Thursday, March 13, 2014

#WOOF Support: Success, Frustration & Everything in Between

I want to apologize for my short post this month for our #WOOF Support hop.  As you may have guessed, these past few weeks have been extremely busy here, what with Ma volunteering for a week and then heading up to Orlando for the Global Pet Expo.  She will be back this weekend which is when I will be visiting all of your posts.  Please bare with me.

Now, you know we have been working on "Look" - when we are approaching another dog that may cause me to react, Ma says the command to remind me to look at her and not the dog.  Ma has been reinforcing the command even when we are NOT outside or around other dogs, so that the command becomes part of my "repertoire" like sit and down.

It works 50% of the time, maybe, when we are approaching another dog.  If the dog is smaller, I listen to the command.  If the dog is bigger, well...I am a terrierizer on the end of the leash.

Ma doesn't expect this command to "cure" me of my reaction; she knows that it will not always be enough to distract me from the other dog.  She would, of course, like it to help us both walk better most times when approaching another dog.

Before our busy month of March began, Ma went out and bought a Gentle Leader Head Collar by PetSafe.   She saw a few training videos, including a few by Dr. Sophia Yin, where the trainer uses the head collar to reinforce the "Look" command.  The PetSafe Gentle Leader comes with an instruction booklet, a DVD and the actual head collar.

Ma was hoping to start using the Gentle Leader in the yard or house as a gentle training reminder, and then work our way up to a walk.  She read the instruction booklet and was going to watch the DVD so we would know how to use the head collar safely but...she hasn't.

We've been so busy over here that we bought this great training tool and then never learned how to use it.  UGH!  I am sure you can imagine how frustrating that can be.  It's here in the house...we own it...the DVD stares us in the face and yet we don't have time.

Ma says that after Global Pet Expo, she is going to sit down and learn how to use the Gentle Leader properly so we can start training with it.  *Paws crossed*  But we are curious...

Have any of you ever used the Gentle Leader as a training tool? 
Is it difficult to use/master?  Did you find it helpful? 

This is the WOOF Support Blog Hop, where reactive dogs and their owners can come together to share similar experiences.  Are you a reactive/fearful dog or its owner?  Then please join us and share your story.  

The Blog Hop is open through Sunday, March 16th on my blog as well as on my co-hosts Roxy The Traveling Dog and Wag 'n Woof Pets blogs.


  1. No we have never used it Oz and sorry but we would not be much help. We hope mum's schedule allows for some more time training and we say good luck and wish you well.Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Oz mum sounds very busy!! we have gentle leaders and found Doc in particular really didn't like it...because the control changed..we have not used them for awhile and were just thinking of getting them back in the swing..they are great at re directing the head and doggies whole stance..we too are beyond busy and hope to get a bloggie hop done...I seem to have 27 hours of stuff to do in a 24 hour day!! and terrierization is here as well! hugs Fozzimeum and Doc and Forrest xx

  3. The Gentle Leader is awesome and easy to use. We desperately needed it back when Sparty was impossible to walk due to extreme pulling. Our trainer recommended we keep it on Spartacus for about 48 hours at home to start off so he would get used to it. We only did 24 hours and he's never tried to paw it off the way some dogs do.
    We continue to use it for the extra control it provides in situations where Spartacus might be reactive. It seems to have a calming effect on him in public places. Good luck with it!

  4. we tried a head collar named Halti once. But it wasn't the real Mc Coy. I would like to hear what you and your Ma think, when you tried it. Good luck, hope you will like it.

  5. I prefer the Halti to the Gentle Leader because of the side pieces and the collar security clip, but they work in the same fashion. I had a lot of success with the Halti with my reactive Norwegian Elkhound and I have been using it some for Ruby. Happy Hopping!

  6. We have never used it. I have heard a lot of good things about it though.

  7. FYI - Your image is broken in the Linky icons.

  8. I have a halti which I think is the same sort of thing. I hate it though and I pull it off my face haha! So mummy gave up in the end. hope you get on better with yours

  9. WE totally understand the PEEPS being BIZZY thingy. NO PROBLEM buddy...
    We can't help with the gentle leader thingy... Sorry.

  10. It never occurred to me to use a gentle leader for reactivity, until Jenna over at Love is Being Owned by a Husky recently mentioned it. We used it to help with our beagle Kobi's pulling, and it worked great for that. I need to see if his old one will fit Cricket, because she pulls too anyway, so I could be accomplishing two things at once!
    Don't worry, you'll get to it. I can't tell you how many things are on my "to do" list....sometimes I think I'll never get to them all!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  11. YES!!!!!!! The gentle lead is an extremely useful tool!!! I just posted this on your fb group as well Oz, I am sure you have seen my post!
    I bought one for Lexus a few weeks ago, it was to big for her, so I am using on Koda. I made a video on one of my posts, and will attach the link to my post when I join this hop tomorrow. It takes a lot for them to get used to having something on their head like this, but with the right steps and training, it has proved VERY useful!!!!!! It stops the pulling, and as far as the look command goes, well you are in complete control of their head, so it is easy to redirect their attention to you! If you have any questions you would like to ask about it feel free to message me and I will help as I have had great success with this tool.
    Thanks for sharing!

    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  12. Gentle leaders are amazing

    Stop on by for a visit

  13. Vlad & Barkly both have Gentle Leaders for when we're in very crowded conditions. It's the easiest way we've found to ensure that we can quickly get focus back on us instead of everything else when there are a million distractions around. Just make absolutely sure you adjust it properly for Ozzie because improper fit is the largest reason some people haven't liked the head collars. The fitting section is the most important part of that DVD. You're also going to need to re-adjust it every now and then too if a lot of HARD pulling was done when first using the collar. It really worked during Vlad's puppyhood to keep my arm in its socket though. Actually our vet's office recommended them for our hard-headed twosome.

  14. Yes! We used the Halti with Isis and she really came a long way. Leo was less fond of it. I recommend taking your time acclimating Oz to it. This might be in the video, but what we did was use a treat to lure her to put her nose through it, but didn't put it on her. We did this a couple of times a day, then moved on to luring her to put her nose in, then fastening it for 10 seconds. Then 30 seconds... working up to 10 minutes. There were times on walks when she would decide she was sick of it and fling herself on the grass to try to wriggle it off her face, but if you really get them used to it before you start using it to lead them around, I think you'll get less of the "pawing to get it off" behavior.

    Good luck! I love the pic with the fire hydrant.

  15. We used a Gentle Leader with one of our huskies. He had never walked on a leash much when we got him and he was reactive so it was a huge help. I would just caution that once you are able to wear your head collar out on walks, Oz (which may be a while because it takes a lot of training and treats just to get used to it) that you make your mom give you lots and lots of treats and praise EVERY SINGLE TIME the Gentle Leader does it's job and gets your head back in line. Otherwise, the head collar becomes a negative reinforcement training tool (kind of like a prong collar, to be honest,) reacting to a dog will begin to mean more frustration to you, and your reactivity will get worse instead of better.

  16. I haven't used one with Rita, and probably won't. My friend's dog and sis's dog both spend a portion of their walks trying to get GL off, so I just don't think Rita would like it. She's super sensitive and afraid of so many things, and I just don't think it's the answer for her. I know a lot of folks love it, but for us I don't think it's the way to go. Also, Rita isn't a puller, so i don't have that issue. 97% of the time on our walks, she's quite a nice walking companion. I hope it works well for you! it's so hard to find time to do all the things we need/want to do, isn't it!?! Thanks for finding time to host!

  17. We've tried the gentle leader there does seem to be a trick to using it properly. I pull terrible on my walk but we weren't happy with this so we stick with the pinch collar. Love Dolly

  18. Katie had to have one for a time because she was so big and strong and such a puller. All the dogs in Bailie's obedience class wear one, just not Bailie. They do work and are very simple. Mom is just stubborn and wants us to do things without "help" no matter how hard and trying it can be!

  19. Have fun at the pet expo. You will get there oz, patients and training you will get there. I used the gentle leader a few times and it seemed to help calm one dog down, Gambler on the other hand it didn't help him. lol He's crazy.

  20. I am not a huge fan of gentle leaders for walks because I don't think they give enough control over a determined dog. But as a training tool they may work better. I am anxious to hear how you like it.

  21. I don't use the Gentle Leader itself, but I do use a similar head collar for Callie and Shadow. (Sorry, but at the moment the brand name escapes me.) I find that it gives me better control over their "grazing" tendencies and, therefore, my ability to keep them focused on me instead of other dogs on the trail. They both hate it, but they tolerate it until we get home, which is a great thing!

  22. Good luck with the Gentle Leader we use one on Sheba and it calmed her down and stopped her pulling, if she sees a dog though nothing stops her.

  23. Using a head collar was the turning point in Jeni's reactivity. We were making no progress for a very long time, and then a trainer convinced me to try the head collar. It was AMAZING. Especially because she had a lot of history of working on watch and basic obedience commands - we knew "how" to avoid her reacting but the head collar allowed me to get control of her before she was able to start. The key is to not go over threshold and by using the head collar I was able to get her attention before she got a chance to lose her mind. I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try.


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Cairn cuddles,
Oz the Terrier