When it comes to heel work, the majority of the time Alfie can be wonderful, there is nothing more rewarding than walking along with your best friend pottering along at your side, taking the occasion glance up making sure that he is still in sync with you. There still was a handful of occasions where he just could not contain his excitement and that dreamy stroll side by side turned into somewhat of a nightmare with me heading in one direction and Alf in another.
I was recently asked by Gencon to try their All-in-One head collar, and to my surprise my cool calm and collected spaniel was back.. I was amazed! We have been putting it through it’s paces over the past two months, it really is a game changer.
I will only ever use positive training methods when training and this is exactly that, it is force free and gentle – It works by applying gentle pressure to your dog, when they pull the lead will tighten your dog will then back off from this. This pressure is controlled by the dog there is no need for you to move or jerk the lead, your dog will learn that if he pulls it tightens and releases when he is back in position, this releasing action is a form of positive reinforcement.
The Gencon All-in-One is simple and easy to fit on any dog of any size, to fit you simply loosen off the figure of eight then with the cross over under your dogs chin you place it over their head and slip the nose piece over the nose and gently tighten it so it fits your dog. Do not forget the pull the plastic stopper down to secure (this should be about an inch from your dogs ear) – Make sure the head collar is not too tight, you need it secure but it also needs to be comfortable!
|– Gencon stands for Gentle Control –|
How I use the Gencon All-in-One…
The Gencon All-in-One can be used in a number of ways: as your day to day lead, for extra control in busy places, to calm a anxious, aggressive or boisterous dog or as a training aid. I used it as a training aid with the aim that Alfie would walk to heel on and off the lead. I introduced the lead slowly, Some people would argue that you should just put it on and let them get on with it, but I wanted to keep the whole experience a positive one! It was important for Alfie to understand it and also learn from it.
I recommend introducing your dog to the Gencon All-in-One head collar at home to start with as some dogs may not have experienced this sensation before, so it’s best to start somewhere they feel safe and where distractions will be minimal, so they can just get used to having the head collar on… It is completely normal for your dog not to be a great fan on the head collar at first, thy may paw and try and get it off – It’s only natural! I combined the head collar alongside clicker training, so when Alfie accepted the head collar (no reaction to having it on) I would click and treat.. Remember not to react to them if they are trying to get it off, just act normally only respond to the positive behaviour.
Give your dog a couple of days repeating wearing the head collar in the house then adventure out onto the streets, I do recommend using it in short bursts at first and then building it up. If they are still not 100% sure you can also use a collar and lead… More so for your piece of mind that you have that extra bit of security. Again the clicker plays crucial part in our training, walk along the road and when your dog is in the desired position (I like Alf close to my left leg) click and treat, if your dog gets too far in front or pulls so the pressure is applied just stop and the lead will bring your dog to a halt, then encourage them back to desired position… In this instance I would not reward him for being back in position, as this is a correction, I also introduce my verbal command. I simply tap my thigh and say “Here”, you can use any word that you like as long as you are consistent with it. With repetition your dog will learn where they are supposed to be walking. Like anything you need to keep up with the training… By letting your dog pull for just one walk can undo hours of work.
The All-in-One really has done wonders to our heel work, Alf will now walk to heel on and off the lead. Now I only use it in situations where gets anxious, just for that extra bit of security for him or when someone else walks him – The little brat only responds well to me, so this reinforces the training even though i am not there.