Using a gentle leader

Discussion in 'Obedience & Sports' started by STEVSH, Mar 6, 2013.


    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    OK, I have been trying all sorts of different collars on Topaz to see what works best for the both of us. The latest one is the gentle leader. She will cower when I put it on her, because she hates it, but she still lets me put it on her. The first few walks with it, she did fine except for the occasional freak out episode because of her not wanting me to have control of her head. But eventually, she got used to it. HOwever NOW, she pulls on it constantly and I'm afraid it's hurting her and it's starting to hurt my hand. If I keep her right by me in a heel, my hand ends up completley sore from her constant pulling. Even if I pull up to correct her and redirect her head, she goes right back to pulling. By the end of the walk, she has the imprint of the halti on her face, and my hand is killing me from having to restrain her.
    However, if I let her go and don't keep her right next to me, she is great. She will walk my pace, and even stop and wait for me if she feels the 6ft leash go tight from her getting to far ahead. The only way I learned this was because my hand just couldn't take it anymore and we were still blocks from home. I always usually have my dogs in a heel the whole walk.

    We used the prong collar previously, which she did well on, but I think was too much for the both of us. I think it was making her more leash reactive than helping it.
    She's leash reactive, but not an aggressive dog. She's actually quite submissive off leash, so I think her lunging is more of a fear lunging and protective thing over me (She's extremely protective of me and my daughter). And I'm sure she feels me tense up when we see another dog now too. I give every dog a wide berth or turn the other way because she will lunge.
    I've also used a martingale, but it just doesn't stay high up on the neck like it needs to and I always end up with a sore hand that way too. I feel like I'm going to choke her to death if I tighten it anymore to stay up there.

    What am I doing wrong? Any other collars that someone can suggest I give a try?

    I also want to try biking with her alongside this spring, as I think she will just get out more energy that way. She LOVES to just run and run. Although she chases and bites at everything on wheels (scared of hubby's motorcycle, my moped, and kids riding bikes), so I have to work with her quite a bit. But that will be good for the both of us to get her over that hump. She's half weimaraner and has a wicked prey drive, so I want to try to get that settled down too.
  2. Duetsche_Doggen

    Duetsche_Doggen Well-Known Member

    I think the best thing would be to actually train her. No matter what tool you use, unless you get the root of the problem it will persist. She sounds like she needs boundaries. Stone tests the hell out of me, I use a combination of tools.

    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    I have trained with her since day one actually. She's even CGC trained. But that was year one. And she is extremely obedient off leash and in the house. I think she just gets so pumped when I put the leash on her and take her for a walk, she can't restrain herself and I can't hold her enough. I've tried chicken bits, hot dogs, etc and she will snap to my attention and walk beautifully staring at me if I have the food out, but as soon as I'm not holding something or I run out of treats, it's right back to pulling. I have a catahoula and had a golden before this that heeled beautifully with me, so I don't know what I"m doing wrong.
    I'd do another obedience class with her, but I'm afraid we would get kicked out from lunging at other dogs or something.

    I think maybe she's just not a walker. She's a runner
  4. Mustang9846

    Mustang9846 Well-Known Member

    I use a gentle leader on my EM and it works great. I keep in on a heel at all time and 90% of the time he has no tension on the leash. It's only if he gets spooked that he will start pulling. What is weird though is if I take the leader off he pulls the whole time! I think you just need to work with her more? Mine puts no pressure on the leader now but did for the 1st month or so.

    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    That could be. I admit that I take her running on our friends' land a lot more than walking lately because of the 17" of snow on the ground. I'm a hibernator. So she's used to being able to just go and probably doesn't like it when I restrain her with something the next day.
  6. Duetsche_Doggen

    Duetsche_Doggen Well-Known Member

    So she has you trained, lol. She still needs training with distractions as well as some leash manners. It could be that she just takes more work. Like I mentioned Thor was easy to train, Stone takes more persistence. I constantly have to be on him. I advocate the prong but I don't always use it. GL should be the same way.

    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    Oh she definitely has me trained! I'm easy! :)
    I'm sure you're right. I've never owned a stubborn dog before, so I just need to keep at it I guess. Pekingese, dalmation, golden ret, and a catahoula mix were very easy compared to this knucklehead. ;)
  8. Duetsche_Doggen

    Duetsche_Doggen Well-Known Member

    Such a corso, :lol:
  9. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    Clarify for me. Is the problem that she's leash reactive or that she doesn't heal to your standards? Because leash reactivity isn't fixed by enforcing a proper heal, and attempting to insist on a proper heal could be making her leash reactivity worse by making her feel more restricted.
  10. BlackShadowCaneCorso

    BlackShadowCaneCorso Super Moderator Staff Member

    To be honest I cringe when I hear gentle leader :( but I know they work for some people and I am an advocate of using what works for you. Corsi are not a breed that ever stops being trained and never stops testing and we have all energy levels here. If you hare a reactivity problem with your dog then I would address that is an exercise in itself that you need to work on complete focus and attention when you ask for it. There is no other option, when I ask for it you must give it, not giving it means there is a correction. It is not a requirement that my dogs like other dogs but it is a requirement that they do as I ask and be non-reactive to a situation that I am in control of.
  11. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    I,m not a fan of the GL either TBH. But if its used properly its ok. But if the dog is reactive forcing her head around to physically stay at heel is NOT helping that.
  12. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    "Stubborn" is not always the correct label... "Persistent" and "Determined" might be better words to use. These are good mastiff traits (versus stubborn which is a "bad" trait). You'll have to keep working with her... we also have a "treat-smart" mastiff.... she knows when the last treat is dispensed, but I still expect her to behave. I have to be more determined for her to behave than she is to get to that next bush up ahead.

    Denna normally only needs reminding twice, then she stays within the boundaries I've set. We don't normally do a formal heel when we're out for a pleasure walk... but if she pulls on the lead (and I often use a 16' flexi, so she's way out there), I start going backwards, and she knows to come all the way back to me and "come around" back to the heel position before we go forward again.

    We just use a flat collar or cotton slip/show lead. I tried a pinch on her once. once. At the first sign of pressure, she froze, flopped on the ground and let me drag her. She would NOT move until I took that nasty thing off her. I had used a pinch very successfully on previous dogs, and the amount of pressure she was subjected to was insanely small... but she would have NONE of that! :)
  13. STEVSH

    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    She's not a Corsi. She's an EM/Weimaraner. And she's both leash reactive and won't stay in a heel for me once the treats disappear. I'm not trying to get rid of the leash reactivity with a heel at all. I work on her leash reactivity by avoiding other dogs and making her sit and focus on me (with hot dogs) when a dog does go by us. Getting her to not pull on the gentle leader when we are walking and the when treats are gone is a whole different thing.
    She's fine with other dogs off leash. There are a few small dogs in our neighborhood that barked and went after her when she was a pup, so they are viewed as enemies, but that's it. So she free runs with my friend's two big dogs on their land outside of town. And when she is up at our cabin, she is completely free and there are all types of dogs that wander through the yard. She's never batted an eyelash at them. Even the toy poodle (which is one I was very worried about at first). And my aunt's corgi is always up with us and they get along great too.
    So she is not aggressive towards other dogs really. It's just a leash deal.
    And I'm pretty sure the pulling is the fact that she has a lot of energy pent up. Maybe I should run her along side a bike first, then try walking again with the gentle leader and see what that does. I think she needs to be tired out first.
  14. Duetsche_Doggen

    Duetsche_Doggen Well-Known Member

    Ah so much better to be at a keyboard than tablet.....:cool:

    Anyway, it still sounds like your girl needs training. Even the most titled dogs can be poorly trained. Pent up energy or not she needs to learn some manners. Like Mary said some dogs just need to be worked constantly. She sounds like one of those dogs. No matter what tool you use the problem is still there, band aid make sense??? There's a "right" and "wrong" time to use that pent up energy, she needs to learn this. Work her around those dogs, do some OB something to take the focus of the distraction and on you. I know some disagree but I find treats to be a bribe, no treat no work.

    I mention Stone a lot and that's because he's the most antsy energetic mastiff I've dealt with. I CONSTANTLY have to stay on top of him because of his energy. It can take as much as 30 minutes or more before I can even proceed onto the next task. Unless you get the root the problem will persist.
  15. STEVSH

    STEVSH Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your input :)
  16. Duetsche_Doggen

    Duetsche_Doggen Well-Known Member

    Good luck to you I feel your pain....I really do......I'm guessing it wont be until almost 2 years before I can even get Stone a CGC.

Share This Page