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I have recently purchased a Gentle Leader headcollar for my large 90 lb leonberger female dog. She has been doing very well with it. Somebody (who has little knowlege of dogs) that I know keeps telling me that it looks very uncomfortable on her and is restricting her airflow. My dog shows NO signs of restricted airflow.

The fitting video says that the Gentle leader must be very high on the neck and very snug. It says that because it is so high on the neck, even though it is tight, they can still breath comfortably. I absolutly trust that this is true, but I would like to know the reason WHY this is the case.

Even though it is fitted well, this person keeps pointing out my dog has been showing marks on her face where the GL rests (which is true.) What should I do to prevent this?

I love the Gentle Leader but I would also love to be able to explain to this person why it is not uncomfortable on her. Thank you for any reasoning you help provide!
 

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It shouldn't be snug enough that you worry about the dog not being able to breathe, and shouldn't be leaving marks on the dog. You should be able to get a finger between the GL and the dog. It also shouldn't be around the dog's neck, so there is no way for it to restrict airflow anyway. You don't need proof that it doesn't, because it can't. It's not sitting right around the dog's neck.

If the dog is training to accept having it put on, and it's fitted correctly, and the dog isn't pawing at it or rubbing its face on the ground to try to get it off, then you can assume that it doesn't bother the dog. If it bothered the dog, the dog would be showing signs of it. Just like when you leave a collar or harness on the dog, or when you wear a necklace or bracelet/watch yourself, you get used to it, and after a couple of hours you don't even feel it's there. Same thing.
 

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Alta ,

Make sure you do not use the GL with a Flexi type leash. My guess is that you are using the GL to stop pulling. Just tell the person that is making the critical remarks that the GL is your choice for training at this point and you will keep their comments in mind for future reference. As you say she is doing well with it. For long term use a wide flat buckle type or Martingale collar will prolly be best.

Good Luck , oldhounddog
 

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I use a GL with Maddie, b/c she pulls like a tractor - lol! Yes, even little yapper dogs can be beastly... Just make sure that the nose part allows your dog to pant. There's a fine balance between being too loose (the dog can pull its nose out of it) and too tight (restricting the dog's breathing). I like the GL, when used properly.
 

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I have a few beginner students who bring their dogs in on a GL. My goal is to teach them to walk on a loose leash so they don't need that specific tool. I don't think it is harmful, but it is aversive to a lot of dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for your advice. I am not using a Flexi-leash. I think that flexi-leashes are never good for walking with. (They can be useful for recall and some other types of training.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I didn't think about the fact that since she wasn't showing any signs of discomfort it wasn't bugging her. Now that I see that, I will be empowered to explain this to the person.

The Gentle Leader rests just below the ears, so does that mean that it is not putting pressure on any type of airway? Are the airways that are near the base of the scull and jaw not close to their skin, but rather have lots of tissue in front of them?

Thanks!
 

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We're using one w/ our recently adopted 17 month old 90 pound Akita.
He was poorly lead trained and the Gentle Leader corrected the problems in about 3/20 minute sessions.
We're still using it as he occasionally forgets and wants to lunge at a squirrel or a deer.
But mostly it's totally a slack lead walk these days.
Usually when he wants to go out for a walk he brings it and the leash to us.... if not we say (and this is his command.... ) "Time to get dressed."
He goes and gets it and sits facing us.

You WILL get comments.
Is that a Muzzle cause he bites? Oddly usually followed by "Can I pet him?"
How can he breath?
That looks stupid.

Just feed him a treat. Tell them if he can swallow he can breathe.
Your dog, when correctly fitted, should be able to eat, drink, pant and bark.
Kinda hard to do if your breathing is restricted...... ;-)

DO DO DO! Have them watch the video....
Too loose not too tight is usually the problem.
 

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My Poodle/Bichon Winston walks fairly well most of the time (when we can get him to walk... that's a whole other story). However, he does have moments when he gets worked up when he sees certain other dogs or some people. On some of these occasions he lunges toward the dog/person. I have been considering getting a gentle leader collar but also wonder if it would be better to get the easy walk (same brand) type of harness instead. Any thoughts on the choice between these two.
 

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My Poodle/Bichon Winston walks fairly well most of the time (when we can get him to walk... that's a whole other story). However, he does have moments when he gets worked up when he sees certain other dogs or some people. On some of these occasions he lunges toward the dog/person. I have been considering getting a gentle leader collar but also wonder if it would be better to get the easy walk (same brand) type of harness instead. Any thoughts on the choice between these two.
Realize that if he lunges, he is going to hit the end of the leash and snap his head backward. I do prefer a front attach harness, but have seen many dogs get out of the Easy Walk. I prefer the Freedom Harness - which has two points of attachment - in front and over the shoulders - and a double clip leash http://ahimsadogtraining.com/store/proddetail.php?prod=MCH-0082
 

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Realize that if he lunges, he is going to hit the end of the leash and snap his head backward. [/url]
In fact, w/ a correctly fitted Gentle Leader, his head will be pulled down and to the side.
He won't be going airborne or cracking like a whip.
And if you are using a short lead he won't be getting up much speed so there is little force transferred to you.
My 100 pound partner controls our 100 pound Akita quite easily.
 
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