Walking Your Dog With A Gentle Leader

A few years back a very distraught lady walked into my dog training studio. When I looked at her I thought she was recently assaulted. She sat down and started to cry. I offered her a glass of water and waited. When she calmed down a little she started to explain that the two black eyes and the broken nose were from her 95lb. black Labrador.

She told me that her dog was uncontrollable, that just a couple of days before she had attempted to take him for a walk. As she was leaving her house her dog saw a cat across the street and took off. She held onto to the leash until she tripped and went face first into the door jam – breaking her nose and giving her the two black eyes.

She added that she really loved her dog but did not know how she could keep him if she could not walk him. She tried choke and prong collars but nothing was working.

I assured her that we could get her dog walking on leash and showed her a Gentle Leader head collar. I explained that choke collars are not very effective for most dogs. Prong or pinch collars can be very effective but some dogs have a high tolerance and do not get the results that you need.

Gentle Leaders are effective because they work by controlling your dog’s head. Where the head goes the body must follow. Most training collars work by trying to control the dog’s body. A traditional collar that goes around your dog’s neck allows your dog to put all of his weight into the collar making it difficult if not impossible to control the dog.

A Gentle Leader goes around your dog’s nose. The leash is attached under your dog’s chin. When your dog tries to pull his head will turn, making it very difficult to put his body weight into it.

But there are some drawbacks to Gentle Leader head collars. For instance:

The first time you put one on your dog there is a good chance your dog is going to hate it. You really need to take some time to get your dog used to it.

The other drawback is that the Gentle Leader looks like a muzzle and people will think your dog is aggressive.

Once your dog is used to the Gentle Leader walking your dog will be much more enjoyable. It really is like power steering for your dog.

The distraught lady that I described at the beginning of the article ended up keeping her lab. We did just two training sessions together and she has had no problems walking since then.

There are many different kinds of training collars and harnesses for dogs. Gentle Leaders, choke collars, prong collars, no pull harnesses just to name a few. Different dogs have different needs. Sometimes you need to experiment to find out what works best on your dog.


  • Eric Letendre

    Eric Letendre is author of the book "The Amazing Dog Training Man." With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners.

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