Fearful and Shy Dogs Are More Secure with Gentle Leader
Leading behaviourists and trainers report that Gentle Leader is particularly effective in helping fearful and shy dogs feel more secure and calm in situations that produce anxiety. With Gentle Leader, your dog instinctively senses and responds to your leadership, allowing him to relax and let you be responsible for his welfare. When fear and anxiety are reduced, your dog will learn faster and be a more rewarding companion.
Taken from Premier Pets Gentle Leader Training Guide.
What does this have to do with Eclipse?
The reason he's in a headcollar is not because he's unruly, headstrong, or immature (the normal reasons a GDB pup is put in a headcollar). The reason we chose (with Joy's backing) to place Eclipse in headcollar was because he does have some fear/anxiety issues. Since he arrived he's been fearful of people showing up where he wasn't expecting them to be. Even more noticeably, though, he's very afraid of, and stressed about dogs behind fences. Doesn't matter if they're silently watching him, running the fence, barking where he can see them, or barking where he can't, he gets extremely stressed and anxious. Before we tried giving him a high value treat while the dogs were around (wasn't interested). We tried sitting and letting him see the dogs weren't going to get him (no matter how long we sat there, the anxiety didn't leave). We tried just continuing to walk (had no affect, he wanted to get away). Along with whatever else we could think of. However, we've already seen some improvement with the gentle leader and as the weather warms up and we can walk more we hope to see even more improvement in this area.
Why do we use the gentle leader in public?
We use the gentle leader in public, not so much for fear, but for stress control. Eclipse does show some signs of stress in public. Although seemingly relaxed his head never stops moving, wanting to see what everyone around him is doing. He does tend to lay down once we stop, perhaps a sign of him trying to "escape" all the stimulus around him. Hopefully the gentle leader will help him relax in public and allow him to rely on us more.
We will keep you updated on his progress. And yes, there's a reason the posts about Eclipse's fear/stress issues are on the private blog, not the public one.
Ally & Alex w/ Eclipse, Elly, Teddy & Kira