On the recommendation of the behaviorist we purchased an gentle leader for Ernie. For the past several days we have been trying to get Ernie used to it. I know that they say most dogs will calm down and you will see a behavior change for the better once they are used to it.
I am seeing the complete opposite with Ernie. You can see panic in his eyes not when it first goes on but after several minutes. He will let you put in on with no issue. I give him toys and try to do fun things that he likes but the minute he has you stop he starts pawing at his face to the point where he was bleeding from trying to get it off his mouth. He even figured out how to get the entire gentle leader off several times. I did exactly what it said for fitting--I can't make it any tighter it barely closes in the back as it is--it looks just like a "V" when on and I can pull it to the fleshy part of the muzzle but not off (Ernie can though).
I just worry that the only issue we have with Ernie is toy possessiveness--which is a pretty big one. However 99% of the time he is fantastic. He listens well, comes when called, does well on his walks. My fear is that I am only going to start creating other problems when we should be focusing on the issue right now. In the last few weeks I have seen Ernie maturing a bit and really feel that once he gets neutered we will see a lot of this decrease.
The other issue is that my MIL and FIL live with us during the summer. My MIL talks in a high pitch sing songy voice all the time which we have asked that she try not to do b/c the dog reads it as excitement. She is very loud and the minute something happens that she can act in a dramatic fashion she does. So every time Ernie does something wrong she will start up with her dramatic "OH STOP, NO, NO, NO, NO" Also if I go to correct Ernie she will parrot everything I say. So while I might say "Stop jumping" in a firm tone she will be right there saying "Ernie, Stop jumping, stop jumping" in her high pitch (excited voice).
I have suggested that when everyone is trying to correct Ernie at once that all this is teaching him to do is listen to no one. My husband has tried to reinforce this issue as well but it still continues. We have to tell her to be quiet first and by that point it is too long to correct Ernie.
Sorry this is so long but I really need to get it out of my mind!
The behaviorist wants us to work up to keeping it on all day and just having it off at night. He said that he felt it would have a calming effect on him and we would hopefully see less aggression in relation to the toys.
If you want my honest opinion, I would say find another behaviorist, or see if there is another method you could use. I could be wrong, but I have never seen this used to correct a biting issue. If he is struggling with this gentle leader, your only putting more fear into him, and hence in my eyes, only going to upset him more. When used correctly, our gentle leader did wonders for our dog. He walked like a champ. I loved it! Your not teaching the dog it is wrong to bite, you making it more difficult to bite. Gentle Leader is not a muzzle, and shouldn't be used as one.
Correct me if I am wrong Dog owners.
I concur.."Mine" is an excellent book. I dont get the "GL wearing all day to make him calm" technique...but then again, I'm not a behaviorist. It's just not a technique I'm aware of. Tell your person that you don't think it is being effective and could be making the situation worse.
Sam doesn't like her gentle leader either and will try to take it off between people's legs-it's the only time she's a perv. (other than with pillows).
For Sam it works wonders when we have guests. She still gets over excited and tries to jump on people. We put the gentle leader on her and she calms right down. When she calms down it comes off (usually 5 minutes). If she jumps up again it goes back on.
I agree with the others though, not sure that it's good for the whole day or for possesive behavour....