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Back to the gentle leader...

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 26, '05 7:59am PST 
Sabrina's been using the easy-walk harness (front leash attachment) for a few months now and it's been great. But yesterday we went shopping and I guess that the combination of being to stores she had never been to before, the big crowds (many of whom made kissy noises and tried to call her over), and not having really done any exercise at all on Thanksgiving were too much. Oh, and also the store we were in was World Market and the smells of all the candy and coffee were apparently very inviting. Luckily I always carry the gentle leader with me just in case, and I actually had to use it. Of course then she calmed down and was back to normal and we were able to go to like 5 more stores and lunch just fine wearing the gentle leader.

Anyone else have little setbacks like this in their training? I had almost stopped carrying the gentle leader with me because she was so good on the easy walk harness. On the one hand I feel really bad about myself because I thought she was OK on the easy walk. But I know it's not my fault, that she just was probably too stimulated for the easy walk. Anyway, I'm very glad I had the gentle leader with me... I'll probably always carry it with us for the rest of my life now!

(oh, and in case anyone thinks she was causing a ruckus, she wasn't. She was just sniffing the air too much and looking around at other people and pulling a little. Probably nothing the general public would notice, but another SD handler would and also it was very annoying to me)
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SHADOW - RIP 14 June- 2014

BORN TO SERVE
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 26, '05 1:36pm PST 
Sabrina... Where Shadow goes for school it's a must for all service dogs in training and the certified ones to wear the gentle leader or the thing you use. One of the newbies is using your system and we've noticed a lot of problems on having control in tough situations. She was told to switch to the gentle leader and she won't... Shadow knows the difference between the gentle leader and his regular collar.. Regular means he's off duty from outside work, but on duty for inside the home. The Gentle leader means he's working outside the home. I love the Gentle leader.. Shadow does too.. We use it as part of his service dog gear. So many people think that the Gentle leader can only be used for training purposes only and then go to something else when you're done. I've seen many Service Dogs in our area who are completely trained and use the gentle leader as part of their gear. It's not for punishment, but a great tool for working out in the field. I've owed horses in the past and the gentle leader is the same as the halter or bridle that a horse uses. It applys the same pressure and is used for the same purpose - to lead with a gentle touch.. The way I look at it... A horse is completely trained for the halter and bridle.... Do you get rid of them? No.. You can't lead a horse or ride them with just a rope around their neck. The need the gentle lead to feel the hands of the handler on where they're suppose to go...
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 26, '05 3:08pm PST 
Yeah, I don't really have a problem using the gentle leader full time... I guess for me since Sabrina is half pit I get lots more "muzzle" comments which really bothers me. And I know that Sabrina's not wonderfully fond of it even though she wore it for like 2 years straight.

Honestly I wouldn't have trained her as an SD using on the easy walk harness. That's really quite surprizing that the person in your class is trying to. The easy walk does give you more control than a regualr collar, but not as much as a gentle leader for sure! And in distracting situations you need that extra bit of control. Sabrina never would have made it without her GL! I wonder if you could mention my troubles with the easy walk to this person and see if they will consider going to the GL? I guess from the fact that I always carry it with me even when using the easy walk, you can surmise that I don't fully trust the control the easy walk gives (for SD type situations, for every day doggie situations I'm sure it would be fine).

I, too, use the regular collar for not working and either gentle leader or easy walk for working. Up until yesterday it was working like a charm (the easy walk)...I guess we'll see how it goes from here.

I was actually thinking of trying a halti because I've heard that for dogs with wide faces the halti is more comfy. That would be nice for her to be more comfortable with it, but I'll have to try it on her and see what she thinks.
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SHADOW - RIP 14 June- 2014

BORN TO SERVE
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 26, '05 4:08pm PST 
This lady in the class that uses the harness won't budge on anything. She's been told that Stay and Wait are two differant commands.. She uses Wait for Stay and I'll be right back for Wait. Heck, Shadow had differant command names that I came up with, but for the school I've been retraining him on all the new words.. Guess what... He understands them. Another student uses the halti and does quite well with it. The last one of the sudents was using the GL, but was keeping it very tight. Her dog is a very, happy, hype golden pup who just needs more advance training. They put a harness on her because the lady uses her dog for balance.. Since the harness went on she's not relying on the GL anymore.. It was nice to see her working that way. Shadow is now in the "take" command training. He won't take anything from me and they told me that some dogs it takes a year to master the "take", "give", etc.. Shadow's mouth is like a boxer where his lower jaw is longer then the top. He'll probably learn to pick up anything except for money or credit cards because of his jaw shape. They just told me to keep trying... and praise him a lot when he touches the tube...
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Nolte (Retired Guide Dog)

Guide dog work- is a joyous- thing!
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 26, '05 6:07pm PST 
I always have the GL with me as it comes in very handy when Nolte is animal distracted, especially in places like Petsmart or Petco. I thought he was "Mr Perfect" until we trained in the Green in Morristown while in class, and there were squirrels running all over the paths. LOL. Wow did I find out quick that Nolte has an animal distraction issue. That GL was a God-send.

Guide dog schools are issuing the GL to all students now (for the last few years in fact) and it really is a great tool. Cuts down on sniffing, distraction, visiting with strangers, etc.

Sabrina's mom, it's not just because Sabrina is part pit that you get the "muzzle" comments. It happens to all of us at some point. I started using a GL on my last guide dog about five years ago on my own (the school hadn't started using them yet) and I would constantly get comments about my dog being muzzled. Still do with Nolte. People just haven't a clue. LOL.

The other good thing about the GL is that people in cabs and such CAN request that we muzzle our dogs. The GL is a very good guise for a muzzle in those situations, as again, people just have no clue and do think it's a muzzle. Long before GLs were used, guide dog schools issued students "fake" muzzles that were basically a strap of leather or nylon in a figure eight that went around the snoot and snapped behind the head, much like the GL. These were issued for specifically the reason that we can in fact be requested to muzzle our dogs, even though they're SD.

Karen Ann
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 27, '05 7:04am PST 
Nolte, thanks for that! It makes me feel a lot better. But I do have a question... Since you're a guide dog you wear the guide dog harness, right? So how do you use the gentle leader, too? Is it attached to the harness or do you have a separate leash for the gentle leader or what?

I also had no idea we could be asked to muzzle in a cab! Luckily I don't take cabs (I have issues with riding in cars, even of people I know) so it won't be a problem, but it's a good thing to know!

Also, I kind of realized that other pups get the "muzzle" comment but I guess since pits are all getting banned and everything maybe I'm over sensitive. Another thing is that it seems if you have the fawn colored gentle leader it would blend in with Nolte's coat and so be less obvious. The one that blended in the best with Sabrina's coat is the fawn colored one (believe it or not), but it still is very visible. Perhaps I should get a purple one to match her vest and then no one would think it's a muzzle? Nah, they probably still would.

Shadow, Sabrina had a hard time with "take", too. I had to teach take in order to teach her to pick up my medicine case and give it to me. The way I did it was to work on taking food, then a really exciting toy, then a less exciting toy, then a toy she doesn't really care about, and finally to my medicine case. It's not a command I use very often with her so she would probably need a quick refresher on it, but I'm pretty sure she would take whatever it is that I pointed it (of course, having the refresher first). I took that training idea from teaching "catch"... which we are still on the catching small treats and occasionally an exciting toy stage. But that's not a very important command, I know!
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 27, '05 4:46pm PST 
Well I'm feeling much much better about everything now.

I was getting ready to go out with Sabrina and couldn't decide if I should use the easy-walk or the gentle leader. So I put one in either hand and told her to choose. She chose the gentle leader three times in a row, even when I switched the hands I was holding them in.

I guess maybe she prefers the gentle leader to the easy-walk after all. I'd never even considered that a possibility!

I feel like such a worrywart now... oh well, guess that's the nature of me.
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Nolte (Retired Guide Dog)

Guide dog work- is a joyous- thing!
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 27, '05 6:04pm PST 
Yes, I do use the light colored GL for Nolte and it blends in fairly well, but I still get the muzzle comments. LOL.

With guide dogs, the GL is used in combination with the training collar, and the GL is never used for correction. Our leashes are designed to be used in two positions... short loop (working leash) and long lead (play leash). The leash has a series of snaps that enable us to switch it from the long lead to the short lead.

When we use a GL, one end of the leash is attached to the GL ring under the chin, and the other end is attached to the training collar (choke collar). The harness is the mode of communication between dog and person... holding the handle (which is rigid steel covered in leather) allows us to feel the dog's movements thru the harness. But the harness is not used as correction, the leash and collar are.

When working Nolte I have my hand on the handle of the harness, and the leash (in the short style) looped around my wrist. this way if he makes a mistake I can drop the handle and have the leash in my hand to give a correction. He rarely needs leash correction, though. He responds so well to verbal.

If I'm using the GL, the leash is held in the same way, only one end is attached to the GL, the other to the collar. If he gets distracted by other animals, I simply use my other hand to give him a little nudge away from the distraction with the GL. He's so in tune to the GL now that I don't even need to have the leash attached to it... just having it on his muzzle lets him know he needs to behave.

I've added a couple pix to Nolte's page that show the leash in it's normal work style (attached to his collar) and also with his GL on. Hope you can get a good visual idea of how it works.

We've always been told that corrections should never be done using the GL, as a quick snap on the lead could cause problems with the dog's neck or hurt the muzzle. It's only used as a gentle reminder (which is why it's called a Gentle Leader). Even the literature that comes with the product advises that it not be used as the main means of controlling a dog... one end of the leash should be on the collar, for corrections, and the other end on the GL for control of the head.

Karen Ann
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 27, '05 9:07pm PST 
Ahhh, I see. How cool! I never really had any idea that guide dog handlers used anything other than just the harness with their dogs. Nolte surely is a cutie and he looks so eager in those pics!

It's hard for me to get good pics of Sabrina in her vest because she's trained to stay right by my side when she has the vest on (even when I tell her not to) so I put her in a stay and then keep saying "good stay" over and over while trying to snap a picture before she comes back to a heel position. Guess she's a little too trained for pictures, but that's OK!
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Mocha Bear- (Mokie),- VGG, KPA,

CEO of Rewarding- Behaviors Dog- Training
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 28, '05 6:21am PST 
Mocha has a gentle leader, and she always looks so downtrodden when we put it on her. We have a hard time, because the fit needs to be very precise, and with her long hair surrounding her head and neck, its very difficult to get it on her, fit well, without pulling her fur or getting it caught in the clasp. Anyone else have a dog with a similar problem? Any advice for 1) a GL on a longer haired dog and 2) making a dog that seems so broken up every time you put it on her more comfortable? She has recently grown out of her small one, so it is time for a step up in size for her, I think.

Also, whenever I walk Mocha with the GL on, we inevitably run into individuals who think its cruel, that she can't breathe, that its just like a muzzle...how do you deal with this when you encounter a similar situation?

As always, any advice would be appreciated...
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