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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon!

Since my Dober-girl seems to be losing her hearing, she has become more reactive to things that "sneak" up on her (AKA everything). This has been a challenge and I am working with her, but I need to use a gentle leader for the control it gives me ( I know, I hate using these but its the only option I have found). I have tried the no pull harness, but that really doesn't give me much control over her head while I have 80lb of pure muscle leaping and lunging like a wild bronco. I don't want to use a pinch because I fear it will only cause her to react even more. So I am stuck with the head collar (unless someone has a better idea?)

My issue is, it really is a very obnoxious contraption, she absolutely hates it, and has never gotten used to it. Plus the nose loop is always up in her eyes if she pulls even a little. Is there a brand that fits our little pointy nosed friends better? I tried the Halti but she really seemed to hate that one too, it had more fabric across her nose and sat right at her eyes even without pulling.

I seem to spend half of our training sessions trying to get her up off the floor in a frenzy to try and remove the confounded thing and another quarter of it trying to pull it back down and out of her eyes.:screama: Any suggestions for a different brand or contraption that might give me the same effect?

PS- I spent a month getting her ready to wear it by click-treat starting at interest, touching, nose through loop, let it hang on nose, buckle behind ears..and so on until we went on our first walk. She just grows to hate it more and more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is a chest harness that is equally effective but is less dangerous for the dog. If she spins around in a head harness some major damage could be done to her neck. Would you consider a chest harness instead?
Thanks,I have tried one of these and I do prefer it, but it only works for situations where I have complete control of the environment. When she "reacts" while on this thing she is still able to bonce all over, whirling around in every which direction and it is impossible to calm her down or get her back under control. Unfortunately even with a very short leash, all this thing does is put pressure for her to turn her chest in one direction, but the head is still in wacky land. (not really sure how to explain the scenario, but it just isnt helpful)

Those head collars make me cringe, especially with a CVI prone breed like Dobermans

Have you checked out the resources on Deaf Dog? DDEAF Training Tips

Did you ever get the chance to chat with siriusdobe?
I have been trying to read about Deaf dogs. I think the biggest issue, right now, is she is only deaf in one ear and we believe the hearing may only be distorted in the other as she is slowly losing it, which is quite anxiety provoking for her because if she does hear something, she doesn't know where it came from and starts whirling around in hysterics trying to find it. I agree that the head collar sucks, but its the only tool I have found to be able to manage the frantic whirling and anxiety attacks (which either result in lunging and snarling or trying to jump up into my arms, to be held, and nearly knocking me down-as well as black eyes, split lips, and other various injuries- I look like a domestic violence case). I really don't want to have to use it forever, but while we are trying to work on excepting her "new world" and understanding that everything is still OK, I don't really know what else to use during training sessions. its a hard call to make, but ultimately I feel like the benefit of being able to work with her to be more at ease with her surroundings outweighs the risk of possible spinal issues. I dunno what else to do...
 

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I don't know if I'm way off base here.. but if the issue is not pulling, what about a harness with a handle? You could get a really good grip on her that way if something gives her a scare, but not risk hurting her neck or having her get too far away from you.

Several people on my SAR team have these, and they're REALLY well made, and you can even lift a dog straight off the ground in them without issues
Ruffwear Web Master? - Supportive, Multi-Use Dog Harness

or maybe one of the SchH style harnesses? Those have handles for hanging on to the dog as well..
Amazon.com: Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness, Large, Black: Pet Supplies


Just trying to brainstorm other ideas for you that you might not have thought of :) best of luck with your girl.
 

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There aren't any scientific studies that suggest head halters are dangerous, even in breeds prone to CVI. If a head halter gives you more control and helps her be calmer, I am personally comfortable with them, though I know a lot of people here on DT disagree.

I don't use a gentle leader, personally, but my trainer really likes them. She has said that people often fit them completely wrong, and I had her fit one on Shanoa in case I ever want to use it. The neck strap should be pretty tight, and right up behind the ears. You should barely fit one finger under it. The nose strap, on the other hand, should be LOOSE. It should be loose enough that it can almost, but not quite, slip over the end of the nose. It should never be tight enough that it rides up towards the eyes at all. When fitted that way, it is far more comfortable for the dog.

If she hates the head halter, I would go back to stage one and clicker train her to like it. Use high value treats, click and treat for just looking at it. Slowly (and I mean SLOWLY), build up to clicking/treating for sticking her snout through the loop. After she's really, really comfortable with that, you can start latching it. My trainer puts the GL on for every meal, and then removes it as soon as they are done eating. Her dogs go CRAZY to have their GL on, because they have such strong positive associations with it.
 
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I use a large gentle leader with Stella. She came with a halti, but I much prefer the GL. Honestly, after using the head halter correctly, I think the whole whipping around and hurting the neck thing is BS. It's a tool like any other training equipment and has to be used correctly to be safe and effective. It has also made a HUGE difference with Stella's reactivity. I did spend a good three or so weeks shaping the collar and associating it with only positive things before working on her issues in it. Ash has a whole page of info on how to go about shaping it, etc.
 

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It has also made a HUGE difference with Stella's reactivity.
Forgot to mention that part. Quite a few people notice a decrease in reactivity. There are acupressure points at the base of the skull, and stimulating them seems to produce a slightly calming effect. The GL, fitted properly, puts pressure on those points. I did notice a calming effect on Shanoa when we used the GL (and it was definitely calming, not "shut down").
 
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