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Gentle Leader Collar


Guest sophiesmum
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Guest sophiesmum

Hi,

 

It would be great to get some advice on this.

 

Sophie is a few lessons into her basic manners obedience group class, with a trainer who uses positive reward based training.

 

A common exercise in this class to help socialise your dog is to take your dog around the circle of other dogs and let them say "Hi" quickly and keep walking. The other week when a small poodle type dog came up to Sophie to say "hi" he jumped up in Sophies face and Sophie snarled at him.

 

When it was Sophies time to go around the circle I was told not to pull her away, but the "Lure" her with a treat. Sophie is not very food motivated and so sometimes (depending how interesting the subject is) its difficult to "Lure" her with the treat (no matter how tasty!).

 

So this week the trainer told me rather than "Lure" her, I should have pulled her out of a situation where she tensed up and the other dog (a puppy) felt threated and growled at her. She told me that Sophies stance gave her the impression she was about to snap at the puppy.

 

We use the standard Martingale that came with her during adoption and also have a chest harness which we are currently not using as it doesnt fit with her outdoor coat (its winter here)

 

I dont really like the idea of pulling her by the neck. Does anyone here use the "Gentle Leader" or "halti" head harnesses? Do they work? Are they really "Gentle"?

 

Sophie is cat friendly ( I know this for sure as we have two cats) but sometimes she pulls on the lead to get to other dogs. I dont want her to upset the other dogs in the class (or in the park for that matter), but dont like pulling on her neck either. Is there something else I could do?

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Guest KennelMom

The Problem with Head Halters by Suzanne Clothier

 

excerpt:

NOTHING in the dog's physical construction or his nervous system prepares him for the force of an unexpected, externally directed, sideways and upward movement of the head while his body is still moving forward

 

IMO, head halters are one of the least appropriate training tools to use with greyhounds. I wouldn't use one. Perhaps you need to intervene sooner, while you can still get her attention. Sounds like a timing issue rather than a tool issue.

Edited by KennelMom
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Guest Swifthounds

I'm not a big fan of starting the "Socializing" exercises from a "reach out and touch" distance, especially with a hound like a greyhound, who very likely never saw another breed of dog before. Even when they mean no harm and/or don't feel threatened or overwhelmed, they can get pretty fascinated by something that smells like a dog but doesn't look like them.

 

I would try socializing at a further distance (so there can't be any "up close and personal" time and use treats, a toy, whatever distraction works with her. Get her focusing on you upon request in a variety of environments and then try the introductions at a safe distance. Redirect her attention to you if she starts getting worked up, and reward when she's calm around other dogs.

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Guest TeddysMom

I never had much success with the gentle leader on my boxers, I was afraid that with them being so rambuncious that they would either get out of them or they would hurt their necks. Now with the greys, I would be even more afraid of neck injuries. If you have doubts about her biting other dogs while on walks and out in public, you might consider using a muzzle for awhile along with the treats to get her attention. It is pretty hard when another dog gets in their faces or is jumping up on them. Good Luck, I hope you find a solution that works for you.

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The point of a Gentle Leader is not to yank the neck and of course it can be used incorrectly. Many many reputable trainers use them as a training tool but I'm not sure this case calls for that. I use one with Jill now and again. It works very well. I would never yank her neck with it. She always wears it in conjunction with a martingale.

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Just want to clarify --- there were two separate instances, correct? One week Sophie growled at a jumpy dog, and the next week another dog growled at Sophie? I just want to make sure I followed the post correctly.

 

You should be able to pull Sophie from another dog without yanking enough to hurt when wearing a martingale. If she doesn't respond to yummy treats, try to identify something else she love, love loves like a favorite stuffy or squeaky toy to use as a lure or distractor. For us Molly loves food and is highly motivated by all things edible, but a squeaky toy would work just as well for her.

 

In general, I think it takes some time to get to know your grey's body language and to know when they've had enough. Plus, I think some of their body language is a little different than other breeds of dogs. Their movements and reactions can be really subtle! So if you're at all unsure, you could always muzzle until you've got it down pat.

Edited by arandomchic

 

 

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Guest tinams8

I agree that it is a timing issue. Try easing into the "hello" a little more, spend some time working on it with the dogs totally out of reach. You will get to read your dog's signals a little better too, and how close is too close.

 

In my experience, a gentle leader can make the dog feel more threatened by other dogs, just like when one is on lead and one is off-lead and the on-lead dog feels threatened. I would avoid adding another factor into this training project. This is not an easy thing to train, back off if you feel you need to and take your time with it.

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Guest sophiesmum

Just want to clarify --- there were two separate instances, correct? One week Sophie growled at a jumpy dog, and the next week another dog growled at Sophie? I just want to make sure I followed the post correctly.

 

You should be able to pull Sophie from another dog without yanking enough to hurt when wearing a martingale. If she doesn't respond to yummy treats, try to identify something else she love, love loves like a favorite stuffy or squeaky toy to use as a lure or distractor. For us Molly loves food and is highly motivated by all things edible, but a squeaky toy would work just as well for her.

 

In general, I think it takes some time to get to know your grey's body language and to know when they've had enough. Plus, I think some of their body language is a little different than other breeds of dogs. Their movements and reactions can be really subtle! So if you're at all unsure, you could always muzzle until you've got it down pat.

 

yes, these incidents were on separate weeks of training. I think you're so right about their reactions and body language. I didnt really see it coming because I thought she was just interested, not aggressive. I really mis-read the signs and didnt react quickly enough.

 

I also got a bit confused as to what I should be doing, as one week Im told by the trainer not to pull her and the next week thats exactly what Im supposed to do. I think next class it would be a good idea, as many of you have suggested, to keep her at more of a distance until I know her a bit better and can get her attention.

 

Unfortunately one of the other people in the class bought along a squeaky toy for their pup and was asked to put it away as it was too distracting for all the other dogs. I will ask the trainer again though, as I think it may be easier to get Sophies attention this way.

 

Where I live, unless your dog has been through the registered GAP program they legally must wear a muzzle in public. Sophie cant go through the program because she has pannus. So she is always walked with a muzzle. The trainer let me take it off in class only because she didnt think it necessary at the time.

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Guest greybookends

I used a gentle leader with Ginny when she was in puppy classes and it worked very well. It did however earn me the most deadly stinkeye you have ever seen! :lol

 

Ginny never yelped or whined or anything like that so it didn't hurt her. Make sure the trainer shows you the proper way to put one on. It is a deterrent to pulling so it won't do anything for aggression or fear.

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I have one for Dude to use when walking because he could pull a Mack truck from here to Alaska with just a martingale. I wouldn't think it would be particularly useful in a training class situation. The halter works by using leverage to stop them pulling - actually the release of the leaverage from the halter is the "reward" for not pulling - so in this case it would be counter=productive and not produce the result you want.

 

As long as you're not jerking the leash really hard you won't hurt her by pulling on her collar. Greys have really strong neck muscles for the most part. But I do agree it's more that you need to learn her signals a little better so you can intervene before she gets too excited. Classes are mostly about teaching the *owner* what to do, and not the dog!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Guest Wasserbuffel
I have one for Dude to use when walking because he could pull a Mack truck from here to Alaska with just a martingale. I wouldn't think it would be particularly useful in a training class situation. The halter works by using leverage to stop them pulling - actually the release of the leaverage from the halter is the "reward" for not pulling - so in this case it would be counter=productive and not produce the result you want.

 

This.

 

I used one to train Jayne to walk nicely on leash as she was a horrid puller at first and walking her was unpleasant for me. I wouldn't use it in a training situation as you described, because you aren't supposed to pull on it, ever.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest leash

I use the Halti for Magnum. It works great - no pulling or anything. With Magnum just turning one and weighing 83 lbs. (Very Large Male) he can get quite excited and pull me around if he is not on the Halti. It does not hurt them at all. The Halti gives you the control of the head of the dog. I only have to give a small tug of the leash and he looks at me for direction. It turns the dogs head to look at you so that you can say leave it or no. It let him know that I am in charge during the walk. I even run with Magnum twice a day with his halti on. If a dog comes close I am able to redirect before something happens. Cats are no problem now on walks. My trainer actually has every dog in her class wear a halti. Best of luck to you. It all depends on what you are confortable with.

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Guest jacksonhunter31

I cannot speak for anybody else's experience--but for our 4.5 yr old, 90lb boy the gentle leader was a godsend. He came to us extremely aggressive with other dogs and was simply unmanageable when another dog was within sight--even 200-300 yards away. we use the gentle leader and have slowly worked with him to become better (not great yet) with other dogs. With teh ability to cotrol him we can now pass by houses with other dogs on the lawn without it turning into armageddon. My petite (but very dog--experienced and savvy) wife could not control our pup witohut it. He is very strong. In our experience it has prevented him from hurting himself by never allowing him to seriously strain against the leash without it turning him around to face us so we can get his attention and redirect him appropriately. If you're having trouble, try it. If it helps, use it. The Gentle Leader is a great tool for us and we highly recommend it to others.

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