Gentle Leader Collar for Dogs: A Dog Training Alternative – The Gentle Leader Leash





Head or “harness” collars for dogs were new on the market and all the rage when I first started training dogs. Even though there are minor design differences and they are made by different companies, the Gentle Leader and the Halti are the two most well-known types of dog head collars and are frequently discussed interchangeably. I’ll focus on the Gentle Leader because I’ve used it a lot in my own life, though not all the time.

What exactly is it?

The Gentle Leader is a head harness with a nylon nose strap and neck strap, as opposed to traditional dog collars that go around the neck. A ring at the end of a short strap that extends under the chin secures the lead.

How does it work?

Both straps are designed to serve a specific purpose. The nose loop is intended to resemble the practice of two animals demonstrating pack dominance by taking a dog’s muzzle in their own. The neck strap is designed to relax and calm the dog by simulating a mother holding her pups by the back of the neck. The strap also puts pressure on the back of the neck rather than the front of the throat.

Dogs often respond to an applied force by exerting an opposing force, which is why a backward pull of the lead often results in more pulling! When pressure is put on the neck, the Gentle Leader is meant to turn this behavior around and stop the dog from moving forward.

Most importantly, the lead allows the owner to control the dog’s head, and if you control the head, you control the beast, much like a horse’s bridle.

How effective is it?

The Gentle Leader, in my experience, is extremely effective at correcting pulling, lunging, and jumping. I found it especially effective for dog owners who enjoy running with their dogs but need to keep them in line on crowded paths and trails. It can be used to make basic obedience commands like “sit” and “down” easier.

Even though the product description says the collar will stop the dog from barking too much (by pulling on the lead and closing the dog’s mouth), I found that the lead worked better in this way.

No panacea

You should keep an eye on your dog’s reaction as you would with any collar. There is no single device that will work for everyone. But, before you go out and buy a choke chain or a prong collar, think about a Gentle Leader.