We moved to Atlanta in 1994, along with our two Shelties, Roxie and Daisy.  We had been there for about a month and Daisy had a heart attack and died.  We were devastated and our remaining dog, Roxie, seemed lost with her best friend so we decided to find another dog.  We searched around and found a 12 week old Border Collie pup available through Friends of Georgia, an animal rescue organization.  Back then, I didn’t know anything about animal rescue organizations or Border Collies.  The internet wasn’t what it was today so it was not as easy to do breed research.  We met Lacy, filled out some paperwork, paid an adoption fee and brought her home.  Please do not adopt a dog without proper research!

Mali Sporting the Gentle Leader

The week after we brought her home, I knew that we needed some training so I signed up for a training class at our local vet.  During the training class they recommended a device that went around the head and snout to help control the dog during walks.  At the time, it was sold through direct selling methods only.  We called the number given to us and scheduled an appointment for the seller / trainer to come to our house.  It costs $100 for the product and an hour long consultation.  The instructor came to our house, we paid the $100 and she showed us how to use the device.  It was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen.  I could actually walk my Border Collie puppy without her pulling me down the street!  Lacy wore the device for many years and didn’t mind it at all.

I had forgotten all about it until my husband suggested we get one for Mali, our Aussie puppy we adopted in 2009.  I told him that I didn’t think Mali needed one and bought her a harness instead.  Then, I purchased a dominate dog collar, another ‘no-pull harness, and even a choker chain (which I’m against, but was desperate).  None of them helped with her pulling and reaction to squirrels or other small varmints that cross our path when walking.  It had gotten to the point where I had almost stopped walking her because of the pulling.  Ironic, since I own a pet sitting and dog walking business.

Rainey wearing her Gentle Leader

Once again my husband suggested the Gentle Leader, as it is now known.  I got in the car with Mali and drove to Petco to purchase one.  I took her with me so I could try it on her before we purchased it to make sure I had the right size.  She hated it at first, just like the paperwork said she would.  However, after wearing for for about an hour, she got used to it.  She still doesn’t love, but I do!  It has turned tugging matches into wonderful outdoor walks.  I now walk Mali and my other dog Rainey. who also uses a Gentle Leader, everyday.

I have spoken to several other people about the Gentle Leader, when they are at their wits end about what to do about their lunging dog and they have had the same success for the device that I have.  It will literally change your walks with your dog(s).  Here is the official description from Premier Pet (manufactures of Gentle Leader) website.

Millions of dog owners today enjoy the benefits of stress-free walks thanks to the Gentle Leader Headcollar. Designed so that owners can communicate with their pet in a way they instinctively understand, the Gentle Leader painlessly and effectively removes the dog’s natural tendency to pull by placing gentle pressure on calming points and eliminating uncomfortable pressure on the throat. In addition to reducing a dog’s desire to pull away, the Gentle Leader is also a very effective tool in combating lunging, jumping, excessive barking and helping to calm an aggressive and/or anxious animal.

You can purchase the Gentle Leader at Petco, Amazon or a number of other online and offline retailers.