Invention at Play





Inventors’ Stories
Back to Inventors’ Stories




Ruth Foster, Coinventor of the Gentle Leader® Dog Collar
 1 2 >





Ruth Foster with a German Shepard


Ruth Foster with a German Shepard



More Photography:


Dog pulling against a traditional collar
Dog pulling against a traditional collar


Dog responding to the Gentle Leader®
Dog responding to the Gentle Leader®


Ruth Foster, coinventor R.K. Anderson, and a dog wearing the Gentle Leader®
Ruth Foster, Coinventor R.K. Anderson, and a dog wearing the Gentle Leader®









Coinventor of the Gentle Leader® Dog Collar

As a dog trainer, Ruth Foster wanted to design a dog collar that would control dogs without choking them like traditional collars often do. Foster and R. K. Anderson, a veterinarian at the University of Minnesota, developed a collar that works with dogs’s natural behavior rather than against it.

Foster started training dogs in 1958. She specializes in training dogs to work with people who face physical and mental challenges. At a dog-obedience conference in the 1980s, Foster and Anderson watched one dog walk in wearing several different metal collars that choked the animal. It wasn’t the first time they’d seen dogs restrained by collars that choked them. They thought there must be a better way to control dogs.

When a regular collar pulls back on a dog, the dog’s instinct tells it to pull forward. Even if the collar hurts the dog’s throat, nature has hard-wired the dog to keep pulling against it.

Foster and Anderson wondered if they could develop a halter for dogs similar to the ones used to lead horses, cows, and sheep, that don’t put any pressure around the animals’ throats.

“Our collar puts pressure around the back and top of the dog’s neck instead of putting pressure on the front of the throat like traditional collars.”

Next: Taking Cues from Nature ›





skip navigation

Email Telephone


Telephone

Email this to a friend!
Make a virtual phone call to your friends and help them learn about Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone!

send to friends




National Museum of American History, Behring Center Invention Playhouse Inventors’ Stories Does play Matter? Exhibit Info Resources Contact Us Site Map Site Credits Lemelson Center