Our darling young Rottie Lola was a total nuisance to walk on leash… any walk with her in our neighborhood or in the mountains close behind us was an erratic tour from one possible munchie to the next.
We currently live in a town in Mexico where garbage collection can be intermittent, and several times Lola ended up with diarrhea. It’s almost always my husband who walks her out in the streets — I have been afraid of not being able to handle Lola in the event of an untoward encounter with one or more of the large street dogs we sometimes see.
A solution was needed, seriously and soon. Lola and Kelly needed those long walks for exercise and fun. He bought a muzzle from our veterinarian here, and I trained Lola to accept wearing it by using lots of treats offered through it before gradually buckling it. Neither she nor Kelly ever reached the point of being happy with it. Luckily, at about a quarter of an acre, our yard is large enough that lots of wild romps gave Lola some decent exercise.
Next, I ordered a kind of head halter called a Gentle Leader from the United States, as I hadn’t found one at any of the pet supply stores in our area in Mexico. Getting the thing here was easy, as a friend was coming to visit from the US. (Suffice it to say that we don’t rely on the mails here.) So it arrived.
One morning I got the Gentle Leader out. Now one regrettable fact is that I am a klutz with my hands. Luckily, Kelly more than makes up for my lacks in this department, so it didn’t take long before he was figuring out how to put the Gentle Leader on Lola. It comes with detailed instructions on DVD which we followed carefully.
I had my usual high-level treats handy, tiny bits of hot dog, about 1/100th of a hot dog each. Lola soon had the Gentle Leader on. Kelly and I haggled a bit over how tight the neck strap and nose straps should be, but eventually we got it pretty close to how the instructions showed it. I think this is essential in the halter working properly and being safe.
Kelly walked the dog around our yard a bit and so did I. Lola didn’t seem to mind the thing on her face — maybe because the muzzle had been worse. We did use a short leash rather than our usual Flexi-style leash, and we have continued with this. The combination of a long leash and a Gentle Leader can cause the dog to be injured in some circumstances. It would be counter-productive, too, as you wouldn’t have enough control when the leash was extended.
That afternoon, man and Rottweiler headed out for their regular hike. They were gone quite a while. I was writing an article, but rather distractedly, waiting for their return.
“She was perfect!” Kelly said when they got home. She has continued to be perfect. She is gradually really understanding that heeling is the best way to go walking.
Clciking on the image takes you to Amazon.com where you can read thousands of reviews of the Gentle Leader and pick one out in various sizes and colors:
Original post: Sept. 26, 2008