard because our neighbours have more cats than the spca, and he is prey driven. I tried every collar known to man,inckuding the gentle leader, then finally the prong collar.I had to keep him under control for his safety as well as the publics, including other animals, dogs in particular. The collar is NOT tight or cutting into his skin, I never pull on it or pop it, and walk with a very loose leash. Any corrections that my dog gets is when he tries to lunge, pull, or control the walk my advancing on another animal or individual. The dog gives his own correction. Then I stepped up the protection, with a wire basket muzzle. Sounds harsh, works wonderfully! He can take treats as well as drink with this basket muzzle. We walk two miles or more at least twice a day, my dog is safe and obedient, walks with his snout in line with my knee. His correction from me is a “leave it”. He sits at every crossing before we move on, allowing me to make sure its safe to cross. The use of this set up has enabled my dog to eventually and safely try to sniff people as they walk by, lately he is allowing “some” people to pet him, they never touch my dog without my permission, if he is genuinely interested in hearing a calm voice, wants to sniff, I will permit a pet, when all indications are the dog wants the encounter. I know he is not able to bite, he is not in danger of causing another pain, he is not going to be in a position where his actions will cause a forced euthenization, and there will be no law suits. He is not unconfortable at all, and is being given all the time he needs to invite others into his life. He is very close to 100 pounds, I am female,close to 60, have two bum knees, and carry a stick to protect my dog from others, after all, he does not have the option of using his teeth. Eventually, perhaps with more improvement, we can move down to the halty again.

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    Minette Reply:

    Although in general I do not agree with the prong collar I do see that you are being a smart owner by muzzling him and keeping him and others safe! Kudos to you for taking the steps needed to make sure there is never a bite!

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    susan Reply:

    i also have a very aggressive german shephard which i cant walk in public, i generally take him walking about 5 am when the streets are empty, i always walk him with a muzzle because he can not be trusted, he has already bitten someone. thank goodness i have a large yard because he loves it outside although i had to spend several thousand dollars on fences.he is real sweet to people he know but doesnt like any strangers. anyway i have looked for the basket muzzles so i can walk him more and feel safe while doing so but i can find them. where did you get yours?

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    Donna Reply:

    https://www.german-shepherd-dog-breed-store.com

    they have all the gear you need to keep both animals, pets and your dog safe. The muzzle is excellent because my dog can drink with it on so I can bring water for him, and he can take treats through the muzzle and chew…it gives him an opportunity to have safe walks and excercise.

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    connie Reply:

    I too have an aggressive strong willed lab. He is a gentleman in the house but out side he takes over with his own desires, on the leash or off. I bought the dog father blue collar for traing him to be obediant. he pulled forward, I went down on the ground and he broke the metal ring and took off after a rabbit.I have tried the gentle leader, He pulls with that too. My husband cut it in half so I could not use it on the dog. My husband thought it hurts the dogs head and could cause some kind of linjury. My dog kinows the leave it comand. I bought the mesh muzzle and that is what I use when out and about.I have given up on training this lab. He is just too stubborn. I still love him and give treats. When the treats are gone so is he.

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  5. cynthia says:

    Great system. I prefer the halti callor brand as it has a safety clip that attaches to dogs regular callor. If your dog slips out ( and they can) you are still connected to your dog. GREAT safety feature.

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  6. Eileen says:

    I used a head halter on my Lab. It didn’t really help. The only equipment she responds to is the Easy Walk front loop harness. I certainly agree that the Gentle Leader helps control dogs who have other things on their mind than walking on a loose lead. I see a lot of people walking their dogs with just a leash under the chin; it takes a lot of deep breaths on my part to avoid telling them to use a double hook lead with this type of equipment.

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  7. Ava Rizzo says:

    I didn’t care for the gentle leader because the dog can use his paw and get it off their nose. The Halti and Holt have a strap that connects the 2 straps more like a halter. The Halti will only get in your dogs eyes if it is too big. The Holt has an adjustment under the chin. These are the best tools for pulling and dog aggression. They keep you and your dog safe and make your walk much more enjoyable.

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    Minette Reply:

    The Gentle Leader will not come off if sized appropriately!

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  8. Judith says:

    I love the Gentle Leader and am so pleased to see it being discussed here. I adopted a 9 month old terrier mix from a local shelter last year; he was very afraid of everything, including putting on a collar! I worked with him for a very long time, trying to get him to relax while on his leash and have fun on his walks, which he loves. He is strong and pulled and lunged, mostly at bugs and frogs! He weighs only 20 pounds. I had back surgery a year earlier and his struggling was causing extra pain for me. Finally, a trainer suggested the Gentle Leader; I tried it and found it to be truly amazing, and helpful for both of us! I use the GT occasionally, and his regular leash other times, and we both enjoy our walks!! He is not afraid now and is a super, wonderful best friend.

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  9. carol says:

    Hi, I do dog walking and one of the dogs has a very small snout. I have tried the Halti and the Gentle Leader, they do not stay on her, I am now using the Dog Whispers harness for pulling, this dosen’t stop her. HELP!

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  10. sarah mcmenamin says:

    I would love to try this with my dog but I feel he is way too small for this?He is a tiny fully grown pomeranian cross. It probably would help his aggression towards other dogs but I think he is too small for this.
    Any other suggestions?

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    Minette Reply:

    they make a tiny size for small dogs!

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  11. I have two cute White American Eskimo Dogs about One year and four months old. They understand every thing. They have learned a few tricks. They listen and obey, but I had no time to get them trained.
    I need help on training them the following;
    1.To go for potty at the place, allocated for them?

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  12. Hello!
    I have, two medium size, White American Eskimo, dogs. They are very cute and loving. They obey most of our commands but they were never trained for special jobs.
    I would like to know, how much it would cost me to get them trained for the following jobs;
    1. To go designated potty area.
    2. Not to dig holes in the back-yard.
    3. Not to urinate inside the living area.
    4. To stop barking, too much, when someone comes in.
    5. Go and bring the object you point at.
    7. Not to look at the people, while they eat.
    NOTE: These dogs live with us as our children. But we never gave them time to work on the above things. That may still be a problem. I want someone to train them and charge me reasonably. I can’t spare too much money and/time to train them.
    Thanks.
    With regards,
    S. Singh

    [Reply]

    Shari Reply:

    Dogs want to go where they have pottied before. Keep going to the same area every time. If they are still soiling in the house, then they have too many house privileges and should be confined until potty trained. As for the staring at you while you eat, that can be addressed easily by making them stay away from the eating area. We have trained ours to lay on the rug in the kitchen while we eat in an adjacent area. The dog can still see us. A bone or treat will help too.
    Good Luck. Training does take time. but its necessary. It can be done in 5-10 minutes each day. The items on your list are not special jobs, just regular needs to be a good pet.

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    Lori Reply:

    I just rescued an Eskie from the shelter. She is delightful but wasn’t trained or housebroken at all. It took me three days of letting her out constantly, praising her when she went in her place, and a sharp no and carrying her outside if I saw her start to go in the house. I also crated her at night or if I left since she was already crate trained (I have a roomy metal one that she can see out of). Anyway, she hasn’t tried to use the house since and now lets me know when she needs to go out. As far as barking, I found a good tip online at the Eskie website. Fill a soda can half full of pennies and tape it closed. If she barks more than once, shake the can hard once and say no! The loud noise cares her and she doesn’t like it. I am more lenient than some people and don’t mind if she makes little low noises or low woofs and actually encouraged her to do so by saying low woofs and doing a quiet woof sound back at her. These dogs are bred to be alert dogs so asking them not to bark is a challenge but my new Eskie is trying very hard to please me with low sounds instead of breaking our ear drums. We don’t have trouble with her staring at us because we don’t feed her except in her dish at her meal times. As far as retrieving, she sometimes will bring a toy back & sometimes won’t, but she is learning that if she wants me to play, she has to. A treat with retrieval would probably help. Eskies are very smart when it comes to mischief and can learn a bad habit in a second – I pulled out a weed from the lawn the other day and she immediately started grabbing clumps of grass and pulled them out of the ground too, and is unfortunately delighted with her new skill. The problem with having someone else train her is that it has to be consistent and you have to be her pack leader. She might learn to obey someone else, but she has to learn to obey & respect you. Hope this helps. I have never had an American Eskimo before and this dog is very different from any other dog Ive had.

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    Minette Reply:

    I would caution against the can with the pennies. You are teaching her to be fearful of noise and if you take her somewhere in public i.e. a festival or a ball park or a party she is likely to be scared of noise if you continue to use this method.

    The last thing you want is to be walking down the street when you hear a sound she doesn’t like (car back firing, jackhammer, etc) and have to try and run away!

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  13. sara says:

    My dog will not walk on any type halter. She falls to the ground and will not get up on her own. I do not know what her fear of walking on a leash resulted from, as she is a rescue from a shelter. She is a great dog with good manners, not aggressive towards anyone, insecure and will walk away from people she is unsure of; mostly men.
    I would love for her to walk with me but do not know how to solve her problem of collapsing to the ground on a leash. I have tried looping the leash around her belly and helping her along, like a marrionette puppet, but this is not fun for either of us. Please, do you have any suggestions for this problem?

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    Minette Reply:

    Let her just wander around the house dragging the leash for a bit for a few days. When she is good with this just start picking up the leash and applying light back pressure…slowly but surely she should see that your pressure doesn’t mean she is bad or doing something wrong. Encourage with treats and encouragement and praise and after a while she will be ready for short trips outside for small walks, then increase her time with her level of comfort.

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    Lori Johnson Reply:

    We also have a “hound from the pound” who seems very well mannered as “Sara’s” dog. We use a gentle leader when we take him for walks. He is 3 years old, half lab, half coon hound. His stubborness must be the coon hound. He decides that he wants to sit while walking with the gentle leader on. I can’t get him to move – at all. He started doing this a few weeks ago so I refuse to walk him. He lets me put it on but for no apparent reason, he just decides to sit. I think he is trying to show me his dominance. He is a very timid, reluctant dog, scares easily. I am very frustrated and no where can I find how to cure this situation with the gentle leader!

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    Minette Reply:

    you need to make it fun and move around, toss treats, get him to eat and ignore his reluctance to move when he shows it by encouraging. He sits still because he doesn’t know what else to do, clap, jump, spin and do whatever it takes to show him he is going to live even with it on!

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  14. Carol Ross says:

    I was amazed when I first put the Gentle Leader on my Cane Corso. She immediately became submissive. Could it be that the pressure on the top of the muzzle mimics the way it feels when a mother dog places her mouth over a puppy’s muzzle to make it submissive in the same way that holding a grown cat by the neck skin mimics the way a mother cat carries its young. Even an old cat will immediately go into a curled position as though it were going to be carried by its mother. Just a thought.

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  15. A says:

    It is a little light to tell someone that this or any other harness…will do the job of controlling their dog if it is aggressive in any way. Any person that has dealt with an aggressive dog will know that it takes more to guide their dog. The will need proper training. Many dogs that seem to exhibit aggression are being defensive and they need more than a collar or leash to change that. Different tools can help, they are not the complete answer.

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    Minette Reply:

    You must have misunderstood, I only say that it helps to control the biting end (snout) better than any other tool. I did say they can still bite and be aggressive. This tool just helps them gain more control to work on the behaviors.

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  16. Mary Repko says:

    I’m using the Easy Walk Harness on a Pitbull & Beagle. They were notorious pullers when I first started walking them. Now, they’re walking calmly beside me. The Easy Walk Harness front chest attachment stops pulling by steering dog to the side & redirecting his attention to the handler. I highly recommend it.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I also like that harness! It won’t help an aggressive dog, but it certainly does help manage the pulling! But, as a dog trainer I think it is best to teach your dog not to pull rather than relying on a training device 😉

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    mike Reply:

    In Beginning Obeid class, my trainer suggested using a gentle leader.

    Although I loved the effect the gentle leader had on my English Shepherd’s pulling. I didnt like the fact that when I took it off,I was back to square one on getting him to walk or do other activities that required focus.

    When I ended up going to a different trainer for agility classes, the first thing they made me do was get rid of it and begin leash training all over without this.

    I am not saying its bad in any way, however, as I am sure you will agree, its a tool and not a subsitute for consistant training.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    That is why in the article I suggest getting rid of it at some point because it is a training tool and how to use two leashes to wean the dog from the tool.

    mike Reply:

    Agreed!

  17. Judith says:

    The information about the gentle leader was terrific, I have one for my rescue alaskan malamut who weighs 50K (she is a big girl even for her breed). She was rescued at 3 years of age and is now 5 years old.I am hesitant to use the gentle leader as se has a broken nose which has been pushed permanently to one side and a large permanent bump on the top of the nose about 1.4 way up her full length of her snout. She also has teeth missing. I don’t know how this occurred as she was like that when I rescued her. I don’t use the gentle leader as I am concerned it might hurt her nose further or even cause the old break to ache. she is an aggressive dog to other dogs. I introduced her to 2 other rescue dogs over a period of 6 weeks in adjacent large kennels and runs. I took her sledding twice (Australia on bike tracks through forests. The other sledders were so helpful but she was so stressed and if we over took another dog and sled she would go to attach the other dog. On of the sledders backed his male dogs backside up to her nose and she was fine but when he turned the male dog around my girl tried to attached the dog.

    Do you have any suggestions for me to help her be around other dogs. I would love my daughter to be able to bring her dogs out to my property and let them run in the exercise yard with mine. I would like to take her walking and know she is not going to attack any dog.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Check with your vet first, since I don’t know her condition but once a break has healed it should be fine. I would still recommend a gentle leader for control, or you can use a basket muzzle.

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  18. ESTHER says:

    I like this idea ..but where can i buy this head halter for my daughters dog ..shes a pommeranon and is very aggressive for the reason that she never takes her out anywhere or walks her ..and i want to start walking her when i walk my yorkie but her dog barks tooo much and is very loud ..its very annoying ..she barks non stop ..

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You should be able to find them at Petsmart or Petco or even check with your vet or order online!

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  19. Barbara says:

    Love the gentle leader. Have 2 standard poodles, One very cooperative on a leash, the other one just didn’t get it and was pulling so much it was impossible for me to walk him at all. The second or third training class I took with him they suggested the gentle leader and it WAS like a miracle. He immediately started strutting at my side with ease. He does try to take it off sometimes, but like you say, fitted correctly it just doesn’t come off.

    I use it on him all the time. I’ve tried 2 clips, one on collar as well, but never get to use the collar one as he starts to pull immediately if he senses not being controlled by gentle leader. We’ve been using this for about a year now, so I think we may always be using the gentle leader since it works.

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  20. Betty Lou Kishler says:

    I have two chihuahuas, one 16 lbs. and the other 10 lbs. They both are terrified of other dogs but will pull off their collar or harness and chase
    them, barking and barking and sometimes nipping at their ankles. Can I use
    what you recommend on them. They are very adept at getting anything off their nose or neck.

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  21. carl says:

    I have this Jackrussel that is 6 and he refuses to walk with this easywalker I have to drag him so what should I dp

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    Please don’t drag your dog! It sounds like you need to alter your approach, as your dog is clearly not comfortable with the easywalker. Recent studies have linked the increase in canine thyroid issues with excessive pulling on neck collars. A neck collar should only be used for identification and vaccination tags. We use a good quality body halter and leash for our Lab cross. Because our dog is now trained and we are in a rural location, we only need to use it when we take her to public places, due to leash laws. Essentially, the halter is now there to reassure others that we have complete control. I’m in favor of this as, during one trip to the vet, a new patron came in with their dog off leash and a fight ensued wtih another patron’s dog (not ours). Charges were laid and the offender was banned from the vet’s office.

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  22. Tilly says:

    I am 70 years old, female, 5 foot small and weigh 43 kg. I own a female Giant Schnauzer, 38 kg, 4,5 years old, very energetic, aggressive towards dogs she doesn’t like, loves people. The head halter makes it work. She still occasionally lunges at squirrels and people who carry a big bag. But I manage to control her thanks to the head halter. When off lead she wears a muzzle and I have also stopped playing ball with her in the park to get rid of the ball obsession.

    It is dead easy to get your dog used to the head halter when combined with feeding – that is if your dog is food driven. It made my life with my Schnauzer bearable and, in fact, joyful.

    [Reply]

  23. Laurel L. says:

    I have been reading all of these comments left by everybody and am somwhat confused.
    I have a 7 1/2 year old silky terrier who doesn’t like little children, never has even when she was a pup. She weighs 20 lbs. and when she is taken out on walks, she pulls hard enough to hurt my hand & wrist, and she has what you folks have described as wheel aggression, human aggression, child aggression, and dog aggression. Honestly, I don’t know exactly how she got to be this way; she’s a gentle dog at home, only snapping at the puppies when they get too close to her. She likes to play “referee” when their playing gets to be too much for her to handle. She even snaps at her own daughter sometimes.

    I recently got the comfort harness and she seems to like it ok. I just could really some advice, please.

    [Reply]

  24. psulle says:

    I have a boxer with leash reaactive issues. I have wanted to try the head halter but was told boxers can’t use them because there snouts are too short. Is that true???? I really need some additional help.
    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    They can be used on Boxers, the strap is just a bit more narrow! Find someone at your local pet store to help! and, good luck it will truly make a difference!

    [Reply]

  25. clancy mullen says:

    I’ve tried all types of head halters. They just don’t work for me. I have two english cockers (rescuers) One(male) is very dog agressive. The other(female) is less so. I am unable to wealk them together because of the male’s agressiveness. Has anyone tried the Cesafr Milan collar?

    [Reply]

  26. Pat says:

    My springer spaniel pulled and made it impossible for me to walk her. My dog training class suggested an all in one head lead which if she pulls it tightens around her nose and neck it did work but she knows just how much she can pull without choking herself which I dont like very much but it doesnt work as well as it did the first few times, she cant pull me over but I dont like the way it tightens around her neck. Do u think this would happen if I got the gentle leader, once she got used to it she would ignore it. when I take her out everytime she pulls I turn and go the other way, but because she knows shes going to the field to play she still keep pulling after a few strides, I dont know what else to do anybody got any other ideas on the way back from the field she walks beside me no problem, walks to the field are not happy it takes 3 times as long to get there but still doesnt work. Help

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    check out my other articles both this week have been on teaching your dog about his leash and there will be more to come then scroll down and read the one about weaning from training collars and this should help you not need collars of this type. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog

    [Reply]

  27. Michelle S says:

    I am so relieved to have found this article! And thankful to hear other people’s stories! I adopted my first dog (rescued Aust Cattle Dog) since having kids and though she is a wonderful family pet she is HORRIBLY reactive to men, strangers and strange dogs! I have worked with a behaviourist but can’t afford on-going training. I have taken to walking her at 5 in the morning for fear of running into joggers and other dog walkers. I know my friends and neighbors think I am INSANE for keeping this lovely girl but am willing to do anything to keep her and keep her healthy! The idea of the gentle leader head collar and basket muzzle have really given me hope that I can still get her outside and exercised with more control and safety. Thanks for the info and thanks to all of you who have shared stories of their reactive dogs! Makes me feel so much better!

    [Reply]

  28. shelaine22 says:

    Ahh yes, the Halti. At first I thought it was the answer to all my dog walking prayers. I have a 16 month old border collie/golden retriever who would pull and pull and our walks were a nightmare. She was able to learn many tricks using treats but somehow “heel” NEVER worked with her if we were outside on a walk. She would have a SPAZ attack every time we came across other people and dogs. (You see, her goal in life is to say hello to every living creature on earth.) Yes, there is such a thing as a dog that is too friendly.) So someone suggested getting her a Halti. I tried it on her and “eureka!” our walks were no longer a struggle. I had total control over her. BUT…in time she began to test the limits of the Halti. She would fight it and fight it…trying to get it off her face. She rubs her face on the ground, shoves her nose people’s crotches, anything to try to get it OFF. The “leave it” command falls on deaf ears in this scenario and only an exciting distraction will temporarily stop this behavior. And then, she began to pull again…with her FACE!! I was told that a dog wouldn’t pull with their face…but my sweet little Oreo sure does. When we come across another dog she is NOT going to let me stop her from saying hello! When it’s just the two of us and there are minimal distractions she’s great on the Halti. When we’re going for a run or I take her on a leashed bike ride she heels nicely. So I thought that in time I’d be able to wean her off of it. But the SECOND I try to walk her without it she immediately starts pulling. Having a very intelligent dog is actually working against me because she hasn’t learned not to pull…she’s learned not to pull with the Halti on. So 9 months with a Halti has done NOTHING for my dog. Any suggestions on what I should do??

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You have to win the war! Of course she is testing, that is natural to see what you can get away with in any given situation.

    First off, I don’t like the Halti because it fits oddly and is not adjustable under the nose. I like the Gentle Leader.

    Next you have to work with her to teach her your expectations and not allow her to rub her face or stick her face in crotches or pull you toward other dogs. Stand still and don’t budge when she lowers her head to pull with her face.

    In this article I suggest working with the buckle collar and the Gentle Leader so that you can eventually take off the training collar.

    These articles may also help but remember you must teach your dog how to behave on a leash!

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/premise-magical-dog-leash/

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/magical-dog-leash-part-2-finding-heel/

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/teaching-dog-drive-eye-contact-focus-leash-skills/

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/weaning-dog-compulsion-dog-training-collars/

    [Reply]

  29. sherri says:

    I have a question. My dog loves every dog we meet…except dogs with gentle leaders. The only dogs he is aggressive towards ALL have been wearing these collars. At first, I thought it was the color as they were all red but realized it doesn’t matter what color, just that they are wearing the gentle lead collars. He has NEVER been aggressive toward any dog unless it had on this type collar. Any ideas?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would put him on one and start socializing him with others that wear them.

    There is no reason itself for the head collar to cause dog aggression toward a dog wearing one.

    [Reply]

  30. Vickie says:

    where can you but the gentle leader leash????????

    [Reply]

    Jason Reply:

    We can sell you one. Just email our customer service dept. info@thedogtrainingsecret.com

    [Reply]

  31. Nancy says:

    Would this be good for in the house? We have an aggressive mini pin that try’s to nip company. He constantly barks and runs after the company. A leash is not good because I have to nearly choke him to get him to stop lunging. I have another problem with this guy. My daughter likes that he gets excited when she comes home and he will bark all the time unless she pays constant attention to him. He has her trained very well to do what ever he wants. That habit has caused the mellow doxie to start the same behavior. I know no one can help me with the way my daughter defeats my training during the day, but the gentle leash might be helpfull when I take him for a walk and when someone rings the door bell. ??

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would absolutely do the gentle leader and then I would also teach him eye contact and focus so he pays attention to you.

    Put a shock collar on your daughter… no seriously sit her down and have a talk with her that what she is doing is causing serious damage and pain to him.

    If she stopped doing this he would get less excited and less strangled. Explain to her in a nice way that she is the cause of some of this and if she can’t change you don’t know what you might have to do.

    People don’t always listen to commands for us; especially parents but they don’t want to know they are the cause of the pain for the dog and that will usually change their behavior.

    If she won’t listen to you pay a dog trainer to come out and discuss the repercussions with her. i have often sat children down and been “bad cop” so that they change and the dog can get on with behavior modification.

    [Reply]

  32. Denise says:

    I have a 2 year old male German shepherd cross. He is a rescue and has issues with reacting to dogs and some people. He lunges and barks. I only use a Gentle Leader when walking him, and it definitely helps. He still pulls quite strongly at times, and I wonder if I have it fitted tight enough. How tight should the nose loop be? I tend to keep it on the looser side, but still tight enough that he can’t get it off. Is it more beneficial for controlling him if it is tighter? I do notice some wear marks on his nose.

    Also, I find myself getting anxious because I tend to anticipate his negative reactions to other dogs and at times people. Any tips on how I can stop anticipating his reactions, and keep myself from getting anxious? It seems he can read me like a book!

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    It could be too loose. You know if your shoes are too loose they can rub… However since I can’t see I don’t know for sure. Being too tight is bad too 😉 It needs to be tight enough not to come over his nose and not to have a lot of play but not so tight it is constricting.

    You have to remain calm. you are teaching him by your reaction that there is something to be scared of and his feelings are justified.

    If you can’t control yourself or are too worried turn around and go the other way 😉

    [Reply]

    Denise Reply:

    Do you have any recommendations about how to correct a dog that gets almost aggressive when playing? (It is the same dog mentioned above, the 2.5 yr old German shepherd cross). He get very grabby with me, to the point of bruising on my forearms, and makes wild growling sounds. I have tried grabbing him by the sides of the collar and making eye contact while giving a firm “No”, but he still proceeds to grab me hard. I have pinned him to the floor as a last resort, but he flails wildly. I’m the end, I have resorted to having him on a house line and making him stay on his bed when he starts acting this way. Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    he needs a lot of obedience!

    But, that is not “almost” aggressive that IS aggressive. bruises or holes or just biting from a dog this age is aggression.

    I would have a veterinary behaviorst over to watch the behavior and help you determine the best route.

    If you do something wrong he could do some very severe damage so safety first is the key.

  33. Tom says:

    I have an English Bulldog. He is not aggressive in a hurtful way, but once strangers begin giving him attention, it is like he goes beserk for more, jumping, lunging, and licking. Because of the nature of the breed’s head, will these leads be effective with my dog.

    He was being shown but he just spirals out of control, starting out well-behaved and ending up as a laughing stock. His training sessions at home go beautifully, calm and responsive to command. But once in public, it becomes embarassing. At almost 2, I have already considered his retirement.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You can try it, you will have to find one that is better suited to his snout.

    I would try putting food in his mouth and let him nibble while people pet and touch him so he cares less about people petting him and more about the delectable treats being shoved in his mouth.

    [Reply]

  34. Niki Gallagher says:

    How do i fit properly on my St Bernard? His neck has So muck extra skin, seems like he can’t breath.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    take it to your local pet food retailer and have someone fit it.

    [Reply]

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    [Reply]

  36. Shannon says:

    I bought a gentle leader for my dog but when I fit it the way it’s supposed to be fitted, she has trouble opening her mouth and sometimes sounds like it is restricting her breathing. If I loosen it, it can slip off her the end of her nose or up into her eyes. She doesn’t have an overly short or long muzzle, so I’m not sure what the issue is.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sounds like it is not tight enough around the back of the head. When it is tight around the back of the head it pulls the snout loop back and tighter.

    But, I can’t see it. So run to your local big box pet store and ask them to help you

    [Reply]

  37. Jane says:

    My rescued 6 year old Border Collie x Aussie barks continually in the car – lunging at oncoming cars and mailboxes… Otherwise she is the sweetest dog in the world. Would a head halter be helpful to stop the barking or does anyone have any advice? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Get eye contact and focus if you are walking.

    Make her lay down in the back seat if you are driving.

    [Reply]

  38. Laurie says:

    I rescued a Boxer/Dane mix a year ago and was told then that he was dog aggressive though he showed no signs of it around the other dogs at the shelter. Boy were they right, dog aggressive with some massive separation anxiety. Since then I’ve found out that he is fine around dogs that are not on a leash (even when he is on one) until they get feisty with him. Two of my friends have Shitzu puppies and after meeting them (being inside and them off leashes) he is comfortable with them and behaves normally. On a walk we encountered two dogs in their front yard off of leashes that came running to him and he was fine with them, they sniffed each other and went about their dog communications. When we see dogs in their own yards again he’s fine with them. When we see another dog on a leash however it’s a whole other story. He weighs 85lbs and I struggle to maintain a hold on him when he sees them. At first he gets really tense and walks all stiff legged until they get too close (by his terms) and he barks, growls, and jumps every which direction while twisting in the air. It eventually graduates to a growl that sounds as though he is being hurt in a major way. I use a front clip harness that was recommended by the Animal Rescue League staff due to his pulling habit. It got so bad over the summer that he popped the harness and slipped his collar, so I resorted to a pinch collar only to maintain some control and keep my dog and others safe. It worked somewhat for a small time as I walked him with the harness and pinch collar, keeping the leash on the pinch collar with more slack than the harness in hopes that the pinch collar would be a temporary training devise. No such luck as he became unconcerned with the pinch collar. I just recently found the head harness’s and am unsure which direction to go or what other options to try. I often wait to walk him after dark so that the likelihood of encountering other dogs was significantly decreased but that’s not helping me to work on his issues. HELP if you have ideas I’d love to hear them! The only positive in this is that even when he ends up getting to dogs he doesn’t like he has never bitten any of them, they growl and dance around each other but that’s all that has happened so far.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I recommend either my aggression coaching course of my companion dog course, both of which teach extensive eye contact and focus (you will watch videos of how to train). Contact Dana at info@thedogtrainingsecret.com to be put on a list to find out when they begin. I am doing the companion dog right now so the aggression course should be next, (fyi) Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    [Reply]

  39. Nancy says:

    I have a real issue with the gentle leader , my golden doodle gets so aggressive when he sees it that even with the most enticing treats I cannot get him to put his snout through and he has now bitten myself and my husband a few times . We had to clamp his mouth shut to ban able to slip it on . Once o. He is a dream. No aggression at all . It just the putting it on. I do t know how much more I can try.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    with aggression that severe it may be time to find a veterinary behaviorist.

    [Reply]

  40. Rose Marie says:

    We have a lovely 11 month old lab who really pulls when he sees something he wants. We have him on a Gentle Leader. It has solved the problem of pulling but he still, after 2 months, tries to get it off with his paw while walking;. The other problem is that he has developed a small area on the bridge of his nose where his fur is rubbing off. What can we do?

    [Reply]

  41. Jeanne says:

    We have a 2 year old Lab/Curly Coated Retriever that we adopted from a shelter 4 months ago. She has a very annoying habit of zigzag walking in front of us while pulling. She doesn’t appear to have any previous leash training. I bought the Gentle Leader a few months ago and have been trying to work with her but she isn’t getting used to it. I had it adjusted by our vet so I think it fits her properly. I tried treats but she gives up on them. On a bad night, she spends her walk jumping up at us and crying. When she is like that, we end the walk. My hope is to train her to run with me.
    Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The problem is that you are allowing her to dictate what happens. Sure, you can put the gentle leader on when you feed her and for short quick and fun car rides… but at some point they have to just adjust to what they don’t like.

    Think of a toddler that doesn’t want to wear pants or shoes… at some point they have to learn to wear them, period. If you allow them to make the decision, they will never chose something that is slightly uncomfortable.

    [Reply]

  42. Jeanne says:

    Thank you for the quick reply. I will keep trying. Any thoughts on why she bumps into my leg while walking? I tried switching sides but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It doesn’t seem like a typical power struggle but rather a bad habit, maybe just linked to the zigzag habit. Because of that, I can’t give her a lot of leash or she will trip me. She does have enough leash to walk on her own without hitting me. She doesn’t look up at me when she bumps me so I don’t think it is an attention getting trick.
    Any thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Most dogs are trying to rub it off when they bump.

    [Reply]

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