Head collars

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
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Red
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Head collars

Postby Red » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:49 pm

I'd like to talk about them, since there is a lot of misconception around this tool.
Just like any other tool it can be abused, used incorrectly and end up being useless.
A head collar mainly means physical control and by itself does not train a dog.People train dogs, regardless the tool they chose.I have used head collars for years and found them useful when it comes to physical control.They don't cause pain nor unbearable discomfort, but they can safely restrain an animal without much struggling.
Here is some basic info for those who might be interested in trying a head collar.

I prefer the Halti to a Gentle Leader or any other head collar because, in my opinion, it harnesses the muzzle much better.It also has a security device on it, which is a nylon attachment that goes from the Halti to the D-ring of a regular collar a dog must wear.If the head collar comes off the dog is still connected to the leash.The Halti has to be put on and well adjusted, on the dog's muzzle and neck, behind the ears.It cannot be too loose nor too tight.I sew in some felt padding on mine, on top of the muzzle and on the sides so it is softer on the dog's skin.
Here is what it looks like:

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The introduction part is important and each dog reacts differently.There can be an initial moment when a dog attempts to take the head collar off, by pawing it or rubbing the head on the ground.Some dogs might even roll on the floor or buck.That is where people state the dog was just not having it and give up.It is something new on the muzzle, and it takes some time for the dog to adjust to it.If there is a strong reaction never correct the animal, yell or yank on the leash.Absolutely a no-no.
If the dog is down, help him by lifting his body up from underneath the chest, or by the collar.When up distract him with food, a toy, your voice, or whatever the dog might be interested in.Don't just wait for the dog to fight it with all he has, and then realize it cannot take it off.You don't want a paw stuck in it or scare the animal.
Some people do weeks of introduction.They have the dog sniff it, put it on later and leave it on in the house.Generally I do about 3 short sessions before take a dog out of the house, unless there are major problems.It depends on the dog, at the end.Certainly, if he is fighting it in the home it would make no sense to go somewhere else.

The head collar goes on and an immediate reward follows.If you have a head or ear sensitive dog let him check out the collar, by holding it in front of him.Mark each movement the dog makes toward the collar."Good job! That's a new collar, it is nice!" (in a happy tone of voice).When the dog touches it with his nose praise and take it away.Then see if you can slip it around the nose, then all the way up.Slowly, and mark and treat the absence of avoidance (like stepping back or turning the head away).When it is finally on a treat by the nose might help the dog to focus on what you have, and not what is on his muzzle.Be generous with words of encouragement and keep it positive, no matter what the first response is.
Most likely the dog will take a few steps and realize something is putting pressure on the muzzle.That is when there is the strongest reaction.If the dog pulls back and struggle keep you hand where it is, till he relaxes.Monitor the intensity of the struggle and prevent unnecessary unpleasant moments.When the dog relaxes he needs to be praised big time.He dog just "gave in" and the pressure is gone.A soft hand is needed.No yanking, no pulling, nothing.Allow the dog to figure out how to move in order for the pressure to be released.
If your dog takes it well and walk with you without pulling introduce some pressure yourself.The reason is that you still want the dog to know what to do when if he pulls against the leash later.At one point this will happen.
A finger can be just enough pressure, while waiting for a head turn or a step toward you.Always a gentle hand, you are looking for a response to light tension of the leash.

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When the dog is comfortable and relaxed do some walking at home.In the house and in the yard.When there are good responses there, you can start going out in the street.It is best to use a short leash.When a dog wears a head collar it means that he has to stay by your side.Not necessarily a perfect heeling, but by your side.The head collar is not for those walks where you talk on the cellphone, the dog walks ahead of you and then hits the end of a 6 foot leash, because he saw a squirrel.That is when injuries can happen.If you still want to use a 6 foot leash shorten it up.The leash below is not a traffic lead (which can be too short depending on how tall your dog is) nor a 6 foot leash.I use that one when I start a dog on a head collar.Then a 6 foot leash when I feel the dog is more reliable.In any case, a leash can be shorten up quickly if the need arise.

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Even though the dog has to be by your side it does not mean the walk has to be a constant drill.I want my dogs to be able to look at things, granted they don't act up, and unless I ask for eye contact.The head collar is only there for those situations where they might think to pull some poop.Mostly around other dogs.The goal is to walk with some slack on the leash, so plenty of work still has to be done.I often see dogs with head collars and traffic leashes who can't even move their heads away from the owner's knee.That should not happen, just like it isn't reasonable to have the dog walk three feet in front of us, while wearing a head collar.

Possibly don't get into the habit to pull on that leash each time your dog is not doing what you want him to.Motivate the dog rather than relying on a tool.
Redirect him before applying any tension.Or even use you body to send the dog in the right track.On the picture below Jack is about to go off at another dog.He moved his rear out of the heeling position, because he is trying to cross in front of me so he can face the other dog.You can see his body language clearly.My left leg to block his chest and a loud no reward marker was enough to interrupt the behavior.The less tension we communicate trough the leash the better it is.Especially during arousal time.


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Remember that head collars are not for corrections.If you think to pop a correction with it then you are looking into the wrong tool.
"But dogs correct each other grabbing the muzzle". .. yeah, but you are not a dog and the head collar is not a dog's mouth.I have seen people popping correction with head collars and it is very stupid, on top of being unsafe.No wonder these dogs don't seem to take the head collar so well.
Some folks state that head collars "brake a dog's spirit" and make dogs "miserable".Not in my experience, both with my own dogs and other people dogs.If a dog is miserable because he is wearing a head collar there is most likely something else wrong.
Point in case is Captain Tardo, who is a very difficult dog, due to his fearfulness.Everything can be a problem for him.Yet, he has learned to wear a head collar comfortably.I introduced the halti to him only a couple of weeks ago, since I started using the environment of an obedience class for some work with him.

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I spoke with Concreterose a bit, since she had decided to use a head collar with Solomon.Hopefully she can share her experience so far.

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Postby Savage Destiny » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:01 pm

Great post! I agree with pretty much everything you said.

I do however greatly dislike Haltis. We used to use them at a kennel I worked at instead of Gentle Leaders because they were cheaper- and it SHOWED. I can't tell you how many of those things broke on us, especially the little "safety attachment".

I use the Gentle Leader for Riddle and any other dog I put a headcollar on- never had breakage.

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Postby turtle » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:19 am

I don't agree with using a "head halter" type device. Those are more suited to horses than to dogs, and if used incorrectly can injure the dog's neck.

They also look like muzzles to the general public, thus reinforcing the stereotype that pit bulls are vicious and have to be muzzled.

Here is an excellent article by trainer and behaviorist Suzanne Clothier about head halters and their disadvantages:

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http://www.flyingdogpress.com/headhalters.html

THE PROBLEM WITH HEAD HALTERS
by Suzanne Clothier

Before reading this article, please understand the basic concept presented: Head halters, like ALL training equipment, need to be used carefully. Why readers are sometimes violently angry with me over this concept is beyond me - all I'm pointing to are potential problems that need to be taken into consideration. If you like head halters and they work for you, great! But like all training equipment, they are NOT appropriate for every dog. Humane trainers need to be aware of and carefully consider the ramifications of any training equipment.

Past that, here's the REAL message: NO training equipment can substitute for a strong, mutually respectful relationship. Pulling on lead is NOT respectful, and points to underlying problems in the relationship which need resolution. Halters or any other piece of equipment might be important crutches to lean on while resolving the real problem - pulling is just a symptom of that real problem. Pay attention to trainers like Turid Rugaas, and realize that it is the relationship, not the training equipment, that allows you to gain the dog's voluntary cooperation.

To answer a question many ask, "What is your preferred training equipment?" My answer is always this: A respectful, committed relationship built on trust, mutual respect, attentiveness and empathy, backed up with a buckle collar or martingale collar and a leash to keep your dog safe. Anything else is a band-aid or a crutch that may have to be used for a while as we work toward that kind of relationship.

Read carefully!

Going against the tide of popular opinion, I have to say I am not a big fan of head halters of any design although I have used them with success, just as I have used prong collars, various no-pull harnesses, choke collars, buckle collars, martingales and even electronic collars. I consider head halters an equipment choice of last resort for several reasons: resistance, psychological impact and physical considerations. Having said that, let me state very, very clearly that head halters are like any other piece of equipment - they are an option which may or may not be used, according to the individual dog and the situation. And like any training equipment, halters must be used with care and with complete awareness of the possible effects on the dog (physically, mentally & emotionally).

My approach to dog training seeks to engage the dog as a willing partner. In my actions, words and choice of training equipment, I try to avoid anything that will create resistance in the dog. Resistance often springs from fear, discomfort, distrust and defensiveness - none of these are states of mind I want in a dog. Resistance is hardly conducive to learning, and is not supportive of the relationship between dog and human. I view resistance as communication, and in my mind, communication from the dog must be respected and listened to. Where I find resistance, I need to find another way. Head halters, in my experience, frequently do create resistance.

I remember teaching a seminar with a TTEAM instructor (the TTEAM folks, for whom I have great respect, are big on the halters) and she was working with a pretty exuberant Siberian who had no respect whatsoever for his handler, and pulled wildly wherever he wanted to go. This instructor decided to use a head halter, and asked me what I thought. I had a pretty good idea how this dog was going to respond, but I just smiled and told her to go ahead and try it. For 10 or so minutes, she prepared the dog in little steps for the halter, but when she finally put it on, he absolutely exploded, clawing at his face as he tried to remove the darn thing. This is a very skilled trainer who used the halter "correctly" (i.e, fitted it properly, prepared the dog, had a buckle collar and another leash as well as the head halter) but nonetheless, it was a very poor choice for this dog. All it created was even more resistance to working with people (he had that already!) and it undermined his trust of the person who put it on him.

We removed the head halter, put on a prong collar, and within moments, the dog was happily working with a wagging tail and attentiveness without any resistance, a much different picture than the dog who had tuned us all out as he fought to get the halter off. What he really needed/wanted were clear signals that he could understand. (And by clarity, I do not mean pain. I use leashes and collars in soft, subtle ways. If a prong collar is used, it is fitted midway on the dog's neck, the leash hooked to BOTH rings so there is no tightening, and the dog is never allowed to "correct" himself by hitting the lead at speed. With such use of the equipment, often nothing more than just fingertip pulses on the lead are effective signals.)

From a psychological point of view, even if the halter does not create much fighting and resistance (I've seen some dogs only mildly fuss before resigning themselves to it), it can have an unpleasant effect on the dog overall. At a clicker seminar a few years ago, I watched a well known trainer work with a lovely little Lab bitch. Enthusiastic and happy, she came charging into the seminar room, towing her hapless owner. The poor dog had been chosen for this demo because she pulled. (Side note: dogs only pull on lead. I have never seen a dog pulling off leash - ever! It takes two to play the pulling game, and perhaps what we need to invent are ways to correct the handler who makes pulling possible! But at no time did this trainer address the handler or her responsibility in the problem behavior - i.e., pulling.) At any rate, the halter went on, and the change in this dog was awful. From alert, eager and happy, she became a very depressed dog who stood with tail slightly tucked, head lowered and no longer interested in engaging with the trainer. In short, there was an overall suppressive effect similar to that on dogs experiencing non-contingent punishment. This is a good thing?

When I put my hands on an animal, figuratively or literally speaking, I don't want the effect to be a negative. I am not looking to diminish the animal in any way, but rather to guide them, to channel their spirit and mind. I may ask for more self control. I may ask the animal to focus. I may ask the animal to be with me. But none of this is ever done in a way that results in a dog drooping with the light in their eyes extinguished. I'm after a dog who is calm, relaxed, trusting.

The easiest test I know of whether or not the head halter is having an overall suppressive effect on the dog is this: take it off. Does the dog visibly brighten? Does his body posture change? Does the light return to his eyes? I'm not talking about the joy of simply being set free to run and play. I'm talking about the difference between the dog standing there on leash and collar but without the head halter vs. the dog wearing the head halter. If there is a difference, I think the aware trainer has to ask, "Then why am I doing this to this animal?"

There may be valid reasons for using this equipment - such as an owner who has totally lost control of a dog, and the equipment is being used on a temporary basis as remedial training takes place; such as an aggressive animal where there is a serious need to control the dog's ability to bite (some head halters allow you to tighten the muzzle loop and thus close the mouth.) There may not be any good reason for using this equipment except that it's a popular fad, the quick control gained is often viewed as a suitable substitute for real training and a solid relationship. But the question needs to be asked - and answered honestly: Why am I using this head halter on this dog?

I would suggest that many handlers choose halters because it is easier on them, because they can mechanically control a dog that they otherwise could not (due to a lack of training or relationship problems or both). Any training equipment that is used to substitute for training and a solid, healthy relationship is just a crutch. And every piece of training equipment and all the rewards known to mankind can be used as a crutch, whether it's a buckle collar, a head halter, an electric collar, a frisbee or a pocket full of hot dogs. Sometimes crutches are necessary but not as a lifelong solution.

Proponents of the halter claim that it is no different from halters used on horses - a concept in use as long as man has tried to control horses. With 34 years of horsemanship under my belt, I assure the reader that this is simply not true. There is a profound difference in effect and fit. For the horse, the halter sits well down on the long, bony part of the muzzle, far away from the eyes, not just under the edge of his eyes. For many dogs, the halter nose piece comes just under the inside corners of the eyes. I'm not a dog, but I know that this is a sensitive area with many nerves and thin skin on dogs and on most animals. The construction of the canine head does not really loan itself to haltering - thus, for centuries on end, folks have used collars for dogs, reserving halters for animals better suited to it.

As for the (implied beneficial) effect due to stimulation of the acupuncture meridian via the pressure on the dog's face and facial nerves - it might be exactly what an individual dog needs; it also might not be. Acupuncture/acupressure does not equal harmless or guaranteed beneficial. Like any powerful medical treatment, acupuncture is not completely benign. As for the effects of having a point or meridian stimulated, here's a note from an article, "Contraindications and Possible Adverse Effects of Acupuncture" by Vivekan Flint regarding what may occur: "The patient may experience a dull, aching, heavy, numb, sore, or warm sensation around the needle. This is known as "De Qi" to the Chinese." In another study, the second most frequently reported adverse response to acupuncture was "fainting and dizziness." (http://hna.ffh.vic.gov.au/phb/hce/chinese/report/4c.htm) Personally, I will continue to prefer to reserve acupuncture/acupressure for deliberate use, not a side effect of training equipment.

If I have to rely on training equipment to literally provide a sedating effect for a dog, then I'm probably way ahead of myself - that dog is too greatly aroused to be working at that level; his arousal needs to be addressed long before I begin teaching him anything else. Much of the training equipment in existence is needed because the dog is being asked to work in situations where he does not have the skills or the ability to think clearly and behave appropriately. When we work slowly and carefully to keep the dog engaged and thinking, the need for equipment begins to fall away very quickly. If we push the dog (or have never established a solid working relationship with him), we'll need equipment.

In terms of psychological effect, there is another difference between dogs and horses. For the dog, the muzzle area is rich in psychological impact. Dams gently grab errant puppies by the muzzle (or even the entire head, depending on their age), much of the canine greeting ritual is directed at the muzzle (subordinant animals often lick at the muzzle or even gently grab the muzzle of a dominant animal), and quick disciplinary grabs are often directed at the offender's muzzle. Just taking your hand and putting it across the bridge of a dog's nose is a very meaningful communication. Would you try it with a dog you do not know too well? Why not?

There's a very good psychological reason why so many dogs wearing halters look so depressed while horses and cattle don't. Horses and cattle do not use the muzzle or the bridge of the nose in this way. You will not see a mare grab her foal by the muzzle to correct him - she has other ways of communicating with him. The halter is a physical annoyance to the horse, but I've yet to see a horse who was depressed in any way by wearing a halter. The most I've seen in horses or cattle was a reaction to the unaccustomed feel, just as a puppy finds a collar annoying but not depressing.

There are times when the overall suppressive effect created by head halters IS useful, thus the halter's popularity among many behaviorists who are trying to find solutions for difficult behavior cases where the dog/human relationship has gone badly askew. There are times when the ability to direct a dog's head and close his mouth (a feature of some head halters, if not all) is really critical to an owner's ability to safely control a dog with serious problems. In such cases, I do choose a halter for just that reason, and use it with care. Everything has a purpose sooner or later.

On a physical basis, the halter is probably the one piece of training equipment that appalls me most - the potential for injuring the dog is simply too high. I'm not talking about snapping the dog's neck or crushing his trachea - I'm talking about soft tissue damage and damage to the spine, particularly the cervicals. At the APDT conference in both Phoenix and in Memphis, I had the opportunity to spend entire days watching trainers and their dogs walking through the conference facility. Many of these dogs wore head halters, not surprising since APDT attracts many trainers who are interested in humane and positive approaches to training; the head halter is seen as both. What horrified me was the number of people (remember, these are professional trainers and serious dog folks!) who would simply stop at a booth, allowing the dog to drift ahead until he reached the end of the lead and then had his head brought sharply to one side. Watching this repeated over and over again, I began to feel that I was watching people casually moving boats in water - as if the leverage and force made possible by the head halter was little more of impact to the object on the end of the lead than a canoe might experience!

NOTHING in the dog's physical construction or his nervous system prepares him for the force of an unexpected, externally directed, sideways and upward movement of the head while his body is still moving forward (sometimes at considerable speed!). For the horse, the leverage is similar but with key differences: the force is directed sideways and downward, and the muscles of the horse's neck are among the most powerful in his body. There is also a considerable difference in force that can be applied to a 1000 lbs. of horse vs. 25-75 lbs. of dog. Interestingly, when working with young horses, ponies and miniature horses, care must be taken in the use of the halter with allowances made for the height difference - knowledgeable handlers do not apply force upwards and sideways, but turn the animal's head in the same plane as would happen with a larger horse.

I've heard people defend the sideways snapping movement that occurs in the head and neck by pointing out that this is part of being a predator, that dogs who hit the sleeve in agitation work or try to move a sheep or take down a deer experience this same motion but at even greater speeds and with greater force. This is true, but there's an important detail missing in this argument, details that can be found in almost any physiology book. Signals from the brain serve to prepare the body and muscles for the task at hand; roughly described, such signals help the muscles "lock" in preparation for the anticipated impact/force. You've probably experienced this yourself when going up or down stairs. If you've miscalculated and there is one step more or less than you anticipate, you find yourself badly jolted by either stepping into empty space where your brain had anticipated solid floor, or by stepping down and landing hard - your brain had prepared your foot for landing further down on the next stair. This preparation by the brain serves to protect the body. It is what makes rough play and work possible. Dogs happily throwing themselves at each other only rarely hurt themselves or their playmate. Dogs who are blindsided and t-boned unexpectedly are often hurt - nothing in their brain prepared their body for the coming impact. When we see a dog rushing at us in play, our bodies prepare for the impact. When a dog surprises us, we can be hurt - our muscles were not prepared. When working with a head halter, the dog is moving along with his brain and body working on the assumption that he will be proceeding forward. Anytime the halter is used in such a way as to actually turn the dog (unless preparatory signals are given, such as fingertip pulses that in essence "ask" the dog to make the turn), there is no warning to the dog's body. The greater the force used to turn the dog and/or the greater the speed the dog is moving at, the more profound the impact.

Imagine if you were walking along with a similar contraption on your head. What might it feel like if your head was pulled sharply to the side with no warning? What if you were running? It's not hard to imagine how painful that might be. (And think what you like regarding anthropomorphizing - in this case, the anatomical responses are pretty much identical.) There's a good reason that one of football's most severe penalties is reserved for "facemasking" meaning, a player grabs the face mask of another player in motion - severe injuries and even death are possible. Not too surprisingly, in my seminars when I ask proponents of the head collars to put one on themselves and allow me to demonstrate the basic "oops" maneuver that many dogs experience when pulled by their heads, NO ONE has ever volunteered. Not once, though over the years more folks than I can count have willingly put prong collars around their necks and bare arms.

What if you received light signals that asked you to turn that way before a stronger signal came? Your brain would have to time to prepare your body to protect it. But if you were both able and willing to respond to light signals, why would you need a head halter anyhow? Why couldn't someone have taught you to respond to light, soft signals on a buckle collar? Teaching an animal to respond to soft, subtle signals is training, and it requires time, persistence and handling with awareness and skill.

Despite their popularity, head halters, in my opinion, have many drawbacks and offer much potential for pain and discomfort. (I'm not even going to address the long term effects of such insults to the soft tissue of the neck other than to say that the ultimate result of any repeated insult to soft tissue is dysfunction.) In their very application, resistance is often created which simply adds to the problems already at hand which necessitated the halter in the first place! In some situations, head halters might be a suitable choice, but should be viewed as a temporary phase, not a life long solution. Based on what I seek when working with a dog - willing partnership, a calm mind free from resistance, and only the equipment necessary to allow me to communicate clearly and quietly with the dog - there are other choices that work much better for me.

Many trainers find head halters truly useful training tools and feel comfortable with this as a humane choice. This article is not an attempt to condemn head halters as useful training tool. It is an attempt to get trainers and handlers to stop and truly consider the ramifications of using a head halter, be aware of the potential dangers and choose training equipment wisely.

Copyright 2003 by Suzanne Clothier All Rights Reserved

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Postby elegy » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:52 am

i'm on the same page as suzanne clothier.

i have tried head halters on two of my three dogs. luce isn't remotely bothered by it, but she is much harder to control on a head halter when she pops off, because she is like a freaking shark on a hook. even on a short leash, if she lunges and hits the end of it, or the end of the motion of my arm, i am scared for her neck.

mushroom completely shuts down on a head halter. his tail goes between his legs and stays there. he doesn't fight it, but he's miserable. he's a very soft dog, and a head halter is an extremely dominating tool.

the only time i think a head halter is a good choice is when you are dealing with a human-aggressive dog and you absolutely need to be able to control the head and the mouth. that shouldn't be an issue with pit bulls.

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Postby GaiaPup » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:06 am

Thank you very much for that, we have recently started using the Halti on Gaia b/c she is just TOO much of a puller. So much so that my arm/shoulder/back would hurt for days after a simple walk around the block. I used the tree, I tried treats, I tried a martingale, using all of these things for at least 3 wks(martingale) to 2 mths(tree) to no avail. It became so bad that I could not walk her by myself at all :crybaby: . We have just started on the Halti and the difference is amazing. She does try to go a little crazy with rubbing it and taking it off, but only when we are outside, she doesn't act like that at all with it on in the house. Any tips for outside? She is NOT treat motivated outside of the house, so I usually say NO and keep her leash shortened so she cannot pull far away from me. I praise her alot when she is walking how I want her, I am quite happy with it! :peace:

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Postby BabyReba » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:47 am

I am not a fan of head collars myself, but this is certainly a very useful post. If I had this information years ago, when I used the Halti with Reba perhaps I would have had more success with the tool.

She is a stubborn dog, and she learned somehow to get the corner of the Halti into her mouth and she learned to chew the thing off. After going through a couple of Haltis, I gave up on using them since she learned that she could get herself out of one! But maybe if she'd been acclimated to it properly, that wouldn't have happened, I dunno.

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:46 am

V, thanks so much for your post... very good information for those that are using, or thinking of using a halter type of device.

I greatly respect Suzanne Clothier, and her article has many great points...

I believe every dog is individual and what works for one will not work at all for another, so the more tools we have the better. I've been interested in trying a Halti on Betty. I just found out one of my friends and co-owners is using one on her son Indi. They are very similar in temperament so I think she'll do well with it like he is. I'd NEVER put one on Kitty... because I know which effect it would have on her (not good), but I'm certainly going to try one on Betty when I have a chance.

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Postby concreterose » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:54 am

I have been using a Halti with Solomon for the past couple weeks, and it definitely makes it easier to get his attention on me when he is distracted by another dog (most of the time LOL). I have found that with the Halti vs. the prong collar, when he is wearing the Halti and I guide him around to stop him from alerting on another dog, he is much more willing to give me eye contact vs. when he is on a flat collar or prong collar. Granted as his trainer, this lets me know that I need to work with him more on connecting with me when he is getting aroused, but it is a slow process with him as he gets fired up FAST, and sees dogs that get him going WAY before I do...and I am good at spotting potential problems before my dogs most of the time.

The only thing that I have been struggling with the Halti with is that he CAN slip it with a couple of fast hard snaps of his head as his muzzle is short. I have stitched a couple tucks on either side, but if he snaps his head just right, he can still get it off. Thank God for the safety lead. However, this is my only complaint about it.

He is fine with putting it on and walking with it, and I haven't gotten any negative comments about it...I have had a couple people ask me why I am muzzling him (they know he is friendly), and I just explain to them what it is. I haven't had anybody crossing the street or shying away from him because of the collar, but I probably wouldn't care anyway.

As far as Suzanne Clothier's article, I read it years ago, and it was one of the main reasons that I didn't try a using a head collar with Vicki. However, after doing more research, and talking to people that had successfully used one, I decided to try one with Solomon since it is so hard to get him focused on a regular collar when he is aroused. His spirit is not broken in any way, he looks at it as another piece of equipment.I think that every dog is different, some dogs shut down with prong collars, some dogs shut down with too harsh of a verbal correction, etc. Some dogs like my crazy Vicki don't shut down with too much of any kind of correction. As I said before, I also haven't gotten any negative comments about him being a pit bull wearing a muzzle, the people that DID think it was a muzzle weren't scared of him at all, and he got the same rubs and love as he does when he wears a flat collar.

I would also like to thank Red for helping me out, she took the time out of her busy schedule to write up a detailed post for me a couple weeks ago to help me get Solomon acclimated to his head collar. It really helped a lot.
Last edited by concreterose on Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re:

Postby InBearsMemory » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:58 am

That was a well written piece Red, thanks for sharing.
If used as a temporary solution on your way to teaching your dog solid obedience they can be of great help. Unfortunately, just like any other training collar i.e. Prong, choke etc. these are used more as a final solution because the handler was unable to teach their dog how to walk properly. Don't get me wrong, more power to you if you are using these to accomplish a way of conveying to your dog what you want it to do. But if used as an everyday "collar" on your walks so your dog doesn't pull etc. all that does is mask the problem and not fix it.
I am not a big fan of them personally for a variety of reasons some of which I mentioned above as well as possible injuries to the neck/spine.

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KadillacGrrl
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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:00 am

I wonder in cases like Solomon's if a slight mod would work... there are some old time horse halters/bridles than have a piece that comes from the center of the noseband, straight up between the eyes, and connects to the crown piece... hmm.

If you think his muzzle is short, I'm in real trouble... I think Betty could probably get one off stat! Her muzzle is really short.

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Postby concreterose » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:14 am

Solomon & Betty's muzzle look a lot alike. His Halti is a size three, which is supposed to be appropriate for boxer sized dogs, I think the size two might be too small.

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Postby pitgrrl » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:18 am

Has anyone had any experience with a Newtrix head halter?

I'm just curious because I have heard from a few people that they far prefer it to a Halti or Gentle Leader.

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:41 am

concreterose wrote:Solomon & Betty's muzzle look a lot alike. His Halti is a size three, which is supposed to be appropriate for boxer sized dogs, I think the size two might be too small.


Thanks I'll try that on her first! I'm going look for one this weekend...

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:44 am

pitgrrl wrote:Has anyone had any experience with a Newtrix head halter?

I'm just curious because I have heard from a few people that they far prefer it to a Halti or Gentle Leader.


That's pretty interesting. I've never seen one.

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Postby kaytenmags » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:14 am

pitgrrl wrote:Has anyone had any experience with a Newtrix head halter?

I'm just curious because I have heard from a few people that they far prefer it to a Halti or Gentle Leader.

yes! i have one of these for maggie and i REALLY prefer it over the GL/halti. Reason being, it doesn't pull her head around from the front. it also has a 'safety clip' that connects to the D-ring on her collar.

maggie isn't much of a puller, but i used this for some time while she was getting used to living in my condo building. she needed to learn that not everyone in the elevator/stairway/lobby was there to pay attention to her, and their little yappy (vicious!) dogs were not food.

the newtrix harness basically took away her strength/leverage, so i could hold her back with minimal effort. this, combined with training, means i now have a much more polite dog, even tho she rarely wears the head harness now.

fantastic product! :thumbsup:


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