Recently I wrote about our good experiences with our Rottweiler Lola and a Gentle Leader headcollar. Here is some more information about this useful training tool.
The Gentle Leader was developed back in the 1980s or so by Dr. R.K. Anderson a veterinarian and Professor and Director Emeritus of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the University of Minnesota and Ruth E. Foster, Past President of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors.
At that time it was also called the Promise Headcollar, and you could only get one from a veterinarian who would fit it correctly. We had one back then for our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Cider, who pulled like a sled dog. We liked the Promise Heacollar. If memory serves, it was more heavily made than today’s Gentle Leaders.
The principle behind how a Gentle Leader works is sometimes summarized as “It’s like a halter for a horse.” To expand on that, the Gentle Leader’s concept allows the person to control where the dog’s head goes, and where the head goes the body follows along! You do not have to use force or to be strong to use it. It helps a lot with dogs who jump up and lunge or pull.
You really DO have to fit and use it correctly, which is probably why it comes with detailed instructions.
Here’s the quote from Ian Dunbar that predisposed me to get one:
“I have found the Gentle Leader to be extremely effective in dealing with a variety of problems. Specifically, it is invaluable for dogs which pull on leashes and for dogs which lunge at other dogs or people. The Gentle Leader provides a quick and easy-to-use, humane option for concerned owners.” –Dr. Ian Dunbar, renowned animal behaviorist and veterinarian, Berkeley, CA