Your Thoughts on Headcollars

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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I am Fearless
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 11:09am PST 
Was wondering what everyone thinks of headcollars? I have a gentle lead headcollar in Mozart's size and I also have a freedom dog harness we have used the harness and it does help to redirect him when he goes crazy trying to meet other dogs but it does not help with his jumping. I know the jumping is 100% my fault since I have encouraged it. But I need something that can help with jumping on people he meets and also he will start to whine and sometimes bark. Does it sound like the gentle leader headcollar could work for that along with clicker training? I have tried it on him using chicken and have used it in the yard once for a training session and it seemed to work very wellway to go But I have not used it on a walk or outside of the yard yet and have some questions.

Since mozart is small 10 lbs would it be best to attach it to his harness and the headcollar? (I have a double dog leashes with two clips)

How long will it take for Mozart to accept the headcollar and not try to paw it off?

Are headcollars bad for small dogs because of the chance of collapsing trachea?

I wanted to say I am not looking for a miracle prouduct I will put the time and training in with it just looking for something to help me and maybe calm Mozart down especially in public he just wants to meet everybody every dog.

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 11:38am PST 
I have never used them, and probably never will. But I feel like if he went to jump on someone and didn't have enough slack in his lead, you could seriously damage his neck. But, I honestly do now know how they work.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 12:19pm PST 
Headcollars ideally should be used with TWO leads connected. One to the headcollar itself, the other to the dog's collar or harness. So you don't get any of these neck injuries that can sometimes occur because you have your usual amount of control as you would normally. I know not everyone uses them in this way, and i know not every headcollar manufacturer even recommends you do so, but i find it safer and more effective in this way. I used a Halti on Ty this way when he was a younger dog and had no problems.


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 12:30pm PST 
Ty is absolutely correct. It takes a bit of practice to figure it out but there should never be enough slack in the lead on the head collar to allow the dog to twist its neck.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 12:51pm PST 
Ty is bang on. I actually go the extra mile and attach the headcollar/halti to the collar itself too. I feel it's safer this way too and depending on the dog may combine a harness with an additional leash. I just use a small key-chain carabiner clip to attach the halti to the collar and I find this helps with safety, as well as the additional leash too.

HOWEVER, I WOULD NOT use this to keep a dog from jumping. Halti's CAN damage a dogs neck if not used properly and on such a small dog, I would not recommend using one at all. Have you tried something like an easy-walk harness to aid you in his jumping? I will ONLY use a halti to aid me with training loose leash walking or to give me more control of an unruly dog(dependent on dog because some can get so carried away bouncing around they could, again injure their neck!).

Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 1:49pm PST 
They're easier to misuse than just about any training tool barring maybe e-collars. I have *never* seen one used correctly in real life, ever.

Anecdotally, I actually had a dog-festival thing yesterday and a woman was asking about getting her dog to sit. This poor Aussie was in a headcollar and she would jerk the halti backwards torquing this dogs neck and the dog would just back up because obviously she was inadvertently ripping his neck around. I took the leash, told her never to do that again because she was really hurting him and to really watch what she was doing with the head-collar and showed her how to sit without the leash at all. Nice dog, I hope she gets rid of the halti all together because the dog really doesn't need it and she was never shown how to use it correctly.

Unfortunately a lot of dogs won't tolerate them either which is just as well since the less accepting the dog the more likely injury is to occur.

I'd rather see a no-pull or a front-clip harness on a dog than a halti most of the time, and preferably a prong if pulling is the main issue. But like everything else, a tool is only as effective or dangerous as the person wielding it.

As for the jumping issues, my favorite way to fix it is to send the dog to a climb/place command and just avoid the issue all together. People inadvertently reward jumping all the time. Zephyr is a terrible jumper right now because two of my friends pet her when she does it.

Edited by author Sun Dec 2, '12 1:52pm PST


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 1:59pm PST 
I don't care for head halters at all. Too much potential for damage to the dog if misused (which as pointed out, they often are).

A properly fitted front-clip harness, IMO, is best for managing dogs on walks.

Many dogs quickly learn to flip into that oppositional reflex when pressure is applied to the neck or head... and with the neck specifically, adding pressure can actually INCREASE the dog's drive and desire to want to pull forward. Head collars, prongs, and even regular flat-buckles are all capable of producing this, which is why if I had to pick I'd rather go with the chest collar, as I feel it is the least arousing to the dog.

Ideally, of course, you just teach your dog proper heeling or loose lead walking.

Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 2:40pm PST 
I used a halti to help train Buster to stop pulling, I spent half an hour with a trainer using be a tree didn't work, put the halti on him same method and he was walking perfectly within a few minutes. But they can do damage to the neck if the dog pulls too hard or you pull on it, the same as any regular collar or choke or prong. I would rather use a no pull harness if I had a serious puller until they were taught to walk on a lead.

It might be dangerous if he's jumping up and yanking on it I would stick with the harness.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 5:20pm PST 
I am not a fan of head collars personally. I have certainly seen them used well, but most dogs find them aversive, they take a while to condition and I believe they have the potential to cause physical injury, so I avoid them.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 11:04pm PST 
I have tried a gentle leader and whilst they can produce a beautiful loose leash walk without any real effort, I would never, ever use one in a crowded place with a dog who lunges. With the required tightness of the head strap, the possibility for injury is very obvious.

Jackson wags his tail when I bring out his martingale, and appears appalled when mister leader comes out ... it's really enough for me. He has been correctly conditioned to it, wears it without pawing or drama, but he really does not like it. His tail sits low when we walk. I only use it late at night to practice heel work in our street. After the focus training we did in it, he did much better in his back clip harness, my favourite tool, and we rarely play around with it now.

They need to be used correctly, and with two leads if out and about, as Tyler says. I only used one lead for training but two are really essential for any serious outside world work.
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