I definitely disagree with you, but am curious as to why you say this?
It's a personal opinion. I know most people think they are great, but if you need serious knowledge and training to be able to fit and use one properly, I just don't think they should be available to the general public.
Has anyone ever wrapped one around your neck, and given the leash to your friend? I've seen it, it wasn't pretty. You don't have to pull hard either.
I also think it is more effective to get inside a dogs head, and get it to behave and listen to commands you request that way, than to use training tools, or get physical to correct a behaviour.
I think what we forget sometimes is that not all people want to train their way through problems. A lot of owners simply want to walk their dog. In cases like that, is it better to help the owner manage their dog or have them only attend a few classes/privates and get little out of them?
True story 1. I had an elderly client with a large All American who was …. Ummm…enthusiastic. He loved life. He was a generally happy dog. However, because he was so happy and loved life so much, it was hazardous for her to take him out anywhere. He would run to the end of the lead (flat collar) and then tow her along till something caught his attention and then he would lunge after that. We trained through a few minor problems but she was getting impatient to be able to take her dog out for a walk and with his high energy and her low compliance, training wasn’t going fast enough. So I brought a head halter to use. He was like a fish on a line. He struggled and struggled with it, which made my client really distressed. So we tried a prong. He hit the end of that 2X, and that was that. In this case the prong was a better choice, she would have made nice noises at me if I had insisted the head halter was the way to go and never used it or called me back. It would have been a fail episode.
True story 2. Another female client with a large rescue dog. Very friendly to people but quite dog aggressive. He had a large dose of self confidence and to top it off he was a sport fighter. She wanted to be able to walk him around town but was afraid of his behavior. So….we tried to train past it but again, she couldn’t put the time and miles in that this required. In this case I brought the head halter and he never tried to wipe it off his face, he never came to the end of the lead and was a totally different dog with it on. In this case the head halter was a fine choice.
So I think what we have to keep in mind is that each case is different. If you give a person a tool they don’t like or don’t believe in, they won’t use it. And if a tool that might not be my choice allows a dog to get out with their owner and do things, instead of being left home all the time, then I say use it.
I just didn't like the Gentle Leader. I am fine with the Halti and my dog that pulls is a Foxhound. She dislikes both, but the Halti seems to bug her less. She hasn't gotten it off, but she did rub the Gentle Leader off on occasion.
My foxhound also does well on the Halti. He does try to shake it off a bit, but he is more calm when we take walks now- he doesn't mind it that much. Before on a regular leash/collar, he would pull and pull and pull, even with a choke chain. The halti fits his face really well- he takes a size 4- and he hasn't slipped it off yet.
When I took our first dog to obediance training, we used a head collar as a 'step' in the training. He was horrible to walk, and that daily walk was SO important to his mental and physical well-being. We tried him in both the Halti and the Gentle Leader. He absolutely hated the Halti. When we put him in it, he would put his paws on his nose, throw himself on the ground, and absolutely REFUSE to get up. Walking wasn't even a choice.
Then we tried the Gentle Leader. At first, while walking, he would try to fight it, however, with a bag of treats, he eventually ignored the collar and would walk well beside me. In time, I would start the walk with the head collar, then switch his leash from his head collar (and leave it on) to his regular collar. He would walk the rest of the way perfectly beside me. Eventually, he walked well in his regular collar without the Gentle Leader at all. Four years later, he's a joy to walk on the leash.
Our other dog is a tank. He's a lab mix, and only 55 lbs., but he gets his regular collar down lower on his neck and against his shoulders, and he can pull me wherever he wants. He's also getting older, and the strain that he uses to pull is causing some hind end lameness. I think if he would pull less when walked, he would be much more comfortable physically. I've tried him in the Gentle Leader, and he really doesn't like it, but I can keep his head 'up' and thus have much better control. I can, however, get the same effect by making sure he regular collar is right behind his ears when I walk him (so the underside of his collar is right behind his jowls). That way, I still have control of his head (he can't lower it and plow through my 'aids'), and without having the Gentle Leader across his nose. All of that said, I've been quite 'lax' with his regular, consistent training, and he's still sort of a pain in the a** to walk on the leash. If I were more consistent, he would be as well.