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Starting Leash Training: Gentle Leader Anyone?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by KJorgey, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. KJorgey

    KJorgey Forums Novice

    Jul 22, 2011
    Katy, Texas
    My sheltie is 9 weeks old now and we have had her in the home for 2 weeks. She is doing awesome with scialization, bonding, clicker training (sit/down/look) and crate training. She clearly is very smart and trainable. I am home full time. I am ready to start leash training. We have used a simple loop leash to get her used to the idea, when we go out to potty. She's not fond of it, but tolerates it. I purchased "gentle leaders" in a size for puppies under 5 pounds and the next size up. I have read this is an ideal collar for shelties. We are not planning to show her. This is to be used for daily walks eventually and outings. Any thoughts, exprience or advice are appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. BarbV

    BarbV Forums Celebrity

    I know a number of folk on the forum use this collar.

    I would not start out with this. This is a collar designed for dogs that might have a pulling problem. You don't know this yet.

    I would recommend a martingale to start. Shelties have small heads, but thick necks, therefore, fitting a regular collar can be a challenge without them slipping their collar.

    That's why a martingale is ideal. It hangs loose around their neck when they are at rest, yet tightens just enough (without chocking) when they pull. They cannot slip their collar if its properly fitted.

    The other advantage is that because its loose, it does not matt the fur.

    Get th smallest width you can. When pup is full grown, you can consider investing into a rolled leather or kangaroo custom fit. But that's for later.

    Hope this helps!
  3. ClantyreSheltie

    ClantyreSheltie Forums Sage

    Feb 24, 2010
    When I see a gentle leader, I assume the owner is clueless and/or the dog is out of control. Sorry to anyone here who uses one, but that's what goes through my mind.

    They are a useful tool to retrain an adult dog who was never taught to behave in the first place. I don't think it's the appropriate tool to teach a puppy to walk on a leash. Return them, buy a nice martingale (whitepineoutfitters.com is where I get mine) and start from there.
  4. Lightplum

    Lightplum Forums Sage

    Jan 4, 2009
    Rhode Island
    when im working with my puppies in my yard they start with a clip collar..my yard is fenced so if they pitch a fit and slip out of it no biggie they are confined...when I bring them out in an un-secured area I use a harness on them for the first few weeks, usually till around 14 weeks old...than they are big enough for the martingale collars I have so I use those...usually by that point they are fairly good about walking on a leash with out pulling or trying to get out of it...
  5. dmeyer123

    dmeyer123 Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 18, 2011
    Eastvale, CA
    When Lexi was about 4 months old we were walking 3-4 miles everyday. I used a collar made by gentle lead to keep her from pulling. It was a harness type collar with a ring for the leash in the front...like in the middle of her chest. If she tried to pull it would cause her to turn toward me. It worked great and after we used it for a few months, she didn't need it any more. Pyper hasn't needed one, because she doesn't pull.
  6. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

    Aug 28, 2009
    I'm very curious as to who's saying that this is the "ideal collar for Shelties". Somehow, all of mine have gotten along fine without one. :razz:

    GLs are usually used as a "collar of last resort" for people who can't control their dogs. I've never met a Sheltie who needed one - much less a nine week old Sheltie. You can't do agility in a gentle leader. You can't go in the obedience ring with a gentle leader. I'm going to say I'm 98% certain that you will never, ever need such a thing.

    Just keep working gentle with her on leash-breaking, using a tight-fitted buckle collar or a properly-fitted martingale. She won't be fond of it at first (it's brand-new to her), but you'll be patient and kind and she'll get the hang of it before you know it.

    This is just me, but I'd throw those gentle leaders that you bought in the garbage... or try to return them for a refund.
  7. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I wanted to post here to say that I am a Gentle Leader user. I'm not offended by those who say that shelties don't need them, but I also challenge those people to come and try to take my dog Bentley for a walk. Yes, we got him when he was 7 months old, and he was already lunging/barking at bikes and other dogs at that time, so it's possible that the issue was irreparable from the moment we took him home.

    That being said, as a note to the original poster, this is not a leash that I would start out with unless I had serious problems with a regular leash/collar. Does your puppy pull a lot? That's okay, she's a puppy.

    Work on teaching her to walk nicely using many of the suggestions the forum has tried (peanut butter on a spoon, stopping when she pulls, even gentle corrections are okay in my opinion) before using the GL.
  8. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

    Aug 28, 2009
    You said it way better than I did, Ashley. Some dogs may end up needing a gentle leader... but it's not the place to start from.
  9. SheltieChe

    SheltieChe Forums Sage

    Jan 6, 2010
    welcome to the forum, I can see you have not posted much yet.
    Don't worry about starting GL at such young age, and yes, it is great collar and yes, majority of people only start using it when it is last resort and dog is out of control but oh it is so much easier to start when they young, teach them and then switch to martingale...
    It is all about controlling reinforcement and it is SO MUCH easier to control outside reinforcement from the get go. Why let dog learn how much fun lunging and barking is going to be? Why not teach them that best decision is to be with DaMama from the beginning?
    If you are unaware, there is Puppy peaks program going on now, started by Susan Garrett who is training her puppy Swagger. Swagger as all dogs SG has, trained wearing GL from the babyhood and there are few clips coming about games to make pup to like it. Pretty much play all kinds of games, like letting them stick their nose through the loop etc, then tug, eat in GL. If you have Shaping success book there is lots of info there how to use it.
    Puppy Peaks is series of videos, showing how Swagger gets trained every week. You can sign up for monthly review.
    For us using GL is matter of life and death. I have a serious car chaser here. If he ever gets loose which is bound to happen at some point I will be looking for
    body unless I train him that best decision in the world always stay with DaMama.
  10. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Is it the Gentle Leader head collar you have - if it is I can you return it? It isn't recommended for puppies under 5-6mths and the smaller the dog the longer you should wait to use one.

    In the first instance you want to train your puppy to walk nicely on lead by making it fun and using rewards and teach it to get used to a standard or martingale collar. If you are concerned about your pup getting away then try a harness as lightplum mentions. The Gentle Leader harness is good for puppies.

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