If your dog constantly pulls on the leash, making a walk more of a tug-of-war than a pleasant outing, perhaps a different system for controlling your dog is in order. Halti and Gentle Leader are two leading brands of headcollars designed to end pulling.
Gentle Leader Headcollar
The Gentle Leader headcollar comes in standard and deluxe versions. It ranges in sizes appropriate for toy dogs through giant breeds. Standard headcollars come in various colors, including black, brown, purple, fawn, green, raspberry, red, blue and silver. The deluxe headcollars feature a nose loop with an accented ribbon and felt pad. Deluxe headcollars are available in red with accents, baubles on a deep purple background and tan bones on a black background. Don't use a retractable leash with either type of headcollar.
How It Works
When you order a Gentle Leader headcollar, you also receive a training DVD and written instructions. The Gentle Leader's nose loop goes around the muzzle, applying slight pressure. This is the same way top dogs communicate with dogs farther down on the canine social scale. This makes your dog understand where he stands in the hierarchy -- you are the leader. You steer, and he follows. He can't drag you when his head is slightly turned. There is no pain involved with using the Gentle Leader, just mild pressure. According to Premier Pet, the distributor of Gentle Leader, "The neck strap portion fits high and snugly at the back of the neck above the windpipe, and the other portion loops loosely around the nose behind the corners of the mouth."
Premier Pet, the company that distributes Gentle Leader headcollars, reports that headcollars sold from August 2011 through May 10, 2012, might have a defect in the quick-release neck strap buckle, causing an unintended release. The situation has been corrected, according to the report.
Developed by Dr. Roger Mugford, the Halti headcollar was the original anti-pulling product. It also comes in various sizes to fit all types of dogs. A harness version is available for dogs who shouldn't wear collars, such as smaller dogs or those with any sort of neck or back problems. The Halti headcollar also comes with a complete training guide. A Halti link, which attaches to your dog's regular collar, comes with the headcollar, and can be used for added security. A Halti headcollar resembles the halter used for horses. In Britain, where the product was developed, equine halters are referred to as "headcollars." The Halti is available in black, brown, red and blue, as well as a leather-padded version.
Using the Halti
Halti's may be used either simply as a way to stop your dog from pulling, or as a training aid. With the Halti, you can easily direct your dog's head into proper positions. Once he does it, you can reward him and link the position to a command. The Halti should loosely fit around his muzzle, not shut it all the time by tension.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.