The Gentle Leader

Apr 27 2011

The Gentle Leader


One of the top reasons clients call Tails Up Paws Down is
because they are simply unable to take their beloved pup on a
walk! We have all been there at one time or another or seen
someone that is being pulled down the street by Fido. Some dogs
canʼt wait to see the person coming towards them, some dogs go
bonkers if they see another dog and some dogs just want to RUN!
This takes the fun out of the walk not to mention wearing your back
out! This generally leads to going on walks being abandoned and
eliminates the dogs chance for exercise, potentially leading to much
bigger behavior problems.

This entire scenario can be eliminated by one product- the Gentle
Leader! I know, I hear many of you saying… “been there, tried that”!
Itʼs true many a pet owner have tried this product and have seen their dog
paw, pull at the despised device around their
nose. Well, can you blame them?

Here are some simple steps designed to make wearing the Gentle
Leader fun for the dog and get you and Fido back on those ever so
important walks!

1. Begin by getting the dog to accept the Gentle Leader around
their nose. This is done by holding the “loop” part that goes over
the dogs nose open and letting the buckles and the rest of the
Gentle leader hang. Open it far enough that your dog can stick
itʼs nose through the loop and have something really yummy like
canned cheese or peanut butter on a spatula on the other side so
that the dog puts itʼs nose through the loop! Itʼs important that the
dog puts itʼs own nose through the Gentle Leader as dogs
become more comfortable with things that THEY choose to do.
Once the dog will readily put their nose through just let the gentle
leader hang on their nose while you continue feeding. It is
important in the early stages that while the Gentle Leader is on
that the goodies keep coming! Once you take off the Gentle
Leader also remove the goodies.
2. Once the dog will readily put their nose through for the cheese go
ahead and buckle while continuing to feed the goodies! When
you get to this step only leave the Gentle Leader on for a few
moments and GRADUALLY increase the duration they wear it.
Keep the dog busy once it is readily accepting wearing it but
donʼt walk them just yet. If your dog likes to play ball take them

outside immediately and throw away! If they like belly rubs then
keep them coming! If your dog paws at the Gentle Leader use a
high pitched voice to get their attention, call them and give them
treats. Do whatever you have to do to keep the dog entertained
until they will wear the Gentle Leader for 20 to 30 minutes with
little to no fussing.
3. Now your ready to start on your first walk! Make sure to use a
very light leash.  A heavy leash will weigh down the Gentle Leader
and make your pup feel as though they are getting a correction.
Also be aware when a dog has a Gentle Leader on you will have
great control over the dog but anything above a light pull on the
leash from your end can be very uncomfortable to the dog so be
very careful to not pull on the leash. That is the point of the
Gentle Leader, to not have to force the dog in the direction you
want to go. Instead remember that wherever the dogs nose goes
their body will follow! So if Fido stops to smell the neighbors
garbage just keep walking, their nose will redirect back to you
before they get there and back on your walk you go!

If you have your dog used to the Gentle Leader and still have
trouble on walks call a positive trainer that has experience with the
Gentle Leader. If you have trouble finding a trainer please contact
Tails Up Paws Down as we would be happy to point you to a quality
trainer in your area!




Kevin knartzer,

Tails Up Paws Down  


5 Responses to The Gentle Leader

  1. Pat Estell May 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    When I began taking my puppy Golden Retriever for walks, I used a metal choker training collar. I didn’t understand that as soon as he responded, I needed to relax the leash and he just pulled harder.

    Upon recommendation, I tried the Gentle leader and learned to redirect my dog and then relax the leash. Because, while the extreme pulling stopped, my very large golden continued to seem uncomfortable with the Gentle Leader; I tried a Haltie and he did much better.

    Bottom line I learned better correction techniques and now he is fine with either tool. We now have great walks together. Both tools and learning to relax the leash when my dog responds, have improved the whole walk experience.

  2. Kevin Knartzer May 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Hey Pat!

    Great to hear from you! I personally do not use corrections in training dogs but you learned a little known fact about dogs in your learning process! Let me explain, by nature, ALL dogs (and mammals for that matter!) lean into pressure. This is why a horse pulls a cart without needing additional feedback once they are moving. As soon as the go forward they feel the pressure on their chest and just keep “leaning” into it.

    The same happens with dogs on collars- when they get out in front and feel the pressure of the tightness of the leash they simply have no choice but to lean into it and pull. Same things works with people, if someone came up and pushed you in the shoulder- would you just fall over? No you would instinctively lean into it to correct your balance.

    This is why I recommend Easy Walk Harness’s and Gentle Leaders. Until a dog is trained to walk beside you, walking on a collar just conditions them to pull AND they have NO choice! This is why I am not particularly fond of Prong Collars. The dog never learns to not lean into the collar, they just simply stop pulling once they feel the pain. They will inevitably forget at times about the pain that is caused, especially when they are excited, and lean into the collar over and over because their minds simply give them no other choice.

    I have told people for several years… dog collars are simply not a productive training tool because you simply can’t not have the dog “lean” into them. This is why the easy walk is such a nice product- by simply moving the attachment point of the leash from the back to the front your dog will not pull into pressure and instead when it “tightens” around their shoulders they simply believe they can’t walk! I would highly recommend giving one a try now that the walking training is going better!

    Finally- good for you for getting your pup out for those ever so important walks!


  3. amy May 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I’ve been using the gentle leader on my 2 terriors for walks for a few years now. I even tried to switch back to harnesses but they would pull on the harness with no control. I had to go back to the Gentle Leader which is so much better for me and for them!!!! I recomend putting the loop on the nose from behind them. My dogs tend to not like anything being brough to their face while I’m facing them, it’s too threatening and they will resist. If you put it on while you are behind them then they are much more accepting of this. One of my dogs will still scratch at it when we have been walking and he is panting but it’s still most helpful, as I will just stop and let him catch his breath since this is usually the problem. The only problem I’m having now is that I want to clean them and I don’t know if I should get news ones or if I can just soak them to clean them.

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