Head halter conditioning

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Head halter conditioning

This is a discussion on Head halter conditioning within the Dog Gear and Supplies forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; To those that use halters, how long did you spend conditioning your dog to accept it before going out for a real walk? We just ...

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Old 05-29-2014, 02:45 PM
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Head halter conditioning

To those that use halters, how long did you spend conditioning your dog to accept it before going out for a real walk?

We just got one (as a last resort because I generally dislike them, and so does my dog) and spent a few minutes fitting it and playing a treat game as I slipped it on and off his nose.

So far he's good, but doesn't want it to be buckled on.

We're using a Snout about Strap from Kurgo. I really love the design. It's a simple figure-8 design and feels very strong and well made. I'm much happier with it than the Gentle Leader I've tried in the past. Not sure when or if my dog will agree though.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:07 PM
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I don't use one but I might at some point. I'd make sure he's completely comfortable and happy wearing it around the house before taking him for a walk. Have you seen this video? Jean Donaldson introducing the head collar to her dog.

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Old 05-29-2014, 03:46 PM
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I did a week, and I would consider that a rushed schedule. The best advice I can give is to learn a bit about calming signals and body language in dogs so that you can jump in and remove it at the first sign of discomfort.

My experience is that the dog will often accept it when you are at first praising heavily and stuffing treats in their face. Then as the minutes tick by they become less and less thrilled with it, and this is when it should be removed. I jumped in and removed it before the dog started to paw or scratch at it, so as to quash any notions that they could loosen or remove the halter by scratching. Then it is just a matter of slowly stretching out the period of time that they have the halter on comfortably, which pretty much takes care of itself so long as you focus on keeping the experience positive.

I basically followed these instructions: Introducing Your Dog to a Head Halter | ASPCA

To the best of my ability at least, considering that I was conditioning dog that I only saw for an hour or so a day. Instead of letting her chew a treat with the halter on, I would put it on her before we did high-energy, one-on-one play.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:12 PM
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This is an article you should read. I am not for or against head halters but having information is never a bad thing.

The Problem With Head Halters | Suzanne Clothier
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:32 PM
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FWIW I think that much of this 'depression' seen in dogs wearin haltis comes from improper conditioning. It is very similar to what you see when a dog has the 'come of shame' sprung on them. Even months after being weaned to collar/harness, Lexy dives right into the halti comes out because it necessitates that she will be spin an activity that is extremely exciting for her: meeting with children, walking with another dog or being taken out by her owners. So it seems that any depression she may have experienced with the gear was quickly overtaken by positive association.

My biggest disclaimer about the device is that it is a behavioural suppressant and should be used with this in mind. It will not train the dog to walk nicely or refrain from jumping when he is clipped into the collar afterwards. But for purposes like socializing the dog or getting them from point A to point B it's a lifesaver.

I found great use for the device for getting a Lex down to the park (for the REAL exercise) when she was a heavy puller. As I only had an hour to tire out and any training I did with the collar was being effectively undone by her owners, the Halti was great. As soon as she stepped up to 2 daily walks and exercise time was no longer an issue I started training her on the collar. But she is only 11 months and quite strong, so the halti is still handy from time to time. I also like that it fits very well in a pocket so that you can have it on you as backup even when walking the dog on other gear.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:02 PM
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I appreciate the article, but the same things can be said about other training aids if someone doesn't like them.
Like I said, I'm not even a fan of halters, but I'm not getting any improvement with other methods, so I decided to give it a go.
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