View Full Version : Gentle Leader Harness?

16th December 2006, 06:43 PM
Lucky is trying to pull ahead when we are walking him. Even with the Puppia. They recommended a Gentle Leader Harness in our puppy classes.

This looked very gentle to the neck and I was thinking of trying it for a while until he can get used to walking nicely. When he's trying to pull ahead I get worried about him in the puppia that he is still putting strain on his neck. He wants to walk, he just forges ahead. We were thinking of having him se the Gentle Leader Harness until he become better at walking nicely.

Anyway, does anyone have any experience with the Gentle Leader Harness? and if you do, what Size does your Cavy wear? Lucky right now is 15.5 lbs, and will be 6 months in just a couple of days.

Thanks!!! :flwr: :flwr:

16th December 2006, 07:06 PM
Is this the head harness or the one that clips to the chest (easy-walk)? The head harness often doesn;t work well with cavaliers because of their short muzzles. The chest harnesses work very well. I use the Sense-ible harness sometimes.


There are a couple of other brands as well.

16th December 2006, 07:32 PM
Gentle Leader makes two training products to help teach good leash walking skills.
I use both. The collar works like magic on my big dog (85#) but isn't a good choice for shorter nosed dogs. I use the harness on my two cavs and have had excellent results. It's important to not only get the correct size, but to have all of the adjustments set properly. Actually, that's one thing I don't like about the harness: too many buckles and settings. Once it's set properly, you only have to use one buckle to put the harness on and off.

I like how it doesn't apply any pressure to the throat, but uses a tug at the chest instead. I've had good results when using it, but hope to train them to have good leash manners when using a regular leash/collar also. We'll see 'bout that. I think both of mine are size small and allow plenty of room to grow. Cappy's 9 mos. and 14# and Abby's 16 mos. and 15#.

16th December 2006, 08:25 PM
Our lab came to us a 6mths after having spent the first 5 with a senior who couldnt control her. then breeder kept her 1 mth to housetrain and let her spend time with her mom before she re-sold her.

when i started obedience classes she was 7mths she was a gentle dog but was still prone to getting totally out of control (she would just start running around like mad and with a pint size 4 yr old it was tempting diaster. It was suggested to use a halti at obedience class. Even though it was very very loose, it put her into a submissive state - which in our case cause of her early bad start in life worked well on a as need basis. You cant have a giant lab running and jumping on 4 yr olds! Saying no is a little too late...

The theory behind it is its like the mother pushing down on the pets snout - hense the submission reaction. Knowing how it worked, I would question it being used on a small dog after seeing the effect on a large. That is a question for a breeder or trainer that works with cavs, not me.

The gentle lead is developed by the same manufacturer and is newer. I saw it this wk and cant figure out how it would work any different than a regular harness?

16th December 2006, 09:02 PM
Both head and front-clip harnesses work on the same basis -- the dog has nothing to pull against. It is the same conceptas a halter orbridle on a horse, another animal that likes to pull against a restraint, which is convenient for pulling carriages and ploughs!

A dog that tries to pull against a head or front clip harness simply turns itself around so that it is facing you -- definitely not what it intends to do when it is trying to pull you along and forge ahead. They try a couple of times, look baffled when there's nothing to pull against, then just walk normally.

Walking on a collar is not recommended for cavaliers by some neurologists and vets because of the chance of the pressure at the neck contributing to or starting the development of syrinxes and hence syringomyelia. Many vets feel small breeds like cavaliers should not be walked on collars anyway because of the risk of damaging the trachea. A collapsed trachea is a potentially fatal condition. Older, small breed dogs that are overweight are more prone to tracheal collapse and cough due to pulling against a collar.

There's absolutely no reason except tradition not to use a harness or front-clip harness or head harness all the time. It isn't 'better' to have a dog that will walk on a collar as opposed to a harness though some trainers think it is (and have absolutely no reason as to why -- we don't expect a horse to have to learn to respond to control only by heel taps). Indeed one of the best ways to train a dog to heel is to train it off lead and it is often far easier for the dog to learn this way -- is a safe indoor location of course. :)

16th December 2006, 10:21 PM
We used the gentle leader harness for our Casey who thought he was a sled dog and we were the sled.

Sorry I don't know how to do tiny url:
http://www.doggy-gifts.com/And_More/Gentle_Leader_Easy_Walk_Harness_2;jsessionid=ac112 b791f43e08b21c7f5cf43f2b941b32944cc69d1.e3eTaxeKbh 0Te3yQbNyQbN4Pa41ynknvrkLOlQzNp65In0

We got Casey a medium but he is big...the large puppia harness is too small for him. The girth sizes are on the website and should help with size.

There is a D ring in the front of the harness. When the dog pulls, it turns him back towards you. Within days, Casey stopped pulling entirely. Hope that helps.

16th December 2006, 10:30 PM
VERY helpful!! Thanks everyone!!

I didn't realize that they made to Gentle Leader Harnesses, but it is the Easy Walker I am thinking of getting.

I am concerned that with lucking forging ahead, even the Puppia is putting undue pressure on his neck and I don't want him hurting himself. The trainer recommened this harness and I thought it was worth giving it a try.

Molly and Karlin your testimonials are particularly useful - it sounds like just what I need to get through this period and train him to be a more polite walker. :dogwlk:

I'm going to try to order one online to get a decent sale price (they are pricey at PetSmart but much better at JB wholesale for example ...). I'll check the measurements, but if anyone has a 16 lbs Cavy and uses one, I'd love to know what size you use so I can verify I've got it right.

Thanks everyone!!

Cathy T
16th December 2006, 10:47 PM
I used the gentle leader head halti thingy with Jake when he was a pup. He didn't care for it at first and kept trying to rub it off. Eventually he got used to it. The problem I had was with the shorter nose it was difficult to keep it on him. I think he did help him learn to walk nicely. Now we just use our harnesses and both pups walk nicely (when I remind them to "walk nice") most of the time.

16th December 2006, 11:41 PM
....I'll check the measurements, but if anyone has a 16 lbs Cavy and uses one, I'd love to know what size you use so I can verify I've got it right.

i love the easy walker, i got it when zack was about 5 months old and he was about 14 pounds. I got the size small. He wears a medium in the Puppia harness. Zack is now 14 months old and weighed (a week or so ago) 16.8 pounds. A few days ago i got him a second Easy Walker, just to have an extra one and to have a different color. His first one was two tone black and gray. The new one is red. I don't know if i had the adjustments done right, he didn't look like the dog in the picture. But the harness worked fine. I never changed the adjustments, so although he's grown since i got the first one, he still wears a small. It fits perfectly. By the way, the company has a tech support number in case you want to call for assistance with the adjustments. But the woman in the pet store where i got the first one put it on him and adjusted it and i left it that way. I adjusted the new one and it was easy, i had to let out a couple of straps about half way.

zack was a sled dog too. when i was a kid my dad used to take us water skiing with his boat, and walking zack reminded me of being pulled on water skis. With the easy walker, he may still pull, but never very hard. As Karlin said, i don't think of it only as a training device. I love it as a harness, i like how it looks, i like that it doesn't stress out his neck at all, and i don't know any reason to change to something else, although i do take him out on his puppia for certain special occasions.

The other day, his first Easy Walker accidentally got peed on icon_whistling--hence, our walk down to the pet store to get a second Easy Walker since the first one was drying after being washed. i used the Puppia to walk down there. I thought he actually heeled better on the Puppia than on the Easy Walker, he was leaving more slack in the leash.

the thing that i consider most negative about the Easy walker is that instead of going over their head, you put their front feet through it, and for me, it's always been kind of counter-intuitive. but it's not a big thing to me. i really liked the effect it had on the pulling. i dont' think it trained him not to pull though. His trainer trained him not to pull. but he will pull with the easy walker sometimes if i let him. He just can't pull very hard.

17th December 2006, 01:19 AM
I use the Gentle Leader Easy Walker as a training aid to teach my dogs to walk with a loose lead, but I want them to walk on lead appropriately even when they're not wearing a training harness.

If anyone is training for AKC Canine Good Citizenship, or Therapy Dog International, or Delta Society certification (to be pet therapy dogs), your dog cannot test wearing any type of training collar or harness. That's why I'm only using the Gentle Leader for teaching my dogs how I expect them to walk on leash all the time, regardless of what type of harness or collar they may be wearing.

17th December 2006, 01:37 AM
i didn't even realize it was considered a training harness. I thought it was just one kind of harness you could choose.

Does a dog have to be wearing a collar for those tests, rather than a harness?

17th December 2006, 02:43 AM
From the ACK CGC testing info site:
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars. I assume that a non-training harness, such as a Puppia, would be permitted, but I am not sure. I'll ask my trainer on Monday.

17th December 2006, 07:14 AM
Here is a link (I havent ever ordered personally from them) that shows a harness very much like a puppia (soft mesh) but is also a gentle lead non-pull type (oh and the picture is a Cavalier too!). Also look at the side links to see the halti head and harness variety.

Cathy T
17th December 2006, 05:00 PM
Both pups had on their puppias harnesses for their CGC testing. Not an issue.

17th December 2006, 06:38 PM
Good! I plan on going for CGC and knew they couldn't wear any training equipment, but when I went to the site and it said that only regular collars were permitted, well, I didn't know what to think. *relief*

Darby's Mom
17th December 2006, 07:15 PM
I think it depends on your CGC evaluator. When Darby took (& passed! :D ) her CGC exam, I was not allowed to use her Puppia harness. I had to attach the leash to her regular collar. (she could still WEAR the harness, but I couldn't use it to attach the leash).

I don't see why we couldn't use the Puppia, as it is certainly not a training harness.... oh well! Fortunately, Darby did just great regardless! However, I would be certain to touch base with your evaluator to see if you can actually USE the harness. The test is stressful enough without being caught off-guard with something like that. :flwr:

26th December 2006, 05:25 AM
I had to reopen this thread to let everyone know that Lucky got a new blue Easy Walk Harness last weekend and OMG!!!! What a difference!!
I walked him today in a Puppia again for the first time in a week (Christmas Puppias!!!) and right away he started forging ahead again - so I think he needs a little more time on the Easy Walk (and perhaps to get through his stubborn adolescence...) before we go back to the Puppias as his full time walking harness ...

That said, we really need to work on this walking nicely because he has some very cool new Puppias ... his brown Houndstooth and a lovely yellow one from Molly that will be wonderful in the spring when the daffidils are blooming ... :flwr: