Each morning, a couple walking two labs passes my house. The dogs are leashed but walk perfectly. They don’t bother each other. They don’t freak at the sight of my squirrel herd.
Each morning, a couple walking two labs passes my house.
The dogs are leashed but walk perfectly. They don’t bother each other. They don’t freak at the sight of my squirrel herd.
Unlike most of the dogs that pass my house, these guys are perfectly disciplined, the type of dogs we all want.
I looked closer, and noticed both were wearing head collars. The head collar is similar to a horse bridle. It circles the snout and neck.
It’s not a muzzle; the dog’s mouth is free. When he pulls on his leash, his head turns. Amazingly, that’s enough to keep him in line.
Consider that a horse collar controls a very powerful animal. The dog version does the same.
You can find these at pet stores with names such as Gentle Leader and Coastal Pet Halti. They run $10 to $20 in leather and nylon, and are worth every penny.
Dr. Roger Mugford designed the Halti after observing dogs in packs. The pack leader uses his mouth on other mouths to maintain his leadership. Control of the head is the key to maintaining pack discipline.
His head-controlling invention makes the human the leader. When the dog tries to lunge forward, the collar causes his head to turn. The motion discourages the lunging.
When you first slip on the collar, your dog may react by biting and trying to remove it. Get a toy and play with him for a few minutes to take his mind off it. He soon will like it. It means he’s dressed to do something interesting.
Then go for a walk and notice the difference.
My sister’s dog combines the inquisitiveness of a beagle with the rambunctiousness of a corgi. When she walks him, everything fascinates him, and he pulls on his leash constantly.
The head collar ended all that instantly. The big test was the goose pond. Chuck just stood there and bird watched, no pulling, no crazy barking. He always was bad in the car, nervously climbing the seats. The collar stopped that, and he’s relaxed as he looks out the window.
Chuckie has learned that my sister is the boss. She’s in control, and that’s comforting to him. He enjoys obeying. The head collar triggers obedience that is instinctive, and that’s the key to its success.
Instructions are important. Some come with a CD showing exactly how to use it.
They caution to never violently snap a dog’s head. This is unnecessary and goes counter to the training.
Beware that these are not permanent collars. They should not be worn unsupervised. The Halti when turned upside down can be worn as a harness.
Many dog trainers insist the dog be trained on a head collar before starting classes. Establishing leadership opens the door to more advanced learning.
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