Introduction to the gentle leader® headcollar

The Gentle Leader® offers a unique opportunity in training and controlling behavior problems in dogs.  In a society where our companion animals are increasingly euthanized because of behaviour problems, where there is an increasing intolerance to misbehaviour in companion animals by non-pet owners, the Gentle Leader® will contribute greatly to the preservation of the canine companion in our society.  It is truly one of the greatest inventions in modern times related to the training and control of the canine companions we love so dearly.

The attachment point of the lead to the headcollar is beneath the muzzle. This allows maximum control of the handler over the dog.  Where the muzzle is directed the body must follow.  Even less physically strong and capable people have greater leverage control of large dogs than they would with a neck-control device.  Having maximum control results in the facilitation of prompt and reliable responses, stopping unwanted behaviour instantly without pain or increase in aggression or excitement.  It further gets the dog to focus its attention immediately on the handler, creating a situation in which alternative commands can be given and the appropriate behaviour can then be rewarded. This makes training efficient and rapid.  The most often comment we receive is that the dog that pulled and lunged is now a pleasure to walk.

Fears and anecdotal comments of injuries caused to the dog by the Gentle Leader® are unfounded.   To date and in spite of having sold more than six hundred thousand Gentle Leader® Headcollars, PABA has not received any claims of injury caused by the Gentle Leader® Headcollar. The Gentle Leader® is a safe, non-punishing, pain free training and head-controlling device. It has also been found that the Gentle Leader® has a calming effect on excitable dogs and a subduing effect on dominant dogs, certainly a tremendous advantage in the prevention and handling of behavioural problems.

In the past the Gentle Leader® was often mistaken as a muzzle, however, its increase in popularity has made it recognizable as a headcollar. About half the dogs introduced to the Gentle Leader® will accept it without any adverse response. The remainder of the dogs may exhibit a short period of non-acceptance while they habituate to the feeling of something on their muzzle. The dog may attempt to paw, rub or buck in attempt to remove the nose strap. Instructions (see habituating the dog to the headcollar) are provided with every Gentle Leader® to help accustom the dog to this new collar.

On rare occasions owners have related that the headcollar has rubbed the fur off the top of the dog’s nose.  This is usually a result of the owner’s familiarity of training with a choke collar which encourages the use of short jerks or corrections.  This method is not used with the Gentle Leader®.  A second possibility is a too loose fitting of the neck strap which in turn would allow the nose loop to rotate. If there is too much slack with the neck strap or the nose loop, the dog may be able to paw it off and invariably will destroy it by chewing on it.

Correct fitting of the Gentle Leader® is described in the web site and is included with its purchase. It is important that it be followed.


Bulldogs and other short nosed dogs often have limited airways and may experience breathing difficulties when exercising or under stress. If using a headcollar increases breathing difficulty it should be immediately discontinued.