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Hiya.

Oscar is now just cmming up to 10 months old, and the bigger and stronger he gets the harder he pulls on his lead.

We used to be able to manage him on a harness (that fitted on his body), but as he is now enormous and very strong, even this doesn't hold him back.

He used to walk really well to heel when he was younger, but the older he has got and the more confident he is.. the more he is desperate to see and smell everything and the more he completely ignores anything we say or do.

We have therefore decided to really concentrate on training him to walk nicely.

Over the last week, we've been concentrating on teaching him the walking words we want him to respond to (which he now responds to'sometimes') and today we introduced a gentle leader for the first time (inside the house at first).

Although he's still a happy chappy with it on, and fine if he is distracted, he keeps rubbing at it with his paws - which I presume he will stop doing as he gets used to it.

The problem I have, is that my husband has always really had a problem with head collars (which is why it has taken this long for me to be able to persuade him to let us try one.)

I think for starters he thinks it makes Oscar look like he is mussled and therefore gives a bad impression to other people, but also that Oscar is too big and heavy to be controlled safely by his head.

Please can someone reassure me that it won't do a big labrador any harm to be controlled by the head?

From the small experience we have of it today, I'd imagine he just won't pull as much, so it won't be the great pressure on his head - but can we really control him with a gentle leader and not risk harming his neck?

Any advice would be very greatfully received.

Sarah x


ps. sorry for such a long first post!!
 

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Hi Sarah

Welcome!

I've not had the experience you're having ... yet ... our pup Corbie is only (nearly) 13 weeks old.

But this harness has been recommended to me if we ever come across the problem of him pulling on the lead, as it has worked for someone we know with pulling labradors after they had tried other types. We will buy Corbie a harness when he's older for when we go out on long hikes and this will probably be the one we choose, more comfortable to be lead with than a lead with a normal collar.

http://www.walkezee.com/ (hope that's not the one you've already tried! :lol: )

:D
 

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hi sarah i have three labs all the colours but the oldist and strongest is my chocy lab rosie the love of my life but oboy can she pull on her lead so i took her to training classes and they said a halter coller would be best she has worn it now for nearly six year and still does not like it but i could not walk her with out it and yes they do try to get it of my rosie rub her face a long the floor when she has hers on hope this has been some help yours sue
 

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Hi Sarah,

I think headcollars are common enough now that folks should realize it's not a muzzle. And if Oscar's walking nicely and having fun and you're enjoying yourselves, who cares what other people think anyway? :lol:

There was a 13 month old Burmese Mountain Dog in Edie's beginner obedience class . He was BIG - like 100 pounds big and still growing kinda big :D The owner used a headcollar with him and raved about it - said she just couldn't have walked him otherwise.

If your husband is worried about Oscar jerking or lunging to the end of the lead and damaging his neck or spine could you continue to use your harness, or a normal collar and lead, along with the headcollar? That way if Oscar starts to jerk or lunge you could drop the headcollar lead and not risk injury. It might take some coordination to handle 2 leads but it might be good for a little while until Oscar is used to the headcollar and walking nicely with you. Just a thought....
 

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Hi Sarah
I think Dana is right in that many people are used to seeing dogs in headcollars these days. I always think the prejudice against muzzles, is unfair. My first thought when I see a muzzled dog is 'a responsible owner' :D , also there are many reasons for wearing a muzzle, that have nothing to do with aggression - scavenging being one of them.
I thinks it's very useful for all dogs to used to a headcollar, even if ayour dog doesn't pull you never know when you might need it. I used one last year on my then 9 month old lab - I'd hurt my back and even a slight pull was painful - the headcollar was invaluable.
I have heard (don't know if it's true) that the strap that goes round the back presses on a pressure point and has a calming effect.
HTH :)
 

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hi sarah,
max is nearly 6 months old and hes a very strong boy. as i have arthritus in my spine it was really painful for me to walk him so started to use head collar. gradually introduced it in the house and he HATED it with a vengence. he tried every which way to get it off! but now after a few weeks as soon as he see's me pick it up he will come and stick his nose straight in it as he knows that it means walkies! he still has a mad moment trying to get it off but soon settles down as soon as we are out the gate. it means he gets his walks and i get the pleasure of having a calmer dog. i am soon going to start using the training lead which will let me use his normal collar but still have control to reign him in if necc. another plus is that it does stop him from picking up every thing he sees on the ground. a few people have passed remarks but soon see that he's a happy chappy. i have found that it is non doggy people that make remarks. hope this helps.
best wishes.
jane and max.
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies - they really helped.

We 've taken Oscar on 4 walks on his head collar over the weekend and it definately works (despite the fact that he looks like hannibal lecter awww).

He walks perfectly next to me and sits at every road, before I even ask him to.

After the walks, there are only two things that bother me a bit.

1) we can't walk near any grass, because as soon as he sees grass, he insists in rubbing his face all over it (presumably to try and get the head collar off and then lies down and it takes 2 or 3 mins to get him up and going again. I'm hoping this will lessen as he gets used to it, and as he's a particularly strong willed dog, I'm sure a lot of it is a protest and so as he realises he has to wear it, he will protest less. Anyone else get similar behaviour from their dog with a headcollar - did it gradually get better?

2)also, he seems to breath quite loudly and a bit gravelly after about 10 mins of walking. I've checked the fitting and it seems to be on right and is not pushing anywhere in particular too hard. I presume this si just because he can't open his mouth quite as wide as normal as so is adjusting his breathing acoordingly. Is this right? I wouldn't want to be doing any damage to his throat or anything. it worries me about walking him in the summer too, if his panting is limited atall.

Thanks a lot - I look forward to any more advice you can give me.

Sarah x
 

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hi sarah.
glad to hear that the head collar has made life a bit easier for you. max did exactly the same as oscar and rubbed his face on anything that he could to start with. he still does it now and again but it is getting less and less. he will still try everything to get it off. it is a case of perseverance. i allways take some of his kibble with me to reward him for walking nicely and hes now getting the message. mess about no treat! yes he did breathe heavier as well but this also is now getting less.. we also had a spell of teeth grinding to start with. again this has now stopped. so yes it does get better. it has taken a couple of months to get him really used to it but well worth it.
hope this helps to put your mind at rest.
jane and max. x
 
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