Champdogs Information Exchange
I bought a halti headcollar today and I feel guilty about it.
He is only 26.5kg but VERY strong. He actually walks beautifully on the lead about 95% of the time but there is the 5% he is trying to get to other dogs (to play) which are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. I have been playing the on/off game for months and he is great until the other dog is less than about six feet away and then the other dog is far more interesting than any treat I could possibly offer and he becomes deaf/insensate to my efforts.
My son rides in a special needs buggy (like a normal buggy but much bigger, bridges the gap between buggy and wheelchair) and I'd had to stop walking him while pushing it as he once dragged us all into the road trying to say hello to a husky crossing towards us. I slipped a disc in my back in January and it is finally just now healing. I have to lift my 16kg son quite a lot and I can't afford to reinjure it, every time he leaps and yanks on the lead he twists my back. :(
Final straw was yesterday when in excitement trying to get to a spaniel he jumped across the path of my 6yo daughter, who tripped against him and fell. Spaniel owner proceeded to come closer and closer saying "oh she loves playing with big dogs!" while my dog jumped up and down on top of my daughter as I struggled to get him away (all this on a narrow double parked pavement outside a primary school at 3pm)! In the end I had to basically abandon my poor daughter and drag the dog out by the collar! He was plunging like a stallion all the way.
I have walked him on it twice today, using lots of treats and a training lead attached to it one end and his collar the other so I can only engage the halti when he is actually ignoring me and pulling. But I still feel bad. I know lots of people use them and there's nothing actually wrong with them in kind hands, but I've worked so hard on his training, it feels like going back a step resorting to this. :(
09.03.17 16:50 GMT
It's not a step back at all and safety must be your priority, especially when you've got young children to consider as well. Having the headcollar on will help you control him, and it may just help you to teach them that he cannot be leaping around after every dog.
When you're getting close, once he reaches that point where he doesn't care what you've got, I would simply remove him if he starts leaping around - no manners, no play. If you can find helpful owners who don't mind hanging about for a bit while you work him, try moving in when all four feet are on the floor, calmly, and backing away when he starts bouncing.
09.03.17 16:51 GMT
If its any consolation I had to resort to a dogmatic for one of mine once, she weighed 60kg and could pull like a train no matter what I tried if she smelt something she wanted to investigate. Most Bernese have a default "I must sniff THAT !" setting and we always say all Bernese owners have one arm longer than the other ! She wore it when needed (Usually at country shows or that sort of event) for about 6 months and eventually realized I had won ! we dispensed with it and peace resumed !
09.03.17 16:58 GMT
I gave up with one of my previous retrievers who never quite got it into her he'd that pulling was as u comfortable for her as it was for me. Like you my backs somewhat dodgy and I couldn't tolerate all the pulling. The other dog learned quickly what I meant by heel and would make along either beside me or just a bit ahead
In the end I bought a Dogmatic head collar and it worked a treat and harmony was restored.
I suspect you will find once he is past his teenage stage he will be less inclined to engage with every single dog he sees, even my social butterfly has stopped thinking its playtime when she sees another dog.
He actually has a best friend he is allowed to jump, chase, wrestle etc. with, and his owner and I practice this sort of thing all the time. Poodles are too clever - he knows there's zero chance of playing with Dex unless he is a good, calm, steady boy on approach. And that both Dex's owner and I am not above putting one or other of them back into the car to start again should there be any nonsense. But because SOMETIMES other dog owners encourage it by coming closer despite his circus act, he still tries it on with other dogs. I do maintain my "safe" distance as much as I can, but it's not always possible if there's a narrow pavement on a busy road etc.
I am continuing to work on his leash walking anyway, I'm hopeful by the time he matures he won't need the headcollar any more as it isn't the lead but the drive to interact and play that he pulls because of.
In the meantime it will be IMMENSELY convenient to be able to walk him out with the pram again!
09.03.17 17:02 GMT
> I bought a halti headcollar today and I feel guilty about it.
Headcollars are fantastic, they're kinder than a dog choking itself on the lead and as Nikita says safety comes first.
When I used to walk 4 borzois at the same time they all wore headcollars, they were all very well behaved (in the days before Mr Beastly) but if a rabbit crossed our path I would not be able to hold 200kgs of dogs back.
I recommend headcollars for everyone who cannot physically hold their dog back in an emergency situation, no matter how well behaved the dog normally is. I have a friend who had a large irish wolfhound male that she simply had to drop his lead if he wanted to go somewhere because she couldn't risk a broken arm or pulled muscle holding him back, I think that's unacceptable when a headcollar would have helped tremendously.
You're doing a great job with your boy, no shame at all in utilising a kind training aid to make life easier
09.03.17 17:05 GMT
> a training lead attached to it one end and his collar the other
just to add always use the lead this way, attached to both the head collar and the regular collar as they can escape from head collars.
Don't feel guilty at all. You've worked so hard with him, but you need to do what's best for you. After all, if you do your back in severely then he won't be walking at all AND your children will suffer. I walk three simultaneously, all of whom are capable of pulling like a train. As we live on a steep hill, and I'm mindful of ice, I resorted to Haltis for the girls and a chest harness for my boy as he hated the headcollar and stopped every two paces to try and get it off. It's worked a treat and now I rarely use the Halti on one of the girls because she walks nicely most of the time. I carry it in my pocket in case she decides to be a git though!!
Why feel guilty? I was having a few problems with my rather spooky Whippet and was urged to try her on a Canny Collar. Boy did it sort her out. Not only was she easier to control, given the fragile Whippet neck, but she actually seemed to be calmer on this. I don't have to use it now, but it was well worth doing and not for one moment did I regret it, or feel guilty!!
I don't know why I feel guilty! I suppose because I know a few locally who say, "oh I never bothered with training classes!" with their dog in some combination of halti (and telling me the choke chain "stopped working").
He isn't keen on it when it's tight and/because he's trying to get to another dog, but it's only the first day today. I've had horses take a month or more to react calmly to a headcollar so that doesn't worry me. He walked happily on it, as he does his collar, 95% of the time.
I have also just started with a head collar as 6 month old pulls like crazy, like flat to the floor choking herself, if she spots another dog or person she wants to get to.
I also feel a bit guilty about it, she clearly hates it as has spent half of the 4 walks so far rubbing her head into the grass trying to get it off...
An important point about escaping! Thank you. Mine came with a "safety strap" device which attaches to the ring the lead clips to and has a clip the other end so you can clip it to the collar D. That way if they do manage to get it off over their head the whole dangling shebang is still attached to the lead and to them. But not all headcollars come with such devices so it is good to note.
09.03.17 20:30 GMT
> I also feel a bit guilty about it, she clearly hates it as has spent half of the 4 walks so far rubbing her head into the grass trying to get it off...
Stop using it temporarily, and take some time to work with it indoors, to get her happier about wearing it. Great video on this link, although it's a sped up version - I'd be doing each stage of this many times before moving on, to make sure she's totally happy with it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEmWLY_OdAg
09.03.17 21:34 GMT
nothing to be guilty about walking up to 6 dogs of 18 -20kg is more of a pleasure than a chore with headcollars.
They are really mostly needed to keep them from snaffling edible rubbish (much needed on one road where every other shop is a take away), and to save my arms when they see the over bold foxes around here not to mention cats.
I be used headcollars but found I had to try a few different ones to find one that was suited to my gsd face shape and didn't ride up into his eyes. Halti were awful for this with him so don't forget there are lots to try if this one does start to cause any problems. They are the only safe way that I can walk him .My fcr I find walks best on a double attached harness.she hated headcollars
I'd use a Dogmatic rather than a Halti as they don't tighten (so not aversive).
I used a dogmatic but found it didn't help, I now use only Gencon, but it was trial and error before I settled on one make
....Halti weren't any good either because they moved and squashed the eyes.
I found of the easily available ones I like the Gentle leader, again hate the halti.
I found either dogmatic or there is a martingale fleece lined on eBay that's excellent. It's the one of my choice now after trying numerous but it is very dependent on dogs face shape .Only problem I found with dogmatic
was that many dogs don't like all the bits around their face so I would recommend using g a muzzle training video to get it accepted .The principal is the same
I was looking about online today. Of course being me I managed to slightly fall for the most expensive, leather dogmatic....
So far the Halti seems okay - it doesn't ride up into his eyes BUT he did manage to paw the upper noseband off last night (hasn't since, but he is gradually accepting it better anyway, he pawed it off in a fit trying to say hello to a passing beagle, I was able to slip it back on without loosening it!). I wonder if that is the trade off - stays out of his eyes BUT low enough to *just* slide over his nose?
I may try a different one but I'm not sure what I'm looking to improve on yet. I'm off to look at martingales...
11.03.17 06:48 GMT
I have simple ones made by doggy trade stand holder (Dajan) who died last year, but for me the Gentle leader has the advantage of a clip on the bottom of the nose loop so you can adjust it not to slip off.
Some of mien can slip the nose loop of their Dajan ones, but I just pop it back on, and once walking they leave it alone.
11.03.17 10:15 GMT
I have a home made leather one thats similar to a dogmatic but I have sheepskin nose band on mine . works a treat. my dog is unfortunately a lot stronger then me and better balanced (I need a knee replacement) and I had had enough of ending up falling or being dragged when she had a fit at something, I have no guilt what so ever. the head collar means that on the odd occassion she wants to be a git I can stop her . she walks beautifully 99% of time but I require 100% control and this gives it.
He is tolerating the halti well but I don't like it. Like the halti front guide harness I have tried, it slips about too much. It loosens, slides around and twists around to whichever side I'm on every time he puts tension on it.
So I have ordered him a dogmatic to try.
12.03.17 05:07 GMT
Dogmatic are much better and don't twist or ride up into the eyes either
12.03.17 14:36 GMT
I find a Canny Collar is better as the loop for the lead is at the back of the head not under the chin, so the dogs head does not twist.
My family's Labrador is walked using a Canny Collar. Personally I'm not convinced by it as it doesn't actually stop him pulling. He's just too stubborn
I use an ordinary halti on my Fieldie & a figure-of-eight lead on my Cocker.
16.03.17 19:19 GMT
Headcollars don't stop dogs pulling, they are a training aid only. The dog still needs to be trained not to pull - the headcollar is there to take some of the strength out of the pull and give the owner more control. In some cases they also help to stop damage to the dog, when the dog is pulling so strongly that they are choking and are stronger on a harness.
16.03.17 19:32 GMT
Head collars, harnesses etc are walking aids not training aids. A training aid rewards/teaches the dog a behaviour. Put a head collar on some dogs & they stop pulling, take it off & they pull again-the use of a head collar teaches nothing.
There's no shame/blame for using a walking aid & coupled with training to walk by your side & not reaction to other dogs, should improve your dog's behaviour.
17.03.17 08:08 GMT
Technically they can be both depending on how they are used but yes, primarily they are a walking aid.
His dogmatic came, and is a huge improvement on the halti, it doesn't move or slip round and though it does tighten, it only does it when he really pulls (i felt the halti tightened under hardly any pressure, which was then "punishing" him for dropping his head for sniffing etc.). So far he has only really pulled once, to try to turn towards an aggressive dog (i know it and know it is aggressive).
Anyway the training vs walking aid question is an interesting one. I see it as a walking aid, hence the guilt. But now I've found one I like I can see it can also be a training aid. It doesn't inherently change his behaviour - he still leaps about like a little excited horse trying to get to other dogs to say hello - but it does save my back on that initial first leap and when he's so excited my words take a moment to penetrate. And the ability to physically turn his head back to me means shorter moments to reach him with words.
18.03.17 13:49 GMT
Out of the various head collars I tried over the years, the dogmatic came out tops.
The dog I have now isn't much of a puller, she normally wears a harness with her lead clipped on to the back ring. It also has a front ring which I use as well with a double ended lead if I want a lot of control
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