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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I adopted my beagle 2 days ago. I have already had him to the vet for a cough that I had assumed to be kennel cough. Turns out he has damaged his trachea from pulling so hard against his collar.He had to have a cortisone shot, a penicillan shot, and is on prednisone and another antibiotic for 16 days.
I was going to buy a harnes so that his pulling wouldn't cause any more damage, but decided on a walkmaster (aka gentle leader). It has a strap they crosses the dogs nose and makes the dog NOT pull at all. It works like magic! However, Toopy HATES it. Has anybody else used one of these? Does the dog get used to it, or is a harness a better choice? Poor Toopy doesn't enjo his walk at all, but I want to keep him safe and healthy.
Thanks again, and sorry for all my questions.
 

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I also have a gentle leader and although it seemed to work for us as well, they were so put off by it that I only tried it a few times. I went back to the harness and have decided they can just pull if they want. lol I'm pretty strong so I am not too worried and the harness keeps them from hurting their tracheas.
 

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Get him used to it by treating him when he allows you to put it around his snout. I've seen some trainers do it that way.
 

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I know you read my reply in the other thread about gentle leaders/haltis and why I don't like them.

I think it is also important to remember a tool is no substitute for training. Using a tool to stop a dog pulling is putting a bandaid over the issue you are having, as you are not teaching the dog anything.

If the dog is determined enough, many learn to pull on various tools, including head harnesses and prong collars. Other will revert back to pulling once you take the tool off.

What training have you done with him to teach him loose leash walking?
 

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I think I can post my response here and in the other thread on collars.

Let me preface this by saying I can probably count on one hand the number of times Bodie didn't get at least one walk a day. Many times it's two a day between 1-3 miles. So we have spent A LOT of time working with him on a leash. My wife and I are very consistent with the commands and our expectations during our walks.

With that said, we used a nylon collar with Bodie from about 8 weeks to a maybe 4 months old. It was good because expectations were low and the training very slow and easy. At around 4 months Bodie was a pretty good leash walker. But he'd pull and with his increased size it became more difficult to correct him with a regular collar.

So in came the Martingale collar. I would say from our first walk there was a 30% improvement in his behavior right a way. It was amazing! Now with the Martingale your approach changes too. You don't want to fight with your dog tugging. But rather use quick jarring corrections. You want to startle your dog to pay attention to your commands. So we would give the command, wait for response, and if he didn't respond within two seconds he got a correction. The results were wonderful. When I said let's go, he stopped sniffing and started walking again.

Then came our current collar of choice, the chain collar. I know many people are opposed to them. But if they're used properly, they are fine and will improve your training. By going from the Martingale the adjustment to the chain collar went very smoothly. The corrections are about the same, but the response is even better.

I don't think it's all about the collar but rather the training and consistency. And also understanding your beagle. Even though it may sound like we expect Bodie to walk like a Westminster dog, we actually give him a lot of leeway. Knowing he's a beagle there are many times on a walk we just stop and he sniffs around for minutes. But he also knows when it's time to go it's Lets Go and start walking.

I guess the ultimate goal is to go back to using a standard nylon collar. Something we're a long ways from.
 

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Body harnesses are nice for dogs that DON'T pull. Otherwise you will have little control with one. When Murphy was young and pulled like a truck, we bought the Sporn No-pull collar. It is a collar with two extra lead that hook to the front and loop under the front paws and through a loop in the back, those leads are connected to the leash. When the dog pulls, the leads tighten and stop him/her. Its like a set of brakes. If worked for us. Just one note, it can wear the fur thin under the front armpits if he keeps pulling too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone!
Smeagle:
I have only had Toopy a couple of days, so quite honestly I haven't done any training yet. (although he apparently had puppy obedience classes) I do plan on training and he is enrolled in obedience classes(but they don't start for a month). I was just looking for something to help so he doesn't do himself any further damage until I can get him trained. maybe something like JOE BEAGLES has suggested, so that I can work with Toopy, but until I get it right, he won't himself. Thank you for your help
 

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We switched to a harness when we first got Molly because she pulled so badly. I kept her leash very short and had her walk by my side. If she pulled, we stopped. When she stopped pulling we moved forward.
 

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I always use a body harness for two reasons. One because of the problem you mentioned with Toopy's trachea damage and two because Beagles are prone to disc problems in the neck and back and a body harness helps to eliminate this.

I agree with Smeagle that anti pulling devices such as the Gentle Leader do not in <span style="font-weight: bold">themselves</span> teach your dog anything, that is your job, but it makes no difference what walking device he is wearing, it's your training technique that counts. You can still train him wearing a Gentle Leader in the same way you would with a regular collar.

To get Toopy used to the GL you need to take things slowly. Put it on him in the house and make a game out of it. Play with him and do some basic obedience like sit with it on and praise and treat him. This way he will associate good things with his GL. Then attach his lead and let him walk around the house. Only after he has accepted it at home should you venture out on a short walk, keeping it fun all the time and distracting him if he tries to remove it. Some dogs never accept them though. They don't like the feeling of pressure over the bridge of the nose.

Personally I don't like them but they can be invaluable in situations like yours when a solution is needed in the interim.
 

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Originally Posted By: Jennifer
You can still train him wearing a Gentle Leader in the same way you would with a regular collar.
I have to respectfully disagree with this comment. Gentle leaders wouldn't be doing what they are meant to if they weren't hugely different from a flat collar. Gentle leaders put a dog in a constant state of aversion, for the reason you have mentioned here:

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Some dogs never accept them though. They don't like the feeling of pressure over the bridge of the nose.
No dog likes this pressure, because the canine face contains a lot of very sensitive nerves. 'Soft' dogs may put up with head harnesses easier than others, but that doesn't mean that because the outward signs of stress and discomfort are not that obvious that they aren't there, or that the dog isn't experiencing them.

Gentle leaders are not as effect as some training tools because they put the dog in a constant state of aversive - tools like martingales, check chains, prongs etc only correct the dog when you put pressure on the leash, whereas the gentle leader/halti etc are always 'correcting' the dog.

They may work for some people but I find them frustrating, because I like to control how and when my dogs are corrected. Timing is everything in training, so I want to be able to issue a correction at exactly the right time. I find this hard to do with the gentle leader, and the training methods I use are not going to be as effect if I can't correct the dog for the wrong behaviour at the right time.

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Personally I don't like them but they can be invaluable in situations like yours when a solution is needed in the interim.
There are many other training tools that can do this if you need an instant solution (i.e. you need to get control ASAP), but without the issues that the gentle leader carries.

ETA: I am not against training tools, I just don't like when they are used in the place of proper training and actually teaching the dog what you want it to do. I have no problem with using training tools in conjunction with a training program, if they are needed
 

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Smeagle, I'm sure you and I have had this conversation many many times before if I recall. Me thinks we shall have to agree to disagree


I've never told people at my training class that they shouldn't use a Gentle Leader or Halti. All I do is correct them if they think that using one means their dog is trained.
 

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I had to switch to harnesses not because of pulling problems but because Roscoe was able to slip out of his collar, no matter how snug we made it.

With regards to pulling, what has worked with us is consistency. It took a LONG time to get Roscoe to walk without pulling. Just this week I commented on how proud I was of Roscoe, he walked almost flawlessly. The only time he will pull now is if he sees a squirrel and I can't blame him for that, I just laugh because he gets back on track quickly.
Now, round two, Cole. I know it may be a long haul but just being consistent will work. It is a pain but has to be done. Once they get it though, walks are so much more enjoyable for both beag and human
 

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Originally Posted By: JenniferSmeagle, I'm sure you and I have had this conversation many many times before if I recall. Me thinks we shall have to agree to disagree


I've never told people at my training class that they shouldn't use a Gentle Leader or Halti. All I do is correct them if they think that using one means their dog is trained.
LOL maybe I don't post often enough, I don't remember talking about it with you before.

Of course we can agree to disagree, the behaviourist I work with wouldn't touch a halti with a ten foot pole. But meh - each to their own, the goal with any tool should be that eventually you will not need to use it at all
 

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I actually saw a policeman walking a police dog (on duty) wearing a halti a few months ago and was amazed. If he hadn't been on duty I would have spoken to him and asked....WHY lol
 

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Originally Posted By: JenniferI actually saw a policeman walking a police dog (on duty) wearing a halti a few months ago and was amazed. If he hadn't been on duty I would have spoken to him and asked....WHY lol
Wow... that is shocking! I've never heard of police using haltis in training... muzzles, sure, prongs and ecollars, yep - but never a halti. Geez I wonder why - it's not going to do much to a high drive police dog!

My behaviourist trains police serivce dogs, SAR dogs and personal protection dogs and it's not something I've ever heard of LOL.
 
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