I just have to write a review on the head training collar for dogs. My oldest pup Ellie is just at a year old. A high energy sporting dog that has the retrieving fever, she gets so excited when we go to walk that she jumps, pulls and just carries on for the first couple of minutes of the walk. So much that I have avoided trying to take both her and seven month old Otis out together. We cannot have ‘big adventures’ when everyone has to go out on individual walks. Not being an expert I need all the help I can get on how to train a dog and training dog collars have helped.
So I searched for a possible collar training solution. I am very against any training device that would deliver pain such as a prong collar or electronic devices. There are a couple of training collars that seem to grab the attention of the dog without delivering pain for aversion. One of these is the head collar.
There are several makers / designers of these types of training dog collars. The Halti is the original and was invented by Dr. Mugford, an animal psychologist from England. The design was inspired by the fact that Dr. Mugford is a horseman which utilizes head collars to control animals much larger than him. Having back problems as well, Dr. Mugford experimented with different designs until he came up with the first Halti to allow him to control his Irish wolfhound.
That was over 25 years ago and very little has changed in the initial design. The different makes all have little design changes that make there’s unique but the working design on all are about the same. There is a loop that goes over the dog’s nose that threads through another piece that fits around the back of the dog’s neck in the ear area. The leash connects with the loop at the lower end, under the chin. As you walk and the dog starts to pull the loop gently tightens around the nose and turns the dog’s head to the side. The head turning action is unnatural to a dog and it makes the dog look at you. In order to avoid having their head turned to the side the dog soon learns that walking by your side at an equal pace is the best course of action. The loop around the nose is loose and does not restrict your dog from drinking water, breathing or even carrying a ball.
Note: you will not do corrections with this halter as you would with normal dog leash training. Never use jerking moves with the head collar, a gentle pull is all that is needed.
You need to put in some collar training before you attempt to walk. A couple of sessions when you put your hand through the loop, as you were going to put the collar on the dog, and have a treat in hand. Continue this until you can drape the loop over their nose and then take it off. I think no matter how long you work on getting them used to this your dog will still try to get this off of their nose. Persistence is the key and I will tell you it does not take long before your dog is responding to the design. Three walking sessions was all it took for Ellie to get used to it. Now she still does not like it but it is a training device and I hope to gradually take her off of it. I read of people using this all the time but I think that any training aid can become a crutch and should be used as intended; for dog collar training.
For us the head training dog collar is a very usable training tool to get a very rowdy dog under control. It is a step in getting to a regular loose, leash walking technique. As long as you persist with using it and not give into your dog acting like it’s the worst thing you’ve ever put on them you will see results quickly. The one downfall of the design is it may not be the best solution for dogs with short snouts. There are similar designs done in a harness form that would be better for these breeds.
The Halti is the one I bought and use. It had some features that I liked which include a padded nose strap and an addition snap lock link that goes between the o-ring you hook the leash into and the regular collar. This later feature gives extra protection in case your dog slips out of the collar. All of the makers are in the fifteen to twenty five dollar range. The head collar gives us owners an easy and gentle way to bring under control those high spirited pups on our walks. Remember to use plenty of positive reinforcement when they are walking as you like them too and you will soon have one of those dogs that people say “how did you train that dog to walk so well on a leash.” I look forward to that time with both of these puppies I have.