What Collar is Right for Your German Shepherd?


The Best breeders of German shepherds in Toronto and Ontario agree that there is no dog training collar that is right for every dog. Every dog is different, and every owner is different. What works for my German shepherd puppy is not necessarily going to work for your GSD dog. Shock collars, choke collars, pinch collars, buckle collars, Gentle Leaders, Haltis, anti-pull harnesses and martingale collars all work well for certain dogs.
All GSD puppliesogs respond well to a strong, fun leader and trainer who uses positive reinforcement along with corrections. The two collars I will focus on are the Gentle Leader and the pinch (prong) collar because they are the two that I am most asked about


The Gentle Leader is marketed as a gentle option to be worn over a dog’s muzzle, similar to a horse halter and is supposed to prevent pulling because the dog handler controls the dog’s head.


The Gentle Leader helps the dog calm down

This is a good tool to use when I am intended to walk me dog. With some dogs, owners can just slap a head collar on and the dog suddenly walks nicely on leash, including around distractions that the dog would have barked and lunged at in the past. The Gentle Leader stops a dog from getting excited, panting, making “choking” sounds and causing other dogs to get very agitated as well.

Head halters attached to leashes allow you to give gentle corrections

Head halters are tools designed to help you control your dog by guiding its head. An animal tends to go where its head goes. So, if the dog wants to pull on the leash and its head can’t move, it can’t pull you so well. If the dog wants to head in one direction and you want to go in another, gently (but not daintily) guide its head in the direction you want to lead the animal.

Gentle leaders seldom cause injury:

Because of the neck strength of dogs, few cases of injury due to head collars have been proven or medically documented. However, veterinary documented injuries caused or exacerbated by choke chain corrections and electronic collars are easy to find.

You can train dogs to love the Gentle Leader

Pair the head collar with food and systematically train the dog to stick its head further and further through over several sessions if your dog dislikes wearing something on his head.

A Gentle Leader collar can assist owners who have difficulty with timing and speed in training

Because the owners are able to guide the head, they can more easily get their dogs’ attention. The use of a head collar can greatly speed up the process of training dogs to focus on their owners and even help control anxious dogs so that they can calm down enough to focus and take treats.


The Gentle Leader puts too much pressure on a dog’s nose and eyes

Any collar can be dangerous if the dog pulls for an extended period of time. The Gentle Leader is not a safe tool for extreme pullers. When a dog pulls very hard for an extended period of time, the thin piece of nylon over his nose begins to put way too much pressure on him. When a dog pulls very hard, the Gentle Leader will slip to the side and put pressure on the dog’s face and under his eyes. (the Halti is a similar tool to the Gentle Leader, but it doesn’t seem to put the same amount of pressure on a dog’s nose or eyes. It also has a safety strap that connects to the dog’s normal collar just in case he slips out of it)

The Gentle Leader does not teach a dog to stop pulling

Dogs learn not to pull only as long as they are wearing the tool, but as soon as you remove the Gentle Leader, they go right back to pulling. This defeats the purpose of a dog training tool. Your ultimate goal is of course to achieve reliable obedience with no leash. And some dogs really put up a protest, pawing at their nose and rubbing their face on the ground in an attempt to get the Gentle Leader off. The best thing to do is just ignore this behavior and continue on with the walk, but it’s not always easy to deal with a bucking, rearing, 80-pound dog.

Dogs object to the Gentle Leader

Most dogs do not have any issues with a pinch collar, but a lot of dogs do not like having something over their nose. Many dogs shut down, cower and put their tail between their legs at the sight of their Gentle Leader. Even though the dog knows we go for a walk every time you put on the Gentle Leader, the do will still avoids you every time you get it out.

You can’t give a dog a leash correction while it’s wearing a Gentle Leader

The Gentle Leader is not designed for corrections in situations such as when he thinks about greeting another dog. The pinch collar is a good choice in this situation for the safety of yourself, my dog and others


A pinch (prong) collar is usually made out of metal and has prongs distributed evenly around the collar. It should be worn high on the dog’s neck, right under his chin and behind his ears. When the dog pulls, the owner gives a slight “correction” by pulling up or to the side.


The pinch collar allows you to give the dog a correction.

There is not only a “positive reinforcement only” approach to dog training. Dogs growl and bite and pin one another all the time. If your dog is focused on a smell or another dog during a walk, all he needs is a quick tug on the leash to re-direct his attention.

The pinch collar will help teach a dog not to pull

The pinch collar fits around a dog’s neck like a normal, nylon collar that will allow the dog to transition the dog from the pinch collar to a nylon collar.


Sometimes the links on the pinch collar break apart

A pinch collars can come apart because of bent prongs

The pinch collar gets caught in long hair

The pinch collar doesn’t work as well over thick fur and works better on very short fur

The pinch collar can hurt a dog if it is not used properly

It is very easy to give overly aggressive corrections with the pinch collar. If experiencing frustration with a dog you may give harsh corrections and cause fear or pain

The pinch collar is not put on correctly

The pinch collar is designed to be worn high on the dog’s neck, right behind the ears and under the chin. If the pinch collar is worn on the thickest part of the dog’s neck, it will be too easy to pull. The pinch collar should be used as a tool to prevent pulling, not to make the pulling more comfortable for the human.

Sensitive dogs might overreact to a pinch collar

Some dogs are so sensitive that any correction scares them. Some dogs react aggressively by biting the leash due to a low-frustration tolerance.