Head Collars

24February 2010

Head Collars

There are many dog products out there to help assist humans in training their dogs.  Head collars are an excellent example of a tool you can use to help train a dog.  Remember that all these things are tools to assist in training, not something to get instead of training.

When you control the direction of a dog’s head, you are more easily able to control the direction of the dog’s body.

Head collars are helpful because they can give the human a high level of control while using far less physical exertion.  Many times head collars are mistaken for muzzles.  Only gentle pressure is necessary when using a head collar to teach a simple cue.  These are self-correcting collars for the dog, and one of the most humane and safest of training tools.  It is strange for a dog to put a head collar on for the first time.  It is best to let the dog slowly get used to it.  Start by holding the head collar and a treat.  Hold the treat in such a way that the dog has to place his head through the head collar in order to get the treat.  The first few times you allow your dog to wear the head collar, do so for only a few short minutes, making sure the dog has positive experiences in this time.  Then take it off until the next session.  After the dog begins to become comfortable with having the head collar on, use in training.  Do not unintentionally make your dog afraid of the head collar by moving too fast in its use.

Although there are many types of head collars, most people recognize one of the following three kinds:
1) Control Ease
2) Halti
3) Gentle Leader

All three of these types of head collars have a strap that goes over the dog’s nose, to lead the dog.  Many times people have trouble understanding how to put these contraptions on their dog.  I recommend taking your dog to your local pet shop and actually trying a few out on your dog.  Remember to STAY CALM.  Again, have your treats so that you can pair the head collar with something positive for the dog.  If you have problems, ask an employee for help.  Read the directions before attempting to place the head collar on your dog.

All of these head collars offer your dog freedom of mouth movement, unless the dog pulls on the leash.  Your dog is still able to pant, eat, and drink, which is a big plus for your dog.  The head collar also offers the human the positive benefit of control.

This type of tool can be helpful for many owners, but I especially recommend them for people with very wild dogs that like to drag their owners, jump, or aggress towards other dogs or people.