Who's Walking Whom?
A very wise board certified animal behaviorist once said to me, “Every labrador puppy should come out of the womb wearing a gentle leader.” What I’ve come to learn is that most breeds (and owners) could benefit from this playfully unorthodox way of thinking.
Gentle Leader 101:
1. IT’s NOT A MUZZLE. Anything your dog can do without a gentle leader (GL), your dog can do with one. Meaning, he can eat, drink, catch a ball, chase a tail… you get the picture.
2. A GL is a head collar for your dog. In short its a horse halter, doggie style.
3. Consistent with positive reinforcement training techniques, the GL offers a “gentle” approach to gain complete control of potentially rambunctious 4 legged friends. Provided that the head collar is fitted properly (which can be a little tricky) and proper usage techniques are being practiced, the collar can offer immediate relief to frustrated owners of pullers, squirrel chasers, collar escapees, and other dogs that seem to have a mind of their own!
4. As a training tool that promotes the human/animal bond, the GL plays a two-part role in the unique relationships that we share with our 4 legged family members. First role being that it almost immediately offers humans better control of their dogs, therefor allowing them to enjoy walks with their canine companions. Secondly, the dogs are never punished or encounter abrasive interactions from their humans, therefor making walks that much more exciting and rewarding for them.
5. Not only is the GL a great training tool, it is also great in giving owners who would otherwise be reluctant to walk their pets the confidence to enjoy walking them comfortably. The GL is great for individuals who suffer from joint ailments like knee or hip replacements, the elderly who are nervous about large dogs pulling them down, and children who may not otherwise have the strength to control an overly excitable puppy.
In short, I think the take home message here is that…. Gentle Leaders are AWESOME!!!
Read more about Gentle Leaders on the Premiere website. We carry this product in our hospital and are happy to help fit your dog’s Gentle Leader properly.
About the Contributor: Jen Krack is a Certified Animal Behavior Technologist earning her B.S. in Animal Behavior from Purdue University. She has been a part of the veterinary field for 10 years and is currently a technician at Daniel Island Animal Hospital.
Daniel Island Animal Hospital is a small animal veterinary clinic located in Charleston, SC on Daniel Island. They focus on general medicine and wellness including surgery, dentistry, radiology, and emergency care for dogs, cats, and small mammals. Teri Macklin, of Island Dog Cuts, provides grooming for dogs and cats in the facility. Their team is dedicated to personalized patient care and friendly client service.