Head Collars for dogs.
Do Head Collars work? When & why you would use a head collar and how to help a dog get used to wearing a head collar.
Head collar worked wonders. Xeena resisted at first but it was so good that there was no pulling, recommended to everyone who has a pully dog … It’s amazing now she is not pulling … i dont hurt, i have problems with my hips and when she pulled it really hurt. [Sonia Oag, January 2017]
Bought two headcollars and have been out using them today both fine fitting well on my dogs faces no loose gaps works well when they swop sides on walking too. Seem very strong. Very happy. [Megan Oldfield, December 2016]
This headcollar is 100% PERFECT! Put it on Ollie this morning, he once rubbed his face but from then on he was very happy to wear it for the whole walk and, because he has it on (and he knows) he walked perfectly. Because of the fit unlike a ‘Halti’ it can stay on the whole time and doesn’t inhibit the dog at all. There are no loose bits to catch on anything so its perfectly safe. It is so simple and easy to use and it works very well indeed. I am a very happy lady thank you Sarah. [Wendy McDonald, November 2016]
Do Head Collars work?
Head collars do work, yes, however, there are some exceptions that with a little training could be overcome. Head collars for dogs work in the same way that head collars or halters (where the brand name ‘Halti’ comes from) work for horses. Horses are large powerful animals and the head collar is a way to control them (usually) with ease… although I have been known to be pulled around by a horse just in a head collar in my days working as a groom. Head Collars help when –
- You have a shoulder injury and walking your dog is becoming a problem
- You have a dog that strains on his dog collar or harness and walking is not enjoyable for him either
- You simply cannot walk your dog due to his strength
- You are incapacitated in any number of ways and a pulling dog makes walks a problem
- You have simply stopped walking your dog because of any one of the above and you are both putting on weight!
- Lack of exercise for your dog means he is not getting the socialisation he needs
When head collars can be a problem
Some people simply do not like head collars on their dogs, mainly because their dog will not wear one. There have been times when I have taken a head collar off a dog because they simply will not tolerate one, but I stress, this because I haven’t had time to train the dog. So how do you get a dog to accept a head collar?
How to help a dog to accept wearing a head collar
- You are not going on a walk
- Motivators/rewards (food, verbal praise, toys/play, intrinsic rewards such as allowing forward movement or free time off lead)
- A good dog head collar
- A good dog lead
A few ideas to work on indoors –
- Pop the head collar on, reward, take it off
- If you are familiar with Clicker Training, do nose touches working up to putting the nose through the nosepiece, click, reward
- Feed your dog with a head collar on, then take it straight off
- Put the head collar on around the house (if dog paws to try to get it off, you have gone too far, try to get him to relax before you take it off otherwise he will think this behaviour leads to it coming off)
- Put the head collar on and play your dogs favourite game or something he likes doing
When you have made progress indoors, go outside or in a large enough space indoors with time and patience –
- Put head collar & lead on – reward (praise and/or treat)
- Set off walking
- The dog does one of the following –
- Rubs head along the ground
- Paws at face
- Paws frantically at face
- Pulls a ‘this head collar is killing me’ face
- Any combination of the above
- What you don’t do –
- Don’t shout or get mad
- Don’t reward
- Don’t speak
- Don’t panic
- What you should do –
- Stand still/calm
- Hold lead firmly, raise hand upwards so lead is vertical (no tugging or yanking)
- Wait for the dog to stop flapping
- Release lead
- Then what you should do
- REPEAT !!!!
Head Collars – was there really room for another in the pet trade?
With a pet market already saturated with head collars for dogs, was there really any room for another?
Inventor Sarah Gleave says yes,
“I had already made one head collar before the Simple Leader, but I wanted to improve it. I wanted a simpler to use halter for dogs, a head collar that could not be put on upside down or inside out and one that would stay on the dog when fitted correctly of course (tight enough). Above all, it (obviously) had to work and not be yet another gadget or (waste of ) money”.
Part of the inspiration for this was seeing customers being brought in by their dogs, yes BY their dogs into my boarding kennels. Being an ex-dog trainer too, this really irritated me. Teaching a dog to walk to heel is not easy. With more and more people owning dogs, more and more people were failing to teach their dogs to walk to heel. Stopping them from pulling on the lead wasn’t something they had really planned ahead for.
The Simple Leader is a relatively simple figure of 8 design, nothing new here, but having searched current patents and protected designs, the one nearest to me hadn’t had its patent renewed, but it wasn’t the same design anyway, just close.
My head collar has a loose O ring under the chin which is important as this is the most effective place for you to lead from, it is adjustable, but also comes in 3 sizes, it has a full range of 18 colours (you need to ask for the random colours like orange, pink etc), which NO other head collar has. It can be upgraded to be fully padded which is nice because it is soft over your dogs face so they wear it more willingly and you can choose a solid brass harness ring instead of a nickel O ring for your trigger hook to attach to.
What are other head collars there on the market?
Head collars are plenty out there in the internet world, some good, some bad, some made by amateurs that have not been tested and some popular patented designs. The head collars I am aware of are – Halti, Gencon, Black Dog & the Gentle Leader. Each one has their fans, I have used 3 out of 4 of these myself but now just use my own Simple Leader. My Simple Leader comes with the Simple Leader Safety lead which is essentially a lead that attaches to the head collar and collar and if one breaks you are still attached to the other. (IPO Design Protection currently being applied for).
Head Collar reviews –
The Halti – nice head collar, renowned for interfering with the dogs’ eyes when badly fitted, established company, patented design
Black Dog – no personal experience off, looks exactly like a horses head collar
Gentle Leader – My favourite
Gencon – the only one out of these 4 whose ‘contact point’ is not under the chin, obviously has its fans, a dog may still pull with the contact point at the side or above the head
Why are head collars different?
- Made from different fabrics, some good, some poor or too thin
- Some new designs are full of faults in an effort to design something for the sake of a new product
- The contact point is different
- Under the chin (my Simple Leader), best IMO as it seems to be the most effective design (Halti and Gentle Leader too)
- Back of the head – martingale types like the Indi Dog
- The side of the head – Gencon and other non-patented designs
- Be aware of the choice, choose what is most comfortable for your dog and what he is the happiest wearing
- Do not ever use with long training leads because of the risk of jarring your dog’s neck
- Make sure the head collar is well made and from a respected company