By Lynn –
These are pictures of raw muzzles after using the ‘Gentle’ Leader. We have three new dogs in the kennel and these are the worst ones…I think the third one is somehow doing fine. They have been wearing the headcollars exclusively for approximately one month at this point.
Please keep in mind that these headcollars are fit according to the directions that come with the product. The neck strap is snug and the nose loop can be pulled down the fleshy part of the nose. All efforts are made to keep the dogs’ paws away from their faces with little success (aka simply pulling up and forward is pretty useless when the dog’s weight is already rocked back onto its haunches). Only when the dogs decide to give up and live with it do they not have their paws on their faces; and after a period of time, without warning, they are back to pawing themselves. (Click the thumbnails for more detail!)
Is this really the image we want to conjure when the word “gentle” is involved? Is it really necessary for a dog to have to mutilate itself like this and have its face scar over before it even shows one iota of acceptance (followed by more resistance) towards a training tool?
I’m not the first one to say it, but I’ll repeat it just for the sake of it: if a dog is resisting a tool more than it is willing to listen and work with me, then something is wrong. To have this go on is nothing short of cruel. The fact that IACUC allows this in the name of “humane” treatment and that veterinarians and behaviorists recommend this type of tool simply because it isn’t a “collar” that fits on the neck is not right.