What If My Dog…

Freezes and refuses to move when the headcollar is put on.

  • Repeat the exercises in “Habituating The Dog To The Gentle Leader® HeadCollar”
  • Encourage the dog to follow using happy tones, patting your leg, baiting with treats, but only take one or two steps forward, forcing the dog to come with you if necessary. REWARD THE FORWARD MOVEMENT!
  • Be patient, repeat the above until the dog is comfortably walking with you.

Bucks, flops, twists, walks on its hind legs!

  • Repeat the exercises in “Habituating The Dog To The Gentle Leader® HeadCollar”
  • Interrupt the behavior by having the dog sit, by pulling upward and backwards on the lead.
  • Have the dog remain sitting for several seconds.
  • Start walking rapidly, but only for a couple steps so as not to give the dog the opportunity to react badly. Stop, have the dog sit. REWARD!
  • Repeat several times.
  • If you are physically able start to jog or run three or five steps. Stop have the dog sit. REWARD!
  • Repeat the above until the dog walks comfortably at your side.

Will not take food tidbits!

  • Food is highly rewarding and is important in measuring the level of stress the dog is experiencing.
  • A highly stressed or excited animal will not take food and is not capable of learning while in this emotional state.
  • Attempt to find a more desirable treat (liver, cheese, etc.)
  • Train your dog prior to its normal meal when it is more likely it will be hungry.
  • Take time to play with your dog prior to its training time to reduce any anxiety.


  1. Food Tidbits: Best for most dogs (no larger than the size of a pea)                                                                              

The refusal of a dog to take a food tidbit indicates that it is stressed or excitable, making it impossible for the dog to learn in this emotional state.  Take a time out and play with the dog to reduce its anxiety before resuming training.

  1. Ball, Kong, Tug Toy: May be preferred over food by high energy dogs.
  2. Vocal Praise and/or touch: Not as effective as we tend to over use them in our daily interactions with our dogs , however, they are useful  as secondary reinforcers.