Gentle Lead vs Harness? - Page 2

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Gentle Lead vs Harness?

This is a discussion on Gentle Lead vs Harness? within the Dog Gear and Supplies forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I'd only use a gentle leader or halti as an absolutely last resort. It renders a dog completely helpless and they know it. It is ...

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Old 03-20-2017, 11:57 AM
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I'd only use a gentle leader or halti as an absolutely last resort. It renders a dog completely helpless and they know it.
It is incredibly effective (from the human's standpoint) for that very reason, and because it appears not to cause pain, it is considered an acceptable level of restraint, but often produces a significant change in behaviour, one I characterize as 'humbling'.
If you chose to use one, 1st you need to condition your dog to accept wearing it. Dog learns to associate wearing it with getting treats.
2nd. I highly recommend also teaching the dog to associate light directional pressure on the leash with getting a treat from the rear flank (so he doesn't freak out when he wants to go one way and feels leash pressure from the opposite direction.
3rd. Go out with a light line or tab on the halti and regular leash on collar, continue the conditioning (treats for gentle leash pressure), and work your way very slowly (over several days) to controlling your dog with a halti.
4th. Bear in mind that if your puppy or dog is given to flinging itself to the end of the leash to chase a squirrel or car, whiplash can result.
There is no collar I've ever used that is so difficult for a dog to accept, but if you absolutely have no other options, then the above steps will help your dog.

If choosing between halti or harness, then yes, harness, harness, harness, harness, please.

If you're own safety becomes a factor (sore muscles, tripping hazards, getting pulled around, sprains, shoulder/back injuries) and a harness doesn't work, there are other options that are less upsetting to a big boisterous puppy.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:58 PM
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We mostly use the harness. It's just been easier. He's only 42 lbs, but it's muscle and he's a strong little puppy, plus I have arthritis in my hands. Our other dog was trained off leash, and she stays by our side leash or not, but this little puppy is just eager to see and do everything. He doesn't flip out and flail around, just pulls and digs in his heels if I try to pull him back towards me. Maybe the gentle lead isn't a good fit.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:27 PM
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My guy is 40 lbs, I have torn tendons in my left hand due to a leash accident, dog on harness, so you have my sympathy.
Have you tried the front-hook harness?
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:56 PM
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Yes, that's what we are using now. We have one of those Ruffwear harnesses that has a loop in the front and back and can be used for restraint in the car. It's great when I take him jogging with me, but he still pulls on just regular walks to potty in the backyard.

I think it's all about the distractions. I don't worry about myself as much as I worry about him running off into the woods after animals (we do have him chipped). We are working on recall, but he only listens half the time, and barely ever outside.

The other night, 3 deer were using our yard to cross over to the stream about a mile back, and he was going nuts while our other dog just sat on the deck by the gazebo. I had to drag him inside because our neighbors up the road said the deer were chasing their dogs trying to stomp on them, so not taking chances.

I realize training will help situations like these, but in the meantime while we are training him, I want to keep him safe. We are building a fence around the property, but it's 2 acres and is taking a little time.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:27 PM
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I would use a long line on him.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:20 PM
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I use the head collar connected by a double ended leash to a harness on my reactive girl. I personally am not a huge fan of it because I terrified of neck injuries, but for her it's the only thing that works. She has absolutely no issues pulling through the no pull harnesses... At anyrate I really hate putting that sort of pressure on her neck, but with the harness if she were to decided to lunge or pull pressure would be on her chest/body instead of her neck. On another note like all other tools the end goal is to eventually be able to walk without them which for the most part I can with her. We only use the head collar now if I know were going to be around a ton of other dogs or where we might run into potential triggers.

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Old 03-23-2017, 11:15 PM
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The Gentle Lead works for my lab, but she hates it. She will do ok as long as we are walking, but fights to get it off any time we stop. She does much better with the harness.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:08 PM
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Neither, gentle leads can be pretty painful and risk spinal and neck damage from the unnatural movement it forces

Reference

Harnesses encourage pulling, no matter the type. Front clipping harnesses might turn a dog around, but after awhile dogs learn how to avoid this and will apply pressure on the opposite side of the leash.

A nylon martingale collar would be the most appropriate for his age, find a reputable trainer that uses training tools like the martingale and prong because you'll need to learn how to implement proper corrections with these tools.



Martingale collars distribute pressure evenly, they are much more safe than regular flat collars, halters or harnesses.

Last edited by Shandula; 03-25-2017 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Removal of aversive talk.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:09 PM
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The gentle leader has been a lifesaver for me. My stubborn piper is very reactive to other dogs, especially a little chihuahua that we have to walk by on our walks. The gentle leader dramatically helped to reduce her pulling in these situations. I have linked my write up that I posted on my blog. My biggest tip is to make sure you do have it properly adjusted. My owners that say that their dog does not like the gentle leader, real just have it adjusted improperly!

Click here to read my blog post on the Gentle Leader!
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:04 PM
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We have Martingale collars on both our dogs. Our puppy will pull so much that he coughs when we just attach a leash to his collar. I will not use a prong collar.

We've just nixed the entire Gentle Lead idea, instead, I've been taking him for jogs in the morning and slower walks in the afternoon around the neighborhood with the harness on. It has a handle on the back of it, so if he starts to pull, I grab the handle and make him sit for a minute, then we try again. I'm trying to desensitize him to all the wildlife. Squirrels have been a challenge though!

He's a border collie/lab mix, and surprisingly strong for his size/age. We just had a vet visit this morning for his last booster shot, and he gained 4 lbs in 2 weeks!
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