Gentle Leader Dog Leash — Potential Health Risks

The gentle leader dog leash has gained great popularity among dog trainers and dog owners alike because it allows them to control even very rambunctious dogs.  Moreover, this type of dog leash is praised for being very gentle and harmless.  Not so, for a number of reasons.

  • The leash isn’t adjusted well to accommodate the dog’s head anatomy.
  • The leash is worn for too long a period at a time.
  • The leash is used inappropriately.
  • The dog has neck and head issues not known to the dog trainer or owner, or even the veterinarian.
  • Although the leash is meant primarily to assist in the training of the dog, it is used as a regular leash for everyday walks because the owner doesn’t know how to control the dog any other way.
  • The dog will bolt from a loud noise, charge after another animal, or jump up to greet a person, regardless of whether it is wearing the gentle leader dog leash, or any other type of leash.  This sudden movement causes to leash to cut into the soft tissue and to potentially misalign the facial bones.

The Gentle Leader Dog Leash May Adversely Affect Your Dog’s Quality Of Life.

All these reasons may lead over time to serious misalignment of the facial and head bones with consequences such as headaches, blurry vision, reduced hearing, impaired swallowing, difficulty breathing, problems with chewing food, behavioral problems, altered mood, and so forth.

As in humans, the cranial (head) and facial bones remain mobile along their sutures (where they connect) until death (Wm. Sutherland’s discovery).  Consequently, trauma to the head or spine, especially the neck, may cause these bones to shift and lock into an off position resulting in such symptoms as mentioned above.

Partially Locked Up Cranial Or Facial Bones May Cause The Cranial Nerves To Malfunction.

These symptoms are a sign that the cranial nerves that govern the eyes, ears, nose, and throat have been tweaked, stretched, distorted, or compressed by these shifting bones.  Sometimes, the symptoms will be temporary as the bones readjust back into their normal position, but often they become permanent because the bones remain locked in this off position.

One of these cranial nerves, the vagus nerve, travels beyond the throat into the thorax to innervate the heart, lungs, and digestive organs.  The vagus nerve also supports swallowing and voice production.   Thus, distortion of this nerve anywhere along its path may result in difficulty with swallowing, barking, breathing, maintaining a regular heart beat, and digestion.

All body functions start in the brain.   The cranial nerves are direct extensions to the brain, and thus relay information from the brain to the rest of the body, and information from the body back to the brain.  Trauma, whether acute or chronic, may interfere with this communication and manifest in the symptoms above, ultimately affecting the dog’s mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being.

Any leash, no matter how gentle, has the potential to do damage to these nerves.  A dog trained gently and well, will not need the many tugs on the leash since it will be much more sensitive to its owner.

In the summer of 2012, one of the major TV channels aired a six-part series on how to help dog owners correct the difficulties they were experiencing with their beloved dogs.  Often, this required various changes in the way the owners of the dogs behaved themselves and interacted with their dogs.  Dogs are exquisitely attuned to those around them and will mimic and respond to their moods and behaviors.

Justin Silver, the dog trainer and star of this TV Series “Dogs In The City”, demonstrates how some very simple adjustments in the environment of the dog and the behavior of their owners produce remarkable results in the behavior of these dogs.

Less Is More definitely applies to the training of dogs.  Gentle and consistent work with animals will safely get results that last.

Craniosacral Therapy Helps With The Realignment Of The Cranial And Facial Bones.

Often, a ridge will form across the bridge of the nose, indicating that scar tissue is forming under the skin.  This scar tissue is a direct result of chronic irritation from wearing the gentle leader dog leash.  This is no minor issue.  Where there is scarring, there’s restriction of the tissue surrounding this scar, as well as the underlying structures such as the bones.

Craniosacral therapy can help the animal’s body to release tension in the connective tissue that keeps the cranial and facial bones locked up and help the dog to become more at ease in its body and with its environment.  Often, the dog’s temperament will become more balanced and calm, allowing training to be more successful with less effort.