If you’re a pet parent, odds are you’ve probably heard the term ‘gentle leader’ before. But what exactly is this training tool? How does it differ from other dog leashes or harnesses? Simply put, a gentle leader is an inexpensive but effective head harness for your dog that is designed to strap over their nose and attach to the leash from there. It’s purpose is to be used as a training tool to stop your dog from pulling and help keep their attention on you.
When thinking of the gentle leader, it might help to envision a head harness for a horse. To help us guide our horse to go in the direction we want, we pull on the reigns to either the right or the left. The gentle pressure put on the horse’s head will naturally make them turn their head that way, and their body will follow. This is very similar to the gentle leader. When our pups begin to pull, gentle tension is applied to their nose and face that redirects them back to look at you. This will happen over and over until your dog begins to associate pulling on the leash with the redirection of their head. Once your pup learns that barreling full steam ahead on a walk actually gives them the opposite of what they desire by stopping and redirecting, they will begin to slow down so as to avoid the tension and keep the walk going.