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Thread: Halti collar concerns

  1. #1

    Default Halti collar concerns


    We have a 5 month old black lab bitch, going through obedience school, and slowly getting the hang of things with lots more work to do.

    At the request of the training school we have put our dog on a Halti collar which she absolutely hates to the extent she will back off when it's produced and, on occasion, will refuse to walk or even leave the house. I understand this isn't unusual and we are continuing to persevere with the collar.

    My question is where is this all leading? Our dog walks beautifully on the Halti when she is in the mood and she pulls very hard when on a normal flat collar - so the Halti is doing its job. However at what point is she actually learning how to walk properly WITHOUT the Halti? Is it the case that the Halti is a permanent part of her life now? Is it not possible/desirable to really put effort into training our dog to walk to heel on a flat collar using the same technique as we use with the Halti (ie: lots of rewards/treats and lots of repetition) but without the upset of the Halti?

    Whilst I fully appreciate that our dog is intelligent and will be testing out our appetite for "being the boss" and enforcing her use of the Halti collar I believe a puppy her age should be doing cartwheels at the propsect of a walk as opposed to backing off and refusing to walk down the drive? Apart from anything she needs the exercise but a walk should be something she looks forward to surely?

    In summary if I understood what LONG TERM benefit the Halti was delivering (and that the Halti is a temporary phenomenon) I would persevere but it concerns me that we have an unhappy dog (at walk times) and that there might be a better way to train our dog on a flat collar?

    I'd greatly appreciate any help with this and any advice would be welcome.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Melbourne VIC


    Hi Mark,

    My first question is, did you introduce the halti to your dog slowly or just whack it on and walk out the door?
    Second question is, is this the only training equipment the training club/company use or do they have more options?
    Third question, did the club show you how to fit the halti properly?

    You can certainly teach a dog to walk nicely without a halti. In factm I personally dislike the use of head collars. Given their positioning on the head and muzzle, if they lunge suddenly forward or you correct with too much force, you can injure the dogs neck. While it is not a common problem, it can happen and I just wouldn't be risking it for my dog. Yes, I did try a gentle leader (I'll try everything once) and decided it wasn't for me.

    You dog is learning that it can't pull on lead using the halti. Many learn that as soon as it's off they can do whatever they like. For them to get the point of the halti, the halti needs to be a positive for them. I'd think about getting rid of the halti on walks for a little while until you can create a positive association with it. Show the dog the halti and present treats. The dog ONLY gets treats wen the halti is present. After the dog is eager for this you can then look at resting the halti on the dogs nose and rewarding with yummy treats. Then reward when she is wearing it and immediately take it off again. Little things like that in the home will help creat a positive association with the halti.

    You could consider an easy walker harness or Sense-ible leader harness, or you could try a martingale collar or correction chain or you can stick to the flat collar if you wish. Given she is only 5 months old, I don't think she would really need anything more than a flat collar unless she has developed a major pulling problem in the last 3 months.

  3. #3


    Thank you for your reply. The halti was thrown on by the trainer at her first training session which as a nightmare for her!
    I would be happy to try and get her happy with it as you suggest but still confused as to the benefit long and whether training on a flat collar is better?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    Maybe it depends on how bad she pulls? Our Nero pulled quite badly on the lead so badly in fact that I was walking more backwards than forwards when we started working on it. It was quite frustrating for everyone so for us the halti worked just to break the habit. After I used it for a week or so I found that he walked much better on the lead with a normal collar. It didn't last and he slipped back into his old habit of course. But it gave me a little headstart to start working on it, allowing me to actually move forward on our walks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    My dog Koda was really bad as a pup when it came to pulling on lead, i often had to drop out half way through obedience because of the pain he was causing my hands from the pulling of the lead. I went and bought a Halti and it worked a miracle for him, he's an angel when he wears it
    but i dont always use it now days. Once he was over a year old, without me changing anything he just started to not really pull on lead any more, i usually just walk him on a flat collar now days. But i've found he is definitely easier to control when he wears the Halti, and i do still use it when i'm taking him somewhere where i want to have as much control of him as i can...

    In your situation though, your dog sounds like she is very frightened of the Halti... i'd say you should either find another method to train your dog to walk nicely, or start fresh with the Halti and introduce it slowly giving her rewards while she is wearing it around home, just so she gets used to it and see's it as a positive thing. Thats what i did with Koda. A lot of people say that the Halti doesnt give lasting results once you stop using it, i personally think that the halti really helped my dog to get better... i guess it would depend on the dog i guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    I use a halti on Harley and he gets overly excited when he see's it because he knows he is going for a walk. Bella on the other hand refuses to wear one and I would never force her. If you feel that your pup isn't comfortable wearing it I would look at other alternatives. The training school should probably help you teach your pup how to walk using a flat collar.

    Or you could switch over to a front clipping harness. Not sure on when the halti becomes effective though, I always use it with Harley, I haven't a few times and while he is better he still pulls like crazy cause he knows he can.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Western Sydney


    Welcome LMW to the forum,

    A few years ago my GSD Tara was a puller on a check chain. At obedience training she wasn't too bad but when I took her for walks she would pull, so I used a halti for one month and it worked like magic. I then went back to the check chain and never looked back.

    I now have a GSD rescue girl Chloe who we have had for 3.5 mths and is 10 mths old, she had never walked on a lead. I started walking her around the yard with a check chain and she wasn't too bad but on the street she would pull like mad.

    Thinking I could correct this when she started obedience training last week, I realize how wrong I was as she pulled even harder because she just freaked out by all the people and other dogs. I was told because she's a rescue it's going to be much harder to train her and I should use a head collar called a "Black Dog" which I did buy from them.
    She has been for several walks using this collar and it's great as it stops the pulling and I must say what a relief, I don't know how long I will have to use this collar but who cares. The biggest test will be tonight when she goes to training, fingers crossed.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Gippsland, Victoria


    To be perfectly honest, I would consider changing obedience schools. My reasoning being that if they cannot teach you walk a 5 month old puppy on anything but a Halti, then there is a lack of breadth in their training regime.

    No, your 5 month old puppy is probably not testing you out to see who is boss. Your puppy is not getting the messages about what you want her to do (ans she may even be getting mixed messages about what you don't want her to do, too). She is a puppy still... and puppies get excited and want to explore the world... and a leash and collar are completely new phenomenon to her.

    Look, a Halti is just another tool- and tools need to be used in conjunction with a structuredd training program for long term learning to occur. By all means habituate your puppy to the Halti as The Pawfectioninst (Belinda) suggested if you want to use it. Some people find a headcollar useful. Personally, I'd prefer to start with a flat collar and ramp up the rewards (treats, pats, play) for doing what you want her to do.

    In terms of loose leash walking (or social walking), I would reward her heavily not pulling the leash out tight, and when the leash does go tight, you stop, about turn 180 degrees, give her a little pop (like a tap on the shoulder, not a whack) with the leash and set off it the opposite direction, encouraging her to come with you and praising when she does. That's a simplified version... but my preferred method with young dogs who haven't yet developed a problematic behaviour pattern.

    The other thing is, you need to do this stuff under the least distracting conditions possible (like in your backyard or lounge room)- and expect to work a lot harder in classes as the distraction level is a lot higher.

  9. #9


    Hi, my Mo pulled like crazy. I took him to obedience school and paid for 3 different private trainers trying to fix the problem. All of them wanted to use a halti. Even though I couldn't see how this would train him not to pull but I preserved thinking that the trainers would know best. I also found that when I walked him with the halti, he pulled just as much, only it was harder for him to pull me over onto the ground (which he had done on many occasions). I followed the trainers instructions, had numerous follow calls, followed more instructions, practiced and practiced but Mo still pulled whenever he saw something that he wanted to get to. Finally, I gave the halti away, stoped paying instructors and using a flat collar worked out a system that suited me and Mo. This is what I did. I tried really, really hard never to get stressed or angry – if we were having a bad day, I just came home without feeling angry or guilty, even if we were only out for a few minutes. When Mo pulled hard, I would say in calmly 'don't pull sweetheart' and stop walking or turn around (impossible to turn when Mo pulled hard). I can’t remember command words so I just said what came naturally to me. Sometimes, if he was really bad I would have to hang on to a tree or something. After a while of not being able to move, Mo would sit down but the lead but the lead would still be stretched out tight. If I tried to walk again, he would just start pulling again, so I sort of wheeled him in like a fish, a bit at a time without letting him move forward, so that I could hold the lead close his collar for better control before I started to move off again. Then I would try and keep his attention a little (very hard to get Mo’s attention at any time) by talking in a sweet voice about whatever came to mind. As soon as he stopped pulling as much I would loosen the lead again. I had to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. At first I only corrected the really bad pulling. Then I worked on the moderate pulling. Now he doesn't pull at all. He walks with a lovely loose lead that I could hold with one finger. But even now, if something special gets his attention, like a cat, his ears prick up and he will pull just enough to take up the slack on the lead and then sit down. This is just his way of saying ‘can I chase mum, please’ or ‘can I look at that mum’. I usually let him sit and watch for a moment, or if it is just a smell that he wants to check out, I let him go over and sniff after he sits, but I stop if he starts to pull again. Mo and I still have some training problems, particularly when he wants to say hello to another dog, and I am definitely not an expert, but this was my experience and I hope it helps.

  10. #10


    Sorry, I meant persevered

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