I use the Gentle Leader Large for my 115 lb Newfie. It makes it so much easier to control in exciting situations. It allows me to work on desentizing him to things ,but maintain leadership. However, he can tell when he is not wearing it and takes advantage. So they must still learn how to walk on a leash properly. If I had a smaller or medium size dog, I would probably try to go without.
They don't really train the dog how to walk properly on the lead. But they are a good tool for the right dogs. I also use one for my dane, but I also work with her to walk on a regular collar. The problem is that she is big and strong and still young. She sometimes forgets herself and pulls, and if she really wants to go I can't stop her. I did recently start using a front hook harness which she also walks well in. I'm not sure if I'll ever walk her in just a collar, for safety reasons. Not all dogs take to them though, and you have to desensitize them to it before walking with it.
I have been struggling to train my guys to walk nicely on a loose leash. They are good 60% of the time. However, anywhere with other dogs present - they go crazy, all they want to do is play. I've recently started walking them on the head collars and have noticed immense improvement. I'm able to redirect their attention to me, which is something I couldn't do before.
That being said, I won't use one forever - I have a training plan all laid out for how I'm going to phase it out. And I'm hoping that by the summer I will be able to walk both of my dogs together.
I use the Easy Walk Head Collar.
I did use one with my Mastiff when he was an adolescent dog, but I do not like them at all and would never use it again on any other dog. I did not use it alone and always walked him with a harness as well, and used the harness as the primary control point and only used the head collar when I needed more control. A dog's snout is very sensitive and I think the head collar clamping down on the muzzle is a violation of the dog's energy, like asking a child to communicate without using their hands.
It is essential that the collar fits properly or you get this:
There is no substitute for teaching a dog to walk well on the leash and I prefer to do that with a wide flat collar.
I tried several brands of head collar and by far the best is the Dogmatic (unfortunately it isn't available in the US that I know of), but even then I still would never put another dog in one.
I don't like them at all. I don't think they teach dogs how to walk nicely on a loose leash, and they are very uncomfortable. I've seen many a dog still pulling but also panicking because of the uncomfortable pressure from them. I teach mine on a basic flat collar and it's always worked well.
Ten years ago, I walked someones dog a few times a week and they would always give me their dog wearing a head halter. Gentle Leader, I think?
This was a 1 year old Cockapoo, that the family never trained. I also didn't know much about training at the time, so I didn't do much to help either. However, this dog had so much pent up energy I'm not even sure if some trainers could get anywhere without an hour of fetch first. Even to this day I have never seen a dog that had so much energy. He was bouncing off the walls, doors, trees, furniture and even me. It took five minutes just to put the leash on him.
Anyway, the dog pulled every second of the walk, even with the head halter. The only difference was now the dog constantly pulled in front of me and walked in a continuous zig-zag line in which ever direction the halter was attempting to correct. So it just made the walks more unpleasant, because my arm was constantly going back and fourth, left, right left right. It didn't do anything and I think the dog found it annoying, because he would try to get it off occasionally.
Sorry, double post. I'll use this to add more thoughts I guess.
I was thinking of trying a head halter on my reactive dog, thinking it might be easier to redirect her attention on me instead of focusing on other dogs. Like @Shandula mentioned, this sounds like a case where a head halter may be of good use, if your dog is already at least somewhat leash trained. I'll have to give it a try.
I have used head collars and found them very useful. They did help teach my dogs not to pull. I like the Halti head collar best, as it sits loosely on the nose and only tightens when the dog pulls. I also found the Kumfi Dogalter very good, for my staffy cross. But they haven't replaced training, some people think they fit a gadget on a dog and the problem's gone.....
I use a Halti because, as @animalover56 mentioned, they provide good control for rowdy dogs and Yoki can be a bit of a jumper at times. She's also 70lbs of muscle with a high prey drive and I've found harnesses or just collars make it at lot easier for her to pull. I also use the version that attaches to the collar. Otherwise, it can slip off.
That all said, Halti's don't teach your dog not to pull - you have to do that. Otherwise, it's true that halti's can cause eye problems, etc. That said, any collar will give them problems with their neck, gate, etc. if you let the dog constantly pull. Teaching lose leash walking is a must, regardless of your collar/leash, etc.
I use them if i'm walking with more than one dog or going out in public with more than one dog. Mostly for added security in case something spooks them or gets them overly excited. If i'm one-on-one I use a martingale.
I think they can be a good training tool, specifically if you have a large powerful dog that has to be walked. Just like any training tool they have benefits and drawbacks and dogs need to be conditioned properly to wearing them. I do prefer teaching a dog to walk properly on a loose leash to ANY training tool but in certain cases a gentle leader or head halti can be helpful.
My dog walks beautifully on a loose leash, often to heel. So much so that passersby often comment on how well he's behaving.
However, once he sees something super exciting ie a squirrel, a bunch of little kids, other dogs, a man yelling and waving a chicken (unfortunately common where I live) all bets are off and he starts pulling and going crazy. Often we'll go out for a walk and he'll be perfect for the first 20 minutes, and then he'll start pulling. This is why I have his head collar - The Halti Optifit, in my pocket, and put it on him.
I've only been using it for a week or so. It's not a training tool, really, but it makes our walk more manageable. And it prevents him from developing the habit of pulling.
It's also super helpful if I'm carrying a bunch of things and I don't have the hand space to manage him. For example, today I went to the grocery store and then walked to his doggy daycare to pick him. Then we had to walk a mile home while I carried groceries, and we stopped at the liquor store so I could buy some wine for the risotto I made tonight for dinner. With all that stuff and going into a liquor store I decided the head collar was absolutely necessary.
My older dog will sniff and run at things and gets small sticks and stuff stuck under the nose strap, so that these small twigs point right at his eye when they get stuck. I always take it off before I let him go play, and rarely use it on hikes.
Just like everyone said it doesn't teach anything. I was wondering though of anyone started a puppy with one of these? It seems like it will promote good habits before bad ones form, no? Im going to begin desensitizing my puppy to it soon, I think. Posted via Mobile Device
I personally don't like them.
they work because they bring discomfort to the dog, when he pulls.
they work because they hurt.
I don't really like using aversive methods, even though I suppose very few people are only working with positive rewards.
A dog can hurt themself more permanently when they keep pulling in a regular collar though, so it's depending how you use it, I suppose.
i think the majority of dogs can be trained to walk nicely on the leash without using this kind of methods with patience, the right rewards and consistent leash training.
I'd prefer that over some kind of quick fix that doesn't teach the dog how to do it right.