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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After a very embarrassing incident this January, I knew I needed to do something. We had taken our dog for a walk when we met two beagles and their owner... I ended up getting pulled to the ground twice, along with the addition of scraped palms, legs, and a twisted ankle. So you can imagine that I was excited to try out the new headcollar we got for Bambi, our extremely energetic Lab/GSD mix of 1 year. I'll be honest, I didn't enjoy taking walks with her before. It was ridiculous the way she pulled, and even during training sessions she was absolutely impossible to handle (hence the reason why we need something that will aid us in controlling her). We bought her a so-called anti-pull harness (which works for our other big dog, Tori) but it only increases the pulling... and I'm too scared to try prong collars or chokers, because if you don't do it the right way, it can cause damage. The head collar seemed like a pretty good option, but after the first week of using it, it's only become a nuisance. I'm not even sure what brand it is... the Comfort Lead or something like that. It looks like a Gentle Leader, but unfortunately we haven't been to the pet store -which is an hour or more away- in several months, so we haven't been able to get the good brand.

Bambi has unfortunately gotten somewhat used to it, and while it does help, it does a whole lot more damage than good. When first used, it worked like a charm, and I felt like I was finally free! But she's gotten a lot more brazen, and it only slightly helps with the pulling now. Last time we used it, it cut a gash on her nose... and the pain apparently made her pull harder and more frantically, thus cutting her nose open further.

Thankfully the hair on her nose has grown back, and I've tried to make some sort of a pad over the noseband... but she pulls so dang hard that it gets pulled up over her eye (pretty tightly, too) and the pad often gets twisted into the wrong place. Do they make headcollars with padding? I'm just so irritated. Nothing I do seems to work, and we can't even work with that dog because she's nothing but a pain in the behind to take on walks. I just don't understand why -if it is uncomfortable for her- she pulls even harder against it...

EDIT: Hah, just realized that this probably doesn't even really apply to training... but while we're on the subject, what steps do you think I should take to calm her and stop the pulling... as well as any desensitizing tricks to stop her from going absolutely nuts when walking past another dog (which is also part of our difficulties when walking).
 

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With dogs that are highly reactive, you need to work at a distance from the stimulus....that might be at 50 yards or more. That's where you step between her and the distraction; ask for sit and practice calmness and attention on you.
The prong collar looks dangerous but, it's not. Of all the collars out there, it's the only one that distributes the pressure evenly around the entire neck.
 

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I use this harness. If you clip the back, it tightens like a martingale; alternately, you can clip the front and use it like a Gentle Leader (pulling forces the dog to face back in your direction). My pulling problem went away in under 10 minutes.
 

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Yes, there are padded Gentle Leaders. You might want to call your local pet store and see if they carry them first, because not all of them do. I'm not sure if they're discontinued or just haven't been widely distributed yet. But it's an "upgraded" version of the gentle leader headcollar.
I don't think that a prong collar will help at all with pulling. If she's pulling against the gentle leader, with is trying to pull her head back, and is probably(as you mentioned) pretty painful, I don't think a prong collar would do anything better. Plus, prong collars require really good timing, otherwise it'll quickly become ineffective(if it had effect at all). With a prong collar it's very very important to understand how to use it properly. The gentle leader is much easier IMO.
 
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