Gentle Leaders ‘R Us! (and Easy Walks, too!)

Goose and Bird
Proud to wear their Gentle Leaders

As someone who adopted the use of gentle leaders early in my dog parenthood, I was always so shocked when dog owners shut down the idea immediately. Throughout the years, I have used Gentle Leaders* for many reasons – for pulling, working with reactive dogs, etc. From my miniature pinschers to larger shelter dogs, I have always used them…and LOVED them! And, yes, when I see  a dog wearing one, I immediately like the owner (yikes! profiling!)

I am often sharing this great little video from Jean Donaldson’s of her desensitizing her dog, Buffy, to one.

I share the moleskin tip. I talk about the “deluxe” versions. I can talk for hours about the  Gentle Leader!

 

This year, a few people have told me that they are hesitant to have their pitties wear them. They don’t want people thinking their dog is not friendly.  They said people scream, “MUZZLE!” in their head when they see them. In my more than 10 years of using the Gentle Leader, a few people did think they were muzzles and I quickly said, “Nope, they can bite if they want to! It  just helps with pulling.”  And the stranger would say, “Oh!”  And, to me, that was it. No biggie. Because no one had thought my miniature pinschers or terriers were “dangerous dogs.”

A few months ago, I was walking two shelter dogs at separate times and both times people indicated that the big short-haired, muscle-y dogs were dangerous because of a head halter. I was not only shocked, but hurt. The poor pittie mix I was walking was doing no harm, just going about his business in SoHo, trying to get adopted. I knew how it felt.

So, at Bully Project classes this past weekend, when a fabulous, dedicated couple said they were not willing to try the Gentle Leader because of the stigma, I knew where they were coming from. We decided to try out an Easy Walk harness first for their tank of a dog who was a huge puller. And now, his momma is so happy…her shoulder is definitely hurting less this week!

Bully Project was lucky enough to have some nice people make donations right before our first Spring class! This allowed us to splurge on some incentives and goodies for the teams – and this included the Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses. I think we all are pushing these harnesses a lot…and it is working. Gone are the prongs and chokes! Here are some of our pretty pitties and their Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses:

Gertie is an old-timer when it comes to the Gentle Leader!

Bleu just got fitted with one! Her mom also used a Thundershirt to help reduce her stress while being in class. Bleu is doing great now!

Cofi loves her new Genlte Leader

Deebo is now wearing a brand new reflective Easy Walk harness.

Midnight sporting her Easy Walk!

Kiara waits patiently.

*although I am referring to the  Gentle Leader brand of head halter here in the blog, you can replace it with any other  dog head halter.