|Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 8:57pm PST |
|I feel compelled to re-post since I'm the one that brought up the Gentle Leader. I don't want to sound like a salesperson for this thing. It's not like I think everyone and their dog should have it and use it. Just that it's really good for certain owners and situations and seems like it'd be tremendously helpful for you & Stella.
I was introduced to the GL while working in Dogtown at Best Friends Sanctuary in southern Utah. Don't know if you're familiar with the place, but it's the largest no-kill sanctuary in the country. The National Geographic show "Dogtown" is about it. Anyway, they have hundreds of dogs in their care there on any given day, and decades of experience.
Volunteers are a hugely important part of the work of Best Friends. They come from all over the country, every day of the year, and after a brief orientation, they get sent into animal areas to help with every aspect of the daily care routines. One of these, very importantly indeed, is exercising and walking the dogs.
The dogs that were on a Gentle Leader, were on it specifically BECAUSE it was safer for both the dogs and the people. Including the volunteers; many of whom were not very familiar or experienced with dogs at all!!! During my time there, I'm not aware of any injuries to either dogs or people that occurred while a dog was being walked with a GL.
I'm not saying it's impossible for a dog to get injured while being walked on a GL. Of course it's not impossible for a dog to get injured in a flat buckle collar, or any other device. My impression, though, is that the GL is quite safe generally. It's probably a lot less likely for a human to get injured while walking a dog on a GL - since they won't get pulled down, arm-yanked, or what have you. It's very easy on a GL for even a small, lightweight human to have control of a large, strong dog.
Incidentally, another reason that we used Gentle Leaders on some dogs at Best Friends is in the case of dogs who were dog-reactive or -aggressive, or who had extreme prey drive. There are some dogs who roam the property freely during the day as a matter of trust (one of their nicknames is "Trustees"), and there are also so many volunteers walking dogs all over the place. So in the case of dog-aggressive dogs, they couldn't lunge at other dogs if they were being walked on Gentle Leaders. It eliminates lunging and lurching and that sort of behavior.
About losing control of Stella while using the Gentle Leader; that would definitely not happen if you were using the collar correctly (which, like I've said, is not difficult). Just have a knowledgeable salesperson at the store show you exactly how to fit it and put it on her.
I am very careful, too, about trying new tools, and understand your reticence. I might suggest you make sure that the retailer will take back the product and refund your money if you feel uncomfortable after trying it. If they can't do that, maybe the manufacturer themselves (yes, Premier) has a good guarantee. (I don't know if they do...haven't looked into it.) This way you could try it for a few days and see if it is something that works well for you & Stella.
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