Does Your Golden Retriever Use The “Gentle Leader”?

When we go for walks, we either take Tucker in the car to the trails to run off leash or take him to the local school yard to run and catch the ball.  Sometimes the start of the walk is a little stressful, because he pulls, but after he has had his run, Tucker is the perfect gentleman on leash.

gentle l
Photo: Pawcurious

When I owned Malamutes, we always used the “Gentle Leader” which, I believe, we called “The Halti” at the time.  I always felt it looked like the dog was muzzled, and I am not alone in this.  It almost seems like you are accepting defeat, and in order to exercise your dog, you must do what you have to do.  I don’t condemn this.   I just don’t want to have to result to it.  I am fairly stubborn and assertive, (mixed with lots of love) and know how to stop dead in my tracks and change direction etc.  Tucker is a bit of a challenge.   He is very exuberant.  He wants to check out everything.  There is also the prong collar I still have hanging on my hook by the front door, but with Tucker’s extreme need to explore everything (he is still a baby) I would never bring myself to use it on him.   There is a time and place for prong collars, but this is not it.

So, In order to look like the perfect dog person in my neighborhood, (people must think we never walk our dog because we do it late at night or drive him to the trails) do I result to the Gentle Leader to mingle with the other folks?  Do I wait about 6 more months when I know he will be able to deal a little better?

What are your thoughts on such a beautiful, gentle and friendly breed using the gentle leader?

Here is a video of a golden puppy trying to get used to his Gentle Leader.  Is this torture?  Or not?  I think once they get used to putting it on, and know what the end result is, they will wear it with pride.  I still can’t bring myself to do it!

What do you think?

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15 thoughts on “Does Your Golden Retriever Use The “Gentle Leader”?

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  1. I used a Gentle Leader with my first Golden, Mollie. She walked very nicely when she was wearing it and it didn’t seem to bother her. When I put it on, she knew a walk was going to happen and she loved those walks. Without she never did outgrow pulling. With my second Golden, Buoy, she was six with I got her and she hardly needs a lead at all. In fact, she carries her own leader most of the time and she is very good at staying by my side. I see nothing wrong with the Gentle Leader. I know some people who very seldom walk their dog because the want him to do it their way. The Gentle Leader works on him as well, but they won’t use it.

  2. I use something similar to the Gentle Leader (can’t pull out the exact name at the moment) not because my Gideon particularly misbehaves but to give me the ability to control him on my own since my disability gives me limited dexterity and strength. Since it is usually a part of his “uniform” as my service dog I can tell you that there is a marked change in his behavior when he’s wearing it and when he’s not. When the head collar comes out he knows his time to be serious. He also wears a flat leather collar which we sometimes attached is leased to instead for short distance pulling of my manual wheelchair. I am in the process of getting him a proper pulling harness though do so as not constant strain on his neck.
    Rachel

  3. I used a gentle leader for a short time when Luca was young, I had several people ask me why he was wearing a muzzle? The reason I chose the gentle leader was more my shortcomings than Luca’s, he was my first dog so it took a while for me to learn how to walk properly on a leash, Luca soon had me doing it his way. 😀

  4. I use a Gentle Leader for the baby of the 3m’s. Mac and Maesie have no trouble walking with or without a normal lead. But Matilda, when she’s on a normal lead, if she sees another person, dog, bird, butterfly, bee, moth, ant 🙂 she becomes an acrobat.
    She actually launches herself, all four legs off the ground and can turn circles, or change direction at the blink of an eye. At 20 months she has already pulled both me and her Dad off our feet when walking her WITHOUT a Gentle Leader. I’ve just had a total knee replacement because of her antics. With the Gentle Leader, the difference is like night and day. No acrobatics, no high jumps, it’s so much easier on each of us, her especially. She’s a pleasure to walk.

  5. I actually thing the gentle leader is much less.. invasive than a collar. I use a prong collar with my Golden (my sister doesn’t) because he’s incredibly stubborn (and sadly I’m not a great authority) and – what’s even more of a problem – he finds it easy to slip his head out of any other type of collar which sometimes makes him run straight to the street. Nevertheless I still get a strange feeling when I walk him (no matter if it is a normal collar or prong collar) because I start to think… who on earth am I to drag a living creature by it’s neck? The halter somehow seems more ok, I don’t know one and I don’t think dogs are suffering when wearing it, for sure it takes some time to get used to (same thing with the muzzle, but sometimes it is necessary, although I almost never use it with my golden because he’s so happy and fluffy that even when riding the bus nobody minds that he dosen’t have one). And it doesn’t look weird if a dog as friendly as a Golden wears one because the halter really does seem.. gentle 🙂

    I sometimes get strange looks when I walk my dog with the prong collar, because everyone thinks Goldens are cute, lazy little angels and the use of prong collar is often missunderstood as punishment towards aggressive dogs, but I guess I just don’t care – I will do whatever I need to keep my dog safe.

  6. We’ve been lucky with both of our Goldens, in early walks, the prong collar was how they learned to heel. Our son’s dog (Heinz 57) is still a bit of a puppy and has to be in the lead when I walk Wrigley and him together, he has the prong collar now and doesn’t mind at all. Both of my dogs are perfect gentlemen when we approach/pass other dogs, humans, runners – anything. My other trick was somehow teaching them to do their business before we leave the house – so sniffage, while fun perhaps, does not intefere with forward momentum. (and no icky bags for an hour)

  7. My “co worker” 😀 is a Golden and doesn’t use a gentle leader however he does love to carry the leash in his mouth….my large dog at home does need a leader and works like a charm.
    Great post!

  8. I had never used a gentle leader with my other goldens, never even heard of it, and one day they went after a chicken and I was attached to them, The combined weight of 2 70 lb. goldens against my 4’10” 110 lbs was too much, They dragged me down the gravel road for at least 10 feet. And then stopped and came back to lick my face in sorrow. There was gravel embedded in my knees, cheeks, and palms.With my new baby, Kiko, I took her on 2 mile walks and she dragged me the whole time. It was so stressful for both of us! I brought her to dog training class. She was just about 45 lbs. at 6 months old, and full of fire and still able to drag me during lessons. They fitted her with the gentle leader and there was an instant change. I was able to walk her without being dragged, it was actually fun and pleasant! I bought it from them that day. It made our walks so much more enjoyable and who cares what other people think? I made the mistake of walking her on a 10 foot leash when she went after a chicken. She almost tore my arm out of my socket. Never again, I always carry the gentle leader with me now! Maybe when she mellows out at 6 years old or so, but for now, gentle leader it is!

  9. I have been training dogs now for 20 years. In my time of seeing the halti come into everyday practice I had to look into them. They are actually VERY dangerous if used improperly. I have ended up training 4 dogs with broken necks from someone putting a halti on their dog and when the dog does not stop pulling like expected the handler will pull the leash backwards and snap the top 2 vertebrae. I have found great use out of the halti as a secondary lead. I personally love the martingale collar for beginners and since I train everything from competition obedience to service dogs I have found that this type of collar is better. The halti is a great directional lead. Very gentle pressure can direct a dog to oh where you need them to go. But if your dog still pulls on a halti, DO NOT PULL BACK. Get a trainer to show you how the equipment works on a professional level.

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