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Head collars - pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by ShibaPup, Nov 22, 2021 at 2:46 PM.


  1. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    So from my latest thread - I've been looking at ways to give me some more confidence and feel more in control while I'm training Zazu.

    Will be working on LLW on his harness still but I think a head collar attached to the other end of his lead might give me a bit of confidence and have control over his head if he sees people.

    Haven't really been a fan of head collars previously - will obviously introduce it slowly and positively so he is comfortable wearing it before taking it out, I've read some tighten? I don't want that but I just want some more control over his head, especially in tight areas such as paths. He turned 1 this month.

    Any recommendations for head collars that don't tighten will be much appreciated.

    A short video from our walk yesterday - he is great off lead, doesn't go to far and he surprised me with his recall
     
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  2. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    I use a halti head collar for a ridgeback I walk.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Halti-Headcollar-Black-Size-3/
    it works by redirecting the head. It should be on loose enough so the dog can pant easily etc and it has an extra clip to clip onto the collar so if your dog slips his nose then you’re still attached.

    I’m the same as you, I’m not really a fan but, the ridgeback can be very reactive and he is a BIG dog and I really don’t think I could hold him in a harness. His owners walk him on the head collar so I carried on. I did think I would switch to harness at some point but I don’t think I will until I know 100% he won’t react as he’s so strong. He doesn’t seem to mind it and walks lovely most of the time!
    i think, if it’ll make you feel better, then it would be ok to use one until you feel more confident. If you’re feeling anxious that will pass onto him so it could help in that way too :)

    He looks fab in that video!!
     
    #2 Teddy-dog, Nov 22, 2021 at 3:07 PM
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021 at 8:13 PM
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  3. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I agree he does look great in the video :)

    This is one of those things I was saying - what do YOU need to feel more confident, and if a head collar helps you, use it and don't second guess yourself.

    I think you and Zazu are doing better than you're giving yourself credit for :)
     
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  4. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I've used loads over the years.
    Dogmatics: Pro's = Well made so they last for years, they fit really well and have plenty of adjustment areas and they don't tighten anywhere
    Cons = They have a large loop with a large ring under the chin so if the nose is down following a scent they can kick the leash/clip and end up stepping over the leash so you can't just hold the end of the leash. I found that many dogs could become more reactive with this head collar due to the amount of bulk on their face, not all dogs, but enough for me to notice a pattern.

    Halti's: Pros = None
    Cons = They tighten around the muzzle. They don't fit the majority of dogs properly so they can slip off very easily. They are very cheap and don't last long. The clip hangs far too low under the chin so same issues as above.

    Swag head collars: Pros = Fleece covering over the nose band. They attach behind the ears so no clip hanging under the chin.
    Cons = Only come in two sizes and no real adjustment. They tighten around the head. They attach behind the ears so a big leash clip bangs the head as they walk.

    K9 Halters : Pros = None
    Cons = They are very thin and they tighten which leaves indents if the dog pulls harshly. The attachment behind the ears is a loop so leash clips bounce on the dogs head as the walk. Expensive for what they are.

    Gentle leaders: Pros = Once fitted they don't tighten. Well made and fits well. Not too much gear on the head. Doesn't seem to increase reactivity on the dogs I have worked with.
    Cons = Clips under the chin but I didn't have the same problem with this as I did with the others. The plastic clip that adjusts the nose piece can break if you readjust it a few times so it's best to find the optimum size and then keep it that way.



    I know some will disagree but personally I find the gentle leader the best out of the bunch.
    I understand your reluctance to use a head collar, but once your confidence builds and Zazu becomes more level headed you won't need it anymore :)
     
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  5. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    Thank you :) Going to have a search and see what I can order to try.

    Is Gentle Leader the brand? I'm searching but getting Beaphar and PetSafe options both called Gentle leader so I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for
     
  6. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Beaphar is the uk brand. PetSafe is the US brand :)
     
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  7. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    The one thing you do need to realise is that a determined puller will find a way of pulling on a head collar, so be aware of that.
    I’ve used Gentle Leader on a very determined puller and what I didn’t like was that it pulled up into the dogs eyes. The Dogmatic was better and she didn’t pull as much
     
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  8. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    The haltis seem ok . For a smaller dog, I used a headcollar that clipped at the back of his neck and not underneath . The lead was attached to a ring at the back of his neck Ive forgotten the name of it.
     
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  9. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    Thank you - ordered both a gentle leader and a halti to try and see what will work best

    The pulling and lead manners - I am working on separately.

    I wanted to try a head collar to have more control of his head around people - sometimes food doesn't work to get his focus back in close contact, a harness allows him to pull too far forward and he is a strong dog. I'm hoping a head collar will allow me to redirect his head if necessary - let me build up some confidence and feel more in control while we work on our training.
     
  10. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    The one I like best is the Kumfi. The connection is under the chin, but not on any loose-hanging bits like the Halti or Gentle Leader. They don't tighten. Often found at a decent price in B+M Home Bargains. https://kumfi.com/product/dogalter/
    Their control harness is good too - 3 connection points (front, back of neck and one further down the back), lots of adjustment too.
     
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  11. CheddarS

    CheddarS PetForums VIP

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    i agree with this completely, gentle leader works great. Now take it with us but rarely use it as have continued training
     
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  12. MontyMaude

    MontyMaude PetForums VIP

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    I used to use a Halti when I had a big dog, I liked it and it gave me confidence, I popped a small bit of fleece around the top nose band to make it a little more comfy for the dog.
     
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  13. Happy Paws2

    Happy Paws2 PetForums VIP

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    I've used Halti and Dogmatic on my large dogs.

    I had a Halti for Amber it kept riding up into her eyes I was never really happy with it.

    When we Dillon I was having lots of problems with him tried all sorts a headcollars on him, then and someone on here recommend a Dogmatic Headcollar. I'd never heard of them so I sent for one, the best thing I'd ever brought I could walk him and had complete control over him it stopped him pulling and he walked nicely by my side. they is a loop under the chin which I found useful when he was been a idiot I could just slip my hand into it bring him close in and it calmed him down. I would highly recommend them.

    I used with a training lead one end clipped to his normal collar the other to his Dogmatic.

    https://www.dogmatic.org.uk/contents/en-uk/d4_Padded,_Cushioned_Webbing.html
     
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  14. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    They both arrived this morning - oddly Zazu was rather enthusiastic to get his head in them :Hilarious

    I have no idea what I'm doing with fitting them - but we did get them on and somewhat fitting

    Halti seems to tighten around the nose? Or I'm mistaken where you clip the lead? He doesn't like the dangly bit, keeps trying to get it so a collar will definitely be required to prevent that from bothering him. I like the fit, I did panic thinking it wouldn't fit but I ordered a size 3 and it sits nicely away from his eyes.

    Gentle leader, I ordered a large because I couldn't find an actual size guide. I'm not sure if it's too small? Or I need to increase the neck strap, or muzzle bit? Seems to ride up towards his eyes which of course he will then try to pull it down but doesn't have such an annoying dangly bit.
     
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  15. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    Can you get some pics for us so we can see the fit?
    You should be able to remove the safety clip from the halti - just loosen the fabric bit on the ring and feed the clip through it.
     
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  16. rottiemum

    rottiemum PetForums VIP

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    Same here.
    When we got Baillie she came to us with a Halti. It did the job but rode up into her eyes. I heard about Dogmatic on here and tried it.
    Dogmatic is great. They do last forever and they don't ride up or tighten.
    I also use a double ended lead, one end on the headcollar and one on the collar.
    If they really want to lunge they will, but this makes it easier to control.
    Haven't tried the other brands so can't comment. But 100% recommend Dogmatic.
     
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  17. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    Not sure if I have these fitted correctly?

    Gentle leader
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Halti
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    I can't help with fit, but yeah the Haltis tighten under the nose with a martingale-style loop.

    eta - and I definitely agree that using one sounds like a really positive step for the both of you :)
     
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  19. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    With the gentle leader you need the neck strap to fit snug behind the ears...not too tight, but tight enough that it stays just behind his ears. Then you can adjust the nose loop.
    I can get some pictures of Thai with his on (if I can find it) later when he has woken up if that will help?
     
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  20. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    He followed me when I went to make tea so here you go.
    IMG_20211123_142516.jpg
    IMG_20211123_142526.jpg

    I hope that helps :)
     
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