Gentle Leader Headcollar

Gentle Leader Headcollar
Gentle Leader Headcollar

Do you have a dog that simply refuses to walk calmly on a leash? Have you tried choke collars, spiked collars, harnesses,and just dealing with it? Before giving up on properly leash training your dog, consider giving the Gentle Leader Headcollar a shot. Unlike pronged collars, the Gentle Leader Headcollar is humane and painless when used properly and highly effective, usually delivering results on the first day.


One of the most important steps to using this headcollar is proper fitting. The loop that fits over the muzzle should be between the corners of the mouth and the eyes. It should be tight enough that your dog cannot paw it off but loose enough that he can breathe and open his mouth freely. The neck strap should be high and tight enough that the headcollar doesn't move around and cause chafing. The instruction booklet and DVD say that one finger should barely be able to fit underneath a properly tightened neck strap, but this was too tight on my dog and restricted his breathing. When properly fitted the collar should be comfortable, so just adjust it until you're confident that it's on right. The leash clips onto the metal ring on the hanging end of the muzzle strap. Check for a proper fit each time you take your dog out and you'll be on your way!

How it Works

When walking, the leash should always be either slack or taut--never in between, and never try to pull your dog along on a taut leash. When taut, the headcollar tightens, causing the dog to stop and look at you. This tells him that he's not doing what you want him to do. Eventually, your dog will associate a taut leash and headcollar with "no" and slack with "yes." Trying to force and pull your dog along will only cause him to resist more due to the discomfort that will be caused, so never yank the leash or let it stay taut for more than a few seconds.

What to Expect

Remember when your dog was a puppy and wore a collar for the first time? Expect the same reaction he had then. Your dog will probably throw a fit, whine, roll around, and try his hardest to get this thing off his face. Be patient and look to the instructional DVD to help get your dog comfortable with his new headcollar. Once you get walking, the headcollar will work. Costing only about $20, the Gentle Leader Headcollar is a product I recommend for any problem pooch and his family.

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Comments 5 comments

esocial profile image

esocial 8 years ago from California

Ever see how the Dog Whisperer gets the dogs to walk kinda behind him, with their head lined up with his leg? Think a head halter can help accomplish this?

Nion Kokesu profile image

Nion Kokesu 8 years ago Author

Ah; I've never really watched the Dog Whisperer but I know what you're talking about it. I don't know if you can achieve that with just the headcollar, but I think you can definitely work towards that with it, as the Gentle Leader forces the dog to stay beside you. A dog that isn't allowed to lead will be more likely to submit to being trained to walking the way you've mentioned.

Eggers 7 years ago

"Unlike pronged collars, the Gentle Leader Headcollar is humane and painless when used properly and highly effective, usually delivering results on the first day."

OK, that's grade A BS. Put a prong collar on your neck, thigh, or arm. Give it a sharp snap and release. Unless you have some sort of medical condition, you will not feel pain. Prong collars are not designed to deliver pain. The prongs create even pressure around the throat WITHOUT putting pressure on the trachea. This is obvious from the dog's reaction to one, which is almost invariably to quite the pulling nonsense and walk nicely without a peep or any other idication of pain.

Gentle Leaders can be VERY dangerous. I've seen and heard dogs FLIPPED OVER while wearing a head halter. That is cruel and dangerous. I can only imagine the state of the poor dog's neck after such an incindent. Gentle Leaders work by leverage, giving the owner much greater force. Force, you ask? But but but they're POSITIVE tools, aren't they? No. They rely on giving them owner enough leverage to physically force the dog into compliance. Vile.

Think, think, think before you buy something just because the name has "Gentle" in it, and it doesn't look scary like a prong collar! And ask yourself if you're willing to spend 14 hours a day getting your dog used to the GL, as the manufacturer recommends. Your dog WILL hate it initially. No doubt. Your dog will probably not show any change in attitude when being fitted with a prong collar, however.

As a former GL user who now swears by prong collars, I will never go back, and I will never subject another dog to the not-so-Gentle Leader.

Nion Kokesu profile image

Nion Kokesu 7 years ago Author

Eggers--I definitely appreciate your comment for providing an example of a negative experience with the GL, as we can only speak from our own experiences. I, personally, have never seen or experienced a dog injuring him or herself with the Gentle Leader or similar headcollars, and I feel it is important to note that anyone who uses /any/ device incorrectly has the potential to cause harm to their pet. Not every tool will work for every dog--this one included--which is why it is important to explore all options.

In my experience the gentle leader did deliver results the first day--my dog didn't like it at first (he doesn't like ANYthing that slows him down, for that matter), but he never injured himself. I didn't buy this product because it had the word "gentle" in the title, but because I have known of dogs to pull against prong collars and other devices more than I had this one.

If prong collars are what work for you and your dog that is wonderful. I condone people using whatever works best for them and their pet, so long as it is used properly and not causing pain. The Gentle Leader works for me, hence my positive review. If it does not work for somebody else, then they should absolutely seek another tool.

Lab Lover 6 years ago

I had successfully used a prong collar on my last dog--a very large and willful lab who had become bossy and impossible to handle on a leash at about 8 months of age. A trainer suggested a prong and it transformed our dog/handler relationship...he became a Canine Good Citizen and lifelong sweet and well mannered companion of 14 years. Even non "dog people" loved his ways. Why, then, did I hesitate to use it again on my new, exuberant lab pup? I thought it would be less intrusive and more humane to use the Gentle Leader.

What a mistake. Although I gained some control the first time I got it on him, this contraption turned my 9 month old happy ball of energy into a neurotic dog who reacted negatively to any/all collars, his leash, and his long line. I tried "training" him to the collar with treats, including peanut butter, cheese, chicken, and even hotdogs and he ran and cowered at the sight of the GL.

I bought a prong collar today as he has become unmanageable on lead and I needed an effective training tool. Although it was a challenge to get it on him (due to GL-induced collar phobia), we took it slowly. His response once I got it on was calm. When not on lead, he bounded and explored with his regular happiness. When I attached the lead for training, his reaction was along the lines of, "oh, okay...if you say so." Just matter of fact, immediately positive. No pain. No adverse reaction. No cowering. Just hanging out.

He does not seem to notice it in the same way he was aware of the GL, and the training value in terms of providing instruction and feedback is beyond comparison.

I HATED my dog's experience with teh GL and regret ever putting my dog through it. I feel it set us back in his training and our relationship. I'm glad to be back on track with my pup.

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