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Thread: Halti Head Collars... Safe?

  1. #1
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    Question Halti Head Collars... Safe?

    (sorry this is so long, i thought i should mention all the things i have used though)
    So right from the word go, Koda has been a shocker with pulling on lead.
    I have ended up with some pretty nasty blisters on my hands after working on 'heel' at dog training.
    On our first day of training we were advised to buy a nylon check collar type thing... bought it... it didn't help at all.
    Then we were at a market with Koda a couple of weeks later, and we found a stall with dog harnesses, we tried one on Koda and he was a bit better with that, so we bought it.
    We used that for a while (and still do often use it for walks) but at obedience training they said that a harness isn't the best thing to be using while training.
    So we persisted with collars until one day i was at training and i had to pull out half way through and sit on the sidelines crying from the pain of blisters.
    Someone came up to me, and said i should try out a Halti head collar, she said it changed her dog into an angel.
    So after training we went straight to the pet store to get one, and it works wonders. Koda doesn't pull that much at all with it on!
    I am just a bit worried though because i have heard a few scary stories of serious neck injury's, eye injury's and even death because of head collars.
    At the million paws walk someone noticed Koda was wearing the head collar and they were saying that the strap can slip over his eye and cause major damage. They were trying to get us to buy this thing called a 'CantrolCord'

    Cantrolcord - Total Canine Control

    we tried one on and Koda was hopeless he was lunging at dogs everywhere.
    So basicly i am just wondering what people think about the Halti head collar, is it really a danger to my dog?
    and if it is what could i use instead?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2010
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    I bought a halti for Jackson when he first came here and it was BRILLIANT.

    YOU are the best judge of what is right for Koda. Every thing has a risk, even a dog lead! Look at the way it sits on her head, how it turns when she pulls etc. If it looks like it's no good, then take it off her. If it works and you're happy, then wear it with pride

    Jackson would pull at his for a few minutes, then settle in and stop. Without it, I couldn't walk him. He has never had any trouble, his eyes are still intact and in his head, and he's a staffy, so he knows how to pull. It seriously was the best $8 I ever spent, and the only thing I bought that he never destroyed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Gold Coast, Queensland
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    I suffer tendonitis from the elbows through to the forearms. My right arm is quite severe but being that I have to train my Dakota to my left, the task of a head/neck strong puppy as young as she is lead me on a merry go round of searching for the right equipment that would suit us both.
    Dakota is now 17 weeks and a fraction of what she will be full grown. I needed to get this right quickly. Juvenile obedience (not puppy school-were not entirely happy with some of the methods I was proposing. Patience and correction were not doing anything for my arm pain. Quite frankly, arm pain would prohibit the entire walking and training side of the equation anyhow. Doctor says one thing, trainer says another.
    After many corrections with a collar and battling her strength, I decided that I would go my way with a solution. Yes, she was responding to the quick jerk, my arm however was taking a battering and pain increased right down to my wrist.
    This is what I have tried. Harness/shoulders, quite good, still pulling. Martingale collar/slip, bit better, worried about her throat. Half check collar, same deal. head halter, wrong type-too broad across her nose (worried about her eyes-but much easier, once she battled the halter and knew it was there regardless).

    Sporn head halter-my best friend! very soft slim nose piece and collar not needing to be tight. Converts to collar easy when slipping off nose strap. Once out in the environment, she forgets she has it on-pulling, not existent! Arm..big sigh of relief! her focus-brilliant!
    The trainer, agreeable (now, lol). Good luck, should be no pain involved!
    Ho'neene'šeohtseva'e

  4. #4
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    I'm of a different opinion on this one; I am not a fan of Halti's, or any brand of head collar, for that matter.

    Before I get jumped on, I can say that when I adpoted Villain, I was confronted with a 6 month old, extremely powerful Dobe with serious reactivity problems. I suffer both tennis and golfers elbow now as a result of my dog's train like pulling and lunging- so I am no novice to injury caused by a freight train dog.

    In my opinion, Head collars have two issues;

    1) that they do not teach the dog anything. Yes, your dog stops pulling. But you have not taught a loose leash walk, only to not pull on the headcollar. Once the collar is off, the dog will in most cases resume pulling.

    2) for a powerful dog, the risk of neck injury is (again in my opinion) far too
    great. You as the handler may not yank the leash- but what if (what if?) the dog lunges out? Too great a risk.

    I am also not a fan of check chains for exactly the same reason.

    Once again, in my opinion, there is no substitute for a structured, consistent training program. Yes, training will take time. No, it will not fix the problem quickly. BUT a correctly structured program will not increase the handler's risk of injury if done correctly, consistently, and with an understanding of dog thinking.

    If I had to choose, I'd pick a flat collar, martingale (very effective IF fitted correctly which most aren't) or a PP collar.

    ETA: training is the only method which will teach your dog a desirable behavior which shows your dog the benefit to him or her (and always remember, dogs are hedonists) in doing and maintaining that behavior long term ie loose leash walking. LLW is also very different to the 'heel', but that's another subject....
    Last edited by Villain & Flirtt; 06-03-2011 at 09:36 PM.

  5. #5
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    Susan Garrett recommends a snoot loop or a gentle leader head halter. Both must be fitted correctly to be of any use. It's also important not to give the opportunity for the dog to lunge at full speed and be brought up short, 2 metres later. This can break the halter, and damage the dog's neck muscles.

    Susan Garrett's book "shaping success" outlines an entire head halter training program from getting the dog to accept the halter, to loose lead walking and then phasing out the head halter.

    I'm thinking of putting my dog through the program to stop her tracking possums without permission.

    But to stop her pulling on lead I got a front attach training harness - which provides a pivot point and leverage power for you the handler, by clipping to a ring on the front of the dog's chest.

    Dog Harness, Dog Training Supplies | Sense-ible and Sense-ation Dog Harness

    Premier and black dog also make front attach harnesses.

  6. #6

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    I use gentle leaders on my two rotties had no problems. We had a halti but Harley chewed through it on first walk. I don't take them anywhere without it

  7. #7
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    May 2011
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    Cool halting pulling

    Loose leash training is great and is training the dog, not restraining with a piece of equipment. nothing can replace it. Loose lead = reward to dog (ahh some freedom to sniff etc). Tight lead=no reward.
    During this time process, however it is not always suitable in congested high distraction places.
    The window period between puppy to juvenile is essentially a very important period for socialisation, I think most would agree with this, so there comes the dilemna. The sporn system has leaders on it and after much deliberation, it is my choice for those interim periods when it is just not good enough to be pulling in places where I want to introduce my dog to scooters, bikes, infants, toddlers, skateboarders, prams, people and pets.
    I feel that giving my arms a break during this whole process is outweighed by the benefit of socialisation. That' is the way I am working it, not everyones choice by far.

    It is a bandaid solution in between loose lead teaching, but all of the training process will go on regardless. I thought it may have been confusing to dakota, but she is handling the transition back and forth relatively well. She is definately more focused, and when on loose lead, in more open non-distracting places, more receptive to the understanding.

    Hopefully, all of this will make the final click with her brain and transition to full lead training be easier on me. At just 17 weeks and due to the immunisation process, alot of puppies slide through the window period without much socialisation. The socialisation aspect is really high on my agenda for my dog, but again that's what I feel will benefit her moreso, just now.
    It is not something I can delegate to anyone else, I have to do this, but by gee it would be a hell of alot better if my arms were not in this predicament.
    Last edited by Dakota_Chey; 06-03-2011 at 11:37 PM. Reason: paragraph
    Ho'neene'šeohtseva'e

  8. #8
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    I think the halti is a great training tool. It didn't work with Kimba but I have been using it with my bfs dog.
    She was a nightmare to walk, an untrained dog that is strong, aggressive & rarely walked. Everything was too much for her. She just wanted to attack one thing after another. Once she saw something that was it, the only way to distract her was to turn around and DRAG her.
    She is so smart & thrives on attention & once she realised that i wanted her to slow down, stay with me & not violently lunge out at other dogs she became enjoyable to walk. The halti enabled me to physically stop her pulling so she had no choice but to listen to me.
    I have been removing it on streets I know are safe to try & teach her I want the behaviour with or without the halti & have been successful so far.
    I don't plan on using it on her forever and hopefully if all continues to go well she'll be walking with just a collar & lead on the near future.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Villain & Flirtt View Post
    I'm of a different opinion on this one; I am not a fan of Halti's, or any brand of head collar, for that matter.

    Before I get jumped on, I can say that when I adpoted Villain, I was confronted with a 6 month old, extremely powerful Dobe with serious reactivity problems. I suffer both tennis and golfers elbow now as a result of my dog's train like pulling and lunging- so I am no novice to injury caused by a freight train dog.

    In my opinion, Head collars have two issues;

    1) that they do not teach the dog anything. Yes, your dog stops pulling. But you have not taught a loose leash walk, only to not pull on the headcollar. Once the collar is off, the dog will in most cases resume pulling.

    2) for a powerful dog, the risk of neck injury is (again in my opinion) far too
    great. You as the handler may not yank the leash- but what if (what if?) the dog lunges out? Too great a risk.

    I am also not a fan of check chains for exactly the same reason.

    Once again, in my opinion, there is no substitute for a structured, consistent training program. Yes, training will take time. No, it will not fix the problem quickly. BUT a correctly structured program will not increase the handler's risk of injury if done correctly, consistently, and with an understanding of dog thinking.

    If I had to choose, I'd pick a flat collar, martingale (very effective IF fitted correctly which most aren't) or a PP collar.

    ETA: training is the only method which will teach your dog a desirable behavior which shows your dog the benefit to him or her (and always remember, dogs are hedonists) in doing and maintaining that behavior long term ie loose leash walking. LLW is also very different to the 'heel', but that's another subject....
    Ditto, well written/said

    I have newfies and I get rescue newfies. Most of which are 60kg plus. We do use check chains on the once who initially pull. But only for short quick checks. Only as a training aid.....When we are out side for the first few times. But after a lot of training, loose lead, heeling and attention...the check chains come off forever. If I did need a piece of equipment for a heavy dog who pulled and I was injured. I would use the front clipping harness like "kumalong".......It teaches a dog to yield his front end, with out the risk of neck injury.
    Pets are forever

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Villain & Flirtt;125794]

    1) that they do not teach the dog anything. Yes, your dog stops pulling. But you have not taught a loose leash walk, only to not pull on the headcollar. Once the collar is off, the dog will in most cases resume pulling.



    I have to disagree, purely from experience. Jackson was an absolute shocker on the lead when we got him. The only time I would walk him was on the halti, and taught him to walk next to me. Now he can walk on a flat collar without a problem. It was just a matter of praising him when he walked 'correctly'. IMO the halti just helped get the point home a little quicker (and also saved me an arm ache).

    I guess it's just really down to personal opinion. I'm of the (naive and hopeful) thought that if it was a completely horrible device that posed a huge threat to the dog then it wouldn't be sold in so many places, if at all.

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