Dog Training: Pros and Cons of Using a Dog Halti
What Exactly Is a Dog Halti?
A dog halti is simply a head collar that somewhat resembles a halter worn by horses. Also known as a gentle leader, head halter, or head collar, a dog halti basically goes over the dog's head with the bigger loop going around the dog's neck and the smaller loop going over the dog's muzzle. A correctly worn halti should allow enough space to allow one finger to slide under the cheek strap.
At times, people confuse the halti with a dog muzzle; however, the two are very different and were built for different purposes. That said, it is important to recognize that some models of dog haltis were purposely crafted to allow the mouth to be closed; a feature which may turn handy when dealing with dogs prone to aggression.
The main purpose of a dog halti is to provide better control. Horses are large animals that can be easily controlled by a halter wrapped around their heads, therefore, the halti was crafted with the same idea in mind. Basically, the head collar works by controlling the dog's head, which makes it an ideal training tool for dog owners concerned about being dragged down the street.
The head halter was first crafted by Dr. Roger Mugford about 25 years ago. Dr. Mugford is a UK-based leading trainer and animal behaviorist. Owning large dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds and having back problems as well, Dr. Mugford understood the need for better control. Today, dog haltis can be found in any major pet store. Because head halters require some time to get accustomed to, it is best to consult with a reputable dog trainer for advice.
As with most training tools, there are pros and cons to keep in mind before investing in their use. As a dog owner, it is ultimately up to you to choose the most appropriate training tool for your dog. If you are uncertain, ask a dog trainer for advice.
Pros and Cons of Dog Haltis
There are good and bad things about the halti. As a trainer and behavior consultant, I tend to use a halti for particular cases where a certain level of control is needed. In the past, I have had success in using a halti in a case of re-directed aggression because of the great control of the head and muzzle. Yet, I tend to prefer a front-attachment harness for cases, where control of the head is not needed as much. The following are some pros and cons of dog haltis.
Pros of Head Halters in Dogs
- Works great to reduce pulling. With great control of the head, some dog owners claim it feels as if "power steering".
- A dog haltis offers a more humane alternative to aversion-based tools such as choke collars, prong collars and electronic collars which are known for causing emotional and physical issues.
- Compared to the gentle leader, some haltis offer a more comfortable fit, courtesy of padding over the nose area.
- Some haltis offer the option of closing the muzzle.
- The way the halti is designed, it allows dogs to pant as needed,
Cons of Haltis in Dogs
- The biggest disadvantage of the halti is the fact that it takes quite some time for the dog to get adjusted to it. Some dogs will panic, toss themselves on the floor, rub their heads on surfaces and paw at it.
- Some dogs appear to be excessively subdued when wearing it.
- As with other training tools, haltis have the potential for causing injury. In this case, the risk involves injury the dog's neck and spine when the dog lunges ahead and his head turns to the side.
- As with other training tools, a halti should be used in conjunction with training and not as a substitute for training. As with other training tools, they are transitional tools to be used temporary until better behaviors are taught.
- The halti must be fit correctly to ensure effectiveness. The halti should not rub against the eye area; rather, it should be resting near the nose, away from the eyes. The dog should not be able to paw it off. It should look like a "V" for victory and not an "L" for loser according to Terri Ryan.
- A halti may cause subdued behavior in some dogs, which is why I am not a big fan of it and prefer front-attachment harnesses.
As seen, as with other training tools, there are pros and cons to using a halti and as with any training tool there are risks of misuse. If you are considering one, keep in mind that it may require some desensitizing for your dog to get accustomed to it. Consult with s dog trainer when it comes to choosing the best training tool for your dog as this varies from one individual to another on a case by case basis.