How To Use A Gentle Leader Head Collar – Professional Dog Training Tips

– The Gentle Leader can be a really useful piece of equipment and I actually used one when I trained Degan
here over 10 years ago. Now today we are going to hang
out with instructor Steve. He’s one of the instructors, head instructors from McCann Dogs and we are going to try
putting a Gentle Leader and he’s going to show us how to put a Gentle Leader on this great, big Irish Wolfhound puppy named Sky. I’m Ken Steepe, welcome
back to McCann Dogs. (guitar chord) (dog barking) You might remember Steve
from such vlogs as… All right we are back. We’re just about to get ready to do our first show of the day. I’m here with instructor Steve. So today instructor
Steve is gonna talk to us about the Gentle Leader. – Now the Gentle Leader, guys, is one of our most popular training tools for some of, maybe our more excited dogs or some of our bigger, stronger dogs. It’s a great piece of equipment that relies on control without force. So the Gentle Leader is a very specific piece of training equipment and it’s one that we really like here. It is very different
from other head collars in how it’s fit. It is two different loops. One which goes around the back of the head which sits high on the dog’s neck right at the base of the skull. And the other one that
comes around the nose. Now, a couple of misconceptions. This is not a muzzle. It does not constrict any movement in the dog’s jaw at all. Dogs are free to open
and close their mouths as much as they need to. But it gives us that control from the point under the chin. Now one of the best
benefits of a Gentle Leader is that it can really help
calm some busier dogs down. Those younger dogs that maybe don’t have that full emotional control yet or even some of our bigger, stronger dogs that need a little help. Functionally, the way
the Gentle Leader works is the head collar sitting nice and high on the back of the skull
actually helps mimic how a mother dog would grip a puppy and takes advantage of
those pressure points to help calm those dogs down a little bit. And we’ve seen a lot of our students who all of a sudden,
the moment we put it on, see those dogs settle down and start to get a
little bit more success. They can build on that
success with their training. – I think it’s really important point and you actually saw use the
Gentle Leader with Beeline the first time that we
took her into the city. And it really had an incredible
calming effect on her. – Now a lot of people feel that once they’ve put a
Gentle Leader on their dog it’s a forever piece of equipment. It really isn’t. Like any other training tool, we use it to gain success with our dogs and once the dogs start to understand what it is we want them
to do, we can wean off it. And wean off it is the critical part because there is such a big difference with the Gentle Leader on versus not. It’s important that we take a few steps to show the dogs how to
come off that Gentle Leader and work towards working
with a flat collar. So with the Gentle Leader, the best way to start to
wean off that Gentle Leader is to go in stages. So when my dog is a little excited and I need that extra control, I would use it as it is, with the nose loop on,
head collar set high. But in a situation where my dog might be a little bit more calm we might be having a little more success in our training, I can take that nose loop and slide it right off the dog’s nose. With that slid off, I can take my leash, clip it back up here and my dog works now
in a nice, high collar. Still gives me a great
level of control versus maybe a looser fitting
regular flat collar. Now one of the hardest
things to figure out is how the heck to put this thing on. When you pick it up, it’s
a bit of a jumbled mess. Well, the easiest way to do that is to take the head collar and hold it like a capital T and from the center of that T, I push up the nose loop. So this is the first part that goes over the dog’s muzzle and then the head collar will wrap around and do up nice and tight. And I have my dog Sky
here to give this a try. Now, she’s never had one on so this is gonna be a good type of thing because it does take some
dogs some getting used to in terms of how this is gonna work. Sky, stand. Good girly. So, again, I hold it like a capital T. I push the nose loop up. And what I will do for her ’cause she’s never had one on, is I’m actually just gonna take a treat, I’m gonna put my hand
through that nose loop with the treat. Simply move this towards her nose. Say yes, and reward as
it touches her nose. And I’m going to take it away again. So we’re not forcing it
on her right off the bat. We’re getting used to it. Good girl, very good puppy dog. And she’s pretty compliant with this, so I’m going to continue from there. So again, I will take a treat. Put it on her nose, and
as she’s eating that I’m just gonna slide that nose loop over. While she’s chewing on that treat, I’ll bring that head
collar around the back and simply do up the buckle. Now in order to get the full function of the Gentle Leader, fit is critical. The head collar on the
Gentle Leader should be snug enough that I can simply get a finger or two underneath. That way, it will continue
to grip the base of the skull and help calm those dogs down. (upbeat music) That gives the dogs full range of motion with their mouths but
gives me great direction when I add pressure on the leash. Now, speaking of leash pressure. The other critical portion
to keep in mind with the Gentle Leader. It gives me great control of the nose but when my dog is being compliant and doing what I want them to, I need to make sure that
pressure comes right off and this nose loop and
the clip of your leash hang straight up and down. Now, I have the Gentle Leader on Sky. Again, she’s never had one on so this is a bit of adjustment for her. But you’ll notice that
because we’ve done it slowly and in a positive manner, she’s
quite comfortable with it. Good girl. Now, I talked about a minute ago, making sure that I can add
pressure when I need to. Hi girl, you stand and wait. But that I let this pressure off. And I’m just gonna walk
around with her a little bit and I want you to keep an
eye on the clip of my leash. As I turn and move, I
can add a little pressure to give her that direction. But when she’s moving with me, I can loosen that up. Make sure that there’s slack in that leash and then praise her for moving with me. Sky, let’s go, good girl. Yes, good girly. Let’s go, good puppy dog. Yes, good girly. Reward her for walking nicely with me. Let’s go. Good girl. Yes, there’s my girl! Good puppy dog. Hooray. Now, if I need her to turn
and add a little pressure. I can use the leash at that point. But then you’ll notice
the slack goes right back in that leash and that clip hangs straight up and down. Good girly, very good girl. So again, I’ve had some
success with Sky on this. And this might be a time I would look at transitioning off the Gentle Leader. So again, I will take the nose loop. Slide it right off her nose. Good girl. Slide it out and clip
it back up underneath into that nice, high collar. And now that we’re here, I can do a little bit more walking. Okay, Sky, let’s go. Yes, good girl. Good, let’s go, what a good puppy dog. Hooray. There’s my girl. Yes, good girly. What a good girl you are. Now we talk about Gentle
Leaders for busy dogs and some of our more excited dogs. But I’ll be honest,
Gentle Leaders are also extremely beneficial for
some of our bigger dogs. You know, this dog, if she wasn’t so conditioned
to working with me and we’d had so much fun training, it’d be pretty hard for
me to hang on to her if she wanted to go somewhere. So this gives me the control without having to use a lot of force. It’s very gentle on
them, it’s very calming and really helps give them
the direction that they need. So when it comes to Gentle Leaders, they are a tool that’s available to us. Our goal with you and your dog is to help you be as
successful as you can be and we want you to view these different pieces of equipment that way. – If this is your first time with us, make sure you hit that subscribe button. We publish new videos every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday to help you spend some
quality time with your dog. Beside me is a video that YouTube thinks you’ll wanna watch next. On that note, I’m Ken. – I’m Steve. – I’m Sky. – Happy training! (upbeat music)

50 thoughts on “How To Use A Gentle Leader Head Collar – Professional Dog Training Tips

  1. Thank you for this.  I just purchased one of these collars for a Weimaraner puppy who has no leash experience and her owner asked if I'd help out.  I bought the collar with the dog present at the store and the sales person did help me get a proper fit but did not go as in depth as you did with instruction.  So thank you, I am going to give it a try.  Love your dog, too….:)

  2. Thanks for the video! Would you recommend a gentle leader over the K9 Lifeline Transitional leash? Both seem to service the same purpose.

  3. One option for a dog that pulls severely on leash or has serious issues with leash reactivity is a head collar. It is important that you acclimate your dog to the head collar slowly, as many dogs are unsure of it at first.

  4. Thank you. Nice video. I will try this in my Great Dane. He is just turned 7 Months and walking became difficult as he pulls and gets zoomies sometimes. I'm 5'2" and 100lbs. He is Over 100lbs and taller than me when standing in his strands. So imagine me flying like a kite. ?

  5. Thank you for this, I have to give it a try for my husky shepherd mix. She looks more shepherd but that husky pull mode is very ingrained in her. And I LOVE your pup, Irish Wolfhounds are one of my favorite breeds! ❤

  6. Punk rock dude!!! You're so amazing at explaining everything… i appreciate you bc im dog sitting and had no idea how to get that darn thing to work. Now i got it!!!!!

  7. I just bought this for my mini pinscher mix because he's a nightmare to walk. I've tried all type of harnesses/colllars and he always escapes. Hopefully this will help him learn how to walk better lol.

  8. For anyone who is also looking to teach your dog To Walk On A Loose Leash Without Pulling, we have created a full training video HERE: Training! ~Ken

  9. Where did you get the gentle leader with the metal buckle? I use the gentle leader (plastic version) when working my dog in public. My dog is much bigger than I am, and I have CP, so I need the extra control offered by the gentle leader. The metal buckle would probably make it an even better piece of equipment.

  10. I just cut Chevy's little pinky & it bleeing real bad 🙁 I just put rice flour on it & a bit of bad for this first time. Would he be ok Ken? I'm so conern.

  11. Just got one last week for my American bulldog who has dragged me off my feet many times it got to the point where I couldn’t walk him myself always had to have my partner with me. Tonight we went for our first solo walk saw three dogs and absolutely no pulling. I am actually enjoying walking my dog again.

  12. I don't like them I see many with them on and too tight its not good deep mark left , lets think about putting them on humans.

  13. I actually use this and IT WORKS AMAZINGLY. It is not painful when used correctly. It gives you complete control on their head and once you have control of the head, you have control of the rest of the body. My dog was abused as a puppy by his breeder. So I think that has affected him a lot. He’s also triggered by anything. He’s triggered by dogs, bikes, scooters, cars, and people. But only dogs make him go crazy and bark and lunge. But with this he’s very calm (also because I’m more calm with the gentle leader, as I know I have more control) and he does not pull on a leash. Amazing product, I recommend it to anyone, as long as you understand that if they misbehave you apply pressure or to turn or stop. But as soon as that activity of turning or stopping is over, you MUST take off the pressure.

  14. Any advice for starting this on a 3 1/2 year old German Shepherd mix? He's over 100lbs and does everything we've taught him really well except for pulling on the leash when walking.

  15. THIS THING WORKS!! I've had one for quite some time that someone gave us. Just used it for the first time today as I was skeptical about whether it would work or not. I wish I would have used it when I first got it. I have a Lab-mix about 1 yr. old that we got from a rescue close to 4 months ago. She's awesome but pulls on walks and gets really excited when she sees other dogs. The "Gentle Leader" is awesome. She didn't pull and was much easier to control around other dogs. I couldn't believe I was walking the same dog!! I would have never believed it would work as well as it did.

  16. I see you have linked the Pet Safe gentle leader, but mine looks nothing like the one in this video. I really like the buckle system better than the clip– do you know where to buy the exact one like this in the video?


  17. Do you consider this to be a good tool for reactive or fearful dogs? My dog is scared of other dogs and does pretty well in our neighborhood but outside of her familiar environment all of her training seems to be forgotten.

  18. I read that a nosepiece that is close to the eye means the fit isn’t correct. Does this mean the nose loop should be snugger? It’s working great with our Brittany! We started classes where he seemed to ignore everything except the other dogs. Then the trainer suggested I try the gentle leader. He was able to do every single command without a problem. Day and night difference. Thanks.

  19. This video was so helpful. I had watched a couple others, but one of them rushed through what to do with the clip at the end. "Forming a T" was the biggest aid of all. I got it right the first time after watching this video. You helped save a dog sitter today! Thank you so much. 🙂

  20. I've got a very sweet but fearfull dog. Sometimes he transfers his fear into aggression towards humans (mostly males an elderdly people). Would this collar in combination with clicker training work? Maybe this collar would calm him down a bit and tell him to rely on me. And he maybe doesn't succeed anymore when he jumps up to people to scare them away.

  21. Mine I got from gentle leader (petsafe) and the drawstring like clip doesn’t secure, its broken ): and the strap is suuuper thin ):

  22. My dog keeps slipping out of the nose band and idk what else to do! He's extremely strong and family walks are becoming less and less fun with him pulling me all around

  23. This is not safe for bike riders to walk their dogs with, and cycling with a dog is illegal where I live anyway. My friend broke his hip yesterday trying to cycle with his dog while using a gentle leader.

  24. Use a prong/choke collar, more effective where you buckle the “gentle leader” this where most of the nerves are on a dog they get calm because they are in discomfort. Where you put a slip or prong collar is where there are barley any nerves. But you won’t change because you have been doing it for so long and your stubborn.

  25. Very good to hear from specialists how to use the gentle leader properly, but you have chosen a very calm dog as an example, which makes it too easy. It would be good to see how it works in a dog that actually pulls a lot and goes crazy when confronted with distractions… It's the case with my dog. I tried the first time yesterday with the gentle leader using the instructions from your video, which worked out really well. But when we met another dog, she went crazy and due to the gentle leader it looked like I had a wild horse on a leash. I didn't know exactly how to manage that. =/

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