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Gentle Leader Head Collar Suppresses End-stage Tail Chasing

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 8:48:45 AM EST by Cam Day

Gentle Leader Head Collar Suppresses End-stage Tail Chasing

I would like to share with you an interesting finding about end-stage tail chasing in English Bull Terriers.

It involves the use of a Gentle Leader Head Collar to suppress, but not cure, the behaviour.

You should view the video of a case below.

English Bull Terriers (i.e. the ‘Roman Nose’ bull terriers) show the worst case tail-chasing with self-mutilation behaviours of all breeds.

In the past they were often regarded as being untreatable but nowadays targeted remedies are very effective.

These dogs often present in a miserable state in a state of extreme duress where their life is driven to chase their tail to the exclusion of any other activity.

Quality of Life score is abysmal and welfare is seriously affected. They need an immediate remedy and the Gentle Leader appears to help in the early stages to improve quality of life and welfare.

I find that they are so driven to chase their tail that holding them by the collar to stop that is very hard – they are just so strong – and the video below shows that clearly. (I was having trouble holding this dog!!)

What about the Gentle Leader?

I have now used this in about three cases of end-stage tail chasing in English Bull Terriers. Not a large number of cases.

In each case it provided IMMEDIATE relief of the tail chasing. It didn’t cure it but suppressed it.

The video below shows:-

1.       The dog’s raw state with profound tail chasing

2.       Placement of the Gentle Leader Head Collar stopped the behaviour immediately

3.       Removal of the Gentle Leader cause immediate resumption of the tail chasing

4.       Placing the collar again created an immediate suppression of the behaviour.

It’s interesting and to be honest I don’t know why it works but it only works if the head-band is quite a tight fit (as recommended by the Gentle Leader manufacturers).

I contacted the owner 7 days later and she reports the dog was 98% cured in 48 hours.

It was a combination of medications that created the change but the Gentle Leader provided immediate relief to allow time for the medications to have their effect.

The Gentle Leader was not needed after 48 hours.

Causes of tail chasing can be many.

It can be compulsive, pain related, or neurogenic in origin and some think it may be seizure activity.

Some can be ‘trained’ not to tail chase (I have never seen that work for English Bull Terriers) using pulsed, reward-based cognitive therapy.  This appears effective some Maltese Terriers and Fox Terriers.

But for the bad cases a careful selection of medications is often needed.

Here’s the video!!!!!

Keep misbehaving but please leave your comments below




Comment by: Karen Higginbottom
Oct 12, 2016 at 10:31 PM
Fascinating Cam! Thanks for sharing. Deserves a paper for publication (if you could only find the time)!
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