Gentle Leader Head Collar

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doxienana
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Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:24 pm

I have been advised to use, as a training tool, a Gentle Leader head collar with my aggressive miniature dachshund. My dog absolutely HATES this collar. I have introduced the collar slowly, which he tolerated until all *%#! broke loose while he was wearing it during a short walk at the park. He pawed at the collar the entire time he is wearing it. He was miserable the entire time, only taking a few steps here and there without resisting. -- and his snout seemed a sensitive/irritated the next day (from his excessive pulling while he resisted?).

My vet thinks that this collar is critical in my dog's training. I can see that it would definitely 'remind' him of who is in control ... however, it seems a little harsh (...and I'm a little too soft ... lol!).

Can anyone share their experiences with the head collars?

Thanks,
Debbie
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Mattie
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Mattie » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:42 am

They can be a useful tool if used properly, if not they can do a lot of damage to your dog, a friend saw one dog break his neck with one.

You need to walk your dog with either 2 leads or a double ended lead if you use one of these, the other lead should be clipped to a harness or collar, harness is better, you walk the dog on the harness or collar and only use the head collar when you need it and AT THE SAME TIME use the lead on the harness or collar so you keep control of the body as well as the head. If you control the body as well your dog can't leap around on the headcollar so doesn't do as much damage. You also need to work with your dog to solve the problem, no gadget solves the problems, they only give you more control if used properly.

I think your vet also needs to learn more about dog behaviour as well, dogs don't need to be reminded who is in control, we hold all the resources, food, rest, exercise etc. how we handle this is very important. If you need to keep your dog under control you need to find the cause of the problem so you can work through it and not just put gadgets on him.

There are a lot of owners with reactive dogs on here, all are improving with the right training and management, your's can as well. Please tell us why your dog needs this headcollar and what you have done to try and solve the problem. Also can you give us a run down on his normal day including when fed, what type of food, how much exercise, how much training and what type etc. the more information the better we will be able to help you. :D
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Noobs
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Noobs » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:58 am

If you introduced the collar slowly and the dog still paws at it, then he's not desensitized to it and hasn't accepted it.

Watch this video - world-renowned trainer Jean Donaldson desensitizes this dog (who also starts out hating the collar) to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wakterNyUg

doxienana
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:39 am

Noobs wrote:If you introduced the collar slowly and the dog still paws at it, then he's not desensitized to it and hasn't accepted it.

Watch this video - world-renowned trainer Jean Donaldson desensitizes this dog (who also starts out hating the collar) to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wakterNyUg
Wow! What a great video! I will definitely try this approach!! THANKS for sharing!

Debbie
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Noobs » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:45 am

You're welcome!

I use the same principles to get my dog to accept getting his nails filed. :D

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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:24 pm

a friend saw one dog break his neck with one.
YIKES! :shock: Considering how much my dog (Oscar) fights the head collar - I could envision him getting injured as well!
You need to walk your dog with either 2 leads or a double ended lead if you use one of these, the other lead should be clipped to a harness or collar, harness is better, you walk the dog on the harness or collar and only use the head collar when you need it and AT THE SAME TIME use the lead on the harness or collar so you keep control of the body as well as the head.
I'm wondering why this was not suggested by the trainer who first introduced the Gentle Leader, or by the vet who just recently recommend that I utilize the head collar... :? This is such a simple and effective way to avoid injury! Thanks for the suggestion - I will try this today!

I think your vet also needs to learn more about dog behaviour as well, dogs don't need to be reminded who is in control, we hold all the resources, food, rest, exercise etc. how we handle this is very important.
My vet's approach is VERY similar to Victoria's (which, by the way, is my highest form of compliment .. :)...). He has also suggested that I use my 'control' over the resources while I embark on this training. I am to teach him to say 'please' (which is going into a 'sit') before he is given food, attention, permission to join me on the couch... etc.). Speaking of food, my vet also suggested that I use one of his meals (he gets fed 2x a day) as his training treats ... since I will be rewarding desirable behaviors throughout the day.
If you need to keep your dog under control you need to find the cause of the problem so you can work through it and not just put gadgets on him.
... Please tell us why your dog needs this headcollar and what you have done to try and solve the problem.
My dog's issue is aggression. I believe his aggression is rooted in fear and a desire to 'protect' us. He goes very rapidly from fear to rage. He is aggressive (i.e., barking, lunging, snarling, snapping) towards strangers entering the home. He also displays this aggressive behavior when we are walking through the neighborhood. He is barking and lunging at people and at other dogs. The head collar was suggested, I believe, to teach him to focus on me during our walks - rather than other people/dogs that we may encounter.
There are a lot of owners with reactive dogs on here, all are improving with the right training and management, your's can as well.
These are exactly the type of encouraging words I need to hear! (I've been very discouraged, worried, and heartbroken by his aggressive behaviors) Thank you. :)
Also can you give us a run down on his normal day including when fed, what type of food, how much exercise, how much training and what type etc. the more information the better we will be able to help you.
Oscar shares his castle (lol) with myself, my husband, my twin teenagers, another miniature dachshund (Gretel), and two cats. He is fed twice a day (morning/evening). He eats a dry food (Purina Pro Plan). He spends about 8 hours a day in a gated area (rather large) with Gretel. He is fed and walked prior to our leaving for the day. When I return from work, he is allowed in the back yard for several minutes (this is when we see episodes of aggressive barking when neighbors (2-legged and 4-legged) come into view). He is fed his second meal after the family has had our dinner. He takes a couple of short walks in the neighborhood throughout the evening hours (again ... lots of barking). It is my goal (and we've gotten a good start) to take Oscar (and Gretel) on a daily walk at a neighborhood park that he absolutely loves! As far as a daily training "schedule" ... I have been taking advantage of 'teachable moments" throughout the day. I am trying to work with him in several short bursts ... as often as I can fit these 'mini-sessions' into our day.

During training, we are working on sit (which he is good at), stay (which he can do for short periods ... working on that extended stay), down (again ... working on extending the period of time he can remain 'down'), leave-it (stubborn dachshunds don't particularly care for 'leave-it'!), heeling on a loose leash (during our walks), come (we need to work on this one - he is only compliant when it 'suits him'), ... and mine and Oscar's personal favorite ... 'watch ME!" :)

I appreciate the support ... I hope to learn so much here on this forum! It's almost like having a visit from Victoria herself!! (... well, almost... lol!)

Thanks!
Debbie and Oscar
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Noobs » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:41 pm

A lot of what you're learning from this vet, though, sounds a little dominance/pack leader based. Just tread lightly.

I would suggest you pick up "Scaredy Dog!" by Ali Brown. Your dog's behaviors sound a lot like mine from about 2 years ago. We've come a long way...not only has he become more tolerable of his triggers (humans, dogs...not cats yet), but I have also gotten better at "reading" him and knowing how to prevent him from having outbursts. I learned most of this by reading "Scaredy Dog!" so please pick it up. It was a lifesaver.

Also, think about changing his food. That is really low quality stuff you're giving him and might contribute to his behavior.

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Mattie
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Mattie » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:29 pm

doxienana wrote:
You need to walk your dog with either 2 leads or a double ended lead if you use one of these, the other lead should be clipped to a harness or collar, harness is better, you walk the dog on the harness or collar and only use the head collar when you need it and AT THE SAME TIME use the lead on the harness or collar so you keep control of the body as well as the head.
I'm wondering why this was not suggested by the trainer who first introduced the Gentle Leader, or by the vet who just recently recommend that I utilize the head collar... :? This is such a simple and effective way to avoid injury! Thanks for the suggestion - I will try this today!
Probably because they don't know themselves, too many see them, read they are good for various behaviours an put them on dogs without knowing how they work.
I think your vet also needs to learn more about dog behaviour as well, dogs don't need to be reminded who is in control, we hold all the resources, food, rest, exercise etc. how we handle this is very important.
My vet's approach is VERY similar to Victoria's (which, by the way, is my highest form of compliment .. :)...). He has also suggested that I use my 'control' over the resources while I embark on this training. I am to teach him to say 'please' (which is going into a 'sit') before he is given food, attention, permission to join me on the couch... etc.). Speaking of food, my vet also suggested that I use one of his meals (he gets fed 2x a day) as his training treats ... since I will be rewarding desirable behaviors throughout the day.
Vets spend a lot of time learning to be vets, very little of this covers dog behaviour, once qualified they have to keep up to date with modern thinking for all animals not just dogs, this has to take priority, they may be interested in dog behaviour and training but it is impossible for them to keep up to date with everything.

Personally I don't ask my dogs to say please for things, they are dogs and don't understand that, I do expect them to show good manners,that means not barging through doorways, not being pushy etc. If they want attention they get it, if I am busy I will just give them a smile and a tickly on the chest then carry on doing what I was, when I have finished and my dog still wants attention which is rare, I give it to them but usually acknowledging them earlier was enough because I didn't push them away.

When we are giving a lot of treats to our dogs we should reduce their food, the problem comes with the treats, a lot of dogs won't work for their food, they need their rewards to be much higher. Rewards should be varied as well, if you give the same thing all the time they stop being rewards. Does that make sense?
If you need to keep your dog under control you need to find the cause of the problem so you can work through it and not just put gadgets on him.
... Please tell us why your dog needs this headcollar and what you have done to try and solve the problem.
My dog's issue is aggression. I believe his aggression is rooted in fear and a desire to 'protect' us. He goes very rapidly from fear to rage. He is aggressive (i.e., barking, lunging, snarling, snapping) towards strangers entering the home. He also displays this aggressive behavior when we are walking through the neighborhood. He is barking and lunging at people and at other dogs. The head collar was suggested, I believe, to teach him to focus on me during our walks - rather than other people/dogs that we may encounter.[/quote]

99.9% of aggression is fear, take the fear away and the dog is not aggressive, that sounds easy but it isn't, we have to make our dogs feel that we will protect them so they don't have to protect themselves which is what they do when they are showing aggression, they also need to learn that what they fear is not very frightening and that takes a lot of time and effort from their owner. He is not protecting you, he is protecting himself because he doesn't know you will protect him. In order to turn this round you have to completely change your thinking and need to be really consistant with what you do. It won't be easy to do but it will be better than what you have now.

A head collar won't make him keep his attention on you, all it will do is control his head, you have to teach him to keep his attention on you and keep him at a distance where he doesn't feel the need to defend himself.
There are a lot of owners with reactive dogs on here, all are improving with the right training and management, your's can as well.
These are exactly the type of encouraging words I need to hear! (I've been very discouraged, worried, and heartbroken by his aggressive behaviors) Thank you. :)
Do a search on here for reactive and/or aggressived dogs, there are lots of threads, read them then come back and ask questions, every dog is different and will need the advice tailored to him/her.
Oscar shares his castle (lol) with myself, my husband, my twin teenagers, another miniature dachshund (Gretel), and two cats. He is fed twice a day (morning/evening). He eats a dry food (Purina Pro Plan). He spends about 8 hours a day in a gated area (rather large) with Gretel. He is fed and walked prior to our leaving for the day. When I return from work, he is allowed in the back yard for several minutes (this is when we see episodes of aggressive barking when neighbors (2-legged and 4-legged) come into view). He is fed his second meal after the family has had our dinner. He takes a couple of short walks in the neighborhood throughout the evening hours (again ... lots of barking). It is my goal (and we've gotten a good start) to take Oscar (and Gretel) on a daily walk at a neighborhood park that he absolutely loves! As far as a daily training "schedule" ... I have been taking advantage of 'teachable moments" throughout the day. I am trying to work with him in several short bursts ... as often as I can fit these 'mini-sessions' into our day.
Does Oscar react to your neighbours when he sees them or hears them?

How long are his walks and are they on or off the lead?
During training, we are working on sit (which he is good at), stay (which he can do for short periods ... working on that extended stay), down (again ... working on extending the period of time he can remain 'down'), leave-it (stubborn dachshunds don't particularly care for 'leave-it'!), heeling on a loose leash (during our walks), come (we need to work on this one - he is only compliant when it 'suits him'), ... and mine and Oscar's personal favorite ... 'watch ME!" :)
Your dog is not stubborn, you need to tailor his training to what he has been bred to do, does he get the chance to hunt and dig? A sand pit is good for this, you can hide toys and treats in the sand and let him hunt and dig for them.
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Noobs » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:37 pm

come (we need to work on this one - he is only compliant when it 'suits him'),
Try to rethink this one. You have to be more fun/interesting than what he's sniffing/looking at/chasing if you want him to come. You have to train him before you can expect him to just do it. Read this. Mattie wrote a great post on how to teach recall, and a former member who DIDN'T want to put in the work kept replying about why it wasn't working, when in fact it was HER who wasn't working. Interesting read.

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7155

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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by Mattie » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:45 pm

Thank you Noobs for reminding me of that :lol: I was pulling my hair out but can laugh now. :lol:
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by ladybug1802 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Doxienana - my dog Dylan has slight aggression issues rooted in fear, and the main problems we have had ar with people entering the home. I have had a trainer and a 'behaviourist' out, and both made him worse. This site has been invaluable in showing me I needed to take some steps back, and go really slowly with Dylan, and it is paying off. He has been SO much better and I had friends over last night and he was great - but I now know how to manage him.

The key is really to keep him away from any situations he feels uncomfortable enough to react in....so at the moment that means avoiding walking past groups of people/dogs that cause him to lunge or snarl. What do you do with him when people come to the house? Do you leave him loose/ have him on lead/shut him in another room? I tried for ages to get my boy to sit at the far end of the hall when the doorbell rang, stay there while people came in and wait until I ask him to move....all good in theory but it was too much for him. The doorbel alone caused him so much stress, so once that was rung asking him to do other things was rtoo much stress for him.

I have now disconnected my doorbell, got a wireless one with a softer sound which I ring myself form inside on and off and he doesnt find that as stressful. Eventually I will put it outside for people to ring. I ask people at the moment if I know they are coming round to ring me first, then if it is someone he knows well I just open the door as they come up the path.....if it is someone he doesnt see much he would bark and lunge if I left him loose like this (which would set us back a step) so I have taken him out the back to meet them at the front then walked in together....but I still then keepo him apart from people behind a baby gate until we have been in a while...simply to avoid any potential uncomfortable situations for him.

But my point is - due to thehelp here I have gained confidence to take some steps back, split up the doorbell/people coming in scenarios, anfd avoid him getting into situations he feels he has to react....now I can walk him through a lot of people by getting him to 'watch me' and he is fine...he gains confidence from me.

So it can be done.....when I read your boy had issues with people coming in the house I just wanted to say that it can be overcome with time and patience....and it is SO rewarding!

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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:09 pm

Noobs wrote:Also, think about changing his food. That is really low quality stuff you're giving him and might contribute to his behavior.
I have suspected that this might be the case. I have gone through several different brands of dog food over the past couple of years... and keep coming back to the Purina Pro Plan, because the dogs seem to enjoy it the most. :? (so ... you think maybe they've got me wrapped around their paws???)

I have tried a couple of different brands after visiting a site which ranks the premium brands of dog food (see link below). I was VERY impressed with the ingredient listing of Innova (it received 5 stars). However, it caused my dogs to have a runny stool. I switched back to the Purina Pro Plan. After a while I tried Wellness Super5 small breed formula (also getting a 5 star ranking) ... the dogs didn't seem to care for the taste of this food. So ... we eventually went back to the Pro Plan. I am now attempting to slowly re-introduce them to the Wellness ... (we're crossing our fingers and paws).

Here is a link to the website:
http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food ... /index.php

I am open to any suggestions for a good quality dry food (preferably a small breed formula) that dogs seem to enjoy.

Debbie
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by ladybug1802 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:12 pm

Oh and if you do clicker training with him, I recommend a book called 'Click to Calm'......shows easy to follow 'recipes' to iuse in various situations.....and gives incompatible behaviour for when certain things occur.

doxienana
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:15 pm

Noobs wrote:
come (we need to work on this one - he is only compliant when it 'suits him'),
TYou have to train him before you can expect him to just do it. Read this. Mattie wrote a great post on how to teach recall ...
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7155
I read the article and I found it very interesting. I've printed it and it's going into my training binder. Thanks for the link!

Debbie
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doxienana
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Re: Gentle Leader Head Collar

Post by doxienana » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:18 pm

ladybug1802 wrote:So it can be done.....when I read your boy had issues with people coming in the house I just wanted to say that it can be overcome with time and patience....and it is SO rewarding!
I am finding that 'patience' is going to be the secret to our success.... :) .

I have a baby gate that prevents our dogs from 'rushing the door' when visitors arrive. Of course, there is still a lot of barking.... (sigh).

Debbie
My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

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