Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Gentle Leader

I'm sure that for the term "gentle leader" is not unfamiliar to our shelter volunteers. Perhaps you've seen the name written on a dog's walk card or you heard about it in your orientation with your mentor. Heard of one but have NO idea what it is? Don't fret! It's much easier than it looks. Have a look at this video to get a better idea of how the GL works:

Of course, the dog in the video has most likely had much experience with the GL and therefore is not "resisting" the collar like a dog might do upon it's first time wearing one, like this dog here:

Unfortunately, this will likely be the reaction of many of the shelter dogs because they've never used one before! Not to worry. Here is one way to learn how to desensitize the dog to the collar.

I have found that most dogs will put up a "fight" for about 5 to 10 minutes...after this they will grow tired of putting so much energy into pulling that they will learn to relax, ignore the collar, and happily walk by your side. Not fond of the choke collar or prong collar? Try one of these on for size! Just be sure to add a "security" collar on the dog attached with a carrabeaner just in case!


Barbara said...

Thank you Sam! I have been wanting to try this on Ruby to see if it will help her to slow down on her walks. She is such a sweet dog but walking her is exhausting.

Sam said...

You're welcome, Barbara! Just remember that it's normal for the dog to "disagree" with the collar at first. Ruby may try to get it off, paw at it, rub it on the ground, may really struggle for the beginning of the walk. But don't give in right away - stick with it and see if after 10 minutes (or when you're outside and away from the shelter) she calms down enough and ignores it.

Joel said...

Thanks Sam, this is helpful. To me it seems like the dogs who require the special collars get walked less often, because we volunteers are less comfortable using them. I put the gentle leader on Hercules last weekend, took once or twice to get the hang of it but it wasn't too bad.