So, what are the options available to pet parents with a dog that is reactive on leash? A head collar is just one of them. But you need to use head collars cautiously.
Also known as a gentle leader, this tool needs to be introduced with a lot of care and patience so that Fido does not become fearful.
How To Use Head Collars/Gentle Leaders
It’s only fair for me to start off by saying that I have not yet met a dog that likes being fitted with one. My experience is that at the outset, dogs will usually show some degree of resistance. However, that uncertainty is soon short-lived because of the overwhelming desire to go walkies!
The loop fits over the snout and two straps snap together on the back of the neck. It needs to fit snugly but never too tight. A dog still needs to be able to open its mouth sufficiently to allow for panting. The ring for connecting the leash is located on the short strap that hangs down the center of the dog’s chest.
Watch Out For Rolling Antics
A lot of dogs act out on the walk and will roll around on the ground trying to get the head collar off. As an extra precaution, I will also use a regular collar and leash just in case that happens.
One of my dog clients is a GoldenDoodle, very sweet, very playful and very comical. He loves to roll on grass and he can run like the wind. So, here is an instance where I prefer to pre-empt an unfortunate situation and use both restraints simultaneously.
Gentle Correction With The Gentle Leader
A dog’s nose is a very sensitive area so any correction must be done cautiously. Pulling hard on the leash and jerking must be avoided at all costs to prevent injury.
To Sum Up
As I said at the outset, be careful when using head collars (gentle leaders). They only work well if both the walker and the one at the end of the leash are in harmony. Give it a try. It’s well worth the effort!
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!