Head collars

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
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kcalbat
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Postby kcalbat » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:35 am

Great thread. Good views on both sides. Sticky?

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Red
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Postby Red » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:56 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.


Do you have any direct experience with head collars? Aside reading an article from someone who has used them with success (per statement) and who has also used electric collars and then speak about "a respectful, committed relationship built on trust".
Because of my classes with the Animal Companion Science Institute I have access to studies, results and reports made on the use on dogs.Shock collars and respect don't go together.


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.


Same here.I doubt a collars with spikes on the inside is going to look much better to the average person.

Anyway, this was written for those folks who are thinking to try a head collar and start from zero.I'd rather they have something to read so they know how to help a dog to get adjusted to it.Threads about this "evil" tool are around already.

Has anyone had any experience with a Newtrix head halter?


I am going to order it this evening and check it out as soon as it gets here.
Thanks.

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Postby concreterose » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:19 am

Red, check your PM's (don't want to go OT).

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Red
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Postby Red » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:42 pm

I'd like to add a video from Jean Donaldson (the Culture Clash, The Other Hand of the Leash, Dogs are from Neptune) , commented by a veterinarian and animal behaviorist.What you see in the video is the use of a head collar during arousal time.I personally use a softer hand but Ms. Donaldson is not hurting the animal nor being rough.You see a dog in a highly stressing situation (for that dog), with no introduction to the head collar whatsoever and no shutting down.The dog is willing to exchange eye contact and the body language seen does not show added stress.
Click on the video "working with on-leash aggression".
If you have time plenty of good videos are there as well.

http://abrionline.org/videos.php

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Postby Red » Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:28 pm

Also, click on "conditioning an emotional response".Very easy to do and help a dog to both target and accept a head collar quite fast.

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Postby Linariel » Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:56 pm

I have a question- Is the potential for physical harm greater with these types of collars? For instance, on the dogs that are still learning not to freak out at certain stimulus. If a dog lunges at another dog on a collar or harness, it seems that it would not hurt them as much as a dog that lunges at another on a head halter.

That would be my main concern, an out of control dog injuring himself. Or do you recommend these collars being used only after a dog has learned not to act up?

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Postby Red » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:54 pm

I have a question- Is the potential for physical harm greater with these types of collars? For instance, on the dogs that are still learning not to freak out at certain stimulus. If a dog lunges at another dog on a collar or harness, it seems that it would not hurt them as much as a dog that lunges at another on a head halter.


The real potential for physical harm is in those dogs who have cervical vertebral neck disease or have been injured already.Then again, with those dogs, I would be very careful even with a flat collar.I would use a harness probably.I have had dogs react to other dogs presence with all they had.Yet, they have never been hurt and were never able to move in front of me and lunge.If a dog is becoming aroused the behavior is interrupted (simple head turn, no pain, no yelling, as calm and as fast as I can)and I put distance between the stimuli and that dog.That avoids a circus show and prevent the dog from coming up with some stunts.I hate to see owners dragging their dogs away on flat collar, while they are still able to turn their head and look at the other dog.It becomes a struggle the dog has more chances to win.Or too much time goes by before the owner gets some control back.Arousal has to be stopped immediately, because that adrenaline and state of mind are self rewarding.Visual stimuli are huge triggers.
I also hate to see people popping a heck of a correction, only letting the dog know what not to do.In the meantime the presence of another dog has been associated with pain and frustration.Yes, maybe after popping the prong one gives a reward but what happened right during arousal time is what makes a lot of dog even more reactive.

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Postby wyldmoonwoman » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:03 pm

I like Suzanne Clothier's article, and I ahve never read it before today.

I used a halti for awhile, my dog tightened her neck muscles to defeat the purpose...she could march forward without a problem and running off to the end of the leash and flipping herself made her want to tighten up her neck even more and plow forward. I felt like it was "forced attention" instead of "willing attention" while using the head halter.

Every dog is different...mine was quite leash agressive and had terrible leash manners for awhile, putting my dog on a 6 foot lead with a prong and abruptly changing directions was a nicely timed correction to my dog for not following and I was 6 feet away, so I didn't cause the collar correction, she did it to herself...well timed corrections combined with marking eye contact and every instance where she turned to follow me before reaching the end of the leash (I use a verbal cue instead of a clicker) resulted in a dog that wanted to behave on leash in less than two days (four 20 minute walks).

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Postby turtle » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:33 am

Red wrote:
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.


Do you have any direct experience with head collars?


Yes I do. I have used them on my own dogs and I have worked with a trainer who used them on her dogs and other dogs she was training.

My own experiences with these have been mixed. One should remember that each dog is an individual and will not react the same way. What works for one dog will not necessarily work for another.

One of my dogs hated the head halter and fought it each time, even introducing it slowly did not help. My other dog accepted it but did not work well with it and basically shut down. She was unhappy and her body language was very withdrawn, tail down, head down, etc. So it did not work for her nor for the other dog.

But I do feel they have their uses. I just don't think they are for everyone nor are they the best of training devices.

I think a head halter can be useful with a trained dog who does not want to listen. It makes them pay attention to you because you control their head. By controlling their head, they can not look away.

They just should be used with caution and with attention paid to the individual dog's reaction to it.
.

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Postby turtle » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:37 am

concreterose wrote: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.


Concreterose validates my point about head halters looking like muzzles.

She was asked why her dogs were muzzled, which shows that people think this is a muzzle. And this was asked by people who knew her dogs.

For each person who asked why they are muzzled, what about all the ones who see the head halter and think it is a muzzle and do not ask? That just gives off a negative impression about pit bulls to the general public.
.

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Postby turtle » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:39 am

Red wrote:The real potential for physical harm is in those dogs who have cervical vertebral neck disease or have been injured already.


How do you know this for sure?

The way a head halter is made and the way it works is not normal for dogs and a strong dog can yank their neck with a great deal of power.

So I don't see the potential for injury being limited just to dogs with neck disease or prior injuries. These were designed for horses not dogs and the whole leverage points are different.
.

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Postby Linariel » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:43 am

Thank you for the reply, Red!

I suppose it's just another case of proper use of a tool. I see so many people throw these on their dogs, and the dog is bucking, lunging, and whipping its head around. Even in some obedience classes, the trainers don't address this issue.

Personally, for the uneducated owner I'd prefer they try something else if they're not going to learn how to use it properly.

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Postby turtle » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:43 am

Red wrote:I'd like to add a video from Jean Donaldson
Click on the video "working with on-leash aggression".

http://abrionline.org/videos.php


That site and video was interesting. The tan shepherd was out of control from the start, dragging her handler down the stairs and all over the place, even before she saw the black dog. Then she was a total fool, jumping and snarling.

I would think some basic obedience would help her manners and this should be done before she is confronted with another dog. The video does make a point and the head collar helped this dog's manners in a short time.

I would also comment that shepherds tend to be "harder" dogs that pit bulls which are much softer with corrections. I used to have shepherds and they were far less sensitive to being reprimanded or corrected.

And that video deals with shelter dogs that they want to train in the shortest time possible. So that is not the usual situation here when we are dealing with owned dogs who are dog reactive. In that case with a shelter dog, I can see how a head halter can be used with success to help focus the dog on the handler and it does give a quick result for a limited time to spend on a shelter dog which needs some manners taught fast.
.

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Postby turtle » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:48 am

wyldmoonwoman wrote:I used a halti for awhile, my dog tightened her neck muscles to defeat the purpose...she could march forward without a problem and running off to the end of the leash and flipping herself made her want to tighten up her neck even more and plow forward. I felt like it was "forced attention" instead of "willing attention" while using the head halter.

Every dog is different...mine was quite leash agressive and had terrible leash manners for awhile, putting my dog on a 6 foot lead with a prong and abruptly changing directions was a nicely timed correction to my dog for not following and I was 6 feet away, so I didn't cause the collar correction, she did it to herself...well timed corrections combined with marking eye contact and every instance where she turned to follow me before reaching the end of the leash (I use a verbal cue instead of a clicker) resulted in a dog that wanted to behave on leash in less than two days (four 20 minute walks).


Exactly, wyldmoonwoman! These just don't work for every dog.

I don't feel everyone should rush out and get one for their dog and yank them around on it. I don't feel that is what Red is saying with her post, but I also think there are better methods for most people than a head halter.

I'd like to see folks consider all the choices and to consider the nature of their particular dog too.
.

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Postby concreterose » Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:06 pm

gf turtle wrote:
concreterose wrote: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.


Concreterose validates my point about head halters looking like muzzles.

She was asked why her dogs were muzzled, which shows that people think this is a muzzle. And this was asked by people who knew her dogs.

For each person who asked why they are muzzled, what about all the ones who see the head halter and think it is a muzzle and do not ask? That just gives off a negative impression about pit bulls to the general public.
.


I think that people who have a negative impression of a pit bull in a head collar (i.e. muzzle) would have a negative impression about pit bulls without a muzzle as well...people with this mindset will have it no matter what equipment is being used.


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