My dog Donny is your typical corgi: bright, spunky, and energized. Until he sees the Gentle Leader.
The GL, or his "Face", as we call it, warned that it may take up to 2 weeks for the dog to stop rubbing his face on things and stop struggling to get it off. It's been 6 months. The first week he rubbed all the skin off his nose by dragging his Face through the carpet, and now that we have hardwood floors he rubs it on the bookcase, the bed, our legs, and the cat. Funny, but not funny at the same time. The cat especially hates it.
In the past month or so, there's a new development. Our stubborn, independent corgi has never liked the Face because it controlled him so effectively--deterring pulling and wild meet-and-greets with strangers--but recently he has apparently decided that the Face is a symbol for the End of the World. He will bury his face under the couch to hide it from reach, will hide in his crate, will bury himself under the bed covers, or all of the above--one right after the other--and wont even come out for chicken or ham.
This is recent, mind you. He used to sit pretty for the Face application, and wore it without complaint.
Most importantly, I think the GL is making him depressed. He mopes around the house and acts like nothing matters to him anymore--unless he hears noises outdoors, and then starts barking like he's paranoid--which I think is because he hates going outside now! I blame it on the GL.
Has anyone else had a problem with depression with the Leader? We've tried every harness, collar, and chain--the Face has been the only thing that works for walks, so I'm reluctant to throw it out without consulting other corgi owners. Any suggestions for collar alternatives?
Notes:There has been no trauma, no dog attacks, no aggression. We use the leader correctly, every time. Donny is highly trained and is great on walks--the only troubles were overly enthusiastic greetings of other people and dogs and pulling, which the GL has stopped.
Same thing happened to Dexter recently with the harness design GL :(
He did ok with the "face" design when we was a pup once he got used to it.
I am not a fan either. I have met many dogs who clearly hate them and only one who seemed to like it. Dogs are very sensitive about body language and I think having something on their faces makes them interact differently or something; I have seen at least two dogs who are ok with the gentle leader til another dog shows up and then they try to get it off.
I agree I would work on training with a regular collar. Teaching a "look" command to get Donny to look at your face and hold your attention can reduce the overly enthusiastic greetings. To be honest on walks I just put up with it to some degree. It's not like a Corgi weighs 90 pounds or anything.
Sounds like Donny and you have decided it's time to try something else.
Seems to me, these animals are kinda proud and spirited. We don't want to crush that. We must lead, not bully. A good manager doesn't force a minion to do something onerous, they get them to think it was their own idea to begin with.
And Donny sounds really crushed, if he won't come out even for ham. A corgi should come out for the Apocalypse if it comes with ham.
How about trying behavioral alternatives, like, put him on a lavishly rewarded Sit to distract from a too-enthusiastic greeting? You'd have to anticipate the situations.
To deter pulling, have you tried the reversal technique -- where you just head in the opposite direction when the dog pulls? This can go on ad nauseum, you gotta be patient. This is a puppy, right?
I like our modified Martingales (see collar FAQ); I replaced the chain with smooth nylon cord to save weight and noise (but I think the chain rattling through the ring may be am auditory cue, and this is sacrificed). Easy on, easy off, over the head, no buckles. The dogs do not wear them inside.
Gwynnie is not what anybody would call perfectly trained, but we evolved a good modus vivendi: if she wants to go one way, she'll pull on the leash, enough to tell me what she wants. If I don't yield, she acquiesces. Not standard leash-training but it works, we communicate.