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??? on Gentle Leaders

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by loves-da-pits, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. loves-da-pits

    loves-da-pits New Member

    Grace, Reese, and I are embarking on walking with the gentle leader. I have a couple of question and can use some suggestions.

    First of all I'm going to do this one on one with the dogs, not together at first. It says you will see results within 10 minutes. I know Jamiya uses the g.l. Does this sound right? I know it says it's most important to make sure it fits right.

    Also, Grace is very docile when she is within her own house and surroundings, but outside she becomes like a mad animal with all the pulling. She's very strong, 88 lbs. Will there be a moment where she could break this g.l. and take off running? I couldn't believe how thin it is.

    Basically, how is the best way to start this off? What precautions do I take? I'm sure this has been discussed before. I can't seem to find it.

    Reese is more fearful and shy, so according to the training guide, those types of dogs train very easily. Grace is a BRUTE!!!

    I've got lots of training treats and I'm excited about getting started. I will love to be able to take a normal walk with my dogs!!
  2. nakoma_star

    nakoma_star New Member

    ok first things first the G.L. should have a peace that connects to the collar incase the dog breaks the gentle leader and trys to take off second it is vertualy impossible for a dog to pull on a G.L. because they guide the dogs head towards you and where the head goes the body goes theyll try to pull at first but after a while they stop
  3. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    The Gentle Leader does NOT have a piece that connects to the flat collar. Halti's have that, because Halti's fit much more loosely. If a G.L. is fitted correctly, it is very difficult for a dog to get it off. Also, the bigger sizes are thicker, I believe - make sure you got the proper size for your dog.

    She shouldn't be able to pull hard enough to break it as it will turn her head when she tries to pull.

    In addition to letting the collar do its job, also use other incentives to get her to pay attention to you. With Nala, I call her name or make a clicking noise with my tongue. If she turns to look at me, she gets a treat. Sometimes I walk with a fistful of treats in my hand and then she trots next to me (like in a pseudo-heel position) hoping to get a treat.

    My trainer was working with me on this the other day as well. She had me walking along and the moment Nala took all the slack out of the leash, I would spin and walk the other direction. She would have to hurry to catch back up to me. Soon she was watching me more closely so she could turn with me. Then the trainer would stand down the sidewalk from us and try to encourage Nala to want to come to her without actually calling her. If Nala hit the end of the leash, we would turn around and then turn back again once Nala was even with me. If she wanted to make it to the trainer, she had to do it without pulling.

    Nala caught on to all of this very quickly. We tried it with Bonnie and it wasn't working out very well. But Bonnie never had walks as a puppy as far as I can tell. She still has trouble with the concept of wandering in front of me so I end up stepping on her, and she is scared of cars so she will try to get behind me when they go by. She'll get it, though. I just need to work with her more.

    Then, of course, the trick will be to be able to walk both of them at the same time. We manage fairly well with that usually, but I am constantly reminding them to not pull.

    Oh, the other big thing is that they are most excited and out of control at the beginning of the walk. Don't let your dog go nuts with anticipation. Make her sit to get the leash on, and make her sit for you to open the door, and if you can teach her "wait" so you can get through the door first and then release her that's even better. Then once you are outside, if she is hyper then make her sit. Run her through some exercises. Wait (as long as it takes) for her to be more calm, and then start on the walk. If she goes berserk again, do it all over!
  4. loves-da-pits

    loves-da-pits New Member

    Couple of more ???.

    Does it matter what kind of leash you use? I have the chain type leashes. Should I use a lighter nylon type or a shorter type leash?

    Also, do I take off their regular leather collars? I would like to keep them on in case they should get away because it has all their I.D. is on them.
  5. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    I always leave the regular collars on. A lighter leash and small clasp is better so there's not a lot of weight hanging off their noses if they aren't pulling. I use leather leashes because nylon tends to burn my hands if they go nuts and chase a squirrel.

    A Halti can buckle to the flat collar so even if the dog slips it, they won't be loose. A Halti is also much looser when fitted to the dog. I use a Halti now with Nala, because she ate her G.L. and I replaced it with a Halti hoping that it would be more comfortable for her. She only gets it off if I am not watching her (like I stop to talk to someone) but at least she is still connected to the flat collar when that happens.

    Bonnie can't wear a Halti. She manages to paw it off while walking so that I have to fix it every 10 steps or so. Too annoying! So I use a G.L. with her. Fitted properly, the top of the nose loop should be able to be pulled down to where the black part of their nose meets their muzzle, but no further. The neck loop should be tight and right behind their ears.
  6. Dukesdad

    Dukesdad New Member

    Whatever collar you use you must walk with a quite calm authority. The dog should pay attention to your lead at ALL times. If the ears are up and he is looking all around then you are not in control. A quick jerk on the leash and the command HEEL should refocus his attention. Abruptly changing direction, like Jamiya recommended, is also a good technique to teach them that you are leading this walk. Look for the ears being pinned back a bit rather that forward. This is a sign that the dog is following you. Never allow the dog to pull on the lead or even walk in front. Always keep them at your side. Your goal should be to walk with your dog at your side on a loose short lead. You should be able to walk in a normal fashion swinging your hands normally. The dog will sense if you are tense and this will alter his behavior.
  7. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    I generally don't demand that my dogs walk in heel position. We begin and end our walks that way, but in between I release them and let them have freedom to sniff and explore a bit. In the neighborhood they are always on a tighter reign, but in a park they have more freedom. My husband also uses a flexi-lead in the park, which of course undermines any training I do with them. :)
  8. Dukesdad

    Dukesdad New Member

    Above I was talking about heeling. Tthere is another command to allow the dog to sniff around, explore and venture out while on a leash. I do it with an "OK" command and a wave of my hand forward. This tells Duke that it is OK to sniff and explore around. If a car is coming or we need to stay on a sidewalk then I can then tell him to heel. The difference is Duke still follows my lead. After you teach a dog to comfortably heel then he can be allowed to explore on OK, and you are confident you can litterally "reel him in" when necessary.
    Now I have to admit that I did not train Duke. He spent two weeks at a fairly expensive boarding/training academy. After his training, the trainer spent three weeks training me. Freckles completed an 8 hour PetsMart course so I am now working to teach him some of Duke's more advanced obedience commands.
  9. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    I have never taught Nala the word "heel" but I think I might at some point. I use "slow" on walks to get her to slow down, but we are going to start working more on having her pay attention to me the whole time. Of course, the main problem with that is finding the time and energy to work on it! Generally if I need her right by my side, I just shorten the lead (by holding it closer to her).

    I'd be interested in finding out about your experience with the boarding training for Duke. I have thought about it before, although most people here seem opposed to it. I think it would be a great way to get the basics in their heads and proofed fairly well. Then you just have to be trained to reinforce and add to their training.
  10. Jas

    Jas New Member

    You can buy those little pieces to attach the GL to the regular collar - several pet stores sell them. If you have an escape artist, might be a good idea. One thing about head halters is you have to be careful not to use strong corrections or snap their head sideways. There is growing concern with some training groups & clubs about head halters.
  11. nern

    nern New Member

    Even though I was not the original poster, I found all of your advice extremely helpful. :y_the_best:

    Jamiya: So Nala is not able to pull the GL off? I stopped trying to use the halti on Natalie because she looked so upset each time I put it on her and because she would also manage to paw it off before we even got all the way down the stairs.
  12. goob

    goob New Member

    I've known some dogs that can pull out of even a GL (have 1 in the house... Goo! :roll: ), so it's always a good idea to have on a backup. You can use a coupler (the things they use for walking 2 dogs at once), or some like to just put a slightly oversize slip collar on the dog and hook the leash to both collars (the slip collar never comes into play unless the dog gets out of the GL).

    The thing with GL type collars is that you want to lead the dog, not correct. You don't want your dog to be hanging out towards the end of the leash, see a bunny, and bolt after it, because that could damage their neck. So, you'll want to keep a relatively tight (not choking, but not giving room to pick up a lot of speed) lead on them while walking. Definitely lose the chain leashes, they're too heavy to use on a head collar, and aren't much good for training purposes.

    You do NOT want to do the turning heel method on a dog wearing a GL, head collars aren't for correcting, and doing so can hurt their neck (think if you were walking along and something suddenly whipped your head back away from the way your body was going).
  13. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    Nern - neither dog can get the G.L. off for the most part. If I left them alone with them on, I'm sure they could manage it. But since it is only on when we are walking, they can't. Sometimes they do a nose dive in the grass to try to rub it off or start to paw at it, but I tell them "Leave it" and keep walking. However, if we are sitting at a soccer game and I am not watching them, they can eventually work it off (which is how Nala ate hers before).
  14. loves-da-pits

    loves-da-pits New Member

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

    Premier also has an Indoor Drag Line which is a 10 ft. braided cord made to be attached to the g.L. This is used for indoor bad behavior such as jumping on people when they enter the house. Grace doesn't do this, but Reese does. Has anyone here ever used it?

    They have a training video on this. I couldn't find it at PetsMart, so I will have to locate this online.

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