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I've seen a couple threads on here about prong collars and a lot of people had a lot of different opinions, which is to be expected for such a controversial subject. I read a lot of yays and nays but didn't see many alternative solutions, just people saying their were 100 alternatives. (Keep in mind, however, I did not go through the 10+ pages so I could be wrong!)

One alternative that I have used personally is called a gentle lead. It's a collar that fits around the dogs snout, because there is very little muscle in the face area and it makes it impossible for dogs to yank and pull their owners and themselves into danger. (Or just make the walk an uncomfortable and frustrating experience.)

Basically it sits on their snout loosely when they're walking beside you, and when they pull it tightens so they're gently pulled back to your side. They don't like the pressure on their snout, and are likely to not pull forward to avoid putting pressure on it.

Granted there are some cons, many dogs hate it at first and will rub it with their paws to try to get it off, shake their heads violently, and try to escape it by running, so I would highly suggest getting them accustomed to it around the house before using it. However all the dogs I've used it on have eventually gotten used to them and dealt with it. Another problem is if they squirm and yank while they are getting used to it and actually walking with you, it can clamp down on their snouts and cause them to bite their tongues. (which had happened to me and is something every owner should try dutifully to not allow by not yanking or allowing excessive pulling and instead giving a gentle tug to redirect)

Anyway, that was an alternative that has worked form me in the past, and I wanted to know your opinions and other alternatives you know of!
 

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Easy Walk (brand name) and front clip harnesses (general) they tend to make the dog not pull by virtue of 'turning' the dog around when they pull, so they wind up either facing you or sideways. The thing you're talking about is called a head halter/head collar more generally, with gentle leader being a brand name. Choke chains or unlimited slip collars.

The important thing to remember with every last one of these (or any other 'no pull' leash, collar, or harness) is every last one of them works by being aversive to the dog and every last one of them needs to be used with care and awareness of your individual dog. Every last one, you need to be aware that the tools are management, not substitution for training. They all have risks. Some of the risks are higher than others, but none are completely without risks.

For me, when dealing with this, I will advise anyone online to use a front clip harness and if that doesn't work to seek out in person help (for at least fitting and basic how-to-use) or just step up the actual training via different methods. The front clip harness is the one with a very low risk of fall out if improperly fitted or used, and in the absence of being able to see and know the person, I"m not going to advise them to use anything else.
 

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I sometimes teach Therapy Dog classes and one of the things that always surprises me is how different the dogs are when the haltis/gentle leaders come off. Because most of my students are going to end up testing with TDI, they must be on a flat collar.

The dogs will be nearly perfect in their headgear. Nearly sedate. And then when the gear comes off, the dogs are super animated. Leaves me with the impression that for many dogs, the haltis/GLs suppress behavior in general. I have always been puzzled by that. It seems (from my limited experience) that the dogs coming out of prong collars are less likely to get wild than the dogs coming out of the halti/GLs.

My experience with this is limited, but I always found it very interesting. Without a doubt, a Halti/GL will give a handler a whole lot of control. Probably much more control than one would achieve in a prong.
 

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My experience with this is limited, but I always found it very interesting. Without a doubt, a Halti/GL will give a handler a whole lot of control. Probably much more control than one would achieve in a prong.
Yeah. I tried a halti with both Molly and Thud. Thud was frantic and miserable and ended up crouched, tail tucked, trying to run away, just petrified looking even with all the conditioning in the world (he _hated_ that thing) the second it was buckled closed. Added to his problem being sudden lunging not generally being bad with leash walking, we left it behind quickly - was afraid for his neck.

Molly tolerated it well/didn't freak out at it but like you described here she was pretty well shut down. It was suggested that it might 'calm' her and help her reactivity, and I guess it sort of did? But it went way further than I was willing to deal with. She wasn't just calm, she was placid and... well, robotic? It bugged me, and I didn't like the effect at all. She also came 'roaring' back to life (and reactivity) once it was off. I get a slight level of suppression in the Julius harness, but not to that degree. Just seems to make her more aware and thoughtful. Fortunately she walks well on leash about 98% of the time and, well, she's fairly small/easy to control if I have to. I don't think she'd do well with any other 'anti-pull' contraption, either.
 

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I think both the prong and gentle leader are great training tools. Some dogs hate the gentle leader more than others, but for the most part when I've suggested people use it, the dogs get used to it and are fine on it. Some dogs continue to hate it forever and for those dogs I would use something else.

I think a large part of the problem is that most people don't take the time to properly condition their dogs to the gentle leader. They just put it on and expect to go for a walk. Also they expect it to train their dogs for them, instead of using it like a temporary training tool.

When I used it with Obi, I only put it on for training sessions to start with, and as a result he got super excited and super focused every time I put it on.

For dogs who can't wear the gentle leader, the prong is a good alternative. The problem is that most people don't like the look of it and don't *want* to use it, which is why I rarely suggest it. I've suggested it a handful of times when the dog in question is very large, strong, and difficult to control for whatever reason.

I went through a short phase when I used a prong on Obi, and I still regret it. Obi is too soft to wear a prong collar, even when it's only used for R- and paired with loads of praise and treats for correct behaviour.

It all depends on the dog. There is no training tool that is universally more efficient or "better" than another. If I can get away with not using anything other than a harness or flat collar, I will, which is the majority of dogs so far. The prong and GL are used to gain better control of the dog while it's in training, so I usually only suggest it for the larger dogs.
 

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I think a large part of the problem is that most people don't take the time to properly condition their dogs to the gentle leader. They just put it on and expect to go for a walk. Also they expect it to train their dogs for them, instead of using it like a temporary training tool.
This is how I feel about both gentle leaders AND prong collars. They are GREAT tools when used properly along with training to eventually phase them out, but they aren't a magic fix-all. I prefer front-clip harnesses if I'm gonna be using anything that's not a flat collar. And I've DEFINITELY noticed a behavioral difference between putting a head halter on and taking it off. It makes me uneasy, but I get why people like them.
 

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I am not a fan of the Easy Walk harness at all. I don't mind other front lead harnesses but I dislike the Easy Walk. It also didn't work at all for Magic, it was a joke to her, she just pulled sideways. At 37lbs that dog can pull me down the street with a front clip harness on (even the Easy Walk which also restricts the movement of her shoulders). I do think a front clip harness is safer to recommend in general, it is harder to mess up using and safe on a puppy for early training. If you start training early you can avoid needing to retrain later. So I do get it.

As far as prong vs Gentle Leader, I have to say it really depends on the dog. First I am not a fan of the actual Gentle Leader brand product. I have one and have not been able to put it on a single dog that did not hate it even after many hours of acclimation training. The halter style device will not work for all dogs, either it is just so aversive that they are miserable/shut down or it doesn't fit them (snub nosed dogs can't wear them). Remus shut down completely in a halter, it did mostly prevent his insane lunging and attempting to eat small animals/kill other dogs but it also prevented any type of training so it was simply a management tool and while it might have looked nicer than a prong, every moment he was wearing it was torture. I tried the GL on Lad, again, he hates it. Not like I put it on him and just expect him to wear it, I spent hours (20+) acclimating him and he still won't wear it without smashing his face against me, gator rolling on the ground, rubbing his face against whatever he can get close to, as long as it is on. Clearly it is aversive. It also doesn't work particularly well. After trying a couple of other brands I am trying the Sporn halter but I have only used it for one walk so far so I can't say it actually works or isn't aversive in long term use (as in when we are out in public vs a short walk at the park). Meanwhile Magic (the Beast as we call her, who thinks front clip harnesses are a funny joke) wears a prong, she could not wear a halter she is both short snouted and has had cherry eye surgery. She is not at all bothered by the prong. I put it on, we take a nice walk where she nicely walks by my side and wags her tail. She no longer drags me down the street or tries to rip my arm out of socket. She doesn't act like I am trying to kill her, doesn't sulk or hang her head. The prong works well for her.
 

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I sometimes teach Therapy Dog classes and one of the things that always surprises me is how different the dogs are when the haltis/gentle leaders come off. Because most of my students are going to end up testing with TDI, they must be on a flat collar.

The dogs will be nearly perfect in their headgear. Nearly sedate. And then when the gear comes off, the dogs are super animated. Leaves me with the impression that for many dogs, the haltis/GLs suppress behavior in general. I have always been puzzled by that. It seems (from my limited experience) that the dogs coming out of prong collars are less likely to get wild than the dogs coming out of the halti/GLs.

My experience with this is limited, but I always found it very interesting. Without a doubt, a Halti/GL will give a handler a whole lot of control. Probably much more control than one would achieve in a prong.
Part of it is probably conditioning (dog learns to behave extra well with the halti on because it doesn't have any other choice), but I have also heard that properly fitted haltis and gentle leaders also tend to lay over top of specific pressure points that help calm the dog, e.g., behind the ears. I do not know how much merit that claim actually has, but in my experience, quite a few dogs respond to being rubbed gently/massaged behind the ears by calming down. (But that could totally just be observation bias on my part, and there may be just as many or more dogs who don't).
 

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When my dog was having trouble with reactivity he was always much more comfortable in his halti. And definitely not shut down!
 
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