Gentle Leaders ‘R Us! (and Easy Walks, too!)

10 Apr

Goose and Bird
Proud to wear their Gentle Leaders

As someone who adopted the use of gentle leaders early in my dog parenthood, I was always so shocked when dog owners shut down the idea immediately. Throughout the years, I have used Gentle Leaders* for many reasons – for pulling, working with reactive dogs, etc. From my miniature pinschers to larger shelter dogs, I have always used them…and LOVED them! And, yes, when I see  a dog wearing one, I immediately like the owner (yikes! profiling!)

I am often sharing this great little video from Jean Donaldson’s of her desensitizing her dog, Buffy, to one.

I share the moleskin tip. I talk about the “deluxe” versions. I can talk for hours about the  Gentle Leader!

This year, a few people have told me that they are hesitant to have their pitties wear them. They don’t want people thinking their dog is not friendly.  They said people scream, “MUZZLE!” in their head when they see them. In my more than 10 years of using the Gentle Leader, a few people did think they were muzzles and I quickly said, “Nope, they can bite if they want to! It  just helps with pulling.”  And the stranger would say, “Oh!”  And, to me, that was it. No biggie. Because no one had thought my miniature pinschers or terriers were “dangerous dogs.”

A few months ago, I was walking two shelter dogs at separate times and both times people indicated that the big short-haired, muscle-y dogs were dangerous because of a head halter. I was not only shocked, but hurt. The poor pittie mix I was walking was doing no harm, just going about his business in SoHo, trying to get adopted. I knew how it felt.

So, at Bully Project classes this past weekend, when a fabulous, dedicated couple said they were not willing to try the Gentle Leader because of the stigma, I knew where they were coming from. We decided to try out an Easy Walk harness first for their tank of a dog who was a huge puller. And now, his momma is so happy…her shoulder is definitely hurting less this week!

Bully Project was lucky enough to have some nice people make donations right before our first Spring class! This allowed us to splurge on some incentives and goodies for the teams – and this included the Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses. I think we all are pushing these harnesses a lot…and it is working. Gone are the prongs and chokes! Here are some of our pretty pitties and their Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses:

Gertie is an old-timer when it comes to the Gentle Leader!

Bleu just got fitted with one! Her mom also used a Thundershirt to help reduce her stress while being in class. Bleu is doing great now!

Cofi loves her new Genlte Leader

Deebo is now wearing a brand new reflective Easy Walk harness.

Midnight sporting her Easy Walk!

Kiara waits patiently.

*although I am referring to the  Gentle Leader brand of head halter here in the blog, you can replace it with any other  dog head halter.

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6 Responses to “Gentle Leaders ‘R Us! (and Easy Walks, too!)”

  1. barbarajkennedy1014 April 10, 2012 at 9:57 AM #

    Good information- great models. Thanks!

  2. Married with Dawgs April 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM #

    I tell people it’s just like a horse’s halter if they express reservations about others thinking it’s a muzzle of some sort. I find dog to horse analogies always work great!

  3. Rebelwerewolf April 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM #

    Our dogs are always walked on Gentle Leaders. One thing we did with Badger was match the color to his fur (black). Most people don’t even realize he has a headcollar on – they just think his face is weird. We’re not as worried about Mushroom’s reputation – everyone loves her because she’s tiny. I did read somewhere that Gentle Leaders aren’t good for jogging with a dog, though, because they can pull the dog in front of you and cause a tripping hazard.

  4. Emily April 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM #

    I never realized that gentle leaders might have a stigma. We use the easy walk harness because Turk will rear up on his hind legs and try to bat the gentle leaders off (which doesn’t make him seem very approachable on walks). I think both are great though.

  5. Of Pit Bulls and Patience April 12, 2012 at 7:48 AM #

    I love them both! I use an Easy Walk for Parker and Skye, and sent Sinatra to his adoptive home in one. For my training clients I tend to recommend the Gentle Leader for reactive dogs or escape artists, though when given the choice I prefer an Easy Walk. I also use the dog-horse connection for people who are unsure about a head halter.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. One Woman, Two Dogs, One Walk | Mr. & Mrs. & Nola Kisses - May 3, 2012

    […] been a life saver when it comes to walking Laynie. One of the blogs I follow, That Touch of Pit, recently wrote about the benefits of the gentle leader. When we first got her we realized she probably had never been walked on leash before. Even if she […]

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