Gentle Leader: Helping Your Dog Adjust to a Head Halter - McCann Professional Dog Trainers

Gentle Leader: Helping Your Dog Adjust to a Head Halter

In our last post, we talked about proper fit and use for a Gentle Leader Head Halter. People often ask how to help the dog become accustomed to this tool. There are many things you can do as part of your regular routine to help your dogs.

Feed the dog while they're wearing the Gentle Leader

One common tactic that works for most dogs is to feed them while they are wearing the Gentle Leader. Because the Gentle Leader is not a muzzle, dogs can still eat without trouble. Feeding them their meals with the Gentle Leader on will help them develop a positive association with the head halter.

Play with the dog while they're wearing the Gentle Leader

Another method for dogs who are toy motivated is to put the Gentle Leader on and play games with your dog. Whatever games your dog loves can help transfer value to the head halter. Short and intense games can help build even more of a positive association.

Your dog's success or failure on the Gentle Leader can be a direct result of the time you take to acclimatize them to it. A few good training sessions can really make a difference. We do not recommend leaving the Gentle Leader on while your dog is lounging or unsupervised. Most dogs will fuss with it and some will often become obsessed with trying to push the nose piece off. If they are successful, it will not be long before they chew through the nose loop and render it useless. Always supervise your dog heavily when the Gentle Leader is on so that you can immediately stop any inappropriate behaviours.

Here are some video tips to help you!

Hi! I'm Shannon Viljasoo and I joined the McCann team in 1999 while training Quincey, my wonderful and spirited Rottweiler, to have good listening skills. I'm the Director of Online Training and Content for McCann Professional Dog Trainers and I enjoy writing about dogs and dog training for the McCann blog. I currently share my life with 2 Tollers (Reggie & Ned) and I love helping people develop the best possible relationship with their 4-legged family members.

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